Max Butcher

From BR Bullpen


Albert Maxwell Butcher

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 220 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

"In Brooklyn, we had Max Butcher. A pretty fair pitcher, Max's eyes were always blinking and the guys used to say that he pitched between blinks. In 1937, Burleigh Grimes was managing the club. We were playing an exhibition game and Burleigh was coaching first base. The steal sign was when he winked at us. 'When I wink, you go,' he said. Then in the middle of the game he gets a long distance phone call and has to leave the field. They put Max in to coach first base. Gibby Brack gets on. Gibby, Lord rest his soul, wasn't the brightest guy in the world. He looks at Max. Max's eyes are blinking away and Gibby lights out for second. He's shot down by about fifteen feet, just as Grimes is coming back. Burleigh starts roaring 'Who gave that steal sign?' And somebody said 'Nobody gave it, but look who's coaching first base.' And there's big Max Butcher standing there, blinking away." - Buddy Hassett, to Donald Honig, from the book Baseball Between The Lines

West Virginia native Max Butcher spent sixteen seasons in professional baseball from 1931 to 1946. The right-hander started his pro career with five seasons in the minor leagues from 1931 to 1935. He put together a 60-49 record during this run, with his best year coming in 1935 for the Galveston Buccaneers of the Class A Texas League. Butcher's 24 wins in 39 games tied him for the league lead and put him on the All-Star team. He also had a 2.21 ERA while pitching 317 innings.

Max made his big league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 20, 1936, and built a 22-25 record with the Ebbets Field gang before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Wayne LaMaster on August 8, 1938. He was 4-8 for the remainder of 1938. On July 28, 1939, after a 2-13 run with the Phils, he was moved to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gus Suhr. Max finished the year at 4-4, with his total of 17 losses leading the NL. Max finished his major league run with the Forbes Field club, having his best big league season in 1941, when he went 17-12 with a 3.05 ERA in 33 games. The prior year, 1940, his 6.02 ERA had been second-worst in team history for someone with 20+ starts; only Ad Gumbert in the high-offense 1894 campaign had been worse. No one else would have a higher mark for the Bucs in the 20th century. He was released by the Pittsburgh team on March 20, 1946, finishing with a 67-60 mark in 7 Bucs seasons. In 10 years total, he was 95-106 with a 3.73 ERA while appearing in 334 games and pitching 1,786 1/3 innings.

Butcher finished his pro career in 1946 in the minor leagues. He was with two teams, logging a 6-5 record in 12 games, giving him a minor league career record of 66-54 in 169 games. After baseball, he returned to his home state, where he died on September 15, 1957 at the age of 46.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1941)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons (1941)

Related Sites[edit]