IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY- AUGUST 10, 1968- DETROIT’S GATES BROWN HAS TWO WALK OFF PINCH-HITS AS DETROIT SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER

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1968 was a magical year for the Detroit Tigers- and their pinch hitting specialist Gates Brown. If you would mention Gates Brown’s name to a long time Tigers fan I am sure they would smile and talk about his remarkable 1968 season. Brown was a bench player- he didn’t play much- he only had 92 at bats the entire season. He only started 16 games all season. He made every at bat count- especially when called upon as a switch-hitter- he hit .450 that season as a pinch-hitter most of pinch-hitting appearances coming late in the game. On the season he hit .370.  Gates was never more magical than on this date- a doubleheader vs the defending champions the Boston Red Sox- in game 1 he hit a pinch-hit home run off Lee Stange in the 14th inning to win the game and in game 2 he came off the bench in the bottom of the 9th and hit a single off of Sparky Lyle -scoring Mickey Stanley and giving the Tigers a sweep in the doubleheader.

Gates Brown still holds the American League record for most career pinch hits- and pinch hit home runs. He played 13 seasons for the Tigers- was never a regular player-always a bench player but when called on- especially in 1968 he was as clutch as they came. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 73.

In Greg Iles excellent Natchez Burning trilogy -he has a character that goes by the name Gates Brown because that was the characters childhood hero.

 

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3 responses to “IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY- AUGUST 10, 1968- DETROIT’S GATES BROWN HAS TWO WALK OFF PINCH-HITS AS DETROIT SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER

  1. Pinch hitting is an art to itself. It’s hard to come up cold at the last minute. At least with DH you get to hit 3-4 times a game… Manny Mota was really good at it also.

    • Manny Mota was the best I can think of- and Brown that season had 92 at bats over the entire year- it wasn’t like he was playing 3-4 games a week and doing that pinch-hitting on other days he was on the bench most of the time and coming in to hit after a couple hours of just sitting there on the bench.. a touch job.

    • An OBP of .442 and he struck out only 4 times in 92 at-bats overall… That is a great year in that role or any role.

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