Former Indians Pitcher Jackie Brown Passes Away at 73
Bob Toth | On 09, Jan 2017
Former Major League pitcher and coach Jackie Brown, part of two significant trades in Cleveland Indians history, passed away after a long illness on Sunday, January 8, according to the Texas Rangers organization. He was 73.
Born May 31, 1943, Brown worked as a catcher in high school, but entered the professional game in 1962 as a pitcher when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. While in his seventh season in the Phillies farm system, he was dealt in 1968 to the Washington Senators and two seasons later, he was in the Majors as part of the Senators pitching staff.
The Holdenville, Oklahoma, native had his best seasons in the Washington/Texas organization, playing two seasons with the Senators in 1970 and 1971 before returning to the Majors with the Rangers from 1973 to 1975. He won a career-high 13 games in 1974 working as both a starter and reliever for a surprising Texas team that finished second in the American League West to the eventual World Champion Oakland Athletics. But after a 5-5 start to his 1975 season (seven starts, ten relief appearances), he was dealt by Texas to cash-strapped Cleveland with fellow pitchers Jim Bibby and Rick Waits and $100,000 for Gaylord Perry.
Brown split his time almost evenly between starting and relief work while with the Indians. He went 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 25 games (three starts) in his first season with the club in 1975 and 9-11 the following year with a 4.25 ERA in 32 games (27 starts) in 1976.
In December of that offseason, he was traded by the Indians to the Montreal Expos for struggling slugger Andre Thornton, whose career was revitalized in Cleveland.
Brown was 9-12 in one season with the Expos in 1977 and returned to the Rangers that offseason as a free agent, pitching in 29 games for their Triple-A club in his final pro season in 1978.
After his playing days, the “Oklahoma Curveballer” remained in the game, working as the Rangers pitching coach from 1979 through 1982. He later served in the same capacity for the Chicago White Sox from 1992 to 1995 and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2002.
His family has also had a long involvement in Major League Baseball over the last six decades. His brother Paul Brown signed with the Phillies two years before he did and pitched at the MLB level for the club from 1961 to 1963 and again in 1968. His nephew Daren Brown (the son of Paul) spent time in the minors with the Toronto Blue Jays and has since spent nearly all of the 21st century as a coach in the Seattle Mariners organization, including a brief stint as interim manager of the club in 2010, taking over for Don Wakamatsu before later being replaced by Eric Wedge.
Photo: 1975 Cleveland Indians Postcards Update