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Ed Brinkman – 1973 Topps #5

Edwin Albert Brinkman  (December 8, 1941 – September 30, 2008) was a Major League Baseball shortstop. He played fifteen years in the Major League Baseball, led the American League in games played twice, won a Gold Glove Award at shortstop, and had a career batting average of .224. He was also named to the American League All-Star team in 1973. Brinkman was a high school teammate of Pete Rose at Cincinnati’s Western Hills High School. Paul “Pappy” Nohr, the baseball coach at Western Hills, described Rose as “a good ball player, not a Brinkman.” Based on their performance in high school, scouts saw Brinkman rather than Rose as the future superstar. When he was a senior, Ed batted .460 and also won 15 games as a pitcher. Brinkman was paid a large (for the time) bonus of $75,000 by the Washington Senators in 1959. Brinkman later said: “Pete always kidded me that the Washington Senators brought me my bonus in an armored truck. Pete said he had cashed his at the corner store.” He has the record for the number of seasons (seven) with more than 400 at-bats, fewer than 15 home runs, and a batting average lower than .230. Since 1930 only one player with 5000+ at-bats has a lower average. Brinkman’s batting average would have been even worse if it were not for Ted Williams. Brinkman hit .266 and .262 in 1969 and 1970 while playing for Washington Senators teams managed by Williams. Excluding those two seasons, Brinkman’s lifetime average was .214. He committed a then-record low seven errors in 156 games for the division-winning Tigers in 1972. Even with a .203 average, Brinkman was hailed as one of the team’s most valuable players, and he won a Gold Glove that season. Brinkman died on September 30, 2008 due to complications from lung cancer.

*Note: The card and Wikipedia tell two different accounts on the bonus paid by the Washington Senators.

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