Posts Tagged ‘Bob Bruce’

Bob Bruce: Houston’s 1st Big League Winner.

May 14, 2010

In 1964, Bob Bruce was Houston's 1st 15-Game Big League Winner.

Things weren’t easy during the three season life span of this city’s first major league club, the Houston Colt .45s. We had a local team made up of names from the 1961 expansion draft and a few fresh rookie snares, plus some veteran free agent players acquired in minor deals. and a few wannabe guys, most of whom never saw the light of day wearing the orange and deep navy blue of the new big league club.

One of the jewels in the early talent lot was a right-handed pitcher named Bob Bruce, whom the Colt .45s acquired from the Detroit Tigers. The 6’3″, 195 pound 29-year old turned out to be the most effective double-digit game winner in the club’s early history.

In 1962, when Houston finished 8th in an undivided 10-team National League, only besting the Chicago Cubs and the fellow expansion bunch at New York called the Mets, Bob Bruce hit the club record books as the first pitcher to register double-digit wins and a winning record in a single season. His 10-9 mark with  4.06 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 1962 did it for Bruce.

Teammate Dick Farrell also had ten wins in 1962, but he also picked up twenty losses along the way, a feat which prompted this proud explanation from the colorful guy they also called Turk: “Do you realize how good I had to be to keep going out there often enough to have lost 20 games in one year?”

Bruce fell off to 5-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 1963, but in 1964, in their third and final year to dress out as the Colt .45s, he came roaring back to become the first 15-game winner in franchise history, posting a season mark of 15 wins, 9 losses, an ERA of only 2.76 in 202.1 innings pitched – and another good year for “Ks” with 135 recorded again.

Bruce pitched two more years as a “Houston Astro” (1965-66), but he had run out of big-win seasons. His combined record for two Astrodome seasons was 12-31. Bob moved over to Atlanta in 1967 where he registered a 2-3 record for his last season in baseball.

Happy Birthday, Bob! Bob Bruce turns 77 on May 16 and he is still going strong in real estate.

All tolled, Bob Bruce worked a nine-season major league career (1959-67) into a final record of 49-71 and a fine 3.85 ERA over his 1,122.1 total innings. He played for Detroit (1959-61), Houston (1962-66), and Atlanta (1967).

A good fastball, an effective curve, and good control also allowed Bob Bruce to finish with 733 strikeouts against only 340 walks. During his Colt .45 years, Bruce was the guy who gave Houston fans rare hope for victory every time he took the mound. As one of those fans, I will always be grateful to him for that infusion of sunshine into our early big league community baseball spirit.

As a minor leaguer for eight years (1953-67), Bob Bruce also compiled a record of 76-55 and an ERA of 3.33 over several scattered seasons.

Happy Birthday, Bob Bruce! And thanks again the memories.

For those of you wanting to catch up on Bob Bruce¬†today, or maybe even shop for some real estate in the Hill Country, check out Bob on Facebook. I’m sure he would be most glad to hear from you.