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Tommy Byrne, 1919-2007
2007-12-20 18:47
by Bob Timmermann

Tommy Byrne, who pitched in 13 major league seasons, mostly with the Yankees, but also with the Browns, White Sox, and Senators, passed away in North Carolina at age 87.

Byrne appeared in four World Series (1949, 1955, 1956, and 1957). Byrne pitched the 8th and 9th innings of Game 7 of the 1957 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves and Casey Stengel allowed Byrne to bat with two outs in the ninth inning and the Yankees down 5-0. Byrne singled, but Bill Skowron followed with a forceout to third to end the game. That at bat was Byrne's last appearance in a big league game.

2007-12-20 20:39:38
1.   JL25and3
I think Byrne was the pitcher who used to stand on the rubber, tossing the ball up and catching it, driving Stengel nuts.
2007-12-20 20:44:26
2.   Bob Timmermann
I think the fact that Byrne walked over 1000 batters compared to around 750 strikeouts would also serve to drive a lot of managers nuts.
2007-12-20 23:08:35
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Byrne also threw an ungodly amount of pitches in his starts in part because he'd go deep into counts and walk so many men, but still keep things manageable, particularly for that dynastic Yankee offense, so Stengel would leave him in games. Steven Goldman did a great Old Timer's Day interview with him a few years back for his YES column about all that, but I can't seem to turn it up (perhaps some more diligent Googler can). But we're talking 200-pitch outings and the like, things that don't even seem humanly possible.

The best way to explain it in relatively contemporary terms would be if Al Leiter had a rubber arm, Dallas Green as his manager, an offense that could spot him 5 runs without breaking a sweat, and the word "pitch count" had yet to enter the game's lexicon. Scary.

2007-12-20 23:41:39
4.   Bob Timmermann
With the pennant long clinched in 1956, Stengel let Byrne start the next to last game of the season at home against Boston.

Boston won 7-5 in 13 innings.

Check out the walk totals for both teams and the time of game. And think how long that game would have lasted in 2007.

2007-12-21 08:16:19
5.   Gen3Blue
Six hours is easily possible. I hope the hot dogs were good in 1956.
2007-12-21 11:54:19
6.   grandcosmo
Speak of the devil.
2007-12-21 13:34:56
7.   The Mick 536
Not that anyone could not have looked it up, but he pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the 1955 Series, driving in two runs.

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