Fritz Brickell

From BR Bullpen


Fritz Darrell Brickell

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

“Brickell bounds around like a little rabbit, grabbing everything in sight and getting the ball away with amazing speed. Both (Fritz and Tony Kubek) are sure-handed… Brickell hits the longer ball. He is an excellent pull-hitter and can hit the towering ball that goes for a home run as well as the sharp line drive to any field.” - Frank Haraway, The Sporting News, 1957

Before the 1953 season, shortstop Fritz Brickell, signed as an amateur free agent with the New York Yankees. Fritz, who stood just 5'5½", was optioned to the Joplin Miners of the Class C Western Association. He got into only 37 games his first year, hitting .221. He was in the same league in 1954 but with the St. Joseph Saints, where he played 121 games at short and hit .306. He spent the next few years in the high minors until he had a look in a couple of games, with no record, for the Yankees in 1958. They gave him another look in 1959 and he appeared in 18 games at shortstop, hitting .256, before being sent back to the International League's Richmond Virginians, where he finished the year hitting .247 in 88 games.

Brickell stayed in the Yankees organization until April 4, 1961, when they traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for Duke Maas. Fritz became the first starting shortstop for the expansion Angels but was waylaid by injuries, appearing in only 21 games. He was dispatched to the Toronto Maple Leafs where, after he healed a bit, had probably his best season yet, hitting .307 in 108 games and fielding .985 while holding down second base. Fritz was with both the Toronto squad and the Louisville Colonels in 1962, hitting a combined .234 in 68 games. It was apparent he was not his old self and called it a career after the season. He spent 10 years in professional baseball from 1953 through 1962. On the farm, he appeared in 982 games with 3,549 at bats, 979 hits, including 82 home runs, and hit .275.

Away from the diamond, Fritz appeared as himself on the April 22, 1958 episode of the game show To Tell The Truth. Of the celebrity panelists, only Jim Backus (better known as Thurston Howell III on Giligan's Island) was able to determine the real Fritz from the imposter contestants.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, "Fritz Brickell Night" was held in August 1965 at the National Semi-Pro Tournament in Wichita, Kansas, with former teammate Mickey Mantle on hand to stage a hitting exhibition as part of the activities. Fritz died just a few months later on October 15th, at age 30, in his hometown of Wichita.

Fred Brickell, Fritz's father, was a National League outfielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Yankees in the 1927 World Series.

Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

Related Sites[edit]