Saturday, December 30, 2017

Darrell Brandon (#26)

I learned today that Darrell Brandon was not always a pitcher.

He was signed by the Pirates in 1959, but was traded to the Cardinals and played for their class-D team in 1960, as a 3rd baseman and outfielder.

After being out of baseball for the 1961 season, he resumed his baseball career as a pitcher. Darrell played in the Houston Colt .45s' farm system from 1962-65, then was traded to the Red Sox for pitcher Jack Lamabe in September 1965.

Brandon made the majors at the start of the 1966 season, and was with the Red Sox for all of ’66 and ’67. He both started and relieved during his first 2 seasons with Boston, but developed arm problems during 1967 that caused him to spend most of 1968 in the minors, although he did pitch 8 games for the Sox that season.

After the ’68 season he was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. Brandon only played 8 games for the Pilots, and by mid-July was sold to the Twins. He also played for both organizations’ triple-A clubs in 1969.

Released by the Twins in April 1970, he was quickly signed by the White Sox, but played the entire ’70 season for their AAA club.

Darrell returned to the majors in 1971 with the Phillies, following a January trade for infielder Rick Joseph. Brandon pitched out of the Phillies’ bullpen (behind Joe Hoerner and Dick Selma) for the next 3 seasons, appearing in 130 games (only 6 as a starter).

In 1972 he compiled a 7-7 record. His 7 wins was 2nd on the team after Steve Carlton’s 27 wins. (Such was the sad state of the Phillies’ pitching staff that year.)

Darrell was released by the Phillies after the 1973 season. He played for their AAA team in 1974 before retiring.

Fun Fact: Brandon wore #32 for the Phillies in 1971, before switching to #30 with the arrival of Steve Carlton in 1972. Carlton’s number was subsequently retired by the Phillies.

It’s odd that both and refer to him as “Bucky Brandon”. I don’t ever remember seeing his baseball cards without “Darrell” as his name. Although Baseball-Reference will redirect “Darrell Brandon” queries to their Bucky Brandon page, Wikipedia has no knowledge of a “Darrell Brandon”.