With a tip from Warren Spahn, Brewer developed a screwball in 1964, and became one
of the most successful relievers in the NL. He averaged better than 19 saves a season
for the Dodgers in the years 1968-73, with a career-high 24 in 1970. In 1972 his
ERA was 1.26, and he averaged an outstanding 4.69 hits per nine innings. Dodger manager
Walter Alston said, "We've had a lot of great relief pitchers, but I've never seen
one better than Brewer."
In 1960 as a Cub rookie, the even-tempered lefty was the
victim in a much-publicized mound altercation. Cincinnati's Billy Martin accused
Brewer of throwing at him, charged the mound, and punched Brewer, breaking his jaw.
died at the age of 50 in an auto accident.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»August 4, 1960: Believing that Chicago's Jim Brewer is throwing at him, the Reds 2B Billy Martin throws his bat toward the mound. Then, advancing to retrieve it from Brewer, who has picked it up. The two exchange words and Martin launches a hard overhand right that fractures the orbital bone of Brewer's right eye. Both benches empty and Martin continues swinging, decking Frank Thomas. Brewer requires surgery and will be out of action for a month. The Cubs win, 5–3, on Ernie Banks' homer at Wrigley. Martin will be fined $500 for the punch and Brewer and the Cubs will sue the combative infielder on August 22nd for $1,000,000. Years later, when the courts award Brewer $100,000, Martin's comment will be, "how can they ever collect it? I haven't got that kind of money,"
»August 22, 1960: For Billy Martin's fight on August 5th, Jim Brewer and the Cubs hit back with a $1,040,000 law suit. The claim will be settled in court and Martin will be liable for $25,000 in damages.
»September 8, 1964: Phils' first baseman Frank Thomas fractures his right thumb sliding back into 1B in the 3–2 loss to the Dodgers. The Phils are six games ahead, but Thomas's loss will be felt keenly when the Phils begin to slide. Art Mahaffey takes the loss, lasting just a 1/3 of an inning. Thirty-six-year-old Jim Brewer wins his first ML start.
»November 29, 1966:
A circuit court jury in Chicago awards Jim Brewer $100,000 in damages stemming from his 1960 on-field fight with Billy Martin.
»September 15, 1969:
The Dodgers sweep a pair from the Reds, winning the nitecap in 12 innings. Jim Brewer wins both games with an inning of relief in the opener and four more in the 2nd game.