As a 29-year-old rookie seasoned in the Negro National League, Lawrence went 15-6,
starting and relieving for the 1954 Cardinals. Hit hard in 1955, he was demoted to
Oakland (Pacific Coast League), where he earned a second chance by going 5-1 down
the stretch. Acquired by the Reds, he opened 1956 with 13 straight victories, among
them two two-hitters. He finished 19-10, then went 16-13 in 1957. He won only eight
games in 1958 and seven in 1959, when he threw a third two-hitter.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 30, 1955:
Cubs rookie slugger Bob Speake homers in both games of a doubleheader against the Cards to finish the month with 10 homers. His homer breaks a 3-3 tie in the 11th inning of the nightcap to help the Cubs sweep in St. Louis, 9–5 (10) and 4–3 (11). Paul Minner and Howie Pollet are the winners for Chicago, while Brooks Lawrence and Bobby Tiefenauer take the losses. Speake will hit just two more homers the rest of the season. In game 2, the Cards get stopped in the 9th by an interference call. Wally Moon attempts to steal 3B but C Harry Chiti's throw hits the bat of Red Schoendienst. Red is called out and Moon must return to 2B. Stan Musial then grounds out.
»January 31, 1956: The Reds send Jackie Collum to the Cards for pitchers Brooks Lawrence and Sonny Senerchia. Lawrence, who finished the year at 5–1 after spending time in the minors, will open the 1956 season with 13 straight victories.
»May 29, 1956: For the second time in two years, Gus Bell of the Redlegs hits three homers—all consecutive—going 5-for-5 in a 10–4 win over the Cubs at Wrigley. Bell drives in seven runs. Brooks Lawrence coasts to his 6th straight win.