Friday, November 22, 2013

The Sad Return of Unpossible Autograph Friday- RIP Babe Birrer

It had been nearly three months since a former Orioles player had passed away (Jack Harshman died on 8/15) and it was a nice break from writing about O's who were no longer with us. Sadly though, Werner "Babe" Birrer passed away this past Tuesday. 

Babe pitched for three seasons in the Majors, one each with the Tigers, Orioles, and Dodgers, but pitched professionally for 20 years from 1947-66. The Buffalo News did an excellent job writing up the obituary about Babe's life, and I certainly learned a lot about him from reading the entire write-up. I suggest you do the same, but I'll hit on a few highlights here.

-during his time with the Tigers in 1955, he hit two 3 run homers and pitched 4 shutout innings in a single game, coincidentally against the Orioles; that game earned him his nickname "Babe"

-those 2 HRs and the resulting 6 RBI were the entire extent of his career HR and RBI totals

-he gave up one of Mickey Mantle's 3 longest home runs

- he put his baseball career on hold to serve with the Army during the Korean War

-he taught for 20 years after his baseball playing days were over

-he was an avid photographer

-and he was a featured visitor at local German festivals (I'm not sure what it means, but it sounds cool)

I obtained my autographed Orioles Crown card of Birrer way back in December 2010, and included him in a post I wrote about the trade. It seems as those he was a good TTM signer for a number of years but I believe he was unable to sign by the time I sent a request to him.

RIP "Babe", it sounds like you led quite a great life.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

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