October 7 – Happy Birthday Jim Bruske
For every player who was an all-star as a Yankee there are thirty to fifty members of the team’s all-time roster who were not. But if you’re a loyal Yankee fan, you remember the subs as well as the starters. Take today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant as an example. In August of 1998 the Yankees were looking for a right handed middle reliever to add to their bullpen. Since that ’98 Yankee team won 114 regular season games, you wonder why they were looking for anything at that time because they already had the best-winning team in franchise history. Despite that, the Yankees had tried to make a deal for Padres’ right-hander Brian Boehringer, who had already pitched for New York the three previous seasons but the deal kept breaking down. Instead New York and San Diego swapped four pitchers and Jim Bruske was the only one of the four with Major League experience.
At first the Yankees put their new acquisition in Triple A but when the big league rosters expanded to 40 on September 1 of that year, Bruske was brought up to the parent club. He made a couple of relief appearances first but after clinching the AL East Pennant, New York was setting up their pitching rotation for the playoffs and gave Bruske a start against the lowly Devil Rays. He went five innings and got the win. It was his fifth consecutive winning decision over a two season period. It would also be the only decision of his Yankee career. When he failed to make the team’s big league roster the following spring, New York released him. He resurfaced in Milwaukee during the 2000 season and won his sixth straight big league decision as a Brewer. He would end his big league career that same season with that streak intact and a 9-1 lifetime record.
Bruske was born in East St Louis, IL, grew up in California and was originally an outfielder. He played his college ball at Loyola Marymount, where he started in the same outfield as Billy Beane, who would later become the first Major League Baseball player to publicly discuss his homosexuality. Bruske shares his October 7th birthday with this Yankee pitcher from the early 1960s.