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William Havon Bruton (November 9, 1925 – December 5, 1995) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder who played for the Milwaukee Braves (1953–1960) and Detroit Tigers (1961–1964). Bruton batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
Bruton in 1955
|Born: November 9, 1925|
|Died: December 5, 1995 (aged 70)|
|April 13, 1953, for the Milwaukee Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1964, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||545|
|Career highlights and awards|
Bruton started his major league career in 1953, as the Braves franchise moved from Boston to Milwaukee. On April 14, 1953, his 10th-inning home run gave the Braves a 3–2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Milwaukee's first major league game.
Bruton played in Milwaukee for eight seasons; he was a member of the 1957 Braves and 1958 Braves, who both played World Series against the New York Yankees. Bruton did not play in the 1957 World Series, which the Braves won in seven games, due to a knee injury sustained earlier in the season. In the 1958 World Series, which the Braves lost in seven games, Bruton hit a game-winning single in the tenth inning of Game 1. He played in all seven games of the Series, batting 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run and two RBIs. On August 2, 1959, Bruton hit two bases-loaded triples in one game. The feat had only been accomplished once before (Elmer Valo, 1949) and has only been accomplished once since (Duane Kuiper, 1978).
In December 1960, Bruton was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he spent four seasons before retiring after the 1964 season.
In his twelve-year major league career, Bruton posted an overall .273 batting average with 94 home runs and 545 run batted in in 1,610 games. He finished his career with a .981 fielding percentage. A line-drive hitter and a fleet-footed runner, Bruton led the National League in stolen bases for three consecutive seasons (1953 through 1955), twice in triples (1956 and 1960), and once in runs scored (1960). He led off a game with a home run twelve times.
Bruton's minor league milestones include;
- tied for the Northern League lead in games played (124), and led the league in at bats (545), runs (126), and batting average (.325) while playing for the Eau Claire Bears in 1950
- led the Western League with 27 triples while playing for the Denver Bears in 1951
- tied for the American Association lead in games played (154), at bats (650), runs (130), hits (211), and outfield assists (22) while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1952
According to a Delaware State Police report, Bruton suffered a heart attack while driving his car in Marshallton, Delaware, near his home in Wilmington on December 5, 1995. Apparently, Bruton's car veered off the road and hit a pole; after which he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He was 70.
- 1955 Baseball Register, published by The Sporting News
- "Milwaukee Braves 3, St. Louis Cardinals 2". Retrosheet. April 14, 1953.
- "Knee Ousts Bill Bruton From Series". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. UP. September 26, 1957. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- "Milwaukee Braves 4, New York Yankees 3". Retrosheet. October 1, 1958.
- "1958 WS Gm1: Bruton's walk-off hit gives Braves win". MLB. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Milwaukee Braves 11, St. Louis Cardinals 5 (2)". Retrosheet. August 2, 1959.
- Tomashek, Tom (December 9, 1995). "Bruton lauded as quiet force". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- "Tareyton delivers the flavor". Ebony. August 1961. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "Delaware Sports Hall of Fame". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. March 17, 1991. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- Parrish, Paula (December 6, 1995). "Ballplayer Bill Bruton dead at 69". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved November 18, 2017 – via newspapers.com.