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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Brackman’

(The following was originally published at SB*Nation’s Pinstripe Alley)

Baseball Americarecently unveiled its new ranking for the Yankees’ farm system, and once again Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos were featured prominently. Absent from the list, however, was Andrew Brackman, who ranked fifth on last year’s list. Of course, the reason Brackman didn’t make the list is because he is no longer in the organization. After only three minor league seasons and fewer than 350 professional innings, the Yankees decided they had seen enough of their 2007 first round draft pick.

Although Brackman’s and Betances’ status in the Yankees’ organization has diverged dramatically since this time last year, the two pitchers still share one thing in common: abnormal height. At 6’10” and 6’8″, respectively, both right handers rank among the tallest players in major league history. Perhaps not coincidentally, both pitchers have also shared a relative lack of command, which begs the question about whether height is a developmental impediment?

Tallest Pitchers in Yankees’ History (click to enlarge)

Note: For an in depth look into the curious life of Slim Love, click here.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

After missing almost two weeks of action with a groin injury, Andrew Brackman finally made his spring debut for the Yankees in yesterday’s exhibition game against the Braves. Even before the setback, it was going to be a tall order for the young right hander to head north with the club, but his eventual promotion seems to be less about if and more about when and in what role.

When Brackman finally does get the call, history will be waiting for him, and all he’ll need to do is throw one pitch. At 6’ 11”, Brackman would not only become the tallest Yankees’ pitcher of all time, but he would join the Blue Jays’ Jon Rauch as the tallest player in major league history. Of course, to accomplish that feat, Brackman will have to beat Loek Van Mil to the majors. At 7’ 1”, Van Mil would blow away the competition, but considering his 6.37 ERA with the Twins’ double-A affiliate last year, he isn’t likely to make the major leagues.

If Brackman does join Rauch as the tallest pitcher in baseball history, he’ll become only the second Yankee to hold that distinction. The first was a 6’ 7” lefthander named Edward Haughton Love, but better known as Slim.

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest: Progression of Tallest Yankee Pitchers

Year Pitcher Height
1901 Frank Foreman 6′ 0″
1902 Crese Heismann 6′ 2″
1903 Ambrose Puttman 6′ 4″
1908 Hippo Vaughn 6′ 4″
1916 Slim Love* 6′ 7″
1982 Stefan Wever 6′ 8″
1988 Lee Guetterman 6′ 8″
1996 Jeff Nelson 6′ 8″
1996 Graeme Lloyd 6′ 8″
2005 Randy Johnson 6′ 10″
2011? Andrew Brackman* 6′ 11″

*Tallest in major league history to date.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Slim Love was born in, where else, Love, Mississippi on August 1, 1890. Otherwise, little is known about the early life of the tall and lanky southpaw. In fact, it seems as if he just dropped out of the sky onto the baseball landscape. Considering his height, Love would have been a perfect bridge between the two.

Maybe it isn’t a stretch to suggest he just materialized out of thin air? Unlike most major leaguers, Love wasn’t a highly sought after prospect uncovered by a scout beating the bushes. He wasn’t even a journeyman who first opened eyes pitching for a local squad. If Love was playing baseball somewhere as a youth, no one knew anything about it, and considering his abnormal height, he would have been hard to miss.

According to an account in The Washington Post, Love’s baseball career evolved from his own barroom bragging. As the story goes, Love, who had traveled up from his hometown to Memphis, Tennessee, walked into a local watering hole, took a seat at the bar, and ordered everyone a drink. Then, the affable giant boasted about his prowess on the mound and boldly claimed that he had come to Memphis with the sole purpose of leading the town’s ballclub to the pennant.

Slim made his advent into professional ball via Memphis, and the way he happened to land with the Turtles was on account of his bucolic disposition and odd appearance.”The Washington Post, August 31, 1913

Although Slim wasn’t the first guy to walk into a bar and start spinning yarns, he must have been very convincing. Impressed by both his confident demeanor and commanding size, the proprietor of the tavern reached out to Bill Bernhard, a friend who also happened to be the manager of the Memphis Turtles (known as the Chickasaws starting in 1912). In no time, the lanky lefty found himself working out with the Memphis team, and soon thereafter was given the chance to prove that he was more than just a fast talker.

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