Within the last couple of years, Bremen High School has done some rennovating and part of the draw to this rummage sale was the opportunity to walk around and take my first, firsthand look at what they've done. Some fresh coats of paint and a mural have really spruced up the joint. Additionally, there were some new display cases for showcasing notable alumni.
Behind the glass, I was pleased to see that Bremen's only Major League Baseball player had made the case:
Pete Lovrich, class of 1960, pitched in 21 games for the old Kansas City Athletics in 1963. Over the course of 20.2 innings (including one start), the former Bremen Brave posted a 7.84 ERA with a 1-1 record. I suppose you can see how Pete ended up being a "one-year wonder."
From the nearby community of Blue Island, Lovrich went from the All-Conference ace of the Bremen pitching staff, to Arizona State University. When he ascended to the Bigs, he was both the first (and only) Brave and the first Sun Devil to play Major League Baseball. While his time probably didn't go as well as he'd hoped, he can always hang his hat on those bits of trivia.
As you can see from the quick picture I snapped, the school even made sure to include a copy of his only baseball card as part of the display - a 1964 Topps single:
Here's a better look, courtesy of COMC. If anyone happens to have an extra one of these lying around, I sure wouldn't mind talking trade. I feel like I should own a card of the only guy to have both walked the halls of Bremen High School and from the bullpen to an MLB mound.
I'm irrationally glad to see that Bremen had put up this display, seeing as I had been completely unaware of Pete's accomplishment until long after I graduated. It seems criminal that such a notable alumni wasn't being celebrated by his school.
Meanwhile, while Mr. Lovrich might have been the only Bremen Brave to make it all the way to the majors, he isn't the only professional athlete to hail from our small-ish high school. There was still one more baseball card proudly on display:
Tim Flannigan is a name that was much more recognizable to me, seeing as he was the Bremen baseball coach during my four years of schooling, one of which was spent on the baseball roster. I played with the freshman squad during my first year of high school before realizing I was better at running around a track than hitting a baseball and Coach Flannigan was the varsity coach, so our paths didn't actually cross very much. Still, pretty cool to see such a familiar face on a baseball card.
The second-team All Stater starred on the same diamond a little less than a decade earlier, playing up the middle. After a collegiate career for nearby Saint Xavier University, Flannigan was drafted in the 30th round of the 2000 amateur draft and signed on the dotted line with the New York Mets.
The Harvey-native played for two years in the bushes with the Mets org - he spent the 2000 season with the low-A Pittsfield Mets (with whom he's shown on the framed, team-issued card) and 2001 with the single-A Capital City Bombers. As a utility infielder, Coach Flannigan could only muster a.202/.302/.258 slash line before his release, but he still played in 73 more professional games than I did.
A powerful swing(and miss) during my diamond days
In the end, while I wasn't able to pick up anything new for my collection at this rummage sale, my morning wasn't completely baseball card-less. The short trip was worth it to see this new display, anyway.
I felt compelled to show these notable alumni off, after seeing some similar-themed posts pop up on the blogosphere. Gavin, of Baseball Card Breakdown, and his "Guys from Granite" collection comes to mind, specifically. Bremen High School might not have produced very many professional athletes, but there are a few, including Mr. Lovrich and Coach Flannigan. I suppose they have molded some fine young minds as well... but sports!