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Thread: YOUR 1966 BRAVES: #37 Don Schwall

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    Director of Minor League Reports rico43's Avatar
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    YOUR 1966 BRAVES: #37 Don Schwall

    Right-handed Pitcher

    What came before:
    A strapping 6-foot-6 right-hander who ended his college career playing baseball and basketball for Oklahoma, once outscoring Wilt Chamberlain in a game againstg Kansas. But he was a top-shelf baseball talent, as well. However, his career highlights came early for the most part. In 1959, his first full pro season, he won 23 games in the minors.

    As rookie with the Red Sox in 1961, he went 15-7, 3.22, earned AL Rookie of the Year honors and garnered MVP votes. He was named an all-star and threw three innings in Fenway Park, allowing only one run.
    But after a losing season in 1962, Schwall and catcher Jim Pagliaroni went to the Pirates for slugger Dick Stuart and Jack Lamabe. Schwall settled into a solid role for the often contending Bucs in his native Pennsylvania. He threw a two-hitter in 1963, the enjoyed a conversion to relief in 1965 that left him with a 9-6 record and four saves over 43 appearances.

    That 1966 season: Used as a swing man, Schwall had a strong start to his '66 season in Pittsburgh, 3-2, 2.16 in 11 games (four starts). But on the June 15 trade deadline, he was swapped to the Braves for lefty reliever Billy O'Dell. His first game as a Brave was against the Pirates, and he took a line drive off his pitching hand that caused a fracture and Schwall to miss the next three weeks. Upon his return, he was mostly the fifth man in the rotation for the Braves, finishing his Atlanta stint with a 3-3 record in 11 games (eight starts).

    What happened next: An abrupt end to his career, is what. On April 12 of 1967, he routinely closed out a game by getting the final two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-2 loss to Houston, pitching around an intentional walk. But he was bumped back to Triple-A Richmond, where he was battered about in six appearances. The Braves released him in June and he never pitched again in pro ball.
    He returned to Western Pennsylvania, and as of 2002, and was still working as an investment banker alongside his son at age 66.

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