Saturday, November 24, 2012

Byron Browne (#439)

Byron Browne was the 3rd outfielder on the Topps 1966 All-Rookie Team.

Browne was signed by the Pirates in September 1962. After one season (1963) in their farm system, he was selected by the Cubs in the first-year player draft. Byron played the next two seasons in the Cubs’ minor-league system, and clubbed 32, 23, and 24 home runs during his 3 seasons in the minors.

Browne made his major-league debut in September 1965, and then spent the entire 1966 season with the Cubs. He was the team’s primary left fielder as a rookie, making 66 starts there, double the number of starts by George Altman. On the downside, Browne led the NL with 143 strikeouts.

Byron played most of the next three seasons in the minors. In 1967, he only played 10 games with the Cubs, while spending most of the season in double-A. In May 1968 he was traded to the Astros, but only played 10 games for the Astros that season. The Cardinals acquired his contract in February 1969, but kept him in the minors for all but 22 games.

Browne’s big return to the majors came via a trade to the Phillies after the 1969 season (a/k/a the Curt Flood for Dick Allen trade). Browne spent all of ’70 and ’71, and part of 1972 with the Phillies. He was the Phils’ 4th outfielder in 1970, but saw his playing time steadily decrease over the next 2 seasons, until he was demoted to the minors during 1972.

Byron split the 1973 season with the Cardinals’ AAA Tulsa team, then played in Mexico for all of 1974 and part of 1975. He also returned to the Phillies’ AAA team for part of 1975.