Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bennett Flowers, 81, Former MLB Pitcher 1927-2009

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of former MLB pitcher Bennett Flowers. He spent 15 seasons in professional baseball from 1945-1960, with parts of 4 of those seasons in the Major Leagues. Flowers pitched in the Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. He held the American League record for pitching in 9 consecutive games in 1953 until it was broken by Dale Mohorcic in 1986. I had the opportunity to interview Bennett Flowers in October of 2008 regarding his experiences playing professional baseball, serving in WWII and his successes selling electric motors and parts after baseball.
He signed after trying out in front of 16 different scouts in 1945 with the Boston Red Sox organization to play in Roanoke for an $8,500 bonus. At that tryout, the Red Sox didn't even have an official team representative there, it was a college coach from the University of North Carolina who was also a scout that signed Flowers to the Red Sox. The following year, he enlisted in WWII at Fort Bragg, and wound up in Fort Benning as a paratrooper. Upon returning from his military service, he quickly ascended up the ranks of the Red Sox organization. He posted a 17-8 record in 1951 at Scranton, which was enough for the Red Sox to call him up at the end of the season. Here is the contract from the Boston Red Sox that purchased him from the Scranton team that season.
Reflecting on his career, he had great memories of playing with Hall of Fame teammates such as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Robin Roberts, Al Kaline and Jim Bunning.
Below is a short video clip of Flowers throwing out the first pitch at a minor league game on his 80th birthday. My condolences go out to the family of Mr. Flowers. A true gentleman from baseball's "golden era". May he rest in peace.

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