George Stuart Brunet (June 8, 1935 – October 25, 1991) was a pitcher who also went on to a Hall of Fame career in Mexico. Brunet pitched for nine different Major League clubs during his career in America.
Brunet was born in Houghton, Michigan, and attended Calumet High School in Calumet, Michigan. He was originally signed by Detroit Tigers scout and former pitcher Schoolboy Rowe in 1952. He pitched three seasons in the Sooner State League before being released. He soon caught on with the Kansas City Athletics in 1955. He received his first call up to the majors in 1956, giving up seven earned runs in nine innings pitched. His second Major League appearance came against the Boston Red Sox with the bases loaded, and Ted Williams standing in the batter’s box. He got Williams to bounce into a double play.
He pitched for the Milwaukee Braves in 1960-61. The Braves originally assigned Brunet to the Louisville Colonels upon acquiring him, but he was quickly called up after going 4–1 with a 0.78 earned run average. He went 2–0 with a 5.07 ERA in seventeen games (6 starts) in his first season with the Braves. He again started 1961 in the majors, but was sidelined by an appendectomy after just one appearance. He made four appearances when he returned that June, but was reassigned to the triple A Vancouver Mounties by the end of the month, and remained there for the rest of the season. On May 16, 1962, he was traded to the Houston Colt .45’s for minor league pitcher Ben Johnson.
On July 31, 1969, his contract was sold to the Seattle Pilots. Brunet’s career with the Angels spanned over six seasons, his longest tenure with any club.
Brunet went 2–5 with a 5.37 ERA for the Pilots their only season in existence, however, he earns mention in Jim Bouton’s account of the Seattle Pilots, Ball Four. Upon learning that the Pilots acquired Brunet, Bouton states, “The Pilots have just bought George Brunet from the Angels for something just over the waiver price. He’ll fit right in on this ballclub. He’s crazy.”
The depth of his craziness is later revealed to him when he discovers that Brunet doesn’t wear underwear. He explains, “This way I don’t have to worry about losing them.”
Shortly after the Pilots moved to Milwaukee and renamed themselves the Brewers, Brunet was traded to the Washington Senators for Dave Baldwin. He went 8–6 with a 4.42 ERA For the Senators before a trade deadline deal brought him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Denny Riddleberger. After finishing out the season in Pittsburgh, he and Matty Alou were traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Nelson Briles and Vic Davalillo.
He appeared in seven games for the Cards before he was released. He caught on with the San Diego Padres shortly afterwards, and went 18–13 with a 4.02 ERA in two seasons with the Hawaii Islanders. While with Hawaii, he received an offer to pitch in Japan, but declined, waiting on a call from the Minnesota Twins which never materialized. He spent one last season with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds before retiring.
Brunet’s minor league totals are 112 wins against 115 losses. He holds the minor league record for strikeouts with 3,175.