You might be wondering why there’s a photo at the top of this post of a number of people apparently at an awards show, and what this has to do with baseball or the Cubs.
Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you, because that is the story behind the very first name on this list.
Brown had baseball talent, for sure. He was the Cubs’ second-round pick (secondary phase) in the 1966 draft out of Grambling.
He had pitched just two games above A ball when he was called up to make his MLB debut in the fifth inning of a game the Cubs were trailing the Pirates 4-0, Saturday, September 21, 1968.
Brown threw two innings and allowed one run. The Cubs lost the game 5-1.
He made 28 appearances as a pitcher (and several more as an outfielder!) in 1969 at Double-A, then had to quit baseball due to a rotator cuff injury.
After that Brown became a renowned Hollywood stuntman. He’s at the left of the photo above. The group is accepting an award for Best Work with a Vehicle for “Bad Boys II” at the 2004 Taurus World Stunt Awards.
He worked on over 100 films as a stuntman or stunt coordinator, including “Lethal Weapon,” “Scarface” and “Die Hard,” and also had some bit parts as an actor in some films. Remember the worker who got eaten by a raptor in “Jurassic Park”? That was Jophery Brown. While we don’t have any video of Brown’s one MLB appearance, you can see him in this video clip from “Jurassic Park.” (Scroll in to about 2:20. He’s called by his real name.)
From around 2000 or so Brown was semiretired; he doubled only for Morgan Freeman. (This brings to mind another former big leaguer: Greg Goossen, who was Gene Hackman’s stand-in for many years.) Jophery doubled for various other prominent African-American actors, such as Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, Gregory Hines, Yaphet Kotto, and Denzel Washington.
If we gave out awards here at BCB, Brown would likely win “Most Interesting Post-Cubs Career.” He passed away from cancer, aged 68, in 2014.
The Cubs acquired Calmus from the Dodgers in April 1967 for Fred Norman. Whoops, another bad trade. Norman went on to have a 16-year MLB career and later made his way to the Reds, where he got two World Series rings in 1975 and 1976.
Calmus, who had pitched in 21 games for the pennant-winning 1963 Dodgers at age 19, spent most of 1967 at Triple-A Tacoma, and was called up when rosters expanded in September.
He started the second game of a doubleheader Saturday, September 2, 1967. The Cubs needed extra pitchers at that time because they were in the middle of playing doubleheaders on four consecutive days due to previous rainouts. (They won five of the eight games.)
Calmus allowed four runs in 4⅓ innings and departed; the Cubs lost the game 5-4. He did have a two-run single in one of his two at-bats in that game.
Calmus split 1968 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Cubs farm system and pitched poorly. He was back in L.A.’s minor leagues in 1969, but there his baseball trail ended.
Campbell’s an interesting story for this reason: The Cubs selected him from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft in November 1966. The Mets had drafted him in the 44th (!) round in 1965, and he hit pretty well in their system in 1966: .270/.375/.495 with 22 home runs. Nevertheless, they didn’t protect him and the Cubs got him.
However, he missed most of spring training due to military obligations (that was a thing in those days!) and finally made his Cubs debut as the starting right fielder Wednesday, May 3, 1967 against the Braves in Atlanta.
I wish I could report something better, but Campbell was 0-for-3. He struck out all three times. The Cubs lost the game 4-0.
Four days later he was returned to the Mets. He played in their system the rest of that year and in 1968, but never again played in the major leagues, nor did he play any games in the Cubs system at all apart from that one game in Atlanta.
Here’s another guy the Cubs acquired after he’d played briefly for a World Series champion — the 1964 Cardinals.
He was acquired on waivers from St. Louis in 1965 and had a pretty good year in Double-A in the Cubs system (2.77 ERA, 1.243 WHIP in 24 starts). He did fairly well at Triple-A Tacoma in the Cubs chain in 1966 and made his MLB debut Thursday, September 22, 1966 as a starter against the Reds at Wrigley Field.
Just 1,257 paid to see Dowling throw a complete-game victory, allowing 10 hits and two runs.
He spent 1967 at Tacoma, not getting another callup, and then in April 1968 was traded back to the Cardinals, along with Pete Mikkelsen, for Jack Lamabe and Ron Piche. A veteran reliever, Lamabe threw one year for the Cubs and then retired. Piche, who had some decent years for the Braves in the early 1960s, pitched in Triple-A for the Cubs in 1968 and 1969 without a callup despite decent numbers, and was sent to the Yankees before the 1970 season.
Dowling never pitched in the majors again.
From 1957-65, teams could carry 28 players for the first month of the season.
The Cubs used a few guys like this over that time frame, and a handful of them got into just one game.
Mudrock had been signed out of high school by the Yankees in 1955, and the Cubs got him in the minor-league draft in 1960. His minor-league numbers were unimpressive, but there he was, on the Cubs’ MLB roster, for the first few games of 1963.
He got into one of them, throwing the eighth inning of a game against the Giants in San Francisco Friday, April 19, 1963. He allowed one run; the Cubs lost the game 5-1.
Mudrock then returned to the Cubs minor leagues, where he was still pitching as late as 1965, but he never returned to the majors.
“Phil Mudrock” sounds like a character from The Flintstones.
Gerberman was acquired from the Braves in November 1961 in what was then termed the “first-year player draft.”
He pitched the entire 1962 minor-league season in what was then called the “B” level, in Wenatchee, Washington, posting a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts with 13 complete games, back when CG were a thing to be proud of.
Somehow, that got him a callup in September of that year and a start against the woeful Mets on Sunday, September 23, 1962, Gerberman did reasonably well, allowing only one run in 5⅓ innings on three hits, though he walked five. The Cubs lost the game 2-1.
Gerberman pitched the next two years in the Cubs system without another callup, then was sent to the Astros in a minor-league deal. He never pitched in the majors again, though he was still going in Houston’s system as late as 1968.
The Cubs signed Prince out of high school in South Carolina in 1957.
After five unimpressive years in the system, Prince got a September callup in 1962.
He pitched the eighth inning of a game against the Mets in New York Friday, September 21, 1962. He issued a walk, then hit a batter, then got two outs on a double play and ended the inning with another groundout. The Cubs lost the game 4-1.
Prince pitched two more years in the Cubs and Dodgers farm systems and then was out of baseball.
And now you know as much about Prince’s baseball career as I do.