Happy Birthday, Belve Bean!

Born on 25 April 1905, Belve Bean was a quality minor league pitcher for a number of years and got a brief shot in the big leagues with the Indians.  I found this great article about Bean in the Minneapolis Star when the Millers signed him to pitch.  At some later point I’ll write something more formal about him – I’ll add a few notes after this article.  Until now, this will have to do.

“Rancher Belve Bean Hopes to Put Plenty (of) Games on Ice for Millers”, Minneapolis Star, 25 March 1936, Page 19.

Belve Bean 1937 MillersPresenting one Belve Bean, Texas rancher extraordinary and one pitcher on the Minneapolis roster that Donie Bush thinks will develop into an ace.

In the off months, and for that matter 12 months of a year, whether he is there or not, Belve Bean (is) the proprietor of a 700 acre cattle ranch outside of Fort Worth, Texas.  He used to have 1,400 acres, but parted with half of them this past winter when he discovered his baseball duties kept him away from headquarters too long to keep track of them.

Coming to the Millers from Chattanooga last summer, Beanie, as his mates call him, won only two games and lost three in the American Association, but Donie Bush is of the firm opinion right now that his well built right hander, who is in the best condition of the last four or five years, will be his No. 1 starting right hander this summer.

(Rides the Range)

In the off season, Belve keeps in tip top shape by riding his range as he looks after his sheep and cattle.  He has a typical rancher’s face, wind beaten and tanned to a beautiful bronze.  Hardly a day goes by through the winter that this right hander isn’t spending part of the time on a horse.

Bean has been shunted around from one club to another so often in recent years that he hasn’t had a chance to show at his best.  For a spell, an ailin gback kept him from his peak in effectiveness.  Now he’s settled in a Minneapolis uniform and wants to work as often as he can.  Bush’s intentions are to save him exclusively for staring roles and there will be plenty of them.

Belve has had a spotted career in baseball, but he seldom has been below double A company.  He broke in with Kansas City in 1927, but he was shunted to Okmulgee of the Western Association, where he won 12 and lost seven.  He found his way to Augusta in the South Atlantic league the next year and managed to win 20 and lose only nine.  Cleveland bought him and farmed him out to New Orleans for the 1929 schedule.  There, his record was 13 wins against 12 losses, eight by one run.

(To Cleveland Next)

It wasn’t until 1930 that Cleveland decided to give Beanie a thorough trial in the American League.  He won his first game for the Indians, stopping Boston, 8 to 3, but he didn’t get many chances after that, and his record for the year was only three victories and one loss.

Through the early stages of the 1931 schedule, Bean sat on the Cleveland bench.  On July 15, he was rushed to New Orleans and from that date on piled up no less than 17 victories for himself.  In 1932, he was with Toledo in the American Association.  Bad luck trailed him at the beginning.  He lost his first eight starts, but even so finished the season with an even 20 victories.  He bagged wins in his last 17 starts.

Cleveland retained Bean through all of 1933 and 1934, but he did little pitching.  Finally, in 1935, he was traded to Washington for Walter Stewart.  A short time later he found himself wiht Chattanooga, from which the Millers got him in an outright purchase.

(Sees Plenty Wins)

“I don’t see why I can’t win plenty of games for Minneapolis,” he said the other day.  “My old back ailment hasn’t shown any signs of returning.  I’m in tip top condition, and I think I’m ready to show some real class.”

Well, Donie Bush has just as much confidence in this right hander as the hurler has in himself.  He has the stuff with which to win.  Now all he wants is plenty of work.  He should get it.

I’ll take it from here now…

He went 16 – 11 that season and pitched for the Millers through 1940.  His major league career isn’t all bad.  He won 11 and lost 7 in 86 career appearances, but he was smacked around a little – a 5.32 ERA.

When he career was over, Bean and his wife, Roxie, returned to their ranch in Comanche, TX.  From 1957 to 1965, Bean was twice elected sheriff of Comanche County.

Belve passed on to the next ranch on 1 June 1988.

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