Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on February 4th, 2014

Lou Brissie: Who despite a devastating war injury became a baseball star.

In 2013 at the age of 89, Lou passed away. But in 1941 when he was just 17 years old Lou was an incredible baseball pitcher.

So incredible Connie Mack, the owner and manager of the Major League Philadelphia Athletics (now the Oakland A's) put Lou under contract, agreeing to pay for his college education.

But World War ll broke out and in 1942, Lou enlisted in the U.S. Army. On December 7th, 1944 in northern Italy, Lou's unit was hit by a German artillery attack.

When the battle was over, 11 U.S. soldiers were dead, and others were wounded, including Lou, whose left leg was shattered. The Army surgeon told Lou his leg was so badly infected, it had to be amputated.

But Lou convinced the surgeon to instead save his leg, which began the first of 23 leg surgeries Lou would endure over the next two years.

It would be a year before Lou could even walk with a cane. But in 1946 he strapped a metal brace onto his painful restructured left leg and began to pitch for a local baseball team.

Lou Brissie
Lou Brissie

In 1947 Connie Mack saw Lou pitch and was so impressed, he sent him to the A's Minor League team in Savannah. Lou won an astounding 23 games, losing only 5 while leading the League in earned-run average and strikeouts.

That led to one of the most dramatic events in post-World War ll sports. On Sept. 28th, 1947 at Yankee Stadium Lou pitched for the Athletics against the soon to be World Series champion New York Yankees.

Lou didn't win the game but it was stunning that in effect, a one-legged pitcher could pitch in the Major Leagues, let alone against the New York Yankees.

In 1948, Lou pitched the opening game of the season against the Boston Red Sox but the Sox's star hitter Ted Williams lined a baseball into Lou's leg. Lou fell to the ground and laid there as the players solemnly gathered around him, while the crowd was hushed in shock.

But after a few minutes, Lou was helped up and insisted on continuing to pitch in this game. That season he won 14 games and lost 10, and the following year, he was 16-11 and further captured the hearts of wounded veterans when he pitched in the All-Star game.

Lou pitched six seasons of Major League Baseball, and later scouted for the Dodgers and the Braves, while also becoming the national director for American Legion Baseball.

But Lou wasn't done.

Late in life Lou, with a badly scarred, misshapen leg, would take crutches and visit the Veteran's hospital near his home in Augusta, Georgia, to encourage the wounded soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

As he had succeeded against long odds, so could they.

Success Tip of the Week: "The thing that I got out of all this," he told The Augusta Chronicle in 2001, "is even the things that look impossible aren't."

Editor's Note: To learn more, please see Lou's New York Times and Los Angeles Times obits.

In the next KazanToday: A physically limited man who became a top salesman despite his handicaps.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
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