Segment 1


Brissie was raised in Greenville, South Carolina. His father was a barn stormer. Brissie's father believed in equal opportunity and was once beaten by members of the Ku Klux Klan for his beliefs.Brissie's father moved the family to a mill town about 35 or 40 miles south of Greenville. Brissie feels that the move was the best thing that could have happened to him. The town had a major league baseball stadium and he really loved it. He started pitching for the number one team.After high school he signed an agreement with the Philadelphia A's [Annotator's Note: Philadelphia Athletics] that the team would pay for his college and that he would report to the team after he graduated. Unfortunately the war started and those plans changed.Brissie feels that many men were able to step up and do what was necessary to provide for their family.Baseball was a unifying factor. In his town there was also a black team [Annotator's Note: African American baseball team].In September 1941 Brissie started college at Presbyterian College. After a year the army offered to send him to OCS [Annotator's Note: Officer Candidate School] at Ft. Benning, Georgia following his graduation.Brissie got his love of baseball from his mother's brothers. The local players were the heroes. They had very little contact with professional baseball. It wasn't until 1939 that the Washington ball club began airing the games over the radio.When Brissie was 16 he signed a contract with Connie Mack [Annotator's Note: Cornelius McGillicuddy, Sr., manager of the Philadelphia Athletics for its first 50 years]. He had twelve other offers including an offer of a 25,000 dollar bonus from the Dodgers.Brissie's father was a big fan and supporter of Connie Mack. When he was signed he was not designated for a particular position. He played both pitcher and first base.


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