I used to throw real hard. Then I found out that if I blasted for nine, I showered in six.
- Brooks Lawrence
In a year best remembered for a record-setting display of home run power, Brooks Lawrence enjoyed one of the finest seasons by a pitcher in Reds history. The 1956 edition of the Cincinnati Reds boasted baseball's most feared lineup. Collectively the club blasted 221 home runs, a total that tied the Major League record for home runs by a team in a season. Buoyed by the powerful bats of players like Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski and Wally Post, the Reds surged to their first winning record since 1944 and enjoyed their first serious pennant race since the 1940 club captured the World Championship. Amidst all of the thunder of the Reds' power-hitting, Lawrence emerged established himself as the ace of the Reds' pitching staff.
Acquired in a trade with the Cardinals prior to the 1956 season, Lawrence won his first 13 decisions, a streak that ranks second in club history to the 16 consecutive victories recorded by Ewell Blackwell during the 1947 season. Lawrence's streak came to end on July 21 when the Pirates' Roberto Clemente hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to erase a 3-1 Reds lead. Lawrence's remarkable first-half performance resulted in his selection to the National League All-Star team, one of eight Reds to make the National League squad that year. For the season, Lawrence won 19 games, the most by a Reds pitcher since Blackwell won 22 in 1947.
Lawrence enjoyed another strong campaign in 1957 with 16 victories and a career-best 3.52 ERA. Injuries began to hamper Lawrence's effectiveness beginning in 1958 and ultimately contributed to a premature end to his career in 1960.
Following his playing career, Lawrence eventually returned to the Reds organization where he worked for many years in a variety of roles. He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1976.