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joe brovia, 1952 Mothers Cookies #51, Portland Beavers

Player: Brovia, Joe

Card: 1952 Mother’s Cookies #51

Position: OF

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"Joe Brovia has been a cult hero on the West Coast for years." - Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune, 1994

Joseph John Brovia (February 18, 1922 – August 15, 1994 in Davenport, CA) was an American professional baseball player. An outfielder, Brovia played almost 1,800 games over 15 seasons in minor league baseball but only 21 games as a pinch hitter at the Major League level with the 1955 Cincinnati Redlegs.

Joe was a longtime star outfielder in the Pacific Coast League with the San Francisco Seals, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Solons, and the Oakland Oaks from 1941–42 and from 1946–55. He served in the United States Army during World War II and missed the 1943–45 seasons.

Joe, who starred on California sandlots and in high school as a righthanded pitcher and a lefthanded-hitting outfielder, signed his first professional contract before he turned eighteen in 1940. When he joined the San Francisco Seals for the 1941 season, he was already a rising star. By the time his playing days were over, Joe was a legend in the Pacific Coast League, a circuit then considered virtually the equal of the major leagues in the East.

Known best for his batting, Brovia had a lifetime .311 average in 1,805 minor league games (.304 lifetime in the PCL), Brovia was popular with the fans, especially for his home runs over the four-story high fence at Seals Stadium, called the "Green Monster" of the Coast League. Joe was a member of the 1946 PCL Champion San Francisco Seals.

On April 19, 1947, batting against Seattle pitcher Sig Jakucki, a starter for the St. Louis Browns in 1944 and 1945, Brovia crushed a 560-foot-plus home run over the 40-foot high centerfield fence in Seals Stadium. It is considered one of the longest homers in PCL history.

As mentioned, Joe had a short stint at age 33 with the 1955 MLB Cincinnati Redlegs as a pinch hitter. In 21 games and plate appearances, he collected two singles and one base on balls, and drove in four runs. After his shot with the Redlegs, he played the next season in Mexico, after which he retired. He died from cancer in Santa Cruz, California in 1994. He was inducted posthumously into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2005.

(excerpted from SABR, PCL Hall of Fame, Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


1977 Fritsch One Year Winners #3
Image from Find-A-Grave


Joe is part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop

Joe is the last stop on the PCL Hall of Fame Tour – go Home

Joe is also part of the Cincinnati Reds Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

“The Davenport Destroyer” is also part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop

See Joe’s baseball cards at TCDB

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2 thoughts on “Joe Brovia “The Davenport Destroyer”: Pacific Coast League Hall of Famer, served in World War 2

  1. Merv Williams says:

    I was fortunate enough to see Joe Brovia several times in the Pacific Coast League when the team he was on played in Los Angeles.
    Joe was a tall very fast outfielder as well as a great & powerful batter.
    He was willing to speak to his many fans and we spoke for an hour.
    He had some post card photos of his time in Cincinnati and he would sign them for us free
    of charge.

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