It has long been thought that at the end of his career Bremer briefly entered organized baseball with the Cedar Rapids Rockets of the Class C Central Association in 1949, where, as James Riley writes, he compiled “an uncharacteristically poor 2-7 record with a 6.38 ERA” (Biographical Encyclopedia, p. 105).
Rod Nelson, however, noticed some discrepancies between the “Gene Bremer” listed in SABR’s minor league database and the “Eugene Bremmer” of the Negro leagues. It looked to me like they were two different players, as the Negro leaguer was supposed to have started his career with the New Orleans Crescents in 1932, while the minor league DB has its Gene Bremer born in 1928.
A quick check at Newspaperarchive.com revealed that the 1949 Cedar Rapids Rockets employed 20-year-old twins from Moville, Iowa, named Jack and Gene Bremer. Here they are at their debut, with their parents:
A closer look at SABR’s minor league DB shows that the 2-7, 6.38 record in 1949 actually belonged to Jack Bremer; Gene’s pitching record isn’t given, presumably because he didn’t appear in enough games.
The Social Security Death Index has a record for Gene Bremer, born September 21, 1928, died July 9, 1994, with his last residence being Moville, Iowa. It’s possible his twin Jack is still alive, as there is no record for him.
As for the Negro league pitcher, I found the following records that corresponded to the death date found in Riley (June 19, 1971), though the birth date is different:
SSDI: Eugene Bremer, born 18 July 1916; SSN 434-05-6693 issued in Louisiana before 1951; died June 1971; last residence Cleveland, Ohio.Ohio Deaths: Eugene J. Bremer, 54, married; “Non-white”; residence Cleveland, Ohio; died 19 June 1971, Cleveland, Ohio; certificate #049166.
I also found a record in the 1920 census for “Eugene Bremer,” black, 3 years old, living in New Orleans with his parents Joseph and Amanda Bremer, three sisters, a grandmother and a cousin.
So the Negro leaguer Eugene J. Bremer probably spelled his name with one “m,” and definitely did NOT pitch for Cedar Rapids in 1949.
UPDATE 2:34 p.m. Here is Eugene Bremer (left) with teammate George Jefferson, from a website about the Cleveland Buckeyes.