Ralph Brickner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 2, 1925. He graduated from Elder High School where he threw a one-hitter in May of 1943, to win the Class-A state high school tournament. He also played two years of American Legion baseball for Bentley Post No. 20 in Cincinnati.

With World War II in progress, he enlisted in the United States Army at age 18, in October 1943, in Cincinnati and was mustered out in 1946. 

After leaving military service, “Brick” enrolled at Indiana University in time to pitch as a freshman in the spring of 1946. He played baseball two years at Indiana while pursuing studies in physical education, planning to become a coach, but then signed with the Phillies. 

In the spring of 1948, he was assigned to the Class-B Terre Haute Phillies in the Three-I League, where his best game was a 15-strikeout game against Evansville. In 1949 he moved up to Class A, pitching for the Utica Blue Sox in the Eastern League. 

In 1950, he had one more season with the Phillies, pitching for three teams. He pitched in 18 games for the Portsmouth Cubs in the Piedmont League, worked in 10 games for Utica, and threw a total of two innings in Triple A for the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Boston Red Sox took note and in December 1950, Ralph was selected by their Scranton affiliate in the minor-league draft. The Red Sox placed him with the Double-A Southern Association’s Birmingham Barons and he pitched in 32 games, and made the league All-Star team. Right after the season, his contract was purchased by the Red Sox.

He impressed manager Lou Boudreau in spring training, but came up with a sore arm during the final week or so of the exhibition season. He stayed back in Boston and did not travel with the team on their first road trip. His major-league debut came in May at Fenway Park. But after two games, he was sent back to Boston for treatment of bursitis in his sore arm.

Optioned to Louisville, he recovered sufficiently to throw a two-hitter against Columbus and was called back up to Boston. He was optioned again to Louisville in late August, but recalled just two days later, for a total of 14 appearances and 33 innings with the Sox. He finished the season 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA. 

Ralph went to spring training again with the Red Sox in 1953, but the bursitis continued to be a real problem. Near the end of March, although he’d pitched seven innings without giving up a run, he was optioned back to Louisville. He had something of a mediocre year in 21 games. He was recalled to Boston in September and expected to report to Sarasota for spring training in the spring of 1954, but was never able to conquer the bursitis, and in February he asked to be placed on the voluntarily retired list.

Ralph became credit manager for the Rauh Shirt Co. and office manager for the Mack Shirt Company before spending 25 years in the Hamilton County, Ohio, clerk of courts office, retiring in January 1994 after 15 years as the head cashier. 

Ralph Brickner died of heart failure in his home on May 9, 1994, in Bridgetown, Ohio at age 69.