Today’s Tiger: Chris Brown

Chris Brown

  • Born: Aug. 15, 1961 in Jackson, Miss.
  • Died: Dec. 26, 2006 in Houston
  • Acquired: Traded by the Padres with Keith Moreland to the Tigers for Walt Terrell on Oct. 28, 1988.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 1 (1989)
  • Bats: Right Throws: Right
  • Height: 6′ Weight: 185 lb.
  • Uniform Number: 35
  • Stats: .193 avg., 0 HR, 4 RBI, .449 OPS

Perhaps no other word best describes third baseman Chris Brown like enigmatic.

After a promising start to his career with the Giants in 1985, his .271 average and 16 homers earned him a fourth-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and an All-Star Game appearance in ’86, Brown began frustrating his managers and his teammates with a string of questionable and bizarre injuries. In fact, he never appeared in more games than he did that rookie season (131).Chris Brown 1989 Tigers 3

By the middle of the 1987 season Brown was shipped to the Padres with Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant for Dave Dravecky, Craig Lefferts and Kevin Mitchell.

He didn’t fare well in San Diego either, hitting .232 in 44 games. In 1988 he hit just .235 in 80 games.The Tigers were in complete freefall when they traded Walt Terrell to the Padres for Brown and Keith Moreland, whose best years were behind him.

Why Detroit thought Brown and his “Tin Man” reputation would be transformed under Sparky Anderson is mystifying. His reputation for injuries — real or imagined — ranged from shoulder tenderness, a bad tooth and a sore eyelid. At least those are the more legendary ones and who knows if any were true.

In Detroit, the Chris Brown Experiment — such as it was — got off to a poor start when he arrived to spring training overweight. It ended after just 17 games, 11 hits and a .193 average. Worse yet, if possible, was a .909 fielding percentage in that time. On May 19, he was released.

A few weeks later he was signed by the Pirates but never appeared in a big-league game for them.

Brown died in a mysterious Houston house fire on Dec. 26, 2006, at the age of 45. According to this MLB.com story:

Brown was employed by Halliburton Co. in Iraq, driving and repairing 18-wheel fuel trucks, and in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, he said, “It’s a place I would’ve never thought 20 years ago that I’d be.”

His final career line: .269 average, 38 home runs, 184 RBI and a .725 OPS.

Today’s Tiger: Chris Brown

Chris Brown

  • Born: Aug. 15, 1961 in Jackson, Miss.
  • Died: Dec. 26, 2006 in Houston
  • Acquired: Traded by the Padres with Keith Moreland to the Tigers for Walt Terrell on Oct. 28, 1988.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 1 (1989)
  • Bats: Right Throws: Right
  • Height: 6′ Weight: 185 lb.
  • Uniform Number: 35
  • Stats: .193 avg., 0 HR, 4 RBI, .449 OPS

Perhaps no other word best describes third baseman Chris Brown like enigmatic.

After a promising start to his career with the Giants in 1985, his .271 average and 16 homers earned him a fourth-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and an All-Star Game appearance in ’86, Brown began frustrating his managers and his teammates with a string of questionable and bizarre injuries. In fact, he never appeared in more games than he did that rookie season (131).

Brownchris.jpgBy the middle of the 1987 season Brown was shipped to the Padres with Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant for Dave Dravecky, Craig Lefferts and Kevin Mitchell. He didn’t fare well in San Diego either, hitting .232 in 44 games. In 1988 he hit just .235 in 80 games.

The Tigers were in complete freefall when they traded Walt Terrell to the Padres for Brown and Keith Moreland, whose best years were behind him. Why Detroit thought Brown and his “Tin Man” reputation would be transformed under Sparky Anderson is mystifying. His reputation for injuries — real or imagined — ranged from shoulder tenderness, a bad tooth and a sore eyelid. At least those are the more legendary ones — who knows if they were true.

In Detroit, the Chris Brown Experiment — such as it was — got off to a poor start when he arrived to spring training overweight. It ended after just 17 games, 11 hits and a .193 average. Worse yet, if possible, was a .909 fielding percentage in that time. On May 19, he was released. A few weeks later he was signed by the Pirates but never appeared in a big-league game for them.

He died in a mysterious Houston house fire on Dec. 26, 2006, at the age of 45. According to this MLB.com story:

Brown was employed by Halliburton Co. in Iraq, driving and repairing 18-wheel fuel trucks, and in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, he said, “It’s a place I would’ve never thought 20 years ago that I’d be.”

His final career line: .269 average, 38 home runs, 184 RBI and a .725 OPS.

The Monday Report: 2 Weeks to Go

MondayReport.jpg>> The winds were howling here in Phoenix on Sunday — 45 m.p.h. gusts, dust galore, burning contact lenses — and I was thankful that I wasn’t sitting at a Cactus League game (something I don’t often say). But then I saw this story and had deep regret. Fifteen homers?!

>> So Freddy Dolsi got sent out of big-league camp yesterday. As we watched last season crater, I kept thinking that Dolsi’s experience would benefit him in the long run. Sending him to Triple-A to start this season makes sense. Get him into some pressurized situations in the IL and he could be a nice addition when the bullpen needs reinforcements.

>> Former Tigers farmhand James Skelton continues to get ink in the Phoenix paper about his attempts to make the Diamondbacks as a Rule 5 selection. Arizona is trying to make Skelton — a “card trick connoisseur” according to the piece — a utility player, or so it appears.

>> Every year I pickup The Sporting News‘ baseball preview issue and every year I realize I learned nothing new or different than what I gleaned from off-season reading on the Web. This year, however, I’m singing a different tune. It’s not half bad. In an effort to cram the pages to look like a CNBC feed, TSN added a blurb about each team’s best-ever third baseman. Here’s who they selected for the Tigers:

  1. George Kell
  2. Aurelio Rodriguez
  3. Don Wert

Other than Kell, that sure is some slim pickin’s. (Tom Brookens can’t get an Honorable Mention?) And just imagine if the Tigers had held onto Howard Johnson. Methinks he’s be number one. And to think Chris Brown didn’t make this list.

>> This should be a more offensive — offensive, that is — week in Lakeland for the Tigers. For the first time since who know when they’ll have the complete lineup. I doubt we’ll see anymore no-hitters (or shutouts) this Spring.

A Tigers Birthday Roundup

It’s been quite a week for birthdays in the Tigers’ galaxy, starting with May 2. Let us review.

Remember these guys?

  • Jim Walewander, 46 — A fan favorite in 1987 and ’88, Walewander captivated the media with tales of his aluminum-foil window treatments and affinity for the Dead Milkmen, described in Wikipedia as a “satirical punk band.” The prototypical good-glove-no-stick guy, Walewander played exactly 162 games in his career — 141 with the Tigers, nine with the Yankees in ’90 and 12 with the Angels in ’93 — with a .215 average, one homer and 14 RBI. He actually had one more steal than RBI. He wore number 32 with Detroit.

    Gater.jpg

  • Keith Moreland, 54 — This short-timer had a brief Tigers career (90 games, wearing number 30) in the awful 1989 season. The Tigers traded Walt Terrell to the Padres for Moreland and Chris Brown. He was traded to the Orioles near the trade deadline for Brian Dubois.
  • Steve Grilli, 59 — Jason‘s dad pitched in 69 games for the Tigers (wearing the same number 49 that Jason would wear 30 years later) over the 1975-77 seasons with a 4-3 record, 4.51 ERA. He also pitched in one game for the Blue Jays in 1979.

  • Gates Brown, 69 — Who doesn’t love the Gator? Left-handed hitting, number-26-wearing William James Brown played 13 seasons with the Tigers as a pinch-hitter extraordinaire. His two best seasons were 1968 (.370) and ’71 (.338). For his career (1963-75) he finished with a .257 average, 84 homers and 322 RBI. He later served as hitting coach, leaving after the 1984 season because the Tigers wouldn’t give him a raise into the obscene $70,000 range. I may be off on the dollar amount. If I am, my brother will remember it precisely.

And some others…
RickLeach.jpg

May 4

  • Brian Maxcy, 37
  • Rick Leach, 51

May 5

May 6

  • Phil Clark, 40
  • Tom Bolton, 46

May 9

  • Ron “Action” Jackson, 55