Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#397 George Brett

About the Front: This is a pretty good way to kick off Series Two. A Hall of Famer in a dynamic action photo. The iconic "BRETT 5" is fully visible on his back as he completes his swing, the crowd is visible behind him in the first-base-side stands of...Cleveland Stadium?, and the glove arm and left knee of the catcher (probably Junior Ortiz) are poking out from the right side of the card. As you can see from George Brett's batting helmet, he maintained his fondness for pine tar into the waning days of his career.

About the Back: As you can see, George is the only player in MLB history to win batting titles in three different decades, taking the crown in 1976, 1980, and 1990.

Triple Play:

1. His older brother Ken pitched for ten major league teams (1967, 1969-1981), including a stint as George's teammate in 1980-1981. Ken was an All-Star with the Pirates in 1974 (13-9, 3.30 ERA), and batted .262 with 10 homers in 373 career trips to the plate. The brothers faced one another 20 times, with little brother collecting six hits and doubling twice for a batting line of .300/.300/.400.

2. Brett is the only player to homer three times off the same pitcher in a postseason game, performing the feat against Yankee starter Catfish Hunter in Game Three of the 1978 ALCS. Alas, all three were solo shots, and the Royals lost 6-5.

3. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1999. He's remained active with the Royals as a vice president and special instructor, and served as an interim hitting coach for two months in 2013. He and his brother Bobby are partial owners of several minor league teams.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I wonder how my adolescent self would have reacted to this story about George Brett's momentary incontinence. With laughter, I bet.

Bill James Said: "It was time for him to go, which is not to say that I won't miss him." Brett batted .266/.312/.434 with 19 homers and 75 RBI in his farewell season in '93.

On This Date in 1993: April 1. The Vatican orders a group of Carmelite nuns who had established a convent in 1984 near the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp to move.

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