Where Are They Now: What Happened to Brant Brown?
What happened to Brant Brown?
When you think of memorable calls from the late great Ron Santo and his partner Pat Hughes, I think it’s impossible to not think of the dropped ball by Cubs left fielder Brant Brown on September 23, 1998.
Brown is this week’s Where Are They Now. I had the pleasure of interviewing him this week on my own podcast I started before joining On Tap Sports Net to talk about the 1998 home run chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Unfortunately, we did not discuss the error because he requested not to, saying it’s time to move on from it.
I understand why he may feel that way. No one wants to be remembered because of one play that cost your team a win.
I did learn much more about him than what his Wikipedia page explains, however. Let’s start with his career as a player.
Brown was selected by the Cubs in the 3rd Round of the 1992 MLB Draft. In his second season in the minors, he was promoted to the Double-A Orlando Cubs. He recalled playing against Michael Jordan during his time there.
“He gets on first and you’re like, ‘You’re way taller than me.’ All those guys are giants, ya know?“Brant Brown on playing baseball against Michael Jordan via The Sky Is Falling Podcast
Brown played three and a half seasons with the Cubs in his five seasons as a major leaguer. He finished with a career .247/.301/.445 slashline and .746 OPS.
His best season undoubtedly was in 1998 when he slashed .291/.348/.501 with 14 home runs and 101 hits in 380 plate appearances. He wasn’t an every day player, playing in 124 games, but was a solid utility guy on the Cubs bench who would start a few games per week.
After the 1998 season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for fan favorite Jon Lieber.
Lieber played four seasons with the Cubs before moving on to the Yankees and Phillies, finishing his career back in Chicago in 2008. He made the All-Star team in 2001. He finished his Cubs career with a 4.04 ERA, 50-39 record and 640 strikeouts in 874.1 innings pitched.
Brown had a similarly productive season in Pittsburgh during the 1999 campaign, hitting 16 home runs and despite finishing with a .232/.283/.449 slashline, but overall, the Cubs undoubtably won that trade in hindsight.
Brown came back to the Cubs in June of 2000 when the Rangers traded him for Dave Martinez. He played in the majors until August when they demoted him to Triple-A Iowa.
Brown moved around in the minors during the 2001 season but never found his way back to the majors.
When talking to him about the 1998 season, the thing that impressed Brown the most while watching the race between Sosa and McGwire was the focus both players had that summer, saying it felt like Sosa hit a home run every day during the month of June, a month where Sosa hit 20 homers.
After his playing days, Brown did some acting before heading into coaching, something most fans know nothing about. Brown shared a story with me about playing a part in the film Superman Returns, which was released in 2006. He was a baseball player in a scene where Superman stops a plane from crashing onto the field.
He was not the only baseball player used in his part for the scene but he helped break down the best swings when it came down to choosing what scene to use. They decided to choose his.
With that said, after his playing career he became a minor league hitting coach. He started with the Rangers and coached for the Bakersfield Blaze in the California League in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, he joined the Frisco Roughriders in the Texas League. After three seasons with the Roughriders he moved on to the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League.
After one season he was hired by the Seattle Mariners to be a minor league outfield and base running coordinator. After his stint there, he was hired as one of the hitting coaches with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the winter of 2017, where he is one of two current hitting coaches today in the organization.
Despite his playing career being cut short, he’s found a way to stay in baseball through coaching. Considering most Cubs fans remember him for an error, you have to feel a sense of happiness for him since he’s been able to stay within the game.
You can listen to my entire conversation with him at the 57 minute mark of Thursday’s podcast.
If there is another player you’re interested in hearing about, tweet me @codelmendo on Twitter.