By In Stuff

The Legend of Ken Brett

Before there was Shohei Ohtani, there was another pitcher who could really hit. He might have been Koufax. He might have been Maris. But he was happy being Ken Brett.

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7 Responses to The Legend of Ken Brett

  1. Cuban X Senators says:

    Tremendous article.

    Yes, more of these throwbacks, please.

  2. Llarry says:

    Great stories, Joe! Thanks. Collecting cards in the ’70s, Ken Brett was a staple of every set, though you never knew what uniform he was going to be in… In the ’71 set, which has reproduction autographs on the front, he signed “Kemer Brett”. I always thought he was going for “Kenneth”, and just had bad handwriting… Cool to know about a nickname I’d never heard of.

  3. Stephen says:

    Fun stuff. Thanks!

    My friend Brian had some Pittsburgh connection or other–he said for about eight years that his family was about to move from our Chicago neighborhood to Pittsburgh, but they never did–and so he was a staunch Pirates fan.

    We were about 13 when the Pirates acquired Brett, and Brian was an enthusiastic fan of the move. I heard a lot that spring and summer about Brett–how good a pitcher he was, but especially how tremendous a hitter he was. To Brian, Ken Brett epitomized what a baseball player could–and should–be.

    Brian didn’t pay much attention to baseball outside the NL East–really, he didn’t pay much attention beyond the Pirates–so it was news to him one day when I said that the Royals had installed Ken’s younger brother George as their third baseman. “Ken Brett has a brother?” Brian mused.

    “Yup,” I said.

    “A third baseman,” Brian said.

    “That’s right,” I told him.

    Brian considered. “Hmm,” he said, and then: “Probably one of those .250 hitters.”

  4. Rob Smith says:

    Brett hit .262/.291/.406 with 10 HRs, 18 doubles and 44 RBIs over 347 career ABs. That does project out to a pretty decent full season for a position player of his era who hit at the bottom of the order (with fewer RBI opportunities). That’s a small sample size, but I think it’s a reasonable assumption that he would have at least been a starter in the outfield for someone, in those days, even with those numbers. Had he been a position player from the beginning, who knows? It’s pretty easy to assume he would have improved on those numbers and probably wouldn’t have hurt his arm.

  5. AK says:

    Great story, Joe. I was reminded of collecting baseball cards a long time ago, and every other card seemed to be Buddy Biancalana. We even had a little song about getting another Buddy Biancalana card. And then of course he was lights out for the Royals in the World Series. Maybe do one about Buddy, next!

    • nightfly says:

      I sure hope that song was to the tune of Mele Kalikimaka.

      • AK says:

        If only we had been so inventive! It was more along the lines of the “You’re gonna lose” chant by the little boy in A League of Their Own. We were around 8 years old, after all.

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