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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Greatness of George Brett



One of my all time favorite non-Red Sox players is George Brett. He is in that class of guys like Chipper Jones, Willie Mays, and Pete Rose. Guys who never played for the Red Sox but I wish they had.

I have always liked Brett and I even got to see him play 6 games in Fenway Park in 1990 and 1991. I recently went down a George Brett rabbit hole on the internet and I was reminded why I really liked him as a player.

The first thing I loved about him is that he hated the Yankees and still hates the Yankees. The Royals and the Yankees had some battles during the 70s and 80s and Brett was right in the middle of it all.

Brett was also a Yankee Killer, especially in the playoffs. Brett played in 17 postseason games against the Yankees and had 24 hits, 6 homers and 14 RBI. Not bad.

Here he is going deep three times in Game 3 of the 1978 ALCS



We all know what a prick Goose Gossage has become, here is Brett turning on a Gossage fastball in 1980 and sending it into the third deck of Yankee Stadium. Goose still has whiplash.





That hatred of the Yankees was on display in the 1977 ALCS when he was involved in one of the great fights in postseason history. Look out Graig Nettles!




George Brett was also smart . He broke into the big leagues at the age of 20 years old. He was single and stayed single until he turned 39 years of age in the final years of his career. It is safe to say he had fun. Chipper Jones should have used Brett as a role model. Chipper got married as he debuted in the majors and before long was caught up in a paternity suit with a girl that wasn't his wife. My wife, a Braves fan, still holds that against him.

 Brett didn't have the infidelity issues but in the 80s if you were single and over 30 the thought was you must be gay. George Brett talks about that in this great interview with Dan Patrick in 2014. Brett touches on his very fun personal life along with those gay rumors and how he dealt with them.




Last but not least is Brett's Hall of Fame speech in 1999. The entire speech was great but one part in particular stood out to me. He acknowledges how still hates the Yankees and then he addresses his brothers. Brett is the youngest of three. Ken Brett played in the majors but never became a superstar let alone a Hall of Famer. The oldest Brett brother didn't make the majors at all. Brett asks why he was the one that made it and through tears explains all he ever wanted to be was as good as them. I am a father of a son and two step-sons. All three love sports and are very competitive with each other. The youngest wants so badly to be like his older brothers. Is someone cutting onions in here?


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