We somehow missed Scott Brosius's 50th birthday one week ago today.
Brosius was a good, good guy who remains a personal favorite. The low key earnestness and joy on his face after his biggest plays are all etched in my memory. I'm happy they're there.
Bob Watson was in his last year as Yankee GM when he picked up Brosius from the A's in a trade for Kenny Rogers. Coincidentally, the Brosius/Rogers trade was Billy Beane's first trade as a major league GM. The year before we got Brosius, he had hit three ticks above the Mendoza line and I'll be the first to admit that, although I was NOT a Kenny Rogers fan, I didn't get it when I read it in the paper. I looked at it more as throwing in the towel on Rogers (and his $20MM salary) than getting anyone who might actually be useful.
But Brosius was a different player for us.
In his first year in the Bronx, Brosius hit .300 with 19 home runs and 98 RBIs. 98! Can you imagine what this year would have been like if we'd gotten 98 RBIs from our third baseman? On that team of teams, Brosius went on a tear in the World Series hitting .471 with two homers and six RBIs and winning the MVP.
The next year, it was Brosius, of course, who caught Orlando Cabrera's popup for the final out of David Cone's perfect game.
The image of Brosius we'll all remember, however, was when he hit his two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series against the (friggin') Arizona Diamondbacks. He tied the game which resulted, of course, in the extra-inning Yankees win. Every Yankee fan alive remembers that, the previous night, Tino Martinez had hit his two-out, two-run home run to tie the game in the ninth. When Brosius was walking up to the plate, I made a joke to my wife saying: "It's easy. All we gotta do here is hit another 2-out home run in the bottom of the ninth. Piece of cake." I said this in a voice more strained and trembling than I intended.
If you're not doing anything for the next two minutes and thirty seven seconds, and you want to feel about as good as it's possible to feel, watch this:
When the ball left the yard -- off Yum Yum Kim, no less -- it was late at night on the east coast and our children were all still little and I didn't want to wake them up. I put my face down on the carpet and slapped the floor with my open palm so hard that the palm still hurts on certain rainy days.
Some fun things about the video:
- Derek Jeter appears at about 0:25 with a full head of hair, looking like he's about 12.
- The joy on Don Zimmer's face at 1:00 is perfect. It's an escape all by itself.
- Andy Pettite tilting his head back in delight is just beautiful.
- I had forgotten that, after a home run, they used to play the final chords of The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again over the loudspeakers. Fun.
- It's also important to note that The Hit was so momentous, it shut Joe Buck up for one full minute. Honest. Go back and time it.
If anything, this was the moment that made that wanker Curt Schilling come up with his line about Mystique and Aura. This was absolute magic.
I see and feel a hint of this positive and momentous feeling in some of the youngsters we've brought up recently. I wish they could all watch this clip and understand what this team means to us all. I wish they'd arrange for Brosius to be a special instructor at our next Spring Training so that we could reattach an important thread to a better time.
Anyway, a belated Happy Fiftieth Birthday to Scott Brosius. Thanks.