Minnesota Twin Steve Brye Bats Away Ego

Brye has kept the
same signature. It looks like
his bat might whack the
autograph right off the card!

There’s still time to cheer for former Minnesota Twin Steve Brye.

I tried. His all-star humility can outhit any compliment. Retirees are entitled to a bit of chest-thumping remembrances. Especially a platoon player. “I was great when I got to play. Could’ve been greater!” is the common response.

Not Brye. This team player’s letter was a classy reminder of the 1970s players I admired most.

I asked about being a first-round draft pick in 1967. He remembered…

“In 1967, the draft was very low-keyed compared to the draft now. I had a good friend who covered the Oakland Raiders for the Oakland Tribune. I went to work with him on draft day and watched the picks come over the ‘tele-type.’ I found out afterwards that the Giants, with the next pick, were going to draft me as a catcher. So it all worked out.”

Wow! There’s one possibility for Twins and Giants fans to ponder. “Now batting for the Giants, catcher Steve Brye”?

I found on http://www.retrosheet.org/ (thanks, guys!) evidence of one of Brye’s biggest games ever: four hits, four RBI, three runs scored — a 1974 slugfest at Tiger Stadium. Brye noted:

“I was fortunate to have good games in Detroit. I loved playing there. For some reason, players have real success against some teams and not so good against others.”

Brye’s smart, patient work ethic paid off against Wilbur Wood, yielding 16 career hits off the knuckleballer. Brye explained:

“I was a contact, gap-to-gap, hitter, so that approach helped me against Wilbur Wood and his type of pitcher. I had to get my hits then, because after the 5th or 6th inning, they would bring in Terry Forster or Rich Gossage!”

Lastly, Brye added a note about the meaning of baseball. I had read comments from other collectors that Brye had mentioned that he had taken baseball trips to Cuba. I asked. I’m glad I did! He added:

“Yes, I went to Cuba to play ball, last Feb. and five years ago (Santiago and Havana). It was great. The people were great and I felt very safe there.

Baseball is a terrific common denominator, and has provided chances for me that I would have never had, and to develop relationships that last a lifetime.

Thanks for your interest. All the best —

Steve Brye”

Here’s a classic essay by Josh Wilker of “Cardboard Gods” about Brye.

Coming Friday: Toast the post-season with Mike “TigerNut” Micho and his comprehensive autograph collection!

1 thought on “Minnesota Twin Steve Brye Bats Away Ego”

  1. I was at that 1974 (lolich) game when I was 6 days short of my 12th bday. You see Steve worked at the Ford Wixom plant driving cars from the end of the line to the trucks that hauled them to their destination. My Dad worked as a Trim Repairman at the plant and was a huge baseball fan as was I. Somehow my Dad (who was close to 50 at the time) and Steve struck up a friendship. My Dad had a lot of Steve’s stories to relate back to me about the major leagues. That summer we went to a game when the Twins came to town and Steve shook my hand before the game. He also had given me a signed autograph photo as well as a team ball (I still have both to this day). I was awestruck and could not say much. For the next part of the story you need to understand what a diehard Tiger and Mickey Lolich fan I was. Steve had a monster game that night (thought he had two home runs although retrosheet says only one). While running off the field after the game was over Steve made a point to wave to me (lower level box at Tiger stadium)and I did not wave back because I was so mad at him for beating Mickey and my beloved Tigers. By the way the Tigers were awful in 74. I still regret that to this day. Steve Brye is a great guy and I wish his career would have been longer. My Dad and I followed him until he left the sport. I hope all is well with him. Best wishes Steve from the son of Big Joe.


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