"Dana Brown, 55, brings a more seasoned and traditional scouting background to the job than his most recent predecessors, Click and Jeff Luhnow, who were hired at 42 and 44 years old, respectively." pic.twitter.com/ZUtLSXi9SI
Brown Is A Five-Tool Executive With Decades Of Experience & An Eye For Talent
Brown is as close to a five-tool next generation executive as there is in the game today. In the new world order of talent evaluation, player development, and acquisitions, the anointed leader of the Astros front office appears to be a great fit as the franchise hopes to continue its deep playoff runs that culminated last year with their victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
With Dusty Baker as the field manager and Brown running the show in the front office, the Astros become the second team in MLB history to give Black Knights an opportunity to collaborate on the critical decisions regarding the construction of their roster. The potentially dynamic duo follows in the footsteps of former Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams and manager Jerry Manuel in the windy city.
Houston has been one of the more progressive franchises in Major League Baseball when it comes to hiring Black front office executives to lead their franchise while helping chart their course to championships. Brown follows in the footsteps of Bob Watson who was MLB’s first Black GM in 1993.
“I’ve been in the game for 33 years,” Brown said according to MLB.com. “Baseball is all I know. It’s my entire life, and so I want to empty myself into this city [and] the Astros fans and let [owner] Jim Crane knows he made a special pick.”
Brown Drafted Vaughn Grissom & Money Mike Harris II
Brown was a vital contributor to the recent success of the Braves by drafting and evaluating the development of the young stars who began paying dividends in 2022. He is noted for his analytical acumen and his understanding of player development as he was part of the “war rooms” when the Braves drafted new school MLBbros Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grissom. As rookies, both were significant contributors to the Braves’ National League East division title last year.
His thumbprints remain on several other teams who have enjoyed championship success after his expertise helped them acquire all-star talent that paid dividends. Brown was the director of scouting for the Expos/Nationals franchise from 2002-09, and reportedly drafted more than 40 Major League players, including seven All-Stars after his scouting career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1994.
It’s a special moment for Brown and his wife Cassandra. The couple met in the 6th grade, so she’s 100 percent invested in her husband’s success and understands how he is pioneering new ground for other aspiring Black front office executives.
#Astros General Manager Dana Brown and his wife Casandra met in the 6th grade, and started dating in high school. However, their stories differ on how it all started. 😉 pic.twitter.com/IFJbcMCBXI
MLB Percentages Still Single Digits For Black Representation
MLB’s numbers regarding African American players sit at just under 8 percent on the field and it’s less than half of that when it comes to corporate leadership on these MLB teams.
There’s a reason why the Braves and Astros are flagship franchises these days. They have a diverse body of decision makers, baseball lifers, with decades of experience and a winning formula that extends beyond their firm grasp of the metrics.
Don Mattingly was a Yankees legend and now he has attached his legacy to more history as he contributes his baseball savvy and connections to Black Ace Dave Stewart’s push to break the glass ceiling in baseball for Black owners.
Mattingly, the Toronto Blue Jays bench coach, will serve as an advisor to the Nashville Stars, a group headed by former pitching star and general manager Stewart that seeks to become MLB’s next expansion franchise.
Stewart was known as “Smoke” during a playing career that netted him multiple All-Star appearances and three World Series titles. Now Stewart wants to bring some of that smoke to the Nashville area by leading a group to bring an MLB franchise to Tennessee. Stewart was selected to lead Music City Baseball’s diverse equity ownership initiative.
Mattingly will remain the Blue Jays bench coach in addition to advising the Nashville expansion effort.
The Nashville Stars, the favorites to land MLB's next expansion franchise, bring in another baseball legend: former MVP and veteran manager Don Mattingly. Mattingly will be a baseball advisor in the group led by Dave Stewart, the former three-time World Series champion and GM.
“The approach that Dave Stewart and his team have in Nashville is exactly what the game of baseball needs. I am glad to see MLB taking an active approach on these important issues. We need more diversity in the game, and it starts from the top-down,” Mattingly said in a statement to MLB guru Bob Nightengale.
The former New York Yankees All-Star joined the Blue Jays as bench coach on John Schneider’s staff in late November. The array of offensive talent on the team will surely be upgraded by Mattingly’s wisdom and mastery of the craft as one of the most explosive hitters of the 80s before a back injury curtailed his Hall of Fame chances.
What Teams Did Don Mattingly Manager?
The 61-year-old icon served as Los Angeles Dodgers manager from 2011 to 2015 and then led the Miami Marlins through a rocky rebuild from 2016 until last season. He and Miami parted ways after a 69-93 season in which the franchise missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Donnie Baseball has had success as a skipper. He made four straight playoff appearances with Dodgers, losing in the NLCS twice. In 2020, Mattingly won the National League’s Manager of the Year Award, helping the Marlins reach the playoffs for just the third time in franchise history.
Who Are The Nashville Stars?
In conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and named after the Negro Leagues team that played in Nashville from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, the Stars group seeks to “secure Major League Baseball approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville.”
Their website describes themselves “an organization of Nashville business, sports, music and community leaders” who are “committed to bringing a Major League Baseball franchise to the city of Nashville as a central piece of a mixed-use, multi-themed family, sports, and entertainment district.”
In 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred named Nashville as a possible destination for MLB expansion and said this past summer he would “love” to expand to 32 teams.
The Forbidden Fruit: Black Ownership In Baseball
The historical ramifications of a deal like this are unprecedented. Black majority ownership should be a goal for MLB. Moreover, there hasn’t been expansion in close to 25 years when Arizona and Tampa Bay joined the fray in 1998.
A group led by 3x World Series champion Dave Stewart is preparing a $2 billion bid for an MLB expansion franchise in Nashville, per @ESPN.
But a barrier-breaking deal of this magnitude is never smooth sailing. Before Nashville gets their franchise, there’s some house cleaning that commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball executives have to deal with. Oakland and Tampa Bay are coming to the end of stadium commitments and could be looking for new homes.
“I spoke to the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and the same thing still remains,” Stewart told ESPN. “ There are two teams that don’t have homes: the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Rays, so those are his priorities to make sure those places have homes to play in. But once they do, expansion becomes next on the agenda”.
Baseball Has No Black Majority Owners
The only other minority owners in baseball to date have been NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson who owns a two percent stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Derek Jeter, who had a four percent stake in the Miami Marlins. He left the organization last offseason.
It should be no surprise that Stewart is pioneering a move like this. After retiring from the game as one of the most intimidating pitchers of his era, he served as a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers before emerging as an assistant general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays. From 2012-16, he made history as the first Black general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Stewart expects his group to raise $2 billion for the purchase of the expansion team with the proposed name of the Nashville Stars after the 1940’s and 50’s team of the Negro Leagues.
Not only is the group trying to remind baseball fans of past Negro League glory, but they are making the Negro Leagues a part of the future by bringing the Negro Leagues Museum into the group as a partner. Baseball is looking for the same success as the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and NHL’s Nashville Predators.
Meet our Team! We want to highlight Bob Kendrick, @NLBMuseumKC President and one of our Board members. We’re honored to have Bob as not only an important partner, but as a strong supporter and friend of the Nashville Stars. pic.twitter.com/SpYevOZ0CF
Speaking of the Titans, Hall of Fame running back Eddie George who is the current head football coach at Tennessee State is also a part of the team.
“We started this process four years ago, Nashville is a fast growing city. It has a beautiful population of people.“ Stewart said. “There’s so much going on here. So, MLB put Nashville as one of its top places for expansion, and I think that triggered the idea to go down this path.”
The lists of power names are growing as they try to push this historical moment to fruition.
With this process, including a working relationship with Tennessee State University, one of the more well-known HBCUs in the country, this movement has Jackie Robinson’s dream of equality in baseball moving incrementally closer to a reality.
He’s also just the third Black Yankees captain in the team’s storied history.
The other two were fan favorite World Series champions Willie Randolph and Hall of Fame Derek Jeter.
Randolph, a second baseman, shared the captaincy for two years with pitcher Ron Guidry in the mid-80s. During his tenure in pinstripes, Randolph was a five-time All Star and helped the team win the 1977 World Series.
Jeter was the second Black captain and the longest tenured overall from 2003–2014. The shortstop was a 14-time All Star and won five championships with the Yankees. Both Randolph and Jeter attended Judge’s introductory media conference after he signed the biggest free-agent contract in MLB history – a nine-year, $360 million deal.
Jeter expects Judge to continue to be himself in his new role.
“I don’t really look at it as a new role,” Jeter told the media when asked about Judge’s new “C.” “Going off my own experience, when The Boss called me, he said, ‘Don’t change anything.’ It’s not like you flip a switch and have to be someone else because you’ve been given this title. I would assume he’s handled himself as a captain up until this point.”
Randolph endorsed Judge’s elevation to captain and expressed that the Yankees made the obvious decision.
“Perfect choice, there’s no other choice to be made,” Randolph said. “I feel like watching this kid over the years he’s become that captain.
“You can see the way he handles himself on and off the field and the way he goes about his business. He’s going to be an outstanding captain and the players already know that.”
Judge is the first captain for the Yankees since 2014, succeeding Jeter.
Judge was among the most sought after free agents this offseason after winning AL MVP and smashing 62 home runs, setting the new American League record.
The Yankees were determined to re-sign their star and make him captain.
Judge weighed in on being officially named the face of the Yankees.
“To get a chance to continue my legacy here in pinstripes, in the best city in the world, the best baseball city, in front of the best fans, this is an incredible honor,” Judge said following the announcement. “This is an incredible honor that I don’t take lightly.”
The trio of Black captains stood together at Judge’s press conference for a historic photograph that acknowledged the greatness that Black players have contributed to the Yankees’ past and present.
All three men had stellar seasons for the Yankees, but what they all share is the ability to conduct themselves as leaders of men on and off the field.
They have been All Stars who led by example and were chosen to be the ambassadors of the Yankees’ organization.
They were also Black men.
No one will say it, but that part is a big deal. In a sport where Black participation decreased at alarming rates, Judge was named the face of the most well-known franchise in MLB history.
Even with dwindling participation in the sport, the Black community has yet again produced another legend in the making in baseball.
The Yankees officially introduced Aaron Judge as the captain of a new era in the Bronx on Wednesday in a press conference aired live on MLB Network. Judge leads the Yankees into the next nine years with hopes of leading them back to the top of baseball’s food chain several times over the next decade.
“I’ve had the fortunate pleasure to be a part of this franchise for a long time,” said Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman who has served in a general manager capacity since 1998 and just inked his own deal that will keep him in his leadership role until 2026.
Part of that history has been a lot of great players have come through here and been a part of this storied franchise…if you’re talking about a homegrown player, it is a rare occurrence to be in a position to sign, draft, develop and ultimately retain a player throughout his entire career and today we are excited to re-introduce Aaron Judge as part of that legacy.”
Judge was flanked by his wife and Hal Steinbrenner, (Yankees Managing General Partner) one on side and on the other side of the podium was the rest of the Yankees brass including manager Aaron Boone, who was more relieved than anything else that his history-making MLBbro was back in the fold long term.
Thats one spot in the lineup he doesn’t have to worry about – barring injury – for a long time.
“People have asked me over and over what was it like the day before we were able to reach an agreement (with Judge),” Boone said at the presser.
“And I’ll put it in laymen’s terms for ya…That feeling if you lost your cellphone, your keys, your wallet and your ipad, gone…and the next morning someone knocks on the door and says, “Were you looking for this?”
That comment got a chuckle out of Judge, but the $400M offer from the Giants was no laughing matter. “But in all seriousness,” Boone continued, “we got our guy.”
Hal Steinbrenner said he never considered Judge a free agent – until it was obvious that he was highly-coveted, and the market was going to be kind to the 62-homer hitter.
Hal Steinbrenner to Aaron Judge before he signed: "As far as I'm concerned you are not a free agent. As far as I'm concerned you are a Yankee." pic.twitter.com/jCZ8Zr0dEj
“I was wrong,” Hal said. “Aaron was a free agent and there were numerous clubs that wanted him in a big way to be a part of their organization.”
After Hal presented Judge with his new No. 99 Yankees jersey as a $360M man, the Paul Bunyan of Baseball stepped to the podium and thanked the Yankees organization for believing in his talents back in 2013 when they signed him for a $1.8M bonus.
“A little kid out of Fresno State coming to the Big Apple. It was a blessing and an honor,” Judge, the MLBbro 2022 Player of the Year said on Wednesday.
He reflected on the history and an opportunity to carve his own niche in the most storied franchise in American sports.
“Getting a chance to be a captain of the Yankees now, what an honor that is,” Judge added. “I look back at the list of (Yankees captains)…Thurman Munson, Lou Gehrig, Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly. Not only great baseball players, but great ambassadors of the game and the New York Yankees.”
“Im here to embrace every single obstacle and continue to lead this team and lead this city to not one, but multiple championships.”
We heard another superstar in the NBA once say something similar and he delivered. LeBron James was a bit more extravagant and boastful with his championship hopes once he shocked the world and joined the Miami Heat, but he did win multiple championships. If Judge can do the same, Yankees fans won’t be mad at all. It’s been since 2009 since the Bronx tasted championship glory.
Aaron Judge talks about how excited he is about the moves the Yankees have made already and adds "there might be a couple more moves down the road" pic.twitter.com/GxttylrqJA
Since its founding MLBbro.com has been committed to promoting the game of baseball and Black and brown players that have helped contribute to its enduring legacy and eternal appeal.
At the end of each season, we celebrate the very best of those players with the naming of our annual All-Bro Team.
The All-Bro Team includes one player at each infield position, three outfielders, two designated hitters, a starting pitcher and a reliever.
The team is led by American League MVP Aaron Judge and includes four all-stars, the 2022 All-Star Game MVP, and a Gold Glove winner.
2022 All-Bro Team:
Chuckie Robinson, Reds
Former 21st round draft pick Chuckie Robinson became the first Black catcher to play since 2018 and the first in more than 20 years to spend significant time behind the plate for a major league team, appearing in 25 games for the Reds.
After batting .266 in AA/AAA for the Red, Robinson was called up on Aug. 24. He smacked his first big-league home run on Aug. 29 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Chuckie Robinson had a solid defensive season, but will have to improve with his bat in order to stick with the Reds next season.
Bell split time between Washington and San Diego, but whether he was on the East Coast or the West Coast, Josh Bell provided power at the first base spot all season long.
In 2022 Bell played in 156 games, the second most of his career. His 552 at-bats were a career-high. Bell got off to a great start with the Nationals. In 103 games in the nation’s capital, Bell batted .301, with 14 home runs, 57 RBI, and a combined 41 extra base hits.
After being traded to San Diego to help the Padres’ playoff push, Bell’s numbers weren’t the same. However, once the playoffs began, Josh Bell was at his best. In five games, he batted .353, collecting six hits, driving in three runs, and scoring two more. Now, Bell will take his bat to Cleveland to help boost the Guardians’ offense.
The 2021 MLBbro Player of the Year didn’t match his record-breaking totals in 2022, but there’s still no question that Marcus Semien is one of the elite middle infielders in the game today.
Semien got off to a slow start after making the move from Toronto to Texas, but still the finished the season with a slash line of .248/.304/.733. Playing in 161 games, Semien hit 26 home runs, drove in 83, scored 101, and stole a career-high 25 bases.
He’s topped 100 runs scored and 161 games played in three of the past for seasons and has at least 30 doubles in four of the past five. As long as Semien continues to stay healthy, it looks like he’ll continue to put up numbers.
Crawford’s biggest achievement this season was helping to lead the Mariners back to the postseason for the first time in two decades though he provided plenty of individual highlights throughout the summer and into the fall.
He committed only 12 errors all season and has only 15 in 255 career games. Hayes was first in Defensive Wins Above Replacement in the National League (3.0) after finishing fourth in 2021. He also led all NL third basemen in putouts and assists.
With the bat in his hands Hayes isn’t quite as dangerous, though his offensive game continued to expand in his second season. Ke’Bryan stole 20 bases in 2022, good enough for ninth in the National League.
Aaron Judge, Yankees
All Aaron Judge did in 2022 was put together one of the greatest offensive seasons in MLB history.
Appearing in a career-best 157 games Judge was the driving force behind the American League’s best offense. He set career highs in batting average (.311), OBP (.425), slugging (.686), OPS (1.111), hits (177), runs (133), doubles (28), stolen bases (16), and of course home runs (62), and RBI (131).
His 62 home runs set the new Yankees and American League record and Judge nearly claimed the triple crown. He did take home the American League MVP with 98 percent of the first place votes to go along with three AL Player of the Week awards and three AL PLayer of the Month awards.
His reward? A nine-year, $360 million deal to stay in The Bronx and try to help bring the Yankees that elusive 28th world championship.
After slugging 62 HRs and being named the AL MVP in 2022, Aaron Judge is reportedly heading back to the Yankees on a 9-year deal. pic.twitter.com/UJ71AT5BI7
The discussion surrounding who the best all-around player in the game had started to move away from Mookie Betts. This past season, he re-entered the conversation.
Betts was named an All-Star for the seventh time, won his sixth Gold Glove, his fifth Silver Slugger, and finished fifth in the balloting for National League MVP after leading the Dodgers to their greatest regular season in the history of the franchise.
Betts batted .269 and slammed a career-high 35 home runs while driving in 82, his highest total since 2017. He topped 40 doubles for the first time in three years and led the NL with 117 runs scored.
George Springer, Blue Jays
When healthy, there aren’t many more dynamic lead off hitters than Toronto’s George Springer. Once again the versatile outfielder put up solid numbers that also left fans wondering what could have been.
What Springer was, was highly productive, earning an All-Star selection for the first time since 2019, though he missed the game due to injury. He did play in 133 games, the most he’s seen since 2018.
When he played, the Jays were 76-57, when he didn’t they were 16-13.
Springer finished the year with 25 home runs, 76 RBI, 14 stolen bases, and 89 runs scored as the Blue Jays made it back to the playoffs for just the fourth time in the last 28 years. If they’re going to make it back in 2023, Springer will once again have to be the five-tool star all of baseball knows he is.
Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees
Andrew McCutchen, Brewers
Stanton and McCutchen continued to provide experienced bats for potent offenses in 2022. Stanton was named as an All-Star for the fifth time in his career and his first in the American League since joining the Yankees in 2018. Though he batted a career-low .211, he still slugged 31 home runs and drove in 78 runs in 110 games.
“Cutch” made the move from Philly to Milwaukee and almost pushed the Brew Crew into the playoffs. At age 35, McCutchen hit 17 home runs and 25 doubles, his 13th season with at least 25 two-base hits. His 69 RBI gave him a career total of 1002, moving him into 297 on the all-time standings.
In his third season Guardians pitcher Triston McKenzie established himself as one of the best players under the age of 25 in MLB, regardless of position.
McKenzie went 11-11 over 30 starts for Cleveland, racking up 191 innings and a 2.96 earned run average. He ranked in the top 10 for ERA, WAR, strikeouts per nine innings, hits per nine innings, and innings pitched.
“Dr. Sticks” is on his way to becoming both an ace and a workhorse.
The 2020 NL Reliever of the Year and Rookie of the Year may be the Brewers closer of the future after the 2022 season he put together.
Williams appeared in 65 games for Milwaukee, earning a 6-4 record, recording 15 saves, and posting a minuscule 1.93 ERA. He struck out 96 batters in 60.2 innings and was named to his first All-Star team.
An elite bro is flying under everyone’s radar.
Devin Williams has been on fire for the Brewers in his last two relief appearances. He struck out the side twice against the Braves, supporting 2 one-run wins.
New York, your king is returning to his throne. He’s been more like MLB’s king after his record-breaking 2022. Aaron Judge’s bet on himself led to him having the single greatest regular season in MLB history and inking a 9-year $360 million deal to stay a Yankee.
The deal is the third-highest total value for a contract in Major League history and will give Judge the “Captain C” on his jersey, making him the first Yankee to hold that title since Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter retired.
Judge became the face of Major League Baseball in 2022 after hitting an American League record 62 home runs and leading the Majors in nearly every offensive category: all this while he was shining in center field and batting leadoff, both of which he had never done.
His hometown team, the San Francisco, were one of three favorites to bring in the newly crowned home run champion. They pulled out all recruiting stops including a $360 million contract and the services of should be Hall of Famer Barry Bonds whose 762 are the most by a player in their career.
The San Diego Padres were the third team in pursuit of Judge. They have not been shy about making big moves over the past few seasons, giving huge deals to Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., while making a blockbuster trade last deadline when they acquired Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Nationals.
They offered Judge $400… yes $400 million, but he ultimately turned it down to return to the Bronx.
When this year began, Judge made it clear he would not be handling any contract negotiations during the season.
The Yankees leaked their final offer shortly after Opening Day, which was only around $213 million. Rumors came out that Judge was not happy about that, but in the end he never swayed and stayed quiet throughout the process.
He never told anyone what his price was or what other options he would take if he left, he only showed up to the ballpark and put in work.
“Whatever he gets is going to be astronomical and he deserves it,” said teammate Anthony Rizzo, who is also returning to the Yankees in 2023.
“He bet on himself on the biggest stage, in the biggest market and did it with ease. He should be rewarded as the highest-paid player in the game. He is the gold standard.”
We will never forget the 2022 season Aaron Judge had or this off-season where he made one of the biggest decisions in MLB history, but now a second phase to his career begins. Championship expectations are always high in New York. Whether you are winning MVPs or going through a slump, those fans want results and will let players know about it.
Some have and will continue to fold under that pressure, but Judge welcomes it and will, for what appears to be the rest of his career. Now he is on a quest to not only bring a World Series to the Bronx for the first time since 2009, but to become a hands down member of the “GREATEST Yankees of All-Time” list.