January 8, 2011

Today’s Tiger: Chris Brown

Chris Brown

  • Born: Aug. 15, 1961 in Jackson, Miss.
  • Died: Dec. 26, 2006 in Houston
  • Acquired: Traded by the Padres with Keith Moreland to the Tigers for Walt Terrell on Oct. 28, 1988.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 1 (1989)
  • Bats: Right Throws: Right
  • Height: 6′ Weight: 185 lb.
  • Uniform Number: 35
  • Stats: .193 avg., 0 HR, 4 RBI, .449 OPS

Perhaps no other word best describes third baseman Chris Brown like enigmatic.

After a promising start to his career with the Giants in 1985, his .271 average and 16 homers earned him a fourth-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and an All-Star Game appearance in ’86, Brown began frustrating his managers and his teammates with a string of questionable and bizarre injuries. In fact, he never appeared in more games than he did that rookie season (131).

Brownchris.jpgBy the middle of the 1987 season Brown was shipped to the Padres with Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant for Dave Dravecky, Craig Lefferts and Kevin Mitchell. He didn’t fare well in San Diego either, hitting .232 in 44 games. In 1988 he hit just .235 in 80 games.

The Tigers were in complete freefall when they traded Walt Terrell to the Padres for Brown and Keith Moreland, whose best years were behind him. Why Detroit thought Brown and his “Tin Man” reputation would be transformed under Sparky Anderson is mystifying. His reputation for injuries — real or imagined — ranged from shoulder tenderness, a bad tooth and a sore eyelid. At least those are the more legendary ones — who knows if they were true.

In Detroit, the Chris Brown Experiment — such as it was — got off to a poor start when he arrived to spring training overweight. It ended after just 17 games, 11 hits and a .193 average. Worse yet, if possible, was a .909 fielding percentage in that time. On May 19, he was released. A few weeks later he was signed by the Pirates but never appeared in a big-league game for them.

He died in a mysterious Houston house fire on Dec. 26, 2006, at the age of 45. According to this MLB.com story:

Brown was employed by Halliburton Co. in Iraq, driving and repairing 18-wheel fuel trucks, and in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, he said, “It’s a place I would’ve never thought 20 years ago that I’d be.”

His final career line: .269 average, 38 home runs, 184 RBI and a .725 OPS.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Mikem | Jan 8, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, talk about opposite ends of the spectrum between Chris Brown and Champ Summers….Champ gave everything he had for the Tigers, Chris Brown you couldn’t even get on the field.

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