Chris Brown (baseball)
August 15, 1961|
|Died: December 26, 2006
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 3, 1984 for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 16, 1989 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||184|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Brown was a notable graduate of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California, where he played high school baseball with Darryl Strawberry. The 1979 Crenshaw High Cougars baseball team was the subject of Michael Sokolove's The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw.
Brown was selected by the Giants in the 2nd round (44th overall) during the 1979 amateur draft.
Professional baseball career
San Francisco Giants
After a steady climb through the Giants minor league system, Brown made his major league debut for them in 1984 as a September call-up. In his first full season in 1985, Brown batted .261 with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in for the last-place Giants, made the All-Rookie team, and finished 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting (Vince Coleman of the St. Louis Cardinals won the award by unanimous vote); Brown also led the NL in times being hit by pitch (11). In 1986, Brown batted .317 and made the NL All-Star team after hitting nearly .350 in the season's first half.
At the end of 1986 he complained of shoulder soreness, and when initial exams turned up no serious injury, teammates and the media accused him of bailing out. That offseason, an examination by Dr. Frank Jobe in Los Angeles discovered that there was indeed a serious problem, and surgery was performed that winter. The following season, with Brown hitting a paltry .242 after 38 games, the Giants sent him packing on July 5 along with Keith Comstock, Mark Davis, and Mark Grant in a blockbuster midseason trade to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky, and Craig Lefferts.
San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers
Brown's play declined further as the year progressed, and he ended the year with a .237 average; the Giants went on to win the NL Western division, and the Padres finished in last place. After dropping to a .235 average in 1988 for San Diego, Brown was dealt to the Detroit Tigers and was out of baseball by 1989 at the age of 28. In his career he batted .269 with 38 home runs, 184 RBI, 164 runs, 410 hits and 21 stolen bases in 449 games.
Brown was noted for missing over 250 games between 1984 and 1988 due to bizarre injury claims such as a bruised tooth. He was nicknamed "Jake" by teammates convinced he was no more than a malingerer. The last straw for Tigers manager Sparky Anderson came in 1989, when Brown missed a game after complaining that he "slept on his eye wrong." The Tigers released him soon thereafter, and Brown never returned to the major leagues.
Life after baseball
After retirement, Brown lived in Houston, Texas with his wife Lisa and their two children, Paris Brown and Gordon Pickett. In 2004, Brown worked in Iraq driving an 18-wheel truck delivering diesel fuel for Halliburton. He took fire on numerous occasions, including in a convoy that was attacked on April 9, 2004, in which six Halliburton drivers and one soldier were killed and another driver kidnapped and later released. By 2006, Brown had returned to the United States.
Brown died at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on December 26, 2006, nearly a month after he suffered burns in a fire at a vacant house he owned in Sugar Land, Texas. He was 45 years of age. Police have never determined whether his death was a homicide, a suicide, or an accident.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- BaseballLibrary - profile
- The Baseball Cube - major and minor league statistics
- Houston Chronicle obituary
- Ex-major leaguer Chris Brown killed in fire
- Lidz, Franz (12 July 2004). "The toughness of a talented former major leaguer is no longer questioned". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 28 April 2011.