August 3, 1960 |
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|September 1, 1983 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 24, 1994 for the Houston Astros|
|Runs batted in||455|
Los Angeles Dodgers
After attending Liberty University, Bream was drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1981 amateur draft. During his minor league career he hit .329 with 83 home runs and 407 RBI, including a .419 on-base percentage and a .537 slugging percentage in the Dodgers farm system; he made his debut with the team in 1983. Despite his good numbers in the minors, he was just a mediocre hitter in the Major Leagues with good gap power (resulting in lots of doubles) and above-average defense at first base. The Dodgers expected him to replace Greg Brock at 1st base, who himself performed below expectations when Steve Garvey left to sign with the San Diego Padres. But Bream fared no better than Brock at the plate, and ultimately Franklin Stubbs was given a chance to be the one to finally fill in the void left by Garvey's departure. However, it was not until Eddie Murray arrived in Los Angeles that the Dodgers finally had an above average hitting first baseman.
The Dodgers finally gave up on Bream late in the 1985 season and traded him along with Cecil Espy and R.J. Reynolds to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bill Madlock, who was in the declining phase of his career. It was in Pittsburgh where Bream finally had a chance to play every day. In 1986 he set an MLB record with 166 assists at first base.
He remained as the everyday first baseman until 1990, when he became a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves. Bream suffered through injuries in Atlanta, limiting his playing time; however, he did play in two World Series, in 1991 and 1992. After a poor start in 1993, the Braves acquired Fred McGriff from the San Diego Padres to play first base and Bream was relegated to pinch-hitting for the rest of the season.
The most famous moment of Bream's career came in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series. Bream was the Atlanta first baseman, and the Braves were playing his old team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in the NLCS.
The Pirates carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning under the pitching of their ace, Doug Drabek, needing just three outs to make the World Series. However, Drabek gave up a leadoff double to Terry Pendleton, then allowed another runner (David Justice) on an infield error by second baseman José Lind. After Drabek walked Bream to load the bases, Pirates manager Jim Leyland pulled him out of the game. Reliever Stan Belinda replaced him on the mound, and managed to get two outs, despite giving up a run on a sacrifice fly by Ron Gant. Then, Braves third-string catcher Francisco Cabrera belted a single to left field, and Justice scored easily to tie the game. Pirates left fielder and eventual National League MVP Barry Bonds fielded the ball as Bream ran toward home plate. Bonds' throw arrived first, but it was slightly offline towards the first-base line. As soon as catcher Mike LaValliere received the ball, he desperately lunged toward the plate to tag Bream out, but Bream was able to slide just underneath the tag to score the winning run and send the Braves to the World Series for the second consecutive year.
Following the 1993 season, Bream signed with the Houston Astros and served as a backup to Jeff Bagwell, and continued his success as a pinch-hitter. He hit .344 in limited play, and retired during the baseball strike.
Retirement and family
Bream retired to the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife Sandra. The couple have two children, Natalie and Daniel. He is currently a motivational speaker and served as the hitting coach for the State College Spikes in 2008. Bream serves as the spokesman for Christian Sports International (CSI,) a 501(c)(3) faith based charity based in Pittsburgh. His second child Natalie attended Liberty University on a baseball scholarship and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 42nd round (1264th overall) in 2011. He has two cats called Tinkerbell and Peter Pan.
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- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball's Other Great Moments