August 24, 1956 |
Caguas, Puerto Rico
|Batted: Switch||Threw: Right|
|July 13, 1979 for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 26, 1991 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||391|
Antonio Bernazard Garcia (born August 24, 1956 in Caguas, Puerto Rico) is a former Major League Baseball player and former executive in the New York Mets organization. Bernazard served as an assistant to Mets general manager Omar Minaya before being dismissed on July 27, 2009.
During his ten-year major league career, Bernazard played second base, shortstop, and designated hitter for the Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and Detroit Tigers. He hit 75 home runs in 3700 at-bats. His career hitting line (BA/OBP/SLG) stands at .262/.339/.387.
Bernazard missed out on the Chicago White Sox divisional pennant run of 1983 when he was traded to the Mariners for second baseman Julio Cruz on June 15 of that year. The speedier Cruz helped spur the Sox to win the division by 20 games.
In 1984 with the Indians, he went through an 0 for 44 stretch at the plate, tying a major league hitless streak for non-pitchers in the last 50 years. He hit only .221 that year. He rebounded to have two productive seasons with the Indians batting .274 in 1985 and a career high .301 in 1986 while also hitting 17 home runs. Bernazard was also famous for his habit of eating nothing but chicken during hitting streaks.
From 1988-1990, he played for the Nankai / Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in the Japanese Pacific League. After a brief major league comeback in 1991 with the Tigers, in which he went 2-for-12 in 6 games, his career was over.
Front office career
Bernazard became the Vice President of Development for the New York Mets in December 2004 after serving as a Special Assistant to General Manager Omar Minaya.
During the 2004 off-season, then-free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado was offended when Bernazard—a fellow Puerto Rican—attempted to gain an advantage in wooing Delgado to the Mets by utilizing what Delgado termed "street Spanish." Delgado was heavily critical in public of the Mets' negotiating tactics. He reportedly referred to Bernazard as "the highest-paid translator on the planet" after meeting him and Minaya for a face-to-face negotiating session at baseball's Winter Meetings. Bernazard, who was known for his flamboyant antics around the Mets offices and Shea Stadium, downplayed the incident.
Bernazard came under scrutiny again during the 2008 season, when it was reported that he was allegedly the person who orchestrated the firing of then Mets manager Willie Randolph. Bernazard came under renewed scrutiny in late July during the 2009 season after removing his shirt and challenging several Binghamton Mets players to fights. The same week Bernazard had another tirade at Citi Field when a Diamondbacks scout occupied a seat that he wanted and one of his deputies suggested to him that he wait until the end of the half inning, prompting Bernazard to become angry. In addition, Bernazard had an angry confrontation with Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez on the team bus, while returning to the team's hotel after an 11–0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The Mets organization issued a statement by General Manager Omar Minaya saying, in part, "I spoke with Tony [Bernazard] this morning and informed him of my decision to terminate his employment with the Mets," confirming an earlier report. At the press conference announcing the firing, Minaya angrily challenged the accuracy of past news reports, claiming that New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin, who initially broke the story about Bernazard challenging Binghamton Mets players to a fight, was angling for a position in the Mets organization. Omar Minaya fired Bernazard from the Mets on Monday July 27, 2009.
In October 2009, Adam Rubin reported in his blog that Bernazard was close to joining the renowned sports agency Boras Corp., led by baseball super agent Scott Boras. Bernazard later denied this in an interview with FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. In the interview (dated April 27, 2010), Bernazard claimed that the media reports about his behavior were untrue. He also claimed that the Mets organization did not support him because the team needed a scapegoat for the 2009 season. As far as his career was concerned, Bernazard was not employed by a baseball team at that time, despite the fact that Bernazard claims he "had some calls" from unspecified sources at the end of December 2009. He additionally claimed that he "[hasn't] been looking for a job."
- Pedro, Carlos, and Omar: The Story ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Bernazard Finds Himself in Middle of Mets’ Turmoil
- Rubin, Adam (2009-07-22). "Sources: Mets VP for player development Tony Bernazard challenges Binghamton Mets to fight". New York: Nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Shpigel, Ben (2009-07-24). "Witnesses Confirm Bernazard Bus Incident". The New York Times.
- Sherman, Joel (2009-07-27). "Bernazard Fired". Blogs.nypost.com. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Shpigel, Ben (2009-07-28). "Minaya Fires Executive and Blames a Reporter". The New York Times.
- Martino, Andy (2009-10-18). "New employers for ex-Mets staffers". New York: Nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "Bernazard on the Mets and his firing - MLB News - FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-08-27.