September 11, 1958|
|Died: April 28, 2013
Marina del Rey, California
|July 31, 1982, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1985, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
Bradley Jay Lesley (September 11, 1958 – April 28, 2013) was an American professional baseball player-turned-actor and media personality. Lesley was an especially imposing physical figure, standing 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) and weighing 230 lb (100 kg). Nicknamed "The Animal", he was known for his aggressive style of self-motivation.
He played professional baseball for two Major League Baseball teams. He was drafted in the first round in 1978 by the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he pitched parts of three seasons, from 1982 to 1984. He pitched in the Reds' minor-league system for five seasons before being called up to the majors. He made his big-league debut at age 23 on July 31, 1982 in a 5-4 Reds loss at Riverfront Stadium, pitching a scoreless ninth inning against the San Diego Padres. Overall in his rookie season, he pitched 28 games (all in relief) with an 0-2 record but a fine 2.58 earned run average. The following season he appeared in only five games for the Reds, going 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA, and in 1984 he pitched in 16 Reds' games, going 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA.
On November 12, 1984 Lesley's contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched in five games for the Brewers, going 1-0 but with a 9.95 ERA. After the season he was released, ending his Major League career.
Lesley then played two seasons in Japan for the Hankyu Braves. His record in Japan was 7–5, with 24 saves in 60 games over two years.
After retiring from baseball, he became a television personality in Japan, where he is probably best known for his role as Animaru Resuri "Animal Leslie" in the Japanese gameshow Takeshi's Castle. He participated in games such as Devil's Domain, Stuck Up, and his own game, Animal Bang. Takeshi's Castle would later be shown in the US on the cable network Spike TV as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, later shortened to MXC.
Lesley appeared in several feature films, including Brother (2000) (as Moose), Big Monster on Campus (2000) (as Arnie), Buddy (1997) (as Ali Baba), A Boy Called Hate (1996) (as the Moving Truck Driver), Little Big League (1994) (as John 'Blackout' Gatling) and Mr. Baseball (1992) (as Niven).
By early 2013 Lesley had been suffering from kidney problems and had been living in a nursing home for many months, where he was receiving dialysis. On April 28, 2013, he was rushed to a hospital in Marina del Rey, where he died.
Celebrity entertainment show TMZ obtained Lesley's death certificate and reported that the actor died of a heart attack brought on by a case of coronary artery disease (not kidney failure as previously reported).
- "Brad Lesley Dead: Former Baseball Player and 'Little Big League' Star Dies At Age 54". Huffington Post. 29 April 2013.
- "Brad Lesley Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Brad Lesley, 'Little Big League' Star, Dies as 54". TMZ.com. 29 April 2013.
- "'Little Big League' Star Brad Lesley Died Of a Heart Attack, NOT Kidney Failure". TMZ.com. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2014.