Brown makes first appearance on BBWAA ballot
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – His intensity, on and off the mound, is still legendary. His "stuff" was elite.
The results were more than 200 wins, two earned-run average titles and a World Series ring. Now, Kevin Brown faces his last test as a player: The Hall of Fame vote.
Brown, who played 19 big league seasons with the Rangers, Dodgers, Yankees, Padres, Marlins and Orioles, is one of 33 players on the 2011 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Brown is making his debut on the BBWAA ballot.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 5. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 24 in Cooperstown.
James Kevin Brown, born March 14, 1965, in Milledgeville, Ga., debuted with the Texas Rangers in 1986 – the same year he was taken with the fourth overall pick of the MLB Draft out of Georgia Tech University by the Texas Rangers. By 1989, Brown was a regular in the Rangers' rotation, and in 1992 he logged an American League-best 21 victories and 265.2 innings en route to his first All-Star selection and a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting.
Brown had already established himself as an ultra-intense competitor, an attitude that did not sit well with some teammates. Others, however, respected Brown's win-first mentality.
"If somebody doesn't like him, he doesn't care," said Al Leiter, a former teammate of Brown's. "He's got the right mantra of what matters: This pitch, this moment, execute each pitch effectively."
After leaving Texas via free agency, Brown won 10 games with the Orioles in his only season in Baltimore in 1995. He signed with the Marlins in 1996, winning his first earned-run average title that season with a 1.89 mark and winning 16 games a year later while helping Florida to its first World Series title.
The Marlins traded Brown to the Padres following the 1997 season, and in 1998 Brown again pitched his team into the World Series – this time going 18-7 with a 2.38 ERA and finishing third in the Cy Young voting. As a free agent once again, Brown signed a 7-year, $105 million contract with the Dodgers – becoming baseball's first player with a $100 million deal.
"I think there will always be a drive to find a way to get a little bit better, because of (my) attitude and (my) mentality," Brown said. "You learn how to harness it through experience."
With the Dodgers, Brown won 18 games in 1999 and then captured his second ERA title the following year with a mark of 2.58. But age and injuries began to catch up with him, and he was traded to the Yankees after the 2003 season. He suffered through two trying seasons in New York, missing time at the end of the 2004 season with a broken left hand.
Brown retired following the 2005 season with a career mark of 211-144, a career ERA of 3.28 and six All-Star Game appearances.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum