Mike Brown – 1987 Topps
February 22, 2011
The Haunted Look Of A Mariners’ Middle Reliever
Typing in Mike Brown into Baseball-Reference.com leads to two major league players named Mike Brown who were both in the majors at the same time.
Mike Brown, the outfielder, probably got a raw deal by the Pirates and Angels. He could flat out rake in the minors and half of the time in the majors.
This Mike Brown was a top prospect for the Red Sox, and like a lot of the mid-level Boston prospects didn’t pan out. When you go 1-8, 6.85, you don’t have a long leash. So he languished in the minors and struggled with some injuries (his 1985 was basically lost in the weeds with ineffective performances at both Boston and Pawtucket, and not many innings pitched) and then in 1986 when the Mariners dangled Spike Owen and Dave Henderson, the Red Sox said, “Hey, have two Mikes! So Brown and Trujillo went to the Mariners.
And pitching for the 1986 Mariners can try a man’s soul.
Now it could be that Brown had foreshadowing, since he was traded so late. This could be an airbrush job but I don’t have conclusive proof one way or another.
At any rate, Brown went from fringe contributor to a pennant winner to, well, just another pitcher in the clown car that was the Mariners’ staff. His first start was a disaster (1 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 6 runs), his second pretty good, and of course (7 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER), so of course he was just a mop-up man in September. You know, because Mike Morgan really needed those innings.
At any rate, Brown was not in the Mariners plans for 1987 for whatever reason, and pitched just 1/3 of an inning, giving up three hits and two runs in the first inning after Lee Guetterman was knocked out of the box by the Twins. Brown gave up double, single, double, fly out and then was sent back to the PCL. He pitched one more year, in Colorado Springs for the Indians, and was done.
So maybe Brown sees the future in this card, where he’s back to riding the buses as a pitching coach. Or perhaps Brown is reflecting on his high school successes, as the back of the card enumerates:
He must have been a pretty darn good athlete (Falls Church Marshall Statesmen, class of 1977!), as he went to Clemson on a baseball scholarship, and as it says averaging 24.5 points in hoops and 40 yards in football.
“40 yards in football”?????
40 yards what? Rushing? Passing?
Unless that was a per reception or return average, 40 yards is nothing special for a rusher or receiver, and bad as a QB except in an option or wing-T offense.
Did Topps run out of room? Didn’t check the content? Or were the fumes from the airbrush department overwhelming the copy editors?
Maybe Brown is thinking about that?
“I have a vision. The back of my baseball card is not going to make sense…”