The Unsinkable Dusty Brown
For the most studious of baseball fans, the name Dusty Brown may mean nothing.
Even a standard Google search provides little help, as a popular Sacramento based electronic-folk (what?) musician dominates the results and only creates further confusion. But make no mistake about it, there lies another Dusty Brown in this world and as of this moment, the 31-year old vagabond catcher is the newest addition to Oakland Athletics organization.
For the California native, 2014 will represent a return to action after sitting out the entirety of the 2013 season and temporarily turning his back on professional baseball. Reinvigorated by his instructional work with younger players through personal private lessons as well as his position as a catching instructor with the Hunter Pence Baseball Academy in Houston, Texas, Brown set forth to procure a contract and another chance at a dream.
Mar 26, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Dusty Brown (2) bats against the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
With three distinct cups of coffee in the big leagues from ’09-11 with the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, Brown is the proud owner a very unique achievement in Boston’s lengthy record book. As a September call up, the rookie had played sparingly when he was called into service to pitch the ninth inning of a 12-0 blowout loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. With the game being of little consequence after Boston had clinched the Wild Card spot the day prior, manager Terry Francona turned to Brown to finish out the game at Fenway so he wouldn’t have to use another reliever.
As the first catcher to pitch a game in Boston history, Brown allowed a run on two hits in an inning pitched, highlighting his appearance with a strikeout of Toronto’s Randy Ruiz to finish the oddity. Recording a strikeout on the mound before a hit at the plate, Brown would go on to homer just four days later against the Cleveland Indians.
Last appearing in the Texas Rangers organization as a member of the Round Rock Express in 2012, Brown posting a sub par .220/.354/.397 batting line in backup duty. Once regarded as prospect, he’s rightfully earned a reputation as a defensive-minded backstop, throwing out 30% (242/557) of runners attempting to steal during his lengthy minor league career.
Unlikely to make an Athletics team that features a logjam at catcher, Brown will likely report to Sacramento or Midland where he will continue his career as a nurturer of young pitchers while he eternally awaits that elusive call back to the big leagues. With his future undetermined, Dusty Brown is back afloat once more in professional baseball.