Who is Brad Ausmus? According to a female friend on Facebook, “He may not have any previous experience as an MLB manager, but he’s pretty.” Seeing as I had only heard of him on Detroit sports radio, I decided to do some digging.
Brad Ausmus began his career as a professional baseball player when he was drafted by New York Yankees in 1987. Instead of going right to the Yankee’s farm system, Ausmus decided to attend Dartmouth college and play for the Yankee’s minor league team between terms. Because he was a paid athlete, Ausmus was not allowed to play for Dartmouth’s team, so he instead volunteered as coach and bullpen catcher.
After graduation, Ausmus spent 6 years total in the minor leagues. The first 5 years were with Yankee farm teams until he was taken in the 1992 expansion draft by the then new team in Colorado. Soon he was traded to the San Diego Padres, where he would make his major league debut in July of 1993. After three years of playing with the Padres, Ausmus was traded to Detroit for his first stint with the Tigers. After spending only half a year in Detroit, Ausmus was traded again to the Houston Astros, where he played for the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
In early 1999, Ausmus was shipped back to the Tigers where he had his career high slugging and on base percentages. He made the All Star team in 1999 while he was with the Tigers. However, Ausmus was sent back to the Astros at the end of 2000, which is where he stayed until 2008, when he decided to move closer to home in California. Ausmus ended up playing 2 seasons for the LA Dodgers. In his second year with the Dodgers, Ausmus injured his back and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Missing the bulk of the season, Ausmus announced his retirement in October of 2010.
The very next month, the San Diego Padres hired Brad Ausmus to the club’s front office. That is where he worked until being hired by Detroit to replace Jim Leyland as Manager of the Tigers in early November of 2014.
After doing a bit of research for this article, it seems that everyone who worked with Ausmus was impressed by him as a person. Ausmus proved himself to be an intelligent and capable catcher for 18 years in the league. The Astro’s manager Phil Garner was quoted saying “I have to keep him playing, because if he starts managing, he’ll be better than me.” about Ausmus. Detroit Tiger’s GM Dave Dombroski said he “was taken back with how impressive he was… Every time Brad’s name came up, it was effusive with praise.”
So we know now that Brad Ausmus is more than just pretty, but is that enough?Will first time manager Ausmus be able to step into the Tiger’s club house and win over star players like Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter? Will his experience in the Padres front office and the Israel national team be enough to lead the Tigers beyond the ALDS? Talk radio has already speculated that he was just a sexy pick to draw in casual female fans, but the Tigers have filled ball parks without him, so it seems unlikely. The bottom line is will the Tigers will with Ausmus. I don’t have the answer yet, but if he is as impressive as everyone seems to think, we could be seeing another World Series championship in Detroit soon.