Legends On Deck

Where Have You Gone, Dusty Brown?

A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you (woo woo woo) – Paul Simon

During spring training this past March, among the various transaction releases sent out by Major League Baseball one stood out to longtime followers of the Boston Red Sox.

March 23rd NEW YORK – The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announces free agent catcher Dusty Brown was suspended for 50 games Monday after testing positive for a drug of abuse for the second time. Brown violated the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and will begin his suspension immediately upon signing with another Major League organization.

For the last fifteen years, Dusty Brown has been baseball’s living embodiment of Crash Davis, Kevin Costner’s portrayal of a longtime minor league catcher in the 1988 movie “Bull Durham“.

Dustin William Brown was selected in the 35th round of the June 2000 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox out of Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. A native of Orange, California, Brown began his journey with two seasons in the Gulf Coast League (2001 and 2002) after a late signing delayed his pro career. During the latter half of the summer of 2002, Brown was promoted to the Red Sox short season class A team in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Thus, Brown’s Crash Davis-like career began and included stops in Augusta, Sarasota, Wilmington, Portland and Pawtucket (all in the Red Sox minor league system), as well as two more stops in the Gulf Coast League and one more visit to Lowell (all three on minor league injury rehab stints). For good measure along the way, Brown was a Peoria Javelina and also a member of the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League .

Over the years, Brown added first base and the outfield to his repertoire, attempting to add to his versatility and making his services  in higher demand.

Brown spent the winters of 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 catching in the Dominican Winter League, and also spent a number of major league spring training camps with the Red Sox.

On June 23, 2009 , the then 27 year old Brown became the 17,192nd player to make his major league debut, and appeared in 7 games for Boston. That season Brown hit his only major league home run. The Red Sox once again called him up for 7 games the following year.

Signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011, Brown split the season with the Pirates AAA affiliate in Indianapolis and returned to the major leagues with Pittsburgh, where he appeared in 11 games, and which currently remains as his last big league action.

Moving on to the Texas Rangers in 2012 and 13, Brown played in Round Rock, Texas until his acquisition by Oakland in 2014. After being released by the Athletics, the Cleveland Indians and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona signed Brown where he played in 15 games for Class AAA Columbus.

At season’s end Brown became a minor league free agent once again where he remains, awaiting a major league organization to reach out to him so he can begin serving his suspension.

Or is this the end of the 32 year old Brown’s long career ? Say it ain’t so, Dusty..

Dusty Brown’s Career Transactions

June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 35th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed May 25, 2001.
November 6, 2010: Granted Free Agency.
December 1, 2010: Signed as a Free Agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
September 29, 2011: Granted Free Agency.
November 25, 2011: Signed as a Free Agent with the Texas Rangers.
November 3, 2012: Granted Free Agency.
January 22, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the Oakland Athletics.
July 21, 2014: Released by the Oakland Athletics.
August 4, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Indians.
November 4, 2014: Granted Free Agency.

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015

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