Name: Scott David Brosius
Position: Third baseman
Born: August 15, 1966 (Hillsboro, OR)
Yankee Years: 1998-2001
Primary number: 18
Yankee statistics: 540 G, .267/.331/.428, 105 2B, 65 HR, 23 SB, 97 wRC+, 8.3 rWAR, 8.7 fWAR
Simply put, Scott Brosius is associated with the word “winning.” After coming over to the Yankees in 1998 from the Oakland Athletics, he played four years in the Bronx and made it to four World Series, winning three of them in a row. His heroics in the 1998 Fall Classic earned him MVP honors, and he also had a signature moment in Game 5 of the 2001 Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks that will live on in the annals of Yankees history.
From “player to be named later” to World Series MVP and playoff hero, Brosius’ contributions from the hot corner in the dynasty years won’t be forgotten.
Brosius was born in the Portland, Oregon area, specifically in Hillsboro, though he grew up 25 miles away in Milwaukie. The son of Jenni Montee and Maury Brosius, Scott began his path in baseball while playing Little League in Vancouver, Washington (just over the state line). As is the case for many young athletes, Brosius played multiple sports growing up, playing basketball and football as a kid and teenager.
Brosius went to Rex Putnam High School, and he was first-team all-conference in his senior year there. It was plain to see for anyone in his orbit that baseball was his primary interest since his early years, and his father in particular was key to fostering that love. After high school, Brosius went to Linfield College from 1985 to 1987, earning all-conference honors in 1986 and an All-America honorable mention in 1987.
It took over 500 players to get to him, but Brosius did finally hear his name called in the the 1987 MLB Draft. In the 20th round, the A’s made him the 510th overall pick, and he began his journey to The Show.
Making It To The Bigs
After a few years in the A’s system, Brosius would make his MLB debut in 1991. He knew he was a big leaguer when he realized he had just made the transition from taking buses to getting on airplanes, as he told Patrick Stapleton in an interview for Bleacher Report a few years ago:
“We’re getting ready, after the game, to go over to the airport. And I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t have anything to read or anything to do on this flight.’ But I’m like, ‘Well, I can just stop in the airport there and I’ll just grab a Sports Illustrated or whatever.’
Well, then we drive over to the airport and we turn off and we drive straight onto the runway and to the plane. And I just went, ‘Woah, this is not the minor leagues anymore.’ I mean the bus driving us straight to the plane, we hop right off the bus, right on the plane, and off we went. And I thought, ‘Man, this is pretty cool!’”
He would play parts of seven seasons with the Athletics, in which he hit .248/.315/.416 with 76 home runs and a 93 OPS+.
After winning the AL West and reaching the ALCS in 1992, the A’s fell in a rut and were pretty much a last place team from that point until Brosius left after the 1997 campaign. That’s when he became a New York Yankee.
Thriving Under The Bright Lights
Playing under the bright lights of New York, for a team with the most demanding fan base in the sport, is not for everyone. After a series of good seasons in Texas, the Yanks signed Kenny Rogers ahead of the 1996 campaign but he failed to live up to expectations in two years in the Bronx, in which he had a 5.11 ERA.
The Yankees agreed to send Rogers to Oakland in exchange for a player to be named later. That player ended up being Brosius who had been, as John Griffin recently pointed out, the worst hitter in the 1997 season with a 50 wRC+. The Yanks needed a third baseman and, well, it was struggling player for struggling player.
Brosius was 31 at the time, no longer young by baseball standards but by no means too old to still make a mark. In 1998, his first season as a Yankee, he was brilliant: a .300/.371/.472 line, 19 home runs, 86 runs, 98 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an excellent 123 wRC+, a dramatic increase from the 50 mark he had the year before in California.
He was a steady defender and put together a 5.0-WAR season, his second of that kind after finishing with 5.8 WAR in 1996. He earned his first and only All-Star appearance that year.
What people remember the most, however, is his brilliant postseason play. He was excellent in the AL Division Series (4-for-10, one home run) and the AL Championship Series (6-for-20, one homer, six RBI), but he had a World Series to remember and earned MVP honors.
The Yankees swept the San Diego Padres, and it was in large part because of Brosius. He went 8-for-17 with two long balls and six RBI. Both of his dingers came in Game 3: the first one was against Sterling Hitchcock and the second one against Trevor Hoffman, no less, in San Diego.
The blast to dead center turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead, and the Yankees went from potentially seeing their lead in the series cut to 2-1, to a comfy 3-0 thanks to Brosius.
A key RBI single in Game 4 to seal the sweep was just another reason to make him the MVP of the Fall Classic that year.
“I do kind of remember running around the bases going, ‘Wow, that’s kind of cool. I just hit a World Series home run! But you do, you kind of dream about it as a kid. And so just going, yeah, that’s kind of cool!’” he said to Stapleton in that old interview.
Brosius “kind of” became a postseason hero that year for the Yankees — to say the least.
The 1999 season was a step down for Scott on the field as he battled personal hardships away from it. Maury Brosius was ill with cancer that had first affected him during his son’s dream season of ‘98, and Scott took more than a couple in-season trips away from the team to visit his ailing father. Maury passed on September 12th, and after playing one more game, Scott spent a week away back in Oregon to tend to his family.
Brosius finished the regular season with three homers in his last two games and looked ready to damage in October. Sure enough, he clubbed a pair of long balls with a .930 OPS during the victorious 1999 ALCS over Boston, and he hit .375 with an .813 OPS as the Yankees swept away Atlanta for their second consecutive championship. The highlight for Brosius was a three-hit game in the World Series opener, with the last of the knocks helping spark an eighth-inning rally that led to a comeback victory over Greg Maddux and company.
The 2000 campaign was even further step back for Brosius, as he dipped to a .230/.299/.374 triple slash in a highly-productive offensive environment, good for only a 71 wRC+. Still, his defense remained strong, and New York eked into the playoffs with 87 wins. Brosius was quiet for the first couple rounds before breaking out in the Fall Classic against the Mets, slugging a homer in Game 2, scoring a vital ninth-inning run in the decisive Game 5, and recording a .927 OPS in the Subway Series as the Yanks polished off their incredible three-peat.
Then, in 2001, Brosius was part of another signature postseason moment with the Yanks. He had rebounded to a 109 wRC+ that year and looked much closer to his prime ‘98 form as New York captured yet another American League pennant. They had lost the first two games of the Fall Classic in Arizona, but were able to take three in New York, in large part because of Brosius’ heroics.
The night before, in Game 4, Tino Martínez hit a game-tying home run off Byung-Hyun Kim in the ninth before Derek Jeter famously won it in the tenth. In Game 5, history repeated itself but this time, it was Brosius who hit a ninth-inning two-run blast to tie a game that the Yanks would go on to win, this time to take a 3-2 series lead.
The rest is history: the D-backs would go on to win Games 6 and 7 at home and the Yankees’ season would end in heartbreak. Brosius had already cemented his status as a playoffs hero for the Bombers, even though his postseason OPS is a low .696. Most of the eight homers he hit, however, were extremely timely.
“We could have won four in a row,” Brosius said according to the Oregon Encyclopedia, “but with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7, we let the Diamondbacks score two runs to win the World Series.”
With Brosius in his mid-30s and only the mild bounce-back in ‘01 to his name, the Yankees weren’t up for one more go-around. He was already thinking of stepping away, and since he would only consider playing there or close to home in Seattle (who also refrained from serious interest), he elected to retire. Brosius ended his 11-year career with one All-Star berth (1998), three World Series rings (1998–2000), a World Series MVP (1998), and a Gold Glove (1999) — not too shabby for a former 20th-round pick.
“It was a personal decision, not related to baseball, but due to the fact that families are meant to be together,” he said, according to the Linfield Wildcats website. “I wanted to leave on my own terms and walk away with no regrets.”
On talent alone, Brosius wasn’t a dominant offensive third baseman. He hung up his cleats with a career 94 wRC+. However, he really knew how (and when!) to produce in October, he was a steady defender, and he proudly wore the pinstripes.
“The year before, in Oakland, we were actually the Yankees home opener. And so we had all the Opening Day ceremonies. And I’m on the Oakland side of things and I’m watching all the pageantry and the festivities and you know, all the guys, the other players come in, all this, and I’m going, ‘Man, how cool would that be to put on the pinstripes for an opening day, you know?’ And I’m thinking this as an Oakland A. And then the next year, there I was, part of opening day. So, it was a pretty neat deal,” he told the Bleacher Report.
Brosius became an assistant baseball coach at Linfield, his alma mater, from 2002 to 2007. He became the head coach a year later and in that season, the Wildcats went to the NCAA Division III World Series.
He did that again in 2010, 2013 and 2014, winning the Division III College World Series in 2013. He stepped down as a head coach at Linfield in 2015, with a 270-96 cumulative record. The Seattle Mariners hired Brosius to be their hitting coach for their Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers.
A year later, he joined the M’s as their assistant hitting coach and was moved to third in 2018. Then, in 2019, he replaced Joe Girardi as Team USA’s national baseball team manager at the 2019 WSBC Premier12, though they fell short of making it to the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Brosius earned a place in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and has been part of multiple Old-Timers’ Day celebrations, including the most recent edition in 2023, when 28 members of the 1998 champions reunited in the Bronx. Now, Brosius lives in McMinnville, Oregon with his wife and three children.
Brosius, to sum up, was a successful high school, college, and MLB player with three World Series titles, an All-Star appearance, a Gold Glove and numerous playoffs heroics. Then he retired and went on to become a decorated coach and manager, even if he didn’t make it to the bigs in that role. He did it all in a baseball field and in a dugout, and earned the respect and admiration from a whole city in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Staff rank: 92
Community rank: 84
Stats rank: N/A
2013 rank: N/A
Appel, Marty. Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012.
Bleacher Report (interview)
Curry, Jack. The 1998 Yankees: The Inside Story of the Greatest Baseball Team Ever. New York: Twelve Books, 2023.
Olney, Buster. Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty. New York: Ecco, 2004.