George Brett, the Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, was born in Glen Dale, Marshall County, on May 15, 1953. The family later moved to the Midwest and then to California, where Brett went to high school. He grew up in athletic family with three older brothers who also played professional baseball.
Brett was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1971. He played in the minor leagues until 1973 when he was called up to the majors. Over the course of his 21-year career, he had 3,154 hits, despite being plagued by injuries for several seasons. Considered to have one the best left-handed swings in baseball, he finished his career with a .305 average. His best individual season was in 1980 when he won the batting championship with a .390 average. He is one of only four players in baseball history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a career batting average of .300.
He won the Most Valuable Player award once, finished second twice and third once. He was a 13-time all star selection. Brett helped the Royals reach the playoffs nine times, and he played in two World Series.
On July 24, 1983, Brett was involved in the memorable “Pine-Tar Bat Incident.” Baseball players use pine tar to get a better grip, and the rule, seldom enforced, allows for up to 18 inches of pine tar on the bat from the knob up. After Brett hit a home run against New York, Yankee manager Billy Martin asked the umpires to measure the amount of pine tar on the bat. Brett’s bat had more than allowed, and the umpire signaled Brett out, which gave the win to the Yankees. Brett stormed from the dugout and was ejected from the game. The footage of Brett waving his arms and screaming at the umpire is classic baseball lore.
After he retired in 1993, Brett stayed involved in the game as a coach, executive and owner of a minor league team. He also has been involved in a variety of business ventures. Brett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
View “Baseball Moments: The Pine Tar Game” at Major League Baseball website.
Written by David Schau