Charleston’s MLB favorites: Braves in the NL; local ties in AL include Colbrunn, ex-RiverDogs, ‘Moneyball’
As the major league baseball postseason heats up, there’s no doubt the Braves own Lowcountry hearts. So that takes care of our National League rooting interest.
But there are enough Charleston (or nearby) ties on the American League side to make for a nice debate.
Boston Red Sox: Pitcher Ryan Dempster, as a young Texas Rangers prospect, the personable Canadian was 7-11 with a 3.30 earned run average for the 1996 Charleston RiverDogs; hitting coach Greg Colbrunn lives in Mount Pleasant and is a former RiverDogs manager and hitting coach; outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., hero of South Carolina’s back-to-back College World Series titles, might go off-and-on Boston’s postseason roster.
Oakland A’s: General Manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt in the “Moneyball” movie, spent part of his childhood in Charleston. How smart is Beane? Well, the A’s are back in the playoffs and you probably can’t name four of their players.
Detroit Tigers: Outfielder Austin Jackson and relief pitcher Phil Coke each spent two seasons with the Charleston RiverDogs as New York Yankees prospects. They were included in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson from Detroit to The Bronx.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays were the RiverDogs’ big league parent club before the Yankees. Though there are scant Tampa-Charleston ties, outfielder Delmon Young — a former Rays first-round pick who was a star in Charleston — has returned to the Rays. Outfielder Wil Myers signed with South Carolina but decided to turn pro out of high school when the Kansas City Royals picked him in the first round of the MLB draft.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff