Brad Ausmus is the next manager of the Detroit Tigers. While Ausmus has no managerial experience in the major leagues, or in the minor leagues for that matter, he does have plenty of major league experience as a player, catching almost 16,000 innings over 18 seasons in the major leagues.
In his 18-year major league playing career with the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers, he was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner in 2001, 2002, and 2006. He was selected as an All Star in 1999.
Ausmus, now 44 years of age, played his final major league game with the Los Angeles Dodgers just three years ago. Initially, Ausmus was a fourth round draft pick of the New York Yankees in the 48th round of the 1987 amateur player draft. After spending his early years as a professional in the Yankee organization, he was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the 54th pick in the expansion draft when the Rockies became a franchise in 1992.
Ausmus was traded to the San Diego Padres just before the trade deadline in July of 1993 and made his major league debut with the Padres. In parts of four seasons with the Padres as their primary catcher, Ausmus logged over 1,000 plate appearances with a batting line of .255/.314/.365/.680 OPS, although he was better known for his defense and his ability to work with pitchers.
In June of 1996, Ausmus was traded to the Tigers along with minor leaguer Russ Spear and shortstop Andujar Cedeno in exchange for catcher John Flaherty and infielder Chris Gomez. Although he was the Tigers' starting catcher for the remainder of the 1996 season, he was dealt again in December to the Houston Astros with Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward to the Houston Astros for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash. Yes, the Tigers accepting cash in the deal meant that they were being cheap at the time.
Ausmus spent the next two seasons with the Astros, then two more in Detroit. He went back to Houston for another eight seasons, and then spent his last two years with the Dodgers before he retired. As a Tiger, Ausmus hit .266/.354/ .382/ .736 with 20 home runs, 127 RBI, and 26 steals in just under 1400 plate appearances. Yes, folks, Ausmus would have led the Tigers in stolen bases -- as a catcher -- if he were on the 2013 Tigers. But, I digress.
When all was said and done, Ausmus spent portions of 18 seasons in the major leagues, with over 7100 plate appearances, and a batting line of .251/.325/.344/.669 with 80 home runs, over 600 RBI, and over 100 steals. Once again, his reputation was that of a very intelligent catcher who knew the game and knew how to work with pitchers.
Those who remember Ausmus as a player have learned that he was an exceptionally intelligent player who was a team leader and was very well respected by his team mates.
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