Veteran catcher Brayan Pena announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday after 12 big league seasons. He played for five teams during his time in the majors, including the 2013 season with the Detroit Tigers. He hit .259/.299/.351 during his career, but was best known for his electric smile and hard-working attitude on the field.
Those two attributes came together in what I believe is his best moment as a Tiger. On one August evening, Pena hustled after a slow roller hit by Nick Swisher, then a disappointing signee of the Cleveland Indians. What followed was pure magic.
That play not only epitomized Pena’s career — built on hustle and awareness, and decorated with a shit-eating grin — but also Detroit’s dominance over the Tribe that season (they went 15-4 in 19 games).
Pena will manage one of the Tigers’ Gulf Coast League teams following his retirement as a player.