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Mike Brito, scout of Mexican talent for Dodgers, dies at 87

Thu, Jul 7, 2022
MLB News (AP)

Mike Brito, scout of Mexican talent for Dodgers, dies at 87

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mike Brito, the top scout in Mexico for the Los Angeles Dodgers for nearly 45 years who discovered such talents as Fernando Valenzuela, current Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias and Yasiel Puig, died Thursday. He was 87.

The team announced his death to the crowd before hosting the Chicago Cubs and held a moment of silence. Photos of Brito and his discoveries were shown on the stadium's videoboards. He died at a Los Angeles hospital. No cause of death was provided.

For years, Brito was instantly recognizable behind home plate dressed in a stylish suit and a Panama hat with a cigar clenched in his teeth holding a radar gun.

Before becoming one of baseball's best-known scouts, Brito played in the Washington Senators' minor league system from 1955-61. He reached the Triple-A level and played professionally in Mexico from 1961-66.

Born in Cuba, Brito moved to Los Angeles in 1968. Through his work as a scout in the Mexican League he became associated with the Dodgers and then-general manager Al Campanis, who hired Brito full-time in 1978. The first played he signed was pitcher Bobby Castillo.

In 1979, Brito convinced Campanis to sign Valenzuela, who became the most successful Mexican-born pitcher in major league history. He was won rookie of the year and the NL Cy Young Award while leading the Dodgers to a World Series title in 1981.

  • "My heart is very heavy," said Valenzuela, who works as a broadcaster for the team. "Mike was a great man and instrumental in my success as a baseball player on and off the field. No one loved the Dodger organization more than Mike and we will all miss him very much."

    In all, Brito helped to sign over 30 players who went on to play in the big leagues, including pitchers Antonio Osuna, Dennys Reyes and Ismael Valdez, and infielder Juan Castro.

    Brito was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named international scout of the year at Major League Baseball's 2014 winter meetings. Last year, he received the Tony Gwynn Award from Baseball America for his contributions to the game.

    He is survived by his wife, Rosario, and daughters Diana and Minerva.

    ___

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