Hall of Famer Brett chats online
Former third baseman recalls his days in a Royals uniform
Hall of Famer George Brett, who hit .305 while playing for Kansas City from 1973-93, answered questions from fans during an online chat Tuesday. The 12-time All-Star talked about some of his baseball experiences, including his flirtation with .400 in 1980.
kakelace: Which ball player do you respect the most in today's game?
George Brett: I like Darin Erstad because of his intensity, the way he runs the bases, and how versatile he is. I really like watching him play. I also loved to watch Carlos Beltran here in K.C. I followed him daily, and I think he has a chance to be a real good player. In 1999, I was asked who I thought might have a chance at the Hall of Fame, and I picked Carlos. He's been a real good friend for a long time.
Base_Ball: How difficult was it to make that run at .400 in 1980 with all of the injuries you experienced that season?
Brett: I really benefitted from it, in all honesty, because I only played 117 games. It made my chances better. It wasn't too difficult, because I never thought about it. There were six weeks to go in the season when the media really got on me, and I thought it was crazy. But I didn't know I'd be over .400 that long.
jbruno03: George, I'm a huge fan, thank you for this opportunity. Do you see yourself managing the Royals or any other ballclub?
Brett: No, I have no desire. My three boys are very involved in sports and I want to spend time with them. I consider myself more of a father than an ex-baseball player. I also have other business interests, and managing a team is not in my interest.
Base_Ball_3: If you had to give me the most important key to hitting, what would it be?
Brett: There's not just one. But the most important is to see the ball. I love when hitters watch the ball all the way into the mitt. I try to teach kids that they have to see the ball. Charley Lau taught me to have good extension and to transfer the weight. Those are important too.
kakelace: What pitcher did you least like to face in your playing days?
Brett: I didn't hate facing anyone. I liked the challenge of facing guys who had got me in the past. Whenever I knew I was going to face someone who I had struggled against, I tried to get myself psyched up to face him.
Base_Ball_2: Can you tell us what you think the Royals need to do to start winning consistently again? Shell out more money? Front office shake-up? Improve the farm system? Hire new scouts?
Brett: Well, free agents aren't in their budget. The only way to get better, in my opinion, is to get more people out to the park. The more people that come out, the higher the payroll can be. I think the Royals farm system has gotten better. We have young pitchers down there, and the system is improving. Overall, Buddy Bell had done well. He injected some energy, just like it always happens when a new manager comes in. The team responded to Buddy when he came in. All in all, in a few years, the Royals will be contending with the players they have.
gloine: Do you and your family still own and operate Minor League teams? If so, which ones?
Brett: We have Spokane, Wash., affiliated with the Rangers, also Tri-City, with the Rockies. High Desert, affiliated with the Royals, and we just sold El Paso. But we still have three teams, yes.
Brett_Butler: Do you stay in contact with any of your former teammates?
Brett: Yes, I do. In fact in August, we're having the 20th anniversary reunion of the 1985 Championship team. I saw Steve Balboni last year here in K.C. Jamie Quirk is still a great friend. Of course, Clint Hurdle is a good friend. Bud Black, Pat Sheridan, Mike Boddicker, Kevin Seitzer, Mike Macfarlane are a few other guys I see too. I always love to see them and re-live the memories.
scasey21: Who was your favorite player as a kid? I've heard that you modeled your game after Brooks Robinson.
Brett: I was a catcher in Little League, and then I became a third baseman in high school. I was always imitating Brooks Robinson when I was a kid and then later I emulated Carl Yastrzemski's batting stance. I wore No. 5 because of Brooks. When Richie Scheinblum was traded, it made No. 5 available, and it was neat to be able to wear it.
pickle3189: George, how much time did you put in a day when you were younger to improve your fielding?
Brett: A lot of people took extra batting practice, but I went out and took extra fielding and extra batting practice. I had to work to get better upper body movement and by 1985 I was really improved and I won my first Gold Glove. In KC we talked a lot about hitting, but I was embarrassed about my fielding, so I worked to improve it.
supacoo: What is the most memorable moment of your career?
Brett: Winning the World Series in 1985, no doubt about it.
Cora_LaPlante: Do you think it's important to have a stricter drug testing policy for players?
Brett: Yes, I think it's very important. We have to have tougher standards. It's about time they stepped up to the plate and got stricter.
Graham_Glaser: Mr. Brett, what gave you the drive or desire to continue playing for as long and at the level that you did?
Brett: My love of the game of baseball. I enjoyed playing the game. Charley Lau said, "A lot of people have a bad day and when they get to the park it got worse. But with George, he got in a better mood when he got to the park." So for me, late in my career, when I started to realize that I wasn't as excited at the ballpark as much as I had been, I knew it was time to leave. Every time I stepped on the field, I wanted to be the best player in baseball. I had that desire up until the very end, and when it waned, I new it was time to retire.
Brett_Butler: George, I'm a big fan. How can I participate in the fantasy camp in Cooperstown?
Brett: Well, you can go to baseballhalloffame.org and find out about the Hall of Fame camp, which is this October. I'm really looking forward to the camp because it's an opportunity to get back to Cooperstown and put the uniform back on. It doesn't matter how good or how bad you are, it's just for the fun of the game. The common bond is that we all love baseball. I think this Fantasy Camp is special because people will be able to enjoy themselves and the town. Any time you can get to Cooperstown, it's wonderful. If Cooperstown doesn't put goosebumps on your arm, something's wrong with you.
Brett: Thanks so much for joining me today. I enjoyed chatting with my fans. I hope to see you in Cooperstown in July for Hall of Fame Weekend!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.