By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
McMINNVILLE, Ore. — Linfield College Head Coach Scott Brosius is one of the great treasures of college baseball.
The former 11-year Major Leaguer played seven seasons for the Oakland A’s managed by Tony La Russa and his final four years with the New York Yankees under manager Joe Torre as a third baseman, outfielder and first baseman.
He won three World Series titles with the Yankees in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Brosius was a Golden Glove award recipient and was named Most Valuable Player during the 1998 World Series and played in the 1998 All-Star Game.
What makes his story intriguing is that he played for Linfield College for three seasons and was only drafted in the 20th round in 1987 by Oakland. But through an incredible work ethic, he moved his way up the minor league system and eventually became a starter in the Major Leagues.
As a freshman at Linfield in 1985, he only batted .194 over 20 games and had the gumption of telling then Head Coach Scott Carnahan that his intention was to play pro baseball and wanted to know what he needed to do to play at that level.
His ascent to the highest levels of pro baseball is a remarkable story. He defied the odds to play Major League baseball and jumped past numerous higher draft picks and then played for several amazing ball clubs with the Yankees.
When he retired as a player, he returned home to Oregon and helped Carnahan at Linfield College for a few years. Then he became the head coach five years ago and has posted a 158-64 record with three conference titles.
If that wasn’t enough, he has led the USA Baseball 18 and under National Team to two gold medals the last two years. The first was at the 2011 Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Columbia which earned him USA Baseball Coach of The Year.
Last summer, he led Team USA to the 18 and under World Championship in Seoul, South Korea with essentially a new team that was an underdog to win the title.
The following is a special question and answer session with Brosius:
Collegiate Baseball (CB): You played for two of the best Major League managers in history with Tony La Russa at Oakland and Joe Torre with the Yankees. What did you learn from these two gentlemen when putting together your highly successful coaching style?
Scott Brosius (SB): I feel that you learn from everybody you are around in baseball. And that started from Scott Carnahan when I was here at Linfield College. As I went through the minor leagues, I had a manager by the name of Jeff Nelson who I had for three years. Tony La Russa and Joe Torre also had a big impact on me as well. For example, Tony La Russa was very prepared and extremely meticulous as he thought through every angle. Joe Torre’s interpersonal skills were amazing. He had the ability to say the right things at the right time to players and to the team. For me, I soaked up everything every coach has told me through the years and applied them to my style today.
CB: You have played with some incredible athletes over the years on the Major League level. Beyond talent, what has allowed these people to reach the top their profession?
SB: The first thing everybody believes is that these athletes are supremely talented. Maybe that might be the case, but there are a whole lot of talented players out there. And there are a bunch of talented players who never reach the Big Leagues. Or they don’t have the same type of careers in the Major Leagues when they get there. What separates the elite are a couple of things. The first is how they prepare. They have really dedicated their lives to becoming great players, and they have a crazy, strong will to succeed. They are very competitive. If you look at a Derek Jeter with the Yankees, his will to win is incredible. The ability to focus and being committed to help the team are other key areas.
These athletes possess a lot of the intangibles that moves way beyond the physical ability of the player. Desire, work ethic, focus and things like that certainly stand out. One of the things I talk to my players at Linfield College about is that with some of the greatest players, such as Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, and Ricky Henderson during my Oakland days, among many others, is that you never saw them have negative self talk. They had such a strong belief in themselves that even after a tough game or tough at-bat or whatever, it never came out in terms of being down on themselves. They were always looking toward the next play or next game with a belief they could get it done.
MORE INFORMATION: The complete question and answer session with Scott Brosius is in the Jan. 4, 2013 edition of Collegiate Baseball. To obtain a copy, call Collegiate Baseball M-F from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mountain time.
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