The six foot five right handed Bradford was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1996 and then chose to finish out his college at the University of Southern Mississippi. He would be in the White Sox bullpen in 1998 going 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 29 games. He spent three seasons between Chicago & the minor leagues before, getting traded to the Oakland Athletics at the end of 2000.
There he became one of the subjects of the book “Moneyball” enjoying success as an economy priced middle reliever. With Oakland Bradford got to three straight post seasons pitching in seven games allowing no runs on five hits in three ALDS series. In four seasons at Oakland he was 18-14 with six saves to his credit, striking out 186 batters. His best season was 2003 going 7-4 with 3.04 ERA making 72 appearances, striking out 62 batters in 77 innings, setting up behind closer Keith Foulke.
In July of 2005 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for former Mets outfielder, Jay Payton. He spent one season there making 31 appearances going 2-1. At the end of the season he signed with the New York Mets as a free agent, reunited with his old pitching coach from Oakland Rick Peterson.
Bradford turned out to be a great pick up by the Mets, being used a right handed specialist out of a 2006 strong bullpen. Bradford was tied for second on the staff with Billy Wagner in appearances with 70. He posted a solid 2.90 ERA with a 4-2 record, two saves & eleven holds. He struck out 45 batters in 62 innings walking only 13 & posting a perfect .100 fielding %.
Post Season: In the post Season he appeared in seven games, allowing no runs on three hits over 5.2 innings pitched. In his playoff career he only allowed one earned run in 24 games over ten different post season series. In the off season he left New York & signed with the Baltimore Orioles for a big $10 million, which was far more than the Mets were offering him. Bradford had to take it & move on leaving another gap in the Mets pen. Mets fans were sorry to see the popular sidearm pitcher go.
In Baltimore he was 4-7 on a bad Orioles team posting a 3.34 ERA in 78 appearances (third most in the AL). The next year he was 3-3 with eleven holds & a 2.45 ERA when his contract was purchased by the Tampa Rays for the stretch run. He finished the year at 1-0 with a 1. 42 ERA in Tampa, making 21 appearances as the Rays went to the post season.
Post Season: In the ALDS he made two appearances against the Chicago White Sox pitching three scoreless innings. In the ALCS he made three appearances against the Boston Red Sox allowing one run in Game #2 in the sixth inning. In the World Series Bradford made two appearances pitching two scoreless innings.
In 2009 he began to suffer from arm troubles that finished his career by the end of the season. Over a 12 year career he made 561 appearances, posting a 36-28 record with 11 saves & a 3.26 ERA. He pitched in 515 innings with 313 strike outs & 137 walks. After his playing days he has coached at his old college, in Mississippi.