Mar 25, 2019

1999 NL Wild Card Champion Mets Hitting Coach: Mickey Brantley & His MLB Family

Michael Charles Brantley was born June 17th 1961 in Catskill, New York. The youngster starred in baseball, as well as soccer & basketball in the Catskill Mountain Region of New York. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the 1983 draft. He became known as Mickey Brantley.

Brantley played four years with the Mariners, seeing the most playing time in 1988 (149 games). In his MLB career he batted .259 lifetime, with 32 HRs 56 doubles 125 RBIs in 1222 games. Brantley then went on to play in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants.

He returned to MLB as a roving coach with the San Francisco Giants in 1994. From there he moved to the New York Mets organization, managing the St. Lucie Mets in 1996 & 1997.

 In 1999 the Mets front office, led by  GM Steve Phillips, fired most of Bobby Valentines coaching staff without consulting him. Mickey Bradley was brought in as the new Mets hitting coach.

At the point that Brantley took over as Hitting coach, the Mets went 70-38 the rest of the way, securing a tie for the Wild Card spot with the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets beat the Reds in a one game tie breaker, then beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, before falling to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS in six games. The Mets finished second in the NL as a team with a .279 batting average, as well as second in walks, third in hits & overall best in on base %. No doubt that Brantley did a fantastic job.

Unfortunately, he did not return in 2000 as he went back to being a minor league hitting instructor. The Mets brought back Tom Robson in 2000, mostly as a peace gesture to Bobby Valentine, who was never told about his coaches being fired the previous season.

Brantley went on to coach with the Toronto Blue Jays through 2007.

Michael Brantley Jr.: Brantley's son, Michael was 12 at the time. He would attend the games & mimic stances of the Mets star hitters of the day, Mike Piazza, John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo & was in attendance at Shea Stadium, the day of Robin Ventura's walk off grand slam single in the NLCS. He would go on to a big league career of his own, starting just nine years down the road. 

Michael Brantley would play ten years (thru 2018) with the Cleveland Indians, batting .300 or better four times, leading the league in doubles in 2015 with 45, getting to three post seasons. In 2019 he signed on with the Houston Astros.

Justin Brantley: Justin is Mickey Brantley's nephew. The young pitcher briefly played in the Mets organization with the St. Lucie Mets in 2017. He had previously played in the Indians organization like his cousin. He then moved on to Independent League baseball.

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