After 1,000 games, Miller still has 'the same energy'

June 26th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON -- Chris Young doesn’t exactly remember the first time he met Brad Miller, but he assumes it was an energy-filled interaction. 

Young, now the Rangers' general manager, was at the tail end of his playing career and spent a single season with the Mariners in 2014. That year, a 23-year-old Miller was entering his first full big league season after he made his debut in June of the previous year. 

Now, eight years removed from being teammates, Young is Miller’s “boss” as the general manager, and was also proud to be able to watch Miller’s 1,000th career game in Texas' loss to the Nationals on Friday night at Globe Life Field. Miller became the 69th active player to reach 1,000 career games after a 1-for-4 showing while playing left field. 

“I remember just being around Brad back then,” Young explained. “He was really positive, had a good energy to him day in and day out, and showed up with just the right attitude. He wasn't afraid to work and had a winning mentality.

“That's what I really appreciated about him as a teammate, and obviously, what I see in him now as well -- and part of the reason we brought him here. It’s special to get a day in the big leagues, much less 1,000 of them. It’s a really special achievement for Brad and I think there's a lot of good games left ahead for him as well.”

Young isn’t the only one with prior experience alongside Miller. Manager Chris Woodward served in multiple roles in the Mariners' organization, including as Minor League infield coordinator, big league infield coach and first-base coach from 2012-15.

He watched Miller’s formative developmental years through Seattle’s farm system. Miller, Woodward said, is the exact same person and player he was all those years ago as a Double-A shortstop.

“It's hard for me to believe that it's been 1,000 games,” Woodward said. “He seems like the same guy. The fact that he almost has nine or 10 years in the big leagues is kind of baffling to me, because it still seems the same. The same [electric] guy who will just run through a wall for you. He has the same energy every day, you’d swear this guy was taking some sort of drug every day. It's just in his DNA. That comes to mind, but I don't have a specific story. The same energy has not gone away from the second I met him to now.” 

Miller’s always full of energy in a Rangers clubhouse that is filled with lead-by-example type of players. He demonstrates the vocal leadership that every team needs, and he embraces it.

He’s never won a World Series or been in an All-Star Game, but there’s a lot to be said for a career like Miller’s, which spans 10 years and 1,000 games through seven organizations. When asked what the highlight of his career has been so far, he contemplated for more than a few seconds.

His debut, a warm summer day in Seattle, automatically comes to mind. But he quickly corrected course to a doubleheader against the Nationals in 2021, when he was a member of the Phillies.

“It was just kind of the little microcosm of facing adversity,” Miller explained. “I went into the second game of a doubleheader and we were down seven. I had struck out a couple of times, but we ended up battling back in the bottom of the last inning. I ended up getting a walk-off grand slam. They walked the pitcher [Aaron Nola] to get to me. All of the pain throughout the day, the strikeouts, the failure, just to be able to battle back at the end and to be able to win the game for my team, I think it's worth all of the bad times.”

After 1,000 games, Miller has compiled 713 hits, 394 RBIs and 122 home runs. He’s played every position on the field except pitcher and catcher. He’s not the biggest star, but he may be the biggest personality on any field. And he embraces that.

“It's definitely something that I don't take for granted,” Miller said. “Hopefully once I am done playing, I'll kind of reflect on it. It’s interesting, because you never have it figured out, right? It's such a challenging game. There's so many things that get thrown at you. I just love that part of it. The ups and the downs, facing challenges and overcoming them. It's like survival and battling through adversity. I just think I would love to say at the end of my career that I did just keep fighting.”