Brett trades HOF-signed bat for one of his own

May 15th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Friday was essentially George Brett Day on MLB Network.

To celebrate Brett’s 67th birthday -- and his 50th year with the Royals -- MLB Network featured several iconic Brett-related moments and games, including the infamous pine tar game.

Brett also appeared on MLB Tonight with Greg Amsinger, Carlos Pena and Dan Plesac, sharing a story somewhat related to the pine tar game.

“I had given a bat to [former teammate] Mike Boddicker [a while back]; one of the last bats I ever used,” Brett said, “and he wanted me to sign it. It’s got a little crack in it. I don’t really have any of my old game bats.

“I was looking at it, and this bat is 10 times worse [than the pine tar bat]. The pine tar on this is just caked on. You can see my fingerprints on it.”

Seeing that bat and holding it again made Brett long to keep it. He worked out a trade with Boddicker, offering him a bat signed by about 60 Hall of Famers in exchange.

“Every year at the Hall of Fame,” Brett said, “we sign bats and then later they send you one. ... Mike said, ‘You got a deal.’”

In the interview, Brett also reminisced about his nearly half a century with the Royals. Only broadcaster Denny Matthews and legendary scout Art Stewart have been with the team longer.

“Loyalty,” Brett explained. “I signed with them the day after I graduated high school. They trusted me at a very early age with a five-year deal. Then I got a five-year extension. Then another five-year extension. They trusted me, and I trusted them.

“Now, would I have stayed with the organization if they were bottom-feeders and never made the playoffs? Probably not, because every player wants to play on a championship team.

“If we were coming in last place all the time, I probably wouldn’t have signed the second extension. But we were in the playoffs almost every year. I thought after 1985, we would still make the playoffs every year. But unfortunately, ’85 was the last year.”

Asked if he could pick three games to re-air from his career, Brett said: “Well, the pine tar game for sure, because it showed my desire to win. Then it would be the third game of [the 1985 ALCS] against Toronto. Best game I ever played.

“Then I’d pick the final game of the [1985] World Series. It wasn’t a great game to watch, but it’s one you never forget.”