Phils mourn passing of executive Bart Braun

July 18th, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- If somebody asked Bart Braun to fly somewhere on short notice to see somebody play baseball, he did so without complaint. He loved his job. He loved baseball. He spent the past seven-plus years as a special assistant to the Phillies’ general manager.

Braun died on Friday at his home in Vallejo, Calif. He was 64.

“He was born to scout,” said assistant GM Scott Proefrock, who worked with Braun for four organizations. “He lived and loved baseball. He made it fun. All he wanted to do was scout, give his opinion and try to make the organization better. He wasn’t trying to advance himself. He only wanted to scout players and help his organization win.

“He had his opinions. He was as convicted as anybody I’ve ever been around. He could disagree with you, but afterward he’d have a beer with you. It was never personal. You talk about a picture of passion. It was Bart.”

Braun joined the Phillies in October 2012. He spent the previous 18 years with the Rays, working as a special assistant to the GM (1995-97), an assistant GM (1997-2005) and a special-assignment scout (2006-12). He also worked with the Braves (1991-95), Pirates (1984-91) and Tigers (1983). The A’s selected Braun in the third round of the 1976 Draft, and he pitched seven seasons in the Minor Leagues for the A’s, Indians, Blue Jays and Angels.

Braun’s larger-than-life personality made him popular in the scouting world. He got along with everybody.

“He lived the life of a scout,” Proefrock said, “but his passion was for the game.”

Braun was very good at his job. Phillies pro scouting director Mike Ondo recalls the time that he and former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. dispatched Braun to the Dominican Republic to get his eyes on Cuban catcher Lednier Ricardo. Braun watched Ricardo’s workout but wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t a wasted trip, though, because somebody else caught his eye: the pitcher who threw Ricardo's batting practice.

His name? Sixto Sanchez.

Braun convinced the Phillies to sign Sanchez for $35,000. Sanchez became the organization’s top pitching prospect. The Phillies traded him in February 2019 to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins.

“It started out as a joke -- the catcher wasn’t very good, but the guy throwing BP had a great arm,” Ondo said. “The thing with Bart was that he would give you his honest opinion. His database of players was incredible. His comparisons were amazing. It was like a photographic memory. Don’t ask him his computer password, but ask him about a player he saw 15 years ago, and he could remember everything. A lot of the good scouts have that recall, and he had it.”

“I was blessed to be around him for all those years,” said Chuck LaMar, who hired Braun and Proefrock as the first executives in the baseball operations department with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1995.

“The one thing about Bart, he loved going to work every day,” former Phillies GM Pat Gillick said. “He loved to scout. He loved players. He loved his teammates that he worked with. He had instincts. He could evaluate. He could project. He was a real pro in all the aspects of scouting. He was a lot of fun, too.”

“He would go see anybody at any time,” current GM Matt Klentak said. “He could impact all three lanes of scouting [professional, amateur and international] in such an impressive way.”

“Bart was a friend,” Phillies director of international scouting Sal Agostinelli said. “It’s a big loss for all of us. No matter what we were going through in our lives … he was always like a big brother to me. As a person, Bart was so special.”

Braun is survived by his wife, Patty, and son, Bart Jr.

Funeral arrangements and donation information are pending.