Happy Birthday, Brady Anderson: Greatest leadoff hitter in O’s history

Brady Anderson is a pretty big deal around Birdland.

Described by Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. as “the greatest lead-off hitter in Orioles baseball, and the best athlete I have ever played with,” Brady Anderson was a staple at the No. 1 spot in Baltimore’s lineup for over a decade.

Today is Brady’s birthday, so we at The Baltimore Battery wanted to take a deep dive into the impressive career of Baltimore’s favorite leadoff man! So, let’s take a look back at the amazing career of the birthday boy!

A native of Silver Spring, MD, Anderson was selected by the Red Sox in the tenth round of the 1985 MLB Draft. He’d play in 41 games for the Sox in 1988 before getting dealt to his hometown O’s later that year.

A deal that sent the young Anderson, along with future Hall of Famer Curt Schilling, to Baltimore for Mike Boddicker lead to the O’s getting the leadoff man they were searching for.

But, it wasn’t until 1992 that Anderson would become one of the O’s best players. Anderson would play in all but three games and would lead the majors in plate appearances. By season’s end, he had become the first player in American League history to reach 20 homers, 50 steals, and 75 RBI in a season.

In 1993, Anderson led all American League leadoff hitters in extra-base hits (56) and RBI (62). He also led the Orioles in eight offensive categories, including runs scored (87), stolen bags (24), walks (82), triples (8), and extra base hits (57).

Anderson led all American League left fielders with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 1994, and his 31 stolen bases in 32 attempts was a major league record for 25 or more steals. Anderson set an American League record with 34 consecutive stolen bases the following season in 1995.

The 1996 season was the best of Anderson’s career, as he hit 50 home runs, breaking Frank Robinson’s record for most home runs in a season by a Baltimore Oriole. He also became the only player in major league history to be in the 50–20 club and the 20–50 club. Anderson also shattered a major league record by leading off four consecutive games with a home run.

Anderson led the Orioles in 13 offensive categories in 1997 and played the majority of the season with broken ribs after getting plunked a league-leading 19 times, marking the second straight year he led the league in that category.

After an injury-riddled 1998, Anderson would come back and have one of the best all-around seasons of his career in 1999. He led American League leadoff hitters with a .408 on-base percentage and reached base 279 times, ninth most in the league. He became the only leadoff hitter in history with three 75 RBI seasons to his credit.

On May 23 of that year, Anderson became the first player in American League history to be hit by a pitch twice in the same inning. In a post-season statistical analysis by Baseball America, Anderson was rated as the best leadoff hitter in the American League.

After the 2001 season, Anderson was released by the Birds and later signed with the Cleveland Indians for the 2002 season. He would only appear in 34 games before the Tribe released him. Anderson was done with playing baseball after this.

On August 21, 2004, Anderson was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame and was named Special Assistant to the Executive Vice-President for Baseball Operations by the Orioles on January 19, 2012. He was promoted to Vice President of Baseball Operations one year later on February 19, 2013.

Brady left the organization at the conclusion of the 2019 season, after the new Elias-led regime would make significant changes to the organization.

Anderson is one of only two players to have stolen 50 or more bases in a season (53 in 1992) and hit 50 or more home runs in a season (50 in 1996). The other player… Barry Bonds.

To cap of a truly solid career, Anderson tallied a respectable .256 average, 210 home runs, 1,661 hits, and 35.0 WAR in 15 seasons.

Today, the young and handsome guy with awesome sideburns that we all know turns 57. Seems like yesterday when we last saw him in black and orange.

Brady, all of us at The Baltimore Battery, along with the rest of Birdland, wish you a very happy birthday! We can’t thank you enough for your contributions to our team!

Happy Birthday, Brady! You truly are the greatest leadoff hitter in O’s history!

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