Former first round pick starts new chapter

DBHS alumni Gary Brown, who played with San Francisco, still works in baseball.


Photo courtesy of STLTODAY

Gary Brown, right, is congragulated by Joe Punik, after scoring in a game against the San Diego Padres in 2015.

After graduating from Diamond Bar High School in 2007, former MLB player Gary Brown managed to be part of a World Series team— not only making the playoffs in his only season of MLB but also winning the title.  

“It was his God-given talent more than anything else, you knew that he was special… and he was just one of those guys that you knew was gonna be successful,” Brown’s former coach and current head softball coach Kurt Davies said.

Despite being drafted by the Oakland A’s after high school, the alumni decided to continue his baseball career and education at Cal State Fullerton, where he was ranked 10th in the nation and given All-Big West Conference honorable mentions. After playing for two seasons of college baseball, the outfielder was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2010 draft.

“DBHS was an awesome environment to learn to balance sports and school. It was a time in my life that I will always remember and one that I am thankful for because it set the foundation for my collegiate and professional experiences,” Brown said via email.

The top prospect saw little playing time in his rookie season, only making an appearance for twelve games. However, the next year, Brown found success while playing High-A ball with San Jose, earning California League Rookie of the Year honors with 14 home-runs, 53 stolen bases and a .336 batting average.

“I [think] anyone who accomplishes any of their goals in life believes they could do it. Sometimes you shoot for the stars and land on the moon and sometimes it’s the opposite, but it will never happen without a strong belief in yourself,” Brown said.

Two solid years playing AAA ball with Fresno in 2013 and 2014, earned Brown a call-up to the majors with the Giants in September 2015.  In the playoffs that season, Brown had a pinch-hit appearance in the National League Division Series, which earned the Giants a trip to the World Series.

 There the Giants defeated Kansas City, 4 games to 3, for the team’s third championship in five years. Although he logged a .429 batting average during his time with the Giants, Brown was released by the team in March of 2015.

He spent most of the 2015 season with the Angels’ AAA club in Salt Lake City and then signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016. There, he found some stability and success in the independent Atlantic League, batting .298 before being hit with injuries. With two children on-the-way in addition to the chronic pain in his hips and back, Brown decided to retire from professional baseball last year.

“I’ve known Gary since we were in elementary school, and he was always one of the fastest kids. He was very fast, made great contact, and could run any fly-ball down,” said David Lopez, a former teammate and a DBHS football/baseball assistant coach. “He definitely had some attributes that could take him a long way, if he trusted his process and stayed injury-free.”

Despite retiring from professional baseball at the age of 27, Brown is happy at where he is currently—working as a baseball operations intern for the Seattle Mariners.

“Baseball is a beautiful sport because each season is a marathon, not a sprint, similar to everyone’s life. You have spurts of success and moments of failure. Each season brought different challenges in baseball and in life,” Brown said.

“I began playing the game as a kid and ended my career as a husband and father. My journey has taught resilience and what’s important in life and there is nothing I would go back and change because my journey has gotten me to where I am today.”

Brown also gives advice to the student-athletes that aspire to play professionally.

“Be where your feet are. Keep dreaming and setting goals but accomplish goals every day where your feet are. It can be daunting looking too far ahead, enjoy being young and an amateur at your craft,” he said.