Pro Perspective: Ron Brand
- Pittsburgh Pirates, 1963; Houston Astros, 1965 - 1968; Montreal Expos, 1969 - 1971
Ron Brand was born on January 13, 1940 in Los Angeles, California. He played high school ball at North Hollywood High School in North Hollywood, California.
He was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1957. Ron would go on to make his major league debut for the Pirates in 1963, in game against the Milwaukee Braves.
Brand joined the Houston Colt .45s - soon to be renamed the Astros - in time for the 1965 season. Brand appeared in 300 games for the Astros, spending most of his time behind the plate but also playing various positions throughout both the infield and outfield.
In the 1968 MLB Expansion Draft, he was picked by the brand new Montreal Expos. He spent three seasons with the Expos playing under longtime MLB manager Gene Mauch.
Ron ended his MLB career having played in 568 games, collecting 322 hits, 106 RBI, and gunning down 82 runners attempting to steal.
Following the end of his playing career, Ron moved into coaching at the minor league level. Later, he became a pro scout for the New York Yankees, where he was part of a Yankees organization that won five World Series during his tenure.
Q&A with George
Ron Brand is a former big league catcher with over 3,000 innings of MLB playing time under his belt. He has played with many MLB legends - names like Roberto Clemente, Joe Morgan, and Rusty Staub.
I wrote Ron a few months back hoping to get his feedback on my three key questions for catchers. He graciously signed an index card for me and answered my questions, as you can read below.
Like the others in this Pro Perspective series, I wanted to share Ron's responses with the readers of Catchers Home in the hope that his perspective will help catchers interested in improving their game.
Here are his responses to my questions, as you will also see in the image below.
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?
Answer: Catching the first game ever played indoors in the Astrodome 4/9/65. We played the Yankees and won 2 - 1 in 12 innings. I also got the 1st hit by an Astro, a triple to right center. The President was there, and the game was heard all over the country and on Armed Forces Radio around the world.
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: He has to be able to catch and throw obviously, but reading hitters and knowing what his Pitcher is capable of is the most important part of catching.
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?
Answer: Learn the game, have a "take charge" attitude, and outwork everyone else.
Ron's feedback is great. He points to the importance of a catcher exhibiting leadership on the field, of working hard, and of having a solid intellectual understanding of the game. If you read other posts in this series, you will notice many of the former pros we interviewed said similar things. Remember, don't neglect the intangibles!
Thank you for Reading
We have even more Pro Perspectives ready to share with you, and they will continue to be posted in the coming months ahead. Be on the lookout for them!