Brosius a new candidate on Hall ballot

Brosius' playoff heroics earn Hall candidacy

For Yankees fans looking back during these Alex Rodriguez days, Scott Brosius might be considered as the antithesis of A-Rod.

Brosius' time spent with the Yankees started off with a bang, as he batted .300 in his first season, driving in 98 runs despite hitting at or near the bottom of the lineup. But the third baseman never matched the numbers he put up in that first season, hitting .247 in 1999, .230 in 2000 and .287 in 2001.

But, for the amound of pressure that goes along with playing in New York, Brosius had a knack for timely hits, including his game-tying two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series.

And his defense caused manager Joe Torre to compare him to some of the best third basemen in history. Torre said he had never seen anyone barehand a slow roller and throw on the run as well as Brosius.

It is his clutch hitting in the postseason, as well as his solid and, often times, spectacular defensive play, which may give members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America enough impetus to consider him for Hall of Fame induction in 2007.

Brosius, who retired after the Yankees' World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, is one of 13 first-year candidates on the 2007 Hall of Fame ballot, which includes eight-time batting champion Tony Gwynn, four-time home run leader Mark McGwire and two-time Most Valuable Player Cal Ripken Jr.

The newcomers join 14 holdovers from the 2006 balloting, in which Bruce Sutter was elected. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast to gain entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Brosius began his career with the Oakland Athletics and his career on the West Coast was lackluster, at best. In seven seasons with the A's, Brosius batted .248 and never reached the playoffs.

But a trade to New York changed his career, and his inspired play helped keep the Bronx Bombers in the postseason limelight as the Yankees won three straight World Series titles from 1998-2000, before being unable to capture their fourth in a row in 2001.

And, for a player who had never been to the playoffs, Brosius cherished it, batting .314 with four home runs, eight runs and 13 RBIs in 20 World Series contests. His performance in the 1998 Fall Classic -- in which he belted two homers in Game 3, including a game-winning three-run blast off San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman, and batted .471 in the four-game sweep -- garnered him the World Series MVP Award.

The 1998 team that won 125 games (including postseason) has been referred to as one of the best teams in baseball history, and Brosius was an integral part to its success. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner noted in several interviews after the World Series win that it was as good a team as he had ever seen. Torre noted that it was the best team he had seen in his 40 years of baseball.

"Brosius did it the other way," said Gwynn in a Sporting News interview following the 1998 World Series. "Hoffman threw him a couple of changeups and Brosius wouldn't bite. Then Hoffy threw his fastball, and he took a good hack and hit it out of the park. When you see that, you have to appreciate the job they've done. I saw it from him and the rest of them all series long."

And when Brosius -- who is now coaching at his alma mater, Lindale College, in his home state of Oregon -- reflects on the championship years, he is more humbled than anything else, which speaks volumes about what type of character he brought to the table.

"There was no one guy who carried the load," said Brosius. "There were 25 important players on the team. Still, when I look back on it, I'm awed by the fact I was a part of that team. It was an amazing team and an amazing group of guys to be a part of. I'm glad that I was able to contribute and help them achieve as much as we did."

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.