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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Mike Brito’s scout of Mexican talent for the Dodgers 87. died at the age of

LOS ANGELES – Mike Brito, the top scout in Mexico for the Los Angeles Dodgers for nearly 45 years who discovered talents like Fernando Valenzuela, current Dodgers pitchers Julio Ureas and Yasiel Puig, died Thursday. He was 87 years old.

The team announced his death to the crowd and observed a moment of silence before hosting the Chicago Cubs. Photos of Brito and his discoveries were shown on the stadium’s videoboard. He died in a hospital in Los Angeles. No cause of death was given.

For years, the mustache Brito was instantly recognizable behind home plate wearing a stylish suit and a Panama hat with a cigar holding a radar gun in his teeth. Most recently, he used a cane in concession for his age as he looked at the current Dodgers from the press box.

Brito’s link to the club’s most recent World Series championship was won after the 2020 season was cut short by the pandemic. In the deciding Game 6 against Tampa Bay, Victor Gonzalez was the winner and Urea earned the save. Both Mexican-born pitchers were signed by Brito, who remained part of the team’s scouting staff until his death.

“I learned a lot from him talking about players and just watching the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It didn’t matter where on the map the baseball game was, if there was any potential, Mike was going to be there and set his eyes on it.”

Brito played in the Washington Senators’ minor league system from 1955–61, before achieving international fame rare for anyone in the scouting profession. He reached Triple-A level and played professionally in Mexico from 1961–66.

Born in Cuba, Brito moved to Los Angeles in 1968. Through his work as a scout in the Mexican League, he became involved with the Dodgers and then-general manager Al Campanis, who hired Brito full-time in 1978. The first play he signed was pitcher Bobby Castillo.

In 1979, Brito convinced Campanis to sign Valenzuela, becoming the most successful Mexican-born pitcher in major league history. In 1981, he was awarded the Rookie of the Year and the NL Cy Young Award, leading the Dodgers to the World Series title.

“My heart is very heavy,” said Valenzuela, who works as a broadcaster for the team. “Mike was a great man and was instrumental in my success as a baseball player on and off the field. No one loved the Dodger organization more than Mike and we will all miss him dearly.

In all, Brito helped sign over 30 players who went on to play in the big leagues, including pitchers Antonio Osuna, Denis Reyes and Ismael Valdez, and infielder Juan Castro.

Brito was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and named International Scout of the Year at Major League Baseball’s 2014 winter meetings. Last year, he received the Tony Gwynn Award from Baseball America for his contribution to the sport.

“He lived a great life and he is about to be missed,” Roberts said.

Brito played a scout in the 1991 film “Talent for the Game”.

He is survived by wife Rosario and daughters Diana and Minerva.

More Associated Press MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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