Steve Braun interview

Steve Braun

Steve Braun - Twins 3B and outfielder from 1971 - 1976

Stephen Russell Braun was born in Trenton, New Jersey on May 8, 1948. Straight out of high school, Braun was drafted and signed by the Twins for a $5,000 bonus as a shortstop coming out of the 10th round of the June 1966 amateur draft. Braun, who batted left-handed and threw right-handed started to work his way up the Twins minor league chain as a 2B but hit a bump in the road in 1968-1969 when Uncle Sam called and Braun obliged by serving his country as a member of the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. Once his military obligation was behind him, Steve resumed his quest to become a major league ballplayer. With an All-Star 2B already on the Twins roster by the name of Rod Carew, the Twins moved Braun to 3B and Steve put up a nice .279 season in Lynchburg playing A ball. When he followed that up with some solid hitting in the Fall instructional league, he had himself an invite to the Twins 1971 spring training. Braun had a great spring and next thing you know, Twins manager Bill Rigney is asking Steve how he would like to play in the American league. Not many players jump from A ball to the big leagues.

The 5’10” and 180 pound Braun had a very nice rookie season hitting .254 in 128 games and 402 plate appearances playing primarily 3B but he also played some 2B, shortstop and even appeared in the outfield and was rewarded by making the 1971 Topps All-Rookie team. “Braunie” put in five more seasons in a Twins uniform playing in 751 games while hitting .284 and posting a .376 OBP. Still only 28 years old, Steve yearned for more playing time wanting to see what he could do if he had at least 500 at bats and asked Twins management to make him available for the 1976 expansion draft. The Twins granted his wish and Steve was picked by the new Seattle Mariners. Braun played for the Mariners in 1977 and part of 1978 before being traded to the Kansas City Royals. Braun played for the Royals in 1978-1980 before being released in June of 1980. Steve signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and spent the remainder of the 1980 season north of the border but he only played in 37 games and had only 55 at bats and when the season ended he was granted free agency. In March of 1981 Steve Braun signed on with the St. Louis Cardinals and he played there through the 1985 season and was lucky enough to get to the World Series in 1982 when the Cards beat the Brewers and again in 1985 but this time the Cards came up on the short end to the Kansas City Royals. In 1986 the MLB roster size was reduced from 25 to 24 and Steve Braun spent the entire season in Louisville in AAA waiting for the call back to St. Louis but the call never came. In addition; a mid-summer hamstring injury that lingered on way too long was also on Braun’s mind and Steve retired as an active player as one of the best pinch-hitters in big league history and went into coaching.

Steve Braun played in the major leagues for 15 seasons, participated in 1,425 games, had 4,295 plate appearances, 989 hits, 52 home runs, 45 stolen bases, hit .271 and had a .371 OBP and the only positions he did not play was catcher and pitcher but I think he would have played there too if he had been asked.

Steve Braun served as a hitting coach for the next 20 years or so with the Cardinals, Yankees, and Red Sox organizations before the wear and tear of the day to day travel finally took its toll and Braun left pro ball to run the Steve Braun Baseball School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. When Braun is not teaching the youngsters how to play baseball and live life the right way, you can probably find Steve out on a golf course chasing that little white ball and enjoying the outdoors and of course, Steve will be walking.

I asked Frank Quilici who was one of three managers that Braun played for as Minnesota Twin to tell me about Steve Braun and here is what Frank said. “I love the guy. He had a quick bat that I likened to Rich Rollins. I played him all over the place to keep his bat in the line-up. He would try anything you wanted and he did anything to help the club, he was a real team guy. My favorite thing to do with Braun was to put him in the line-up whenever Vida Blue pitched; I recall that he always had success against Vida. I was especially pleased to see him team up with Whitey Herzog and move on into a career in the game as a pinch-hitter and hitting coach”.

The interview with Steve is 36 minutes in length and took place December 14, 2011

Steve Braun interview 

9 Responses to Steve Braun interview

  1. Pingback: A chat with Steve Braun | Twinstrivia.com

  2. Erin Braun Ploof says:

    I am an extremely luck lady to have Steve as my father. Not only was he a great Ball Player he is an Amazing Father and a wonderful GrandFather to his 2 Grandchildren. Steve passed the baseball gene to his grandson. In 20 years there might be another Braun in the Majors.

    • jjswol says:

      Thanks for stopping my the site Erin and yes, you are a lucky gal indeed. I enjoyed my chat with your Dad and enjoyed watching him play even more. I was there in spring training the day I overheard Twins skipper Bill Rigney tell a reporter that Steve had made the team in 1971 and of course I passed it on to Steve a little bit later but I doubt he believed me. Hope you visit us again, it would be great to see another Braun in MLB.

    • Mark Hivks says:

      Saw Steve hit a home run in June/July 1983 vs. Chicago. Was my first ever game I attended.

  3. mark stodghill says:

    I was assistant equipment manager for the Twins in 1972-73 while attending college. I shared an apartment with Steve Braun and Twins pitcher Ray Corbin in a complex behind the current Mall of America. Both were great guys. I don’t think I ever saw a quicker bat than Brauny’s. He wasn’t very big but he could hit.
    It was nice to see his daughter’s comments here. I’m not surprised to learn that he became a great father.

    • jjswol says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories. I first met Steve Braun at spring training his rookie season. He seemed like a great guy and that was confirmed when I did my interview with him not that long ago.

  4. Jill L. Solin says:

    Oh, my goodness! I just have to say that listening to this phone interview made my day. Hearing Steve talk about his years with the Twins brought back so many fond memories for me. I was in high school at the time. I grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and every summer my parents would take us to as many Twins games as possible. I was a big fan of Harmon and Tony and Chico and Rod but I just have to say that I took a liking to Steve and he was always my favorite. Dad would get us 3rd base box seats and I kept my binoculars zeroed in on Steve. I used to tell my Dad that I was going to “marry that man someday”……ahhhhh, a little girl’s dreams. In the interview, when Steve mentioned his favorite player being Tony Oliva my heart swelled with joy, thinking back on those old days. I also loved the part in the interview when he mentioned the pitching coach that told him about low balls and high balls. Neat story. I wish my son would have had some helpful tips like that from coaches. I also wish we would have had the resources to send our son to Steve’s camps! Our son had a fairly nice high school career and is now playing ball for the University of Wyoming…..after a four year break! It has been heaven for me. He is a lefty, as was my great-grandfather, Lefty Byers, who played for the Boston Red Sox back in 1913 (just before Babe Ruth came on board). Gosh. What can I say? It was a joy for me to hear Steve’s voice and listen to his comments. I also enjoyed Steve’s daughter’s comment above. Thanks for the memories. My heart is overflowing…..Most sincerely, Jill Solin

    • jjswol says:

      Jill, Thank you so much for stopping by this site and sharing your story about Steve. I really enjoy hearing from fans that followed these players and are willing to share their personal stories. Have a great day.

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