If the 2009 movie The Blind Side, for which Sandra Bullock received a Best Actress Academy Award, had been released about five years earlier, it might have been called the football version of Dewon Brazelton’s story. The true saga of offensive lineman Michael Oher bears many similarities to Brazelton’s life experiences: Both are African Americans from Tennessee who were born into difficult circumstances, and as their mothers each dealt with substance abuse, other families stepped in to give the young men a better chance at success – with each ultimately becoming a first-round draft choice and a pro athlete. Of course, the stories differ in several key respects, including an aspect of personal tragedy in Brazelton’s life from day one.
Dewon Cortez Brazelton was the first of twin brothers born on June 16, 1980, in Tullahoma, Tennessee. They were born about four weeks prematurely. At the time their mother, Monalisa, became pregnant, she was a star on the women’s basketball team of Tullahoma High School. According to a Washington Post profile in 2005, Monalisa was shunned by the father, Limuel Tilford, and calls to his home phone number for their story were unanswered.
“My whole life changed in three weeks,” Monalisa told the Post, referring to her milestone 18th birthday on May 25, 1980, her high-school graduation the following weekend, and giving birth.1
Monalisa Brazelton only found out from her doctor that she was carrying twins three days before the delivery. Dewon was energetic, but his twin brother, Fewon, didn’t seem well. “He wasn’t breathing, so they had to help him,” Monalisa said of Fewon in a Sports Illustrated profile of the older twin. “He had trouble from the beginning.” He had cerebral palsy, never developed the ability to speak, and couldn’t control his limbs.
“I’ve told Dewon that he was given so much power and personality because it was all made for two, not one,” she added. “That’s the only explanation. He has always been a special child. A lot of that comes from Fewon.”2
In 2005, when Dewon was named Opening Day starter for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and he quickly broke the news to his mom, he linked that achievement to a decision Monalisa made when he was just a few years old. “I thanked her for signing me up for that first T-ball game,” Dewon said. “She could have signed me up for something else like soccer.”3
Monalisa recalled Dewon at 7 years old testing her patience by constantly banging a tennis ball against a wall outside of where they lived. She also remembered him digging holes in the yard to create golf courses. He would welcome friends over to play baseball games in which they would pretend to be major leaguers.4
Monalisa often worked 70-hour weeks to support the twins. Meanwhile, Dewon developed relationships that would stand the test of time, and draw admiration from across Tullahoma (population of about 18,000). For example, little more than a month before that 2001 major-league draft, a college classmate of his, a softball player named Wendy Pollack, looked back on their time during middle and high school as well. “He’s still that same goofy guy I rode on the bus with to middle-school basketball games,” she told a campus newspaper after having declared, “Dewon’s an exceptional human being in every aspect.”5
For a time Monalisa worked days in a factory and nights at a Krystal sliders restaurant. That meant Dewon was often his twin’s caretaker, which was a tall order. Dewon has said that life in the small city’s housing projects sometimes meant encounters with drug dealers and swindlers.
“I was an adult at 13 years old,” he recalled about a decade later. “I drove myself to Little League practice when I was 12. If I had to pick up my brother, I’d go pick him up. I had to do a lot of things a lot of kids couldn’t handle. … And that was my life every day. Not twice a week, but every day.”6
When the twins were 12 years old, Monalisa cracked under the pressure of their situation and left them with her mother, though that arrangement would prove to be temporary. Fewon ended up in the Bedford County Nursing Home, where he would see Monalisa frequently after she became a nurse’s aide there. However, during Dewon’s early teen years, the popular kid bounced from family to family across town.7
The main reason Monalisa had cut Dewon loose was that she was trying to overcome substance abuse. At least early on, Dewon didn’t seem to show signs of anxiety in the new situation. As reported by Sports Illustrated, during eighth grade he would regularly be seen walking around his neighborhood, happy and joking, keeping an eye out for a chance to shoot hoops in someone’s driveway or play Wiffle ball. He’d spend a few hours with one family, and when a parent or older kid drove him home, his mother was never there. “They’d notice my mom wasn’t around, and they’d say, ‘Why don’t you stay over?’” Dewon recalled. “That’s how it started.” Four other households eventually took him in with regularity.8
Dewon had contact from time to time with his father, Lim Tilford, and perhaps because Monalisa had relocated to Shelbyville, about a 30-minute drive to the west, Dewon and Lim spent more time together. In fact, Dewon moved in with his father at one point.
“But it wasn’t really a healthy situation,” he told the Washington Post. “My daddy smoked a lot of pot – he used to do it right in front of me. He’d do it in the car with me there. I’ve never touched drugs – partly because of him and partly because of my mama. I was always trying to do what’s right, and it always bothered me that he would roll a joint up right in front of me.
“I stayed with him for a pretty good while. But I knew it just wasn’t right. He’d beat up my step-mama. It wasn’t a good situation.” One day it came to a boiling point.
“I don’t know what happened. He had to have been high on something, or something,” Dewon said. “I don’t know. But my daddy took me out in the yard and he beat the [expletive] out of me. Beat the [expletive] out of me. Simple as that. I went to school and called my mama in Shelbyville and told her what happened.”
Monalisa phoned Cheryl Frazier, a friend from high school who happened to be white, and asked a huge favor. The Fraziers became the first family in Tullahoma to take Dewon in for an extended period of time, which ended up being two months.9
The Tuggle family was the next to welcome Dewon, and later there were the Barnetts, the Robisons, and the Darlingtons. Dewon met Dianne and Scott Darlington in 1995 at Grace Baptist Church, and two years later the couple gave him a key to their house. “We said, ‘Dewon, this is your home. You always have a place to stay, and you don’t have to call and ask,’” Dianne said. “He is, in many ways, our third child.” As a result, Dewon frequently calls Dianne “Mom,” as he does Deby Barnett, in addition to Monalisa.10
Dewon had one persistent challenge at school, and it often caused other kids to make fun of him: “I had a speech impediment and went to speech class,” he told a group of teens in the Transition Program of the Watson Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in Largo, Florida, in 2003. “I still can’t say some words now. Anyway, I had the speech problem and I was not what everybody thought was cool.”11
Over time, though, Dewon’s athletic success made him increasingly popular during high school. He excelled in three sports, one of which, not surprisingly, was baseball. The pinnacle may have been in 1997, during his junior year, when he helped lead Tullahoma High’s Wildcats to the finals in the state baseball tournament, though they lost the championship game 3-0 to Christian Brothers High School of Memphis.12
Dewon was the winning pitcher by the same score a year later when Tullahoma defeated Florida’s Crestview High School to win the USA Classic tournament in Millington, Tennessee. The pressure was heightened for Dewon, who at the time stood 6-feet-4 and weighed 160 pounds, because his team wasn’t able to score until the seventh inning. In the end, Tullahoma outperformed the nation’s top-ranked school, Florida’s Miami Southridge, as well as the tournament’s defending champs, Murfreesboro Oakland.13 Dewon was named MVP of the tournament. Under coach Jerry Mathis he was consistently a dominant pitcher in high school, with a career earned-run average of 1.75, and his overall batting average was .350. He was named to the All-District and All-Midstate baseball teams. The other two sports in which he lettered were basketball and football.14
This success was almost derailed permanently before Dewon was halfway through high school. He was the school’s starting quarterback by his sophomore year, but early in the season he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He somehow managed to recover by baseball season, only to blow out the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and undergo reconstructive Tommy John surgery. It’s assumed that these events made major-league teams reluctant to draft Dewon during high school.15 He himself soon became suspicious of his durability. As a college student he admitted, “I am terrified of getting hurt, terrified. I use the railing when I go down the stairs now, like I’m an old man. I used to drive fast but not now.”16
At some point during Dewon’s high school years his mother’s situation improved a bit, and Monalisa Brazelton returned to Tullahoma. She moved into the Carver Homes housing project. She gave Dewon space in her apartment for his possessions, but he preferred to stay with the other families regularly. Shortly before his first semester of college, he found that his key to Mona’s apartment wouldn’t work. He learned nothing from many frantic phone calls to people who knew her, but a long time later he learned that his mother had gone to Nashville and asked to be admitted to a rehab clinic.17
Somewhat ironically, Brazelton had declined an offer of partial scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee, about three hours away in Knoxville by car, and accepted a full ride from Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, which is only 35 miles from Tullahoma.18 “Since I’m a momma’s boy, I didn’t want to go too far away. I also wanted my family to be able to come see me play.”19
Baseball success continued for Brazelton at Middle Tennessee. During his first two seasons with the Blue Raiders his pitching record was 15-8, though with a 4.82 ERA. He wasn’t satisfied with the latter and concluded, “I got beat up a lot by throwing my curveball too much. “He decided to rely more on his fastball, which was sometimes clocked up to 97 miles per hour. He also perceived a need to make a mental adjustment, saying, “I wore my emotions on my sleeve. You could tell if I won or lost by just looking at me.” Brazelton started gaining nationwide attention in August of 2000, when he starred for the US national team that beat Cuba to win the Honkbal Baseball Week tournament in The Netherlands. His record was a perfect 6-0, and no prior Team USA starter had achieved his 0.65 ERA.20
In the next month Brazelton was in experts’ top 10 lists. Philadelphia sportswriter Jim Salisbury noted that with the worst record in the NL, the Phillies would have the second pick in Major League Baseball’s June 2001 amateur draft. “The cream of the 2001 draft crop includes right-handed pitchers Josh Karp (UCLA) and Dewon Brazelton (Middle Tennessee State) and third baseman Mark Teixeira (Georgia Tech.),” he wrote.21 Similarly, Marc Topkin in the Tampa Bay area identified “early front-runners” in that draft as Teixeira “and a slew of right-handed pitchers,” specifically Mark Prior of USC, Karp, and Brazelton, plus high schoolers Gavin Floyd in Maryland and Mike Jones in Arizona.22
In 2001 the honors started piling up. At the beginning of the year, Brazelton was named a baseball All-American; in March he was one of four players selected Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week; and shortly after that he was named national pitcher of the week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He was named the Sun Belt Conference’s pitcher of the year after going 13-2 with a 1.42 ERA, limiting opponents to a .178 batting average and piling up 154 strikeouts in 127 innings.23
Brazelton’s time at Middle Tennessee was also successful academically. He carried a 3.2 grade-point average into his junior year.24As his time there was winding down, Deby Barnett seemed as proud of the fact that Dewon had made the honor roll every semester except for one, and he missed it by a whisker then.25
On the eve of the June 2001 draft, Brazelton publicly thanked Middle Tennessee alumnus Jason Maxwell of the Minnesota Twins, who had been a late-round draft pick of the Cubs in 1993. Maxwell worked out at the campus during the offseason. “He’s really helped me a lot,” Brazelton said. “He helped me with a lot of little things and taught me how to carry myself better.” Maxwell returned the praise. “He’s willing to work hard,” he said of Brazelton, “and he knows how to avoid all of the distractions.”26
In the amateur draft, it didn’t take very long at all for Brazelton to be selected. After the Twins chose Joe Mauer and the Cubs selected Mark Prior, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made Brazelton the third pick overall. “This is what I wanted,” Brazelton said. “There was a rumor going around that I’d be the number-1 pick, but I didn’t want it. I wanted to be a Devil Ray. I don’t want to be in the minor leagues forever.”27
Brazelton signed with Tampa Bay on August 25, and spent the last month of the season with the big leaguers, though with no plans by anyone for him to make his major-league debut. “I’ve always been good about learning by watching,” he said. “You never know what you might pick up being around the team, listening to how they talk, how they think.” His first thrill was reportedly meeting hitting coach Wade Boggs.28
In 2002 Brazelton played in his first pro game for the Double-A Orlando Rays. In 26 games, all starts, his record was just 5-9 but his ERA was a respectable 3.33, so he was given a brief promotion to the Triple-A Durham Bulls, and helped them in an International League playoff game. In his last eight minor-league starts, including two for the Bulls, he was 6-0 with a 1.06 ERA. Soon enough, though, Brazelton was called up to the parent club, and made his major-league debut on September 13, 2002, in Toronto. Despite his defense backing him with a triple play, he gave up five earned runs on five hits and three walks in six innings and was tagged with a loss. He started a second game for the Devil Rays, on the 19th at home against the New York Yankees, and gave up only two runs in seven innings. He left with his team down 2-1 but the Rays tied it in the eighth and won it in the 10th.His ERA was 4.85 ERA over the 13 innings.
Less than three months after his first major-league game, the offseason took on a very somber tone for Brazelton and his loved ones. His twin, Fewon, died on December 2 of pneumonia, which he had suffered in previous winters. He weighed just 90 pounds, in contrast to Brazelton’s usual MLB-listed weight of 215. “He was a part of me. We had a bond better than anyone could know,” Brazelton said. “He’s always in my heart, regardless of whether he’s here or not.” Writing in the St. Petersburg Times, Marc Topkin noted that Fewon’s death was “the latest development in what has been a lifetime of sorrow and success [and] an inspirational story that is sure to make its way to Hollywood.”29
As the Devil Rays were deciding their Opening Day roster for 2003, right knee and left groin injuries undercut Brazelton’s chances of being included. He took the setback in stride. “I’m here to compete, and I don’t want anything handed to me,” he said. “I have to earn it.”30
Brazelton started the season with Triple-A Durham, and after five starts, he was recalled by the Devil Rays before the end of April. He pitched in 10 games for Tampa Bay, all starts, from May 3 to June 24.His record in the first five was 0-4 but on May 30 he picked up his first major-league victory, at home against Anaheim. Over the 10 games he had a 6.89 ERA.
It was no surprise that Brazelton was demoted to the minors on June 25, but it was unusual that he was sent all the way down to a Single-A team, Bakersfield. “The scariest part of what we’re going through right now concerning our young players is that we know we rushed a lot of them to the major leagues and we know that there’s risk involved,” said Chuck LaMar, Tampa Bay’s general manager. Topkin noted that although the move seemed harsh, a similar demotion helped Toronto’s Roy Halladay (the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner) two years earlier. Topkin observed reasons for applying the same to Dewon. “Brazelton had an unorthodox delivery in college, kicking his left leg higher and dropping his right arm lower, similar to Satchel Paige,” he wrote. “Rays coaches changed Brazelton’s mechanics in the minor leagues, but with his fastball down about 5 mph, they will at least let him experiment with his old delivery.”31
Brazelton pitched in nine games for Bakersfield, all starts. His record was 1-5 with a 5.26 ERA, but in mid-August he threw seven shutout innings in the last of those starts and was promoted to Double-A Orlando. He won both of his starts for Orlando, with a satisfying 2.53 ERA. The Rays next assigned him to the Arizona Fall League. His teammates on the Mesa Solar Bears included Delmon Young, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick a few months earlier, and outfielder Jonny Gomes. Brazelton was named the league’s top right-handed pitcher by virtue of a 4-0 record and 3.27 ERA in seven starts, with a league-leading 36 strikeouts in 33 innings. He was the winning pitcher in the AFL championship game, in which he scattered two hits and two walks in six innings.32
In 2004 Brazelton started the season with Triple-A Durham. From April 9 to May 29 he made 10 starts for the Bulls and had a 4-4 record with a 4.71 ERA. In early June the Rays released starting pitcher Paul Abbott and called up Brazelton. He turned 24 years old on June 16 and less than 10 days later came within four outs of making history at home against Florida, the previous season’s World Series champion.
Brazelton and Florida starter A.J. Burnett held each other’s opposing batters scoreless through the fifth inning. Dewon continued that through the top of the sixth, though more significantly, he had also kept the Marlins hitless. He started cramping in his right hip around then, but he toughed it out. The Rays scored twice in the bottom of the sixth, and Brazelton retired two more Marlins in the top of the seventh. That brought up Mike Lowell with the bases empty.
Brazelton got ahead of Lowell in the count before the veteran Marlin worked it to three balls and two strikes. Lowell fouled off the next three pitches. “When I got 3-2 on him, chances are, no-hitter or not, if I walked this guy, Lou’s going to bring somebody else in,” said Dewon, referring to manager Lou Piniella. “So I went right after him. I made three or four quality pitches that he fouled off. The next one, I threw right down the middle.” Lowell lined a ground-rule double between outfielders Carl Crawford and Joey Gathright. After his125th pitch – a new career high – Brazelton was removed to a standing ovation from the 25,000 fans at Tropicana Field. The score remained unchanged after he left, and he earned only his second major-league win. It happened almost exactly a year after the shortest start of his major-league career, the one against the Yankees after which he was quickly demoted to Class A. Tampa Bay wouldn’t have a pitcher throw the franchise’s first no-hitter until July 26, 2010, when Matt Garza shut down the Detroit Tigers.
The win was an important one for the franchise’s psyche, because their record improved to 35-35 and in their previous six seasons of existence it had never reached the .500 mark that late in a season, beating the old mark by a month. In their second season, 1999, they were 22-22 on May 23 before it all went downhill. What’s more, the near no-hitter meant that the Rays had come back completely from a horrible start and in a short span recovered from 18 games below .500 to break-even. No team had managed that from the year 1900 until then.33 The Rays couldn’t sustain their surge past Independence Day, and finished 2004 at 70-91. Brazelton, by contrast, maintained his momentum longer. Before he was shelled by the Boston Red Sox on August 11, his record stood at 4-3 with a 2.56 ERA. He stayed with the Rays through the end of the season, and in what was his longest major-league stint he had a 6-8 record with a 4.77 ERA in 22 games. In December of 2004 Brazelton was named winner of the Tony Conigliaro Award, presented to a player who had overcome adversity “through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage.”
Brazelton had a good spring training in 2005, and in mid-March Lou Piniella named him the Opening Day starter at home against Toronto on April 4.To some extent Piniella was playing percentages: All of the young pitcher’s career wins had been at Tropicana Field, and two were over Toronto in 2004. “I’m honored to be the Opening Day starter, but it lets me know I have to step it up more to stay at that level,” he said.34 Brazelton retired the first nine Blue Jays but faltered in the fourth and gave up three runs. Still, he held Toronto there until he left with one out in the seventh inning. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay batters didn’t accomplish much against 2003 Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, and the final score was Jays 7, Rays 2.
Brazelton lost two more starts before beating Texas, again at Tropicana Field, on April 21. It proved to be the final victory of his major-league career. Three days after that, he was one of six players ejected during a game against the Red Sox. Presumably in response to Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo having beaned Aubrey Huff, in the top of the seventh Tampa Bay pitcher Lance Carter threw high-and-tight pitches to Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. A bench-clearing scuffle broke out, and Piniella, Carter, and Brazelton were thrown out, along with Boston’s Trot Nixon. In the bottom of the inning, Arroyo plunked Chris Singleton in the leg, causing the benches to empty again. Arroyo and Boston manager Terry Francona were ejected. A few days later Arroyo was suspended for six games, Carter and Brazelton five, managers Francona and Piniella three, and Nixon two. Ortiz and Singleton were both fined for charging the mound.
Before mid-May, Brazelton had already lost seven games, with a 6.43 ERA, and was demoted to Durham. On May 16 he was put on the league’s restricted list for failing to report within the required 72 hours. Though his agent, Bo McKinnis, released brief statements, Brazelton’s whereabouts remained a mystery until early June, when he requested and received reinstatement by the league, and immediately went to Tampa Bay’s minor-league complex to work out. Afterward he spoke to a few reporters briefly but didn’t shed much light on his absence. McKinnis released a statement saying that Brazelton “dealt with a personal matter” and asked people to respect his privacy.35 Brazelton started a game on June 21 for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and had a good three innings, giving up no runs and two hits while striking out six. He returned to the majors as a reliever, and got into games for the Rays from June 25 to August 7. He then made five starts for Durham from August 14 to September 3, going 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA. He finished up with two more relief outings for Tampa Bay on September 13 and 20. His ERA for the Rays ended up at 7.61.
On December 7, 2005, Tampa Bay traded Brazelton to the San Diego Padres for third baseman Sean Burroughs, another former first-round pick. Brazelton played for Mayaguez in Puerto Rican Winter League before starting the 2006 season on the Padres’ roster. He lost both of his starts with San Diego, on April 8 and 13, then made seven more appearances in relief. His final major-league game was in San Diego against Milwaukee on May 11, 2006. His career major-league record was 8-25 with a 6.38 ERA.
Brazelton started 16 games for the Padres’ Triple-A team in Portland during the remainder of 2006 and did okay, with a 4.53 ERA. On October 15 he was granted free agency, and on December 5 the Kansas City Royals signed him. He pitched poorly for their Omaha team in early 2007 and was released on April 26. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed him on May 31 and he pitched decently for Double-A Altoona, with a 3.53 ERA, but was granted free agency again on October 29. One month later the St. Louis Cardinals signed him to a minor-league contract, but he didn’t play during 2008. In his six minor-league seasons, Brazelton compiled a record of 27-38 with a 4.02 ERA. His only other pro teams were independent ones, the Camden Riversharks in 2009 and the Kansas City (Kansas) T-Bones in 2010. His lone decision for the latter was a win.
Brazelton was back in the news briefly in mid-2011, and for a reason nobody desires. He was jailed briefly for striking his fiancée in public, in St. Petersburg’s International Plaza. “A witness told police the couple got into an argument and he hit her in the head as she pushed away from him,” said the St. Petersburg Times. “The woman, who was not identified, has been living with Brazelton for six years and the two are engaged, the police report said.”36
Fast-forward five years, and before Tampa Bay hosted the Red Sox in mid-2016, superstar Evan Longoria tossed a ball to a 12-year-old Little League pitcher named D.J., who snared it with his mitt. Smiling with great approval was his father, Dewon Brazelton, even though D.J.’s favorite player was on the other team: David Ortiz. At the time, Brazelton was sharing custody of Dewon, Junior, with his son’s mother, Elizabeth Boyce, in Orlando. Their early – and ugly – custody battle was the reason for Brazelton’s mysterious disappearance in May of 2005.The battle took years, but ultimately D.J.’s parents grew friendly again.
Brazelton expressed regret to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times for missing much of D.J.’s life earlier. “Now I enjoy being a part of my son’s day-to-day life. I looooove going to parent-teacher conferences,” he enthused. “I check his schoolwork. ‘Why did you get a frowny face?’ I looooove being a part of that.”
Brazelton was selling commercial and residential real estate while also managing a gas station and tire shop in the Bay area, but also found time for golf. In 2013 he was enshrined in the Middle Tennessee State athletic hall of fame, and has donated $250,000 for the baseball stadium’s renovation. He proudly showed a photo on his phone of himself with D.J. inside the ballpark, standing at the entrance to the Dewon Brazelton Alumni Suite.37
1 Dave Sheinin, “Making His Mothers Proud,” Washington Post, April 29, 2005: D1.
2 Jeff Pearlman, “From Afterthought to Ace,” Sports Illustrated, May 14, 2001: 76.
3 Damian Cristodero, “Brazelton Gets Opening Assignment,” St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, March 17 2005: 1C.
4 Pearlman: 79.
5 Courtney Huckabay, “Brazelton Throwing for His Future,” Sidelines (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), April 30, 2001: 4B.
6 Marc Topkin, “Sensitive Subject,” St. Petersburg Times, March 2, 2003: 1C.
7 Huckabay: 6B.
8 Pearlman: 76.
9 Sheinin: D1.
10 Pearlman: 79.
11 “Close-Up,” Tampa Tribune, June 16, 2003: sports section, 2.
12 Ryan Simmons, “Player Profiles,” Middle Tennessee 2000 Baseball Media Guide (Middle Tennessee State University), 9.
13 Kevin Gorman, “Tullahoma Earns USA Classic Title,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, April 11, 1998: D3.
14 Simmons, 9.
15 Pearlman: 79.
16 Huckabay: 4B.
17 Sheinin: D1.
18 Pearlman: 79.
19 Huckabay: 4B.
20 Joel Rippel, “2001 Amateur Draft Spotlight: Dewon Brazelton,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 3, 2001: 16C.
21 Jim Salisbury, “Clemens Shows He’s Back in the Game,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 16, 2000: E5.
22 Marc Topkin, “Questions Abound for Next Year’s Club,” St. Petersburg Times, September 24, 2000: 5C.
23 Rippel: 16C.
24 Pearlman: 76.
25 Tony Stinnett, “Long, Hard Road: MTSU Pitching Phenom Dewon Brazelton Has Traveled a Tough Path,” Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, April 22, 2001.
26 Rippel: 16C.
27 Chris Anderson, “Brazelton Eyes Bigs in 3-4 Months,” Sarasota (Florida) Herald Tribune, June 6, 2001: C1.
28 Marc Topkin, “Brazelton: Let Learning Begin,” St. Petersburg Times, September 1, 2001: 3C. Topkin indicated early on that Brazelton’s surname is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, “Brah-ZEL-ton,” though baseball-reference.com shows it as “BRAZ-el-ton.”
29 Marc Topkin, “Sensitive Subject,” St. Petersburg Times, March 2, 2003: 1C.
30 Carter Gaddis, “Injuries Actually May Benefit Brazelton,” Tampa Tribune, March 23, 2003: 20.
31 Marc Topkin, “Rays Get Brazelton out of Fire,” St. Petersburg Times, June 29, 2003: 9C.
32 Dennis Maffezzoli, “Rays Coach Finalist for Reds Job,” Sarasota Herald Tribune, November 23, 2003: C3.
33 Dennis Maffezzoli, “Devil Rays at .500; They Shut Out World Champs on a Two-Hitter,” Sarasota Herald Tribune, June 26, 2004: C1.
34 Cristodero: 1C.
35 Dave Scheiber, “Brazelton’s Few Words Reveal Almost Nothing,” St. Petersburg Times, June 4, 2005: 3C.
36 Robbyn Mitchell, “Ex-Ray Brazelton Charged With Hitting Fiancee,” St. Petersburg Times, June 5, 2011: 3C.
37 Roger Mooney, “His New Career: Being ‘Daddy,’” Tampa Bay Times, July 22, 2016: 1C.