Rico Brogna (Trading Card DB)

Rico Brogna

This article was written by David Bilmes

Rico Brogna (Trading Card DB)Rico Brogna’s high school athletic career was almost too good to be true.

On the football field, where he led Watertown (Connecticut) High School to a 31-0 victory in the 1986 state championship game, Brogna was the first quarterback in state history to throw for over 6,000 yards, and his 59 touchdown passes were the third-most in state history. He also kicked a then-state-record 54-yard field goal and converted 91 consecutive extra points. He eventually signed a letter of intent to play football at Clemson.1

On the basketball court, the 6-foot-2 Brogna, a guard and swingman, was a 1,000-point scorer.

On the baseball field, Brogna, a left-handed pitcher/first baseman, started for four years and batted over .600 his senior season He went unbeaten on the mound and earned All-American honors, as he led Watertown to two league titles.2 In one game, he was walked intentionally four times. The Detroit Tigers made him the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 1988 draft; Rico’s father, Joseph, convinced Rico to sign with Detroit instead of attending Clemson.3

Brogna went on to spend nine seasons (1992, 1994-2001) in the major leagues with five different teams (Detroit, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta). Yet he never stopped wondering what would have happened if he had accepted the scholarship to Clemson.

“If I had it to do over again, I would have wanted to play football,” said Brogna, a top-15 quarterback recruit his senior year. “I love baseball, but I love football.”4

Brogna’s baseball career had its share of physical challenges, most notably a rare spinal arthritis condition which often severely affected his mobility. Despite also having to undergo multiple knee surgeries, Brogna played in 848 games, during which he hit 106 home runs and batted .269 in just under 3,000 at-bats. He also earned recognition as a fine fielder before injuries ended his career at 31.

Rico Joseph Brogna was born April 18, 1970, in Turner Falls, Massachusetts, to Joseph and Louise (Judge), who went on to also have three daughters – Greta, Toni, and Claire. Joseph, a Classical Language teacher and coach, had been captain of the basketball team at Bowdoin, a Division III college in Maine. The Brognas moved to Watertown seven years later when Joseph took a job as a Latin teacher and a three-sport coach at the Taft School, a prestigious private school where the Brognas lived on campus. Louise also worked at Taft in a variety of part-time positions.5

By that point, Rico’s exceptional athletic ability was apparent. When he was four, he entertained fans at halftime of a college basketball game by playing full-court against himself – without a basketball.6 At age five, Brogna started following his father around the basketball court. “I wanted to be just like my dad,” Brogna said. “He was a coach, so I would go to his practices and hang a whistle around my neck and carry a clipboard. I scribbled notes down, just like he did. I had no idea what I was writing.”7

When he was seven, Rico won a Punt, Pass and Kick Competition, although the organizers took away his prize because he had entered the eight-year-old division.8 “The thing about Rico is, he was born to play games,” said his father.9

Growing up, Brogna had no interests outside of sports. “Sports was everything,” he said. “Sports was life, and I lived it through my father and his teams. He was fanatical about it. It was the Boston Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots. If the Patriots lost, which they did a lot back then, it ruined my week.”10

Brogna began his freshman year at Taft, but during winter break he transferred to Watertown High. Even though Brogna had dreamed of attending Taft, he wasn’t ready for the academic rigor and wanted to play sports with the friends he’d grown up with. “My dad was not okay with it,” Brogna said. “He was disappointed. The Taft people were disappointed. When people made things tough for me, I got real stubborn. It was not an easy transfer.”11

The transfer gave Brogna some breathing room from his father, who still coached him in summer-league basketball and American Legion baseball. Rico described Joseph as his toughest coach. “I had tears and was shaking,” said Brogna, describing his reaction to his father’s coaching style. “In some way, I wanted to prove him wrong.”12

By Brogna’s junior year, he was being recruited by college coaches in both football and baseball, and coaches would be in the stands during his basketball games. By his senior year, major league scouts were coming to his baseball games.

“My home phone was ringing off the hook if I wasn’t on it past midnight every night,” Brogna said. “Kids from the campus would call me; they gave my number out it seemed like to 5,000 Clemson kids. They would have spirit club people call, cheerleaders call, baseball players would call all the time. We literally had people (college coaches) lined in cars in our driveway multiple nights a week.”13

The most memorable recruiting visit came on Thanksgiving Day of Brogna’s senior season, when Clemson’s head football coach, Danny Ford, flew up in a four-seat jet to watch Brogna’s final game, a 49-43 loss to arch-rival Torrington in which Brogna set a league record with 374 passing yards. “He (Ford) told me after the game that he was going to only stay until halftime,” Brogna said. “But it was such a good game that he had to see the finish, even though his family was waiting for him at home.”14

Brogna was excited about the prospect of playing both football and baseball at Clemson, but those plans changed after Detroit selected him in the first round of the 1988 draft. His father pushed for Rico to sign with the Tigers. “It was not a physical thing,” Brogna said. “It was more about what he thought would be more secure. Being a first-round pick I would be able to put a little money in the bank.”15 A family friend helped Brogna negotiate a signing bonus of $100,000.16

When Brogna reported to his first spring training with the Tigers as an 18-year-old in 1989, he played in an exhibition game against Florida Southern University, during which he hit a home run. The next day he was told to relocate from the Tigers’ minor-league camp to the major-league camp, where he became one in a long line of Detroit prospects over-hyped by Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. “Sparky said, ‘This kid’s going to be here soon. He’s the next Kirk Gibson,’” Brogna said. “I thought I was going to be playing in Detroit that June. I didn’t want to spend any time in the minor leagues.”17

Over the next three years, Brogna worked his way up through the Tigers’ organization, as he demonstrated modest extra-base power while striking out at a high rate. He was often in excruciating pain; he suffered so much while playing winter ball in Mexico in 1991 that he had to return home early.

Later in 1991, after he struggled at the plate while starting the season at the Tigers’ AAA affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, Brogna was demoted to their AA Eastern League team in London, Ontario. Meanwhile, he underwent months of testing before eventually being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a genetic joint disease which is a severe form of spinal and joint arthritis. The disease has no cure but can be controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.18 Brogna later served as the national spokesman for the Spondylitis Association of America.19

With his pain mostly manageable, Brogna returned to Toledo in 1992. He was called up to Detroit in August to fill in at first base while a minor injury prevented Cecil Fielder from playing in the field. It wasn’t an ideal situation. The Tigers, a veteran team, had Fielder entrenched at first base, and were not especially welcoming to a rookie. “They didn’t necessarily want this young kid,” said Brogna, who was ignored by most of his teammates, with Alan Trammell being one of the few exceptions. “Cecil called me the wrong name every day. The guys at my position, they didn’t want you to take their job.”20

Brogna made his debut August 8 by going 1-for-4 against Toronto, with his first hit an opposite-field bloop double off seven-time All-Star Dave Stieb in an 8-6 Tigers win. Three days later, he hit his first home run, a booming two-run shot into the upper deck off Mélido Pérez in a 5-1 victory over the Yankees. That was the extent of the highlights for Brogna, who had just one hit in his final 18 at-bats before being sent back to Toledo. “I was not ready,” said Brogna. “I thought I was, but I was not.”21

The nadir of Brogna’s short stint in the majors that year came August 14 in Texas. Brogna’s parents, who weren’t able to travel to Detroit to watch his major-league debut, flew to Texas to watch him. Brogna started at DH that day and batted eighth. Six of the first seven Detroit batters reached base, knocking Texas starter Roger Pavlik, a right-hander, out of the game. His replacement was lefty Brian Bohanon. That prompted Anderson, whose team already led 3-0, to call Brogna back into the dugout and send up Skeeter Barnes to hit for him. Home-plate umpire Terry Craft interceded on Brogna’s behalf, telling Anderson that he had to let Brogna bat at least once, since he was the DH. But Anderson showed Craft that the rulebook allowed him to substitute for Brogna because the Rangers had changed their pitcher.22

“I wasn’t happy, and I let him (Anderson) know,” said Brogna, who was so embarrassed and upset that he went into the clubhouse, changed out of his uniform, and walked back to the team hotel.23

On a happier note that year, Brogna married his high school sweetheart, Melissa Shuhart.24 They have two children, Alexa and Hunter.

With no obvious spot for him on the Tigers’ roster, Brogna spent the entire 1993 season in Toledo, where he had 11 home runs, a .273 average, and a .733 OPS. During that season, Brogna heard rumors that he was going to be traded to San Diego as part of a deal that would have sent Gary Sheffield to Detroit. “That was the only time in my minor-league career that I knew that a GM was trying to trade for me,” Brogna said.25

In 1994, Brogna reported to spring training in Lakeland, Florida, but didn’t expect to stay in the Tigers’ organization for long. “The Tigers ran out of options on me. I wasn’t going to bring much in trade value,” he said.26

One team that Brogna and his wife frequently talked about was the Mets, whose general manager, Joe McIlvaine, had been the Padres’ GM the previous season. The Mets had just acquired David Segui from Baltimore that spring to play first base, but Brogna knew that Segui also played the outfield and that the Mets were committed to a youth movement. Sure enough, on March 31, Brogna was traded to the Mets for Alan Zinter. When Brogna heard the news, he “yelled in joy.”27

The Mets kept Brogna in Triple A ball – in Norfolk, Virginia – to start the season. But when Segui got off to a slow start, Brogna was called up on June 20.

For the next two months, until the players’ strike halted the season August 12, Brogna was a fixture at first base for the Mets. In 131 at-bats, he hit .351 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.006. When he went 5-for-5 on July 20, that made him only the fourth Mets rookie to have five hits in a game.28 That came during a 10-day stretch during which Brogna also had a four-RBI game, a game-tying single in the ninth inning, and a game-winning home run in the 11th inning, as well as his first curtain call from the fans at Shea Stadium, who had a new hero.29 Brogna also had a 15-game hitting streak, while in the field he made only one error in 336 chances at first base for a fielding percentage of .997. When the season prematurely ended, he was third in the league in batting, although he didn’t have enough plate appearances to officially qualify for the batting title.30

With Brogna playing close to home, family and friends regularly made the 90-mile trip from Watertown to Queens to cheer him on. “At every game, you’d see people there from Watertown,” said his mom, Louise Brogna. “One time we bumped into five of his friends from high school in the parking lot.”31 There was even a Rico Brogna Fan Club bus trip to Shea Stadium.

The proximity to his hometown was a mixed blessing for Brogna, though, as he found himself deluged by ticket requests. “It was great for my wife, but for me it was a little tough,” Brogna said. “I’d been away for six or seven years with no one paying attention. It was hard for me. I had to learn to compartmentalize. I was just fighting to stay there (in the majors).”32

When the strike ended on April 2, 1995, the Mets handed him the first base job. Segui, who had been relegated to being a part-time outfielder and backup first baseman, was traded to Montreal in June. On Opening Day, Brogna became the first player to homer in Coors Field when he connected off Bill Swift in the fourth inning of a 14-inning, 11-9 Rockies victory that set the stage for the years of Colorado slugfests to follow.

Two days later, Brogna was involved in a different kind of excitement as the Mets played their first home game since the strike ended. During the game, three fans rushed the field immediately behind Brogna while throwing dollar bills and wearing shirts that said “Greed.” Brogna was startled by the commotion and immediately thought of Monica Seles, the tennis star who had been seriously injured just two years earlier when a spectator rushed onto the court and stabbed her. The protestors were arrested for criminal trespassing and one of them said, “My apologies to Rico Brogna. I scared the hell out of him and that wasn’t my intention at all.”33

Brogna went on to have an excellent season. He batted .289 with an OPS of .827 and led the Mets in runs (72), doubles (27) and home runs (22). He also struck out a team-high 111 times. At first base, Brogna made just three errors and led the NL with a .998 fielding percentage.34

The Mets went only 69-75 and finished 21 games behind Atlanta in the NL East, but with an offensive core of Brogna, Jeff Kent, Todd Hundley, and Edgardo Alfonzo, their future looked bright. The 1996 season didn’t go as planned, though, for either the Mets or Brogna. The Mets won just 71 games, 25 games behind Atlanta. Brogna, meanwhile, missed most of spring training with a partially torn knee ligament, then tried to play through a torn muscle in his shoulder that he suffered when he dove back into first base. When that didn’t heal, he had season-ending surgery in July, ending a disappointing season in which he batted .255 with seven HRs and 30 RBIs in 55 games. “He’s been a big part of the ballclub,” Mets manager Dallas Green said. “It hurts, even though he hasn’t been playing well.”35

Brogna got a different message from the Mets’ management while he was rehabbing in Florida. “They threatened me,” he said. “They literally brought me into the office in Port St. Lucie and told me that ownership and the front office wasn’t happy with me. They had wanted me to play through the injury and I didn’t. Looking back, I should have gotten (cortisone) injections and kept playing. They told me I should expect to get traded.”36

That warning came to fruition November 27, 1996, when the Mets traded Brogna to Philadelphia in exchange for relief pitchers Ricardo Jordan and Toby Borland.37 The next month, the Mets acquired John Olerud to replace Brogna at first base.

The trade worked out well for the Phillies, as Brogna took over for another ex-Met, Gregg Jefferies, at first base. Over the next three seasons Brogna averaged 21 home runs and 96 RBIs per year, including back–to-back seasons with more than 100 RBIs, and led the team in games played in 1999.38 But the Phillies, managed by Terry Francona, had a losing record each season.

Brogna’s career took place during the height of baseball’s Steroids Era, when the use of performance-enhancing drugs was rampant. Brogna later admitted to being asked to inject steroids into a Phillies teammate; he also said he used both Andro and creatine, muscle-building substances that were legal at the time. Brogna, who refused the request to inject steroids, estimated that at least three or four of his Phillies teammates were using them. “I was tempted (to use steroids), no question,” Brogna said. “Especially after seeing the gains that some players made. But I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. I guess I felt I would have let my father down for all the years he worked with me.”39

Brogna credited the supplements for his success in Philadelphia. “I took Andro and creatine and protein shakes, and had my two best years,” he said. “The gains I got were incredible. I had more energy. I could do more sets, more reps. It was like I had to feed my body by working out.”40

The good times for Brogna in Philadelphia ended in 2000. On May 10, he suffered a broken forearm when he was hit by a pitch by Montreal’s Matt Blank. Although he had only one home run, Brogna had a team-high 13 doubles when he was injured. But during his two months on the disabled list, he lost his first base position to Pat Burrell, the Phillies’ No. 1 draft pick from 1998. Many of Brogna’s teammates, including Scott Rolen, were outspoken in claiming it was unfair. “It took a while to recover from that season,” Brogna said. “I didn’t have any bitterness toward the Phillies. No one planned on my arm getting broken. It was just one of those freaky things that changed the path of my career.”41

That path next took him to Boston, as the Red Sox claimed him on waivers on August 3.42 Brogna was disappointed to leave Philadelphia, especially since he wanted to be part of the core of talented young players which ended up making five consecutive postseason trips (2007-11), including a World Series title in 2008. “It was a bummer I got moved from Philly,” Brogna said. “I loved it there.”43 He also enjoyed playing for Francona, whom he called “awesome.”44

In Boston, Brogna finally got a chance to be with his childhood-favorite team, and he was on a contender at last. However, his playing time was limited, as Brian Daubach was a fixture at first base. Used mostly as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, Brogna had only 56 at-bats in 43 games. His Red Sox stint didn’t go the way he had dreamed, especially with his Boston-area relatives a constant presence. “I felt a lot of pressure because I wasn’t playing,” he said. “I just felt like I was letting everybody down when I wasn’t in there.”45

Not only was Brogna rarely playing, but the Red Sox asked him several times to go on the DL to clear a space on the 25-man roster even though he wasn’t injured. In mid-August, less than 30 minutes before a game against Tampa Bay, the Red Sox asked Brogna to go on the DL again. This time, he decided to say no. “They were banking on me loving being on the Sox, and that I would just say yes to stay with them,” Brogna said.46 Brogna called his wife twice before the game that day, telling her to pack up the car in anticipation of his being released.47

The game at Fenway Park that night (August 14) played out in dramatic fashion. Boston manager Jimy Williams sent Brogna into the eighth inning of a 3-3 game as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement for Daubach. The next inning, Tampa Bay pitcher Billy Taylor intentionally walked both Carl Everett and Nomar Garciaparra to load the bases for Brogna with two out. Brogna was familiar with Taylor after having faced him frequently in the minors.

“Fenway was rocking,” Brogna said. “It was a big game. Before I hit the top step of the dugout, I heard my name being chanted by the entire stadium. How many moments in my backyard did I come up in a similar situation? The Sox fans – they knew I loved it there. There was a push for me to play.”48

Brogna was looking for a backdoor slider, and sure enough, that’s what he got. He took a good swing on the first one but fouled it off. The next one caught too much of the plate, and Brogna sent it soaring into the bullpen in right-center field for a walk-off grand slam. Back in the jubilant clubhouse, Brogna was approached by closer Rod Beck, whose locker was nearby and knew what had transpired before the game. “He looked me in the eye,” Brogna said, “and said, ‘Dude – that was awesome.’”49

That turned out to be the first – and the last – home run that Brogna hit for the Red Sox. After batting just .196 for Boston, Brogna became a free agent and signed a one-year contract with Atlanta. With Andrés Galarraga having left Atlanta in free agency, Brogna expected to play every day.

Brogna opened the 2001 season with an eight-game hitting streak, during which he batted .423 (11-for-26). But once he started platooning with Wes Helms, he fell into a 4-for-28 slump and never got back on track. When Atlanta acquired Ken Caminiti on July 5, the handwriting was on the wall – Brogna announced his retirement during the All-Star break. In 72 games with Atlanta, he batted .248 with three homers and 21 RBIs. His final hit was an infield single in the eighth inning of a 9-1 loss to Tampa on July 15 after he had entered the game as a late-inning replacement.

“I’m sure my wife and I will cry about it, and I’m sure we’ll laugh about it,” Brogna said. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox called it “a sad day.”50 Brogna was 31.

Brogna’s physical condition, exacerbated by playing four seasons on the artificial turf at Veterans Stadium, made the decision to retire an easy one. “I just physically broke down,” he said. “I was done. I got so many cortisone shots in my back, knee, and shoulder. I was getting worried, and I didn’t want to go to steroids.”51.

Brogna didn’t stay out of baseball for long. The Phillies hired him to be a minor-league hitting instructor in 2001, with an ulterior motive: hoping that he could convince free agent Rolen to re-sign with the major league team. Rolen had been openly upset two years earlier when Brogna had lost his first base job after being injured.52

That was the first in a long string of jobs Brogna held over the next two decades. He also worked both on and off the field for the Angels, Diamondbacks, Athletics, and Rays. His last assignment in pro baseball was in 2021 as manager of the Oakland A’s Class A team in Stockton, California. Brogna also coached high school baseball, basketball, and football at a number of different schools in western Connecticut, as well as college baseball at Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, and two seasons as a volunteer football coach at Wesleyan University.

He started taking courses at Post while still playing, and after his playing career ended, he finished up his degree in business management. Brogna went on to get a master’s degree in Cyber Security from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.”53

In 2015, Brogna was diagnosed with and successfully treated for testicular cancer. His and Melissa’s children both graduated from Taft, where Alexa (Class of 2016) was an academic standout and Hunter (Class of 2021) a three-sport star.54 As of 2023, Rico and Melissa lived in Woodbury, a Connecticut town adjacent to Watertown.

In 2022, Brogna was an assistant football coach for Northwest United under Jennifer Garzone, the first woman to serve as a head high school football coach in Connecticut. The team went 10-0. In the spring of 2023, Brogna took over coaching baseball at his alma mater, Watertown High.

“I’m doing what I love to do,” Brogna said. “I love to coach.”55

Last revised: August 23, 2023



Thanks to Rico Brogna for his memories.

Also, thanks to Rachel Wells at the Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, NY.

This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Mike Eisenbath and fact-checked by Ray Danner.

Photo credit: Trading Card DB.



1 “Bravo! Brogna: Rico’s heroics put his hometown on the map,” New York Post, August 5, 1994.

2 “1988 ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Teams,” American Baseball Coaches Association,

https://www.abca.org/ABCA/ABCA/Awards/All-Americans/High_School/1988.aspx, (last accessed June 16, 2023).

3 Brian Schactman and John Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One,” Fanbase: A Deep Dive Into the Greatest Rivalry in Sports (podcast), October 1, 2020. https://omny.fm/shows/fanbase-a-deep-dive-into-the-greatest-rivalry-in-s/14-rico-brogna-part-one, (last accessed June 17, 2023).

4 Brian Schactman and John Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two,” Fanbase: A Deep Dive Into the Greatest Rivalry in Sports (podcast), October 12, 2020. https://omny.fm/shows/fanbase-a-deep-dive-into-the-greatest-rivalry-in-s/15-rico-brogna-part-two (last accessed June 24, 2023).

5 Don Harrison, “A Casualty of the Baseball Strike Finds a Haven,” New York Times, January 22, 1995.

6 Jennifer Frey, “Back home, Brogna is Man of the Year,” New York Times, July 27, 1994: B-7.

7 Mark Jaffe, “Wherever he has gone, Brogna has never forgotten early lessons,” Republican-American, January 3, 2021, A-16.

8 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One.”

9 Frey, “Back home, Brogna is Man of the Year.”

10 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One.”

11 Rico Brogna, telephone interview with David Bilmes, June 28, 2023 (hereafter Brogna-Bilmes interview).

12 Jaffe, “Wherever he has gone, Brogna has never forgotten early lessons.”

13 New York Post, “Bravo, Brogna! Rico’s heroics put his hometown on the map.”

14 New York Post, “Bravo, Brogna! Rico’s heroics put his hometown on the map.”

15 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

16 Stanley Rothman, “Former Major Leaguer Rico Brogna Visits Stan “the Stats Man” (Part 1), The Sandlot Stats Blog, March 2, 2013. https://sandlotstats.com/wp/2013/03/02/former-major-leaguer-rico-brogna-visits-stan-the-stats-man-part-1/ (last accessed June 19, 2023). Brogna later learned that he should have been able to negotiate for an even higher signing bonus, and from that point on used a professional agent to negotiate his contracts.

17 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

18 John Morgan, “Baseball star goes to bat for spondylitis,” USA Today, August 31, 2000, (last accessed June 24, 2023). Nearly 600,000 Americans suffer from ankylosing spondylitis, a rheumatic disease that primarily affects the spine, causing it to fuse. Brogna may have first started suffering from it when he was as young as 12. It was possibly the cause of intense heel pain that forced him to sit out some of his high school basketball games. The National Institute of Health estimates that 600,000 Americans suffer from some form of the condition.

19 Chuck Johnson, “Brogna to aid charity with every RBI,” USA Today, April 14, 1999.

20 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

21 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

22 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

23 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

24 Brogna’s friend and high school teammate, Jerry Valentino, married Melissa’s identical twin sister Michelle. As it turned out, Brogna succeeded Valentino as coach at Watertown High in 2023.

25 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One.”

26 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One.”

27 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part One.”

28 Dave Magadan (1987), John Milner (1972) and Dick Smith (1964) were the only other Mets rookies to have previously had five hits in a game.

29 New York Post, “Bravo! Brogna: Rico’s heroics put his hometown on the map.”

30 Harrison, “A Casualty of the Baseball Strike Finds a Haven.”

31 Harrison, “A Casualty of the Baseball Strike Finds a Haven.”

32 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

33 Tom Keegan, “Demonstration strikes fear into Brogna,” New York Post, April 29, 1995.

34 The Cubs’ Mark Grace, who made seven errors and had a .995 fielding percentage, won the Gold Glove. Grace was in a stretch where he won the award four times in five years.

35 Anthony L. Gargano, “Brogna opts for surgery,” New York Post, June 29, 1996.

36 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

37 Jordan and Borland combined to pitch 40 1/3 innings for the Mets in 1997, with ERAs of 5.33 and 6.08, respectively. By the following season, neither was still on the team.

38 Brogna played an average of 153 games per season during his first three years in Philadelphia.

39 Randy Miller, “Brogna knew of teammates’ steroid use,” Bucks County Courier Times, April 11, 2005.

40 Miller, “Brogna knew of teammates’ steroid use.”

41 Bob Brookover, “Brogna returns to Phils as coach,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16, 2001.

42 Red Sox scout Frank Malzone spent three days before the trade deadline watching the Phillies playing in order to scout Brogna, but Philadelphia infuriated him by not playing Brogna in any of those games. “No play, no trade,” Malzone said.

43 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

44 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

45 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

46 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

47 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

48 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

49 Schactman and Senecal, “Rico Brogna: Part Two.”

50 Jack Wilkinson, “As expected, Brogna calls it quits,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, July 18, 2001.

51 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

52 Bob Brookover, “Brogna returns to Phils as a coach,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 16, 2001. Rolen turned down an extension from the Phillies in November 2021, and then demanded to be traded during the 2002 season. The Phillies traded him to the Cardinals in July, and that September he signed an eight-year deal with St. Louis.

53 Dom Amore, “Armed with a master’s degree, Watertown’s Rico Brogna set for second half of his baseball life,” ˆHartford Courant, January 4, 2021. Brogna had a 4.0 GPA at Embry-Riddle, graduating with Distinction. His thesis was entitled “Cybersecurity Management and Policy.”

54 Mark Jaffe, “Hunter Brogna honored by Taft,” Republican-American, May 9, 2021, A-12.

55 Brogna-Bilmes interview.

Full Name

Rico Joseph Brogna


April 18, 1970 at Turners Falls, MA (USA)

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