Mike Brito traveled to Guanajuato to observe shortstop Alí Uscanga, who played with the Central League team Silao in 1978. His nose as a talent scout made him fix his attention on the rival team’s left-handed pitcher, Tuzos, who despite After coming out with the loss, his starter struck out 12 batters. The name of Fernando Valenzuela was crossed for the first time in the life of the Cuban, without imagining that it would mark his destiny in baseball.
Dodgers had years of trying to get a Mexican jewel that identified with the Los Angeles fans. Brito was the ideal character for that mission.
He forgot about the shortstop and began to follow Valenzuela, a year later he finalized his signature to start the most wonderful story of a Mexican baseball player.
The figure of Mike Brito behind the plate at Dodger Stadium, with his radar gun in hand and hat, was missed this season in the majors. In the distance, at his home in Mazatlán, where he spends the times of the pandemic due to covid-19, he was moved to see his two most recent jewels crowned in the Big Top: Julio Urías and Víctor González
The most famous talent scout in Latin America is still active at 85 years old and with his radar gun ready to follow the next prospect.
How are you after the Dodgers title?
Very happy for the two Mexican boys that I signed with the help of God. Let him see them triumph that way against all odds, because nobody assured that they were going to carry the whole game.
It wasn’t a Dodgers championship, it was Mexico.
How did you celebrate it?
I gave my wife a kiss, thanked God, and had half a bottle of wine. I didn’t get the cigar this time because it doesn’t go with the wine.
What stands out the most about Julio Urías and Víctor González?
The mettle of the two, the conditions and the confidence in themselves; the arm, the speed, the control and a set of things, but above all, both very brave.
His fascination with left-handed pitchers returned the Dodgers to a title, as did Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
Everyone asks me that I am fascinated by lefties, but God puts them in the way and who gets bread to cry? But I have also signed rights, I signed Joakim Soria, who is now with the Oakland Athletics. I have taken 22 Mexican boys to the Major Leagues, not many scouts can do it. There was a year the Dodgers had six Mexicans at the same time.
Photo: Excelsior Archive
Did you talk to Victor and Julio after the championship?
I spoke with Victor in the morning and sent him a message that I am very proud of both of them and that I wish him more success than he is. He thanked me for signing it, I said: thank God.
Julio Urías established himself in the Major Leagues
I signed Julio in Oaxaca, from the beginning I had an eye problem. Fortunately we had faith that he was going to operate and the operation was a success. He pulled on his pants by force of will and work to succeed.
Did they tell you about the Dodgers to congratulate you?
What I hope is that they communicate, but that they put one more number on my check. Now it was an unassisted double play with these two guys.
Fernando Valenzuela / Photos: AFP / Mexsport
Will this championship be good for Mexican baseball?
Sure, because now more kids are going to want to be a Julio Urías or a Víctor González. Mexican baseball has grown a lot, and the player has ambition that he did not have before. As long as God gives me life there, I will be looking for talent 100 percent confident that here in Mexico many players will come out from now on.
Who is your next Mexican MLB prospect?
Gerardo Carrillo, who signed it in Guadalajara. He shoots 100 miles per hour, he’s a right-handed pitcher and will soon be with the Dodgers.
Has the signing of Fernando Valenzuela been your greatest achievement?
Definitely one of the greatest in my career with my arrival in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and when I was named the best scout of the year.
Photo: Excelsior Archive
Now that you mention the Hall of Fame, do you think Fernando Valenzuela should be in Cooperstown?
Of course he must be there for everything he did for baseball. No baseball player got so many fans into the stadiums, he was one of the greatest pitchers and it would be only fair that he be there.
In Mexico he is well remembered
Very grateful that people greet me anywhere in Mexico. Now I am in Mazatlán, which is a beautiful city. I send greetings to all the fans.
Mike Brito threw the first ball in the 2017 World Classic and wore his rings
And the radar gun?
That one is always ready to look for more left-handers and if I cross a right I also bring it.
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