Craig Brazell figures he could probably still hit a few home runs at Riverwalk Stadium. But, he says, "It'd be a lot easier with my 7-iron, though."
Brazell officially announced his retirement Wednesday in an exclusive interview with WSFA 12 sports at Riverwalk.
He will be a special guest Tuesday when, for the second time, Montgomery hosts the Southern League All-Star Game.
The first time the game took place at Riverwalk, in 2006, Brazell won the Home Run Derby, outslugging future National League MVP Joey Votto.
At the time, Craig said, "I got into a couple, had a little fun with it. And did everything I could. Winning it in my hometown, no better feeling. Glad I could put a show on for these people. Especially everybody here my mom, dad, my wife all these friends and family. It was definitely a great experience coming home and doing this."
Looking back, nine years later, Brazell says, "I know the joy my parents had seeing me play in the All-Star game at home, that was probably the most memorable part of it all. There was tons of adrenaline because the guy throwing the Home Run Derby to me was Marty (Lovrich), who coaches at AUM now. A friend of mine (Brennan Dees) was catching. So I got these guys talking to me the whole time. So I might have had a little bit of an advantage over Votto because Marty was trying to cut him in a little, making him break his bat," Brazell says with a smile. "Hey, hometown advantage."
After his home run heroics in 2006, Craig led all of minor league ball with 39 home runs in 2007, earning a trip back to the big leagues with Kansas City. Craig made his MLB debut with the New York Mets in 2004.
Beginning in 2008, Brazell spent the next seven seasons in Japan, before trading in his bat for a set of golf club this season.
"Now, it's not so much swinging a baseball bat I'm worried about. It's getting rid of my slice and my golf swing and just spending time with my son, and my family," he says.
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