Brad Hand has made 448 career appearances in Major League Baseball through the August 2021, making him the longest tenured major leaguer to come from Chaska.
Born March 20, 1990, in Minneapolis, Brad was a three-sport athlete participating in football, hockey and baseball at Chaska High School. During his high school career, he earned letters in all three sports and was a four-time letter winner in baseball.
Being a multi-sport athlete has certainly helped Brad be as successful as he has been since his days as a Hawk.
ROAD TO THE SHOW
Brad was the 52nd overall draft pick (second round) by the Florida Marlins in 2008. After playing for the Marlins Rookie ball, Single A, Advanced A and Double A teams from 2008-2011, on June 4, 2011, the culmination of all his hard work in the minor leagues paid off.
Mom, Barb, and sister, Morgan, had just finished watching the Double A Jacksonville team play and were waiting for Brad outside the locker room. When Brad came out to greet them he had shaving cream all over his face; a sign a celebration had just taken place in the locker room.
His mom’s face lit up and she said, “Are we going to Miami?”
Brad's big grin on his face said it all. “Yes, we’re going to Miami.” Before visiting with family, Brad was called into the coach’s office to talk about his next start. The coach said. “it’s going to be a tough line-up on Tuesday. Here’s who you will be facing … Chipper Jones, Álex González, Freddie Freeman, David Ross,” … Brad realized right then he was going to make his Major League debut for the Florida Marlins against the Atlanta Braves.
With much excitement, Brad and his mom and sister rushed to his rented condo and packed up all of his belongings and started the drive down I-95 from Jacksonville to Miami. Along the way they stopped at a Nordstrom store to get a suit. Brad did not own a suit at the time and the Marlins dress code called for suits to be worn on game day.
On June 7, 2011, Brad made his MLB debut against Atlanta. In the stands were a contingent of family members, friends of his parents, and some high school friends. Although he had a great debut and quality start (six innings, one hit and one run allowed, six strikeouts), Brad took the loss in the 1-0 game. Álex González hit a solo home run in the fourth inning.
The Miami Herald had a headline the next day that read “Wasted Effort” with a picture of Brad. Despite the loss, it was an incredible day for Brad and his hometown fans and was the start of 10-plus years in the major leagues.
FINDING HIS ROLE
Brad bounced back and forth from the big-league club and the Marlins Triple A affiliate in New Orleans, used both as a starter and a reliever while with the Marlins. In 2015, after five seasons in the Marlins organization, Brad was put on waivers and was soon claimed by the San Diego Padres.
San Diego is where Brad began to thrive. Used strictly as a reliever, having developed a new pitch, a strikeout slider, Brad became a shutdown closer for the Padres, finishing with 45 saves in being selected to the 2017 and 2018 MLB All-Star Game.
Brad was traded to the Cleveland Indians in July of 2018 where he pitched in his first post-season game. In 2019, Brad was selected for his third consecutive All-Star game, representing Cleveland in its home park. During the 2020 COVID shortened season, Brad led the league in saves and again pitched in the post-season for the Indians.
This past off-season, Brad, a free agent, was signed by the Washington Nationals. As of Aug. 29, Brad has 21 saves between Washington and Toronto, where he was traded in late July.
Other awards and honors: 2008 Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year; 2016 Dick Siebert Player of the Year Award (given to a top performing Minnesotan in MLB); 2016 National League leader in games pitched and in 2018 had his first 30-plus saves in a season; 2019 Chaska High School Hall of Fame recipient.
While Brad was in Cleveland, he and his wife, Morgan, started a foundation called “Helping Hands,” a way to give back to the community. Each month, he and his family visited a family that was affiliated with the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club, rewarding them with gift cards and jerseys.
His dedication to this organization led him to be the Cleveland Indians nominee for the 2020 Roberto Clemente award. This award is given to a player that represents the game of baseball through, extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
When Brad was playing youth baseball, his dad, Lon, coached him through several levels. His dad always told him to keep getting better; always work to improve and that has been Brad’s motto throughout his professional career. He is always trying to improve a pitch or improve his delivery. He works out every day during the off-season, too. He still finds time to enjoy his favorite past time, golf, where he holds a six-handicap.
Brad and his wife have been married for six years and have two children, Lila (5) and Cuyler (3). During the season, Morgan and the kids find temporary housing in whatever city Brad is in. They live in Jupiter, Florida. during the off-season; the location Brad first arrived in with the Florida Marlins two weeks after high school graduation.
Barb Hand is the mother of Chaska's Major League Baseball pitcher Brad.