September 27, 2022

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Legendary scout Mike Brito dies at 87

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Legendary international scout Mike Brito, who worked in the Dodgers organization for nearly 45 years, died Thursday evening at the age of 87.

Brito, known for his trademark Panama hat, cigar and ubiquitous radar gun, was one of the most recognizable scouts in baseball history and was responsible for the signing of Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela. A native of Cuba, he played in the Washington Senators’ minor league system from 1955-61, reaching the Triple-A level and later played professionally in Mexico from 1961-66.

In 1968, Brito moved to Los Angeles and through his work as a Mexican League scout, became associated with the Dodgers and then-General Manger Al Campanis. Campanis hired Brito full time in 1978 and the first player he signed was former Dodger pitcher Robert ‘Bobby” Castillo. In 1979, Brito convinced Campanis to sign Valenzuela, who rapidly became the most successful Mexican-born pitcher in baseball history, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award while leading the Dodgers to a World Championship.

“My heart is very heavy today,” said Valenzuela. “Mike was a great man and instrumental in my success as a baseball player on and off the field. No one loved the Dodger organization more than Mike and we will all miss him very much. My prayers go out to his wife, Rosario, and all of his family and friends.”

In all, Brito helped to sign more than 30 players that went on to play in the Majors, including Valenzuela, Castillo, Julio Urías, Yasiel Puig, Ismael Vadez, Antonio Osuna, Juan Castro and Dennis Reyes.

Brito was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named International Scout of the Year at Major League Baseball’s 2014 winter meetings in San Diego. Last year, he was the winner of Baseball America’s 2021 Tony Gwynn Award for his lifetime of contributions to the game.

Brito is survived by his wife, Rosario, his two daughters, Diana and Minerva and four granddaughters.

Funeral services are pending.

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