By David Driver
For the Bradley Hilltopics Online
Used with permission
Former Bradley baseball standout DANIEL BREWER ’09 was in minor league spring training with the New York Yankees in 2009 when he headed to Tampa, winter home of the Yankees, to see a major league exhibition game.
He knew beforehand about his geographical connections to Joe Girardi, the manager for the Yankees. “He is from Peoria. I talked to him a little bit in the dugout before the game,” said Brewer. “He talked to me about being from Peoria and central Illinois.”
One day, if all goes well, Brewer may have the chance to play for Girardi with the Yankees. An outfielder, he began the 2010 season in New Jersey with the Trenton Thunder, the Class AA affiliate of the Yankees in the Eastern League.
“I consider myself a hard-nosed player,” said Brewer. “I need to keep working my butt off to get to the next level. I just need to keep hitting. A lot of people say I am average with power and speed.”
Brewer was drafted out of Bradley as a junior in the eighth round by the Yankees in 2008. The next season he was a mid-season All-Star in the South Atlantic League while with Charleston (SC). This year, he became the 13th player in franchise history to hit 10 homeruns and steal 20 bases in a season. He’s been batting .321 with 73 RBIs since the all-star break, up from .231 with seven homers and 43 RBIs in his first 333 at bats in Class AA. “They really try to teach us to buy into the tradition,” he said of the Yankees, just days before owner George Steinbrenner died in Tampa. “It would be a dream to make the big leagues at Yankee Stadium.”
Brewer said he learned a great deal from former Bradley head coach Dewey Kalmer. “He prepared me a lot for this. He said (the minors) was a grind and tried to get me prepared as much as he could for what was to come when I was drafted,” Brewer said.