Mike Brito, the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers scout who discovered Fernando Valenzuela and dozens of other players, died on Thursday at age 87, the team announced.
Brito was part of the Dodgers’ organization for almost 45 years. For decades, he was a visible fixture behind home plate at Dodger Stadium, wearing a Panama hat and pointing a radar gun at the action.
Valenzuela was a phenomenon when he arrived in the major leagues from Mexico at age 19. The left-hander won both the National League Cy Young Award and NL Rookie of Year in 1981, and he helped the Dodgers win the World Series that year. He went on to be a six-time All-Star.
Valenzuela said Thursday in a statement released by the Dodgers, “My heart is very heavy today. 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 addition to Valenzuela, Brito’s signees included Robert “Bobby” Castillo, Julio Urias, Yasiel Puig, Ismael Valdez, Antonio Osuna, Juan Castro and Dennis Reyes. Urias was the only 20-game winner in the major leagues last year.
–Field Level Media