Retired Nashville MLB pitcher aims for return to big leagues
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
It’s a story of triumph, tragedy and resilience. Former major league baseball pitcher Keith Brown, who makes his home in Nashville, fought to get to the big leagues and successfully battled cancer twice.
And now Keith Brown is fighting again.
Brown won a world championship with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. Four years later he was driven from the game by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Now he 's fighting to get back into baseball.
"Never give up," Brown said. "Regardless of what people say to you, you know never give up."
Brown has always been a fighter, going from a 21-st round draft pick to the majors. Since those days, he remained close to the game any way he can.
He taught private lessons and coached travel teams, always trying to pass on the tricks of the trade to the next generation.
Brown has his sights on coaching full-time at the professional level.
“Being a pitching coach or just a bullpen coach," Brown said. "I don't really need to be in the spotlight."
That comment points to another obstacle Keith Brown had to overcome. It's why he took the job he has now, driving a courtesy car at Lexus of Nashville, taking strangers with a car in for service back home or to the office.
Brown said the job helped him come out of his shell.
“I was a very shy guy," Brown said. "It gave me the opportunity to speak about my story and talk to people. And now I'm not shy to talk to people anymore."
It might sound like a small thing. But for a man who describes talking to reporters after pitching as painful, the challenge was real.
With this final demon defeated, Brown is preparing to put himself out there.
“I will just keep on fighting," Brown said. "Even when I was a player, oh you can't play baseball, you're not good enough. You don't throw hard enough. Well, I'll show you. And that's how I'm gonna be as a coach."
He's hoping he can get a job with the Reds, who gave him a chance to pitch when other's wouldn't.
Brown's wife Renay loves baseball so much, she married Keith on the pitcher's mound at Lipscomb University. She's behind him all the way.
Keith Brown's journey begins in March.
He has been invited to speak at the Red's spring training camp in Arizona. Brown said he's planning to do some networking and look for a place to get his foot in the door.