Bregman: A Legacy Fulfilled

Photo Credit: Keith Allison | Flickr

by: Rich Daniels

The rise of young Alex Bregman to the level of Major League Superstar has been thrilling to watch for everyone. 

The fun-loving infielder emerged as a mainstay for the World Series Champion Houston Astros last season and he has stepped up his game this year just when his team needed it. 

If the Astros are to repeat as world champions this year, Bregman will undoubtedly be a big part of it. His success is something of a phenomenon to most of us, but to his family, however, it's no accident or random happening.

Dial back three generations in the Bregman clan to Alex's great-grandfather, Bo. While never making it even into the minor leagues, Bo Bregman made himself a fixture in amateur baseball around Washington DC.

After his playing days in regional adult and industrial leagues, Bo Bregman found his way into every nook and cranny of the game. If a team needed a sponsor, Bo Bregman arranged it. If a kid needed a glove, Bregman found one. If some kids needed a place to play, Bregman managed to get a vacant lot mowed and ready for baseball. Talk to anyone in the DC baseball scene even today, some seventy years later, and the name of Bo Bregman is still familiar.

His was only the first of many contributions to the game of baseball a Bregman would make.

Bo's son, Stanley, grew up around the game and soon shared his love for America's pastime.

While not being a player of any reputation, Stanley Bregman would serve the game at its highest level. He founded a law firm that gained favor for its straight shooting and high levels of performance. So good was Bregman's law firm that it represented the Washington Senators for many years.

Another high-powered association, the Presidential campaign of Hubert Humphrey, would bring a critical connection to the name of Bregman and major league baseball.

Stanley Bregman met a Minnesota businessman close to the campaign named Bob Short. Astute sports fans might recognize that name as the man who once bought the Minneapolis Lakers for a mere $40,000, moved them to Los Angeles and soon after sold the team for $5.5 million. 

Stanley Bregman seized on the opportunity and suggested to Short that he take some of his Laker money and buy the perpetually-up-for-sale Senators. Short took the advice to heart and no one in baseball circles expected the Senators to remain in DC for long. Short did keep the team in place long enough to hand-pick Ted Williams to be his manager and rejuvenate the team for the 1969 season, but the writing was on the wall and Short moved the team to Arlington, Texas after the 71' season.

The American Southwest was in the cards for Stanley Bregman, too, as he would later retire to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Bregman family found prosperity in the Land of Enchantment as Stanley's son, Sam, worked his way through the youth baseball ranks and made his way to the University of New Mexico to play there. 

Sam Bregman not only followed his father's footsteps in a passion for baseball, but also did so in becoming a lawyer. His is now one of the most prominent law firms in the Southwest United States. And he was able to pass on the family legacy of baseball to his sons. The first of which most baseball fans have come to know.

Alex Bregman was described as "a baseball natural" as early as four years old. 

He went on to play at the prestigious Albuquerque Academy and became the first ever high schooler to win the USA Baseball Player of the Year a sophomore. 

Three years at LSU followed, two as an All-American. Bregman was drafted second overall by the Astros in the 2015 draft and didn't take long to get through the minors. Just 146 minor league games brought him to the Astros in 2016 and he hasn't looked back.

His 2017 season started with a World Baseball Classic win as the youngest player on the team and ended with the Astros winning the World Series. Defending that world championship in 2018 looked inevitable with a bolstered starting rotation and every key player returning. Then injuries to American League MVP Jose Altuve and superstar shortstop Carlos Correa put a repeat championship in jeopardy. Enter Bregman who produced at a high rate in the absence of his two missing infield mates and kept the offense of the Astros cruising.

An MVP performance in this year's All-Star Game foretold of even better things to come. 

 In addition to his regular third base duties, the 24 year-old has logged 21 games at shortstop filling in for the injured Correa. Add a couple of games at second and even an appearance in left field which tells you that whatever the team asks of him will get done. Even his simulated curling in the dugout home run celebration is on a roll. 

With projections of home runs in the mid-30's and RBI's well above a hundred, Alex Bregman is headed for a big finish to the 2018 season. 

Considering his vital role in keeping the Astros offense relevant in the absences of Altuve, Correa and outfielder George Springer, Bregman should garner a considerable share of the American League MVP conversation. 

A development that should powerfully influence his salary talks with the Astros in improving his $599K contract. The best news for Astros fans: Bregman won't be eligible for free agency until 2023.  

Simply put, Alex Bregman is on top of the world.

It would be easy to look at him as a phenomenal talent and leave it at that. However, it would be a disservice to not recognize just where the young superstar is coming from. It wasn't all that long ago that his grandfather witnessed every one of his high school home runs. Or that his father strode between the lines at UNM. It probably hasn't been too long since he heard accounts of the great grandfather he never got to know spreading a love of baseball.

Alex Bregman is not just a major league superstar. Alex Bregman is what three generations of passion, dedication and hard work can yield. Here's to hoping the Bregman name remains in baseball for a long, long time and that the Bregman family legacy can inspire other clans to do the same.

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