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Royals Have All the Bretts On Their Side

October 23, 1985|THOMAS BONK | Times Staff Writer

Bobby and Ken, two-fourths of the Brett brothers, watched the family's most famous quarter play a World Series game Tuesday night. Not in St. Louis, but on a wide-screen television in Hermosa Beach.

George's other brother, John, and Ethel, the mother of all those Bretts, watched the first two games in person in Kansas City. They didn't have much luck, so two more Bretts took over the watch, sort of like teamwork, and made it a television watch.

"George doesn't need any complications in his life right now and we'd be a distraction if we were there," said Ken Brett, who visited with his brother during the Royals' divisional playoffs.

"It was like a zoo," said Ken.

To the largely pro-Kansas City crowd at C.J. Bretts, a bar and restaurant partially owned by the four Brett brothers and their father, Jack, all George apparently needed to uncomplicate his life was for the Cardinals to pitch to him.

And while the Royals were on their way to a 6-1 victory, it was a zoo at the restaurant, too, but there were no Cardinals.

George was clearly the hero of the night, and also of the restaurant's owners, who figure his presence in the World Series generates an extra $10,000 worth of business.

"Whenever George walks in here, everybody knows who he is and starts yelling," said Ken. "We had Larry Bird here during the playoffs and when he walked in, everybody got real quiet."

And what about when they see you, Ken? Do they remember your 12-year, 10-team major league career?

"I've been forgotten already," he said.

Not exactly, if you note that George Brett of the El Segundo baseball Bretts is not the only one in the family still to be involved in the sport. The Brett brothers are just about to close a deal to buy the minor league Spokane Indians. Bobby, 34, will be the team's president.

"We're not getting involved to lose money," said Bobby. "This is just the next progression of our involvement with baseball. If we do well, maybe we'll go to the AAA level."

The Indians are affiliated with the Padres, who pay the salaries of the players and coaches, provide equipment and take care of the per diem. The Bretts handle all the rest of the operating expenses. Ken Brett figures that with some good weather, the brothers might even turn a profit.

At this moment, from the direction of those watching the series in the bar at C.J. Bretts, loud cheers were heard.

Clear skies in Spokane?

George Brett on the television.

Brett strokes a single to right-center (cheers).

Brett talks about hitting in a taped conversation (louder cheers).

Tommy Lasorda is pictured in the stands (loud boos).

There weren't many boos, nor a lot of cheers for Ken Brett this summer when he managed the Class A Utica Blue Sox in the New York-Penn League.

The Blue Sox are a combination of minor leaguers from the Philadelphia, Montreal, Texas, Detroit and San Diego franchises. Their team batting average was .214.

"I got the orphans," said Ken.

Meal money for the Blue Sox was $8.50 a day, which wasn't even a decent tip when Ken was enjoying his prime in the big leagues.

Ken, 36, followed oldest brother John, 38, into the Boston Red Sox organization and a year after graduating from El Segundo High School in 1966, he was a 19-year-old pitching for the Red Sox against the Cardinals in the World Series.

The other Bretts were watching him on television.

Brett had his best years with Philadelphia in 1973 and Pittsburgh in 1974 when he was 13-9 both seasons. He wasn't bad with his bat, either. Ken, who was considered a better hitting prospect than George as a youngster, set a major league record for pitchers when he homered in four consecutive games.

"It would have been five, but the game before those four, I hit one over the line on the outfield fence in San Francisco and the umpire called it a double," Ken said. "After the game, Bobby Bonds told me it was a home run."

Brett, whose career as a player ended when the Pirates released him in 1982, isn't sure whether he will return to Utica to manage again next season, but if he does, he hopes the Blue Sox improve their their record.

"How did we do?" said Brett. "You want the good news or the bad news? The good news is we finished second. The bad news is there were only four teams in the division."

The good news is that all the Bretts are doing well, even if it takes little brother George, 32, to get people to notice the rest of the family.

The Brett partners in the restaurant, John Altamura and Chuck Lehman, have known the Bretts for several years and they say they are truly glad the Royals are in the World Series.

"The only thing better would be to have the Dodgers and the Royals playing," said Altamura.

Someone brings in a pot of flowers sent as good luck to Bobby from a friend of his in Utica. Bobby is talking about the baseball that George autographed and sent to Toronto's George Bell, who said the Blue Jays were being discriminated against in the American League Championship Series.

"It said, '(Bleep) you, George,' " said Bobby. "It was all in fun."

There are more cheers from around the bar. The Royals have scored again. Ken Brett smiles as he stands near the front door, glancing only occasionally at the big-screen television. He says he really isn't that excited.

"I figure if George does anything special, I can watch it on the news," said Ken, who admitted he watched only the ninth inning of Sunday night's game.

"I went to the movies," he said.

Perhaps Brett thought he had seen it all before and, you know, he's seen a lot. In his major league career, Brett pitched for Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh twice, the Yankees, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers, Angels and Royals.

George hasn't traveled the same road as Ken or any of his brothers. But they're all still together in George's big moment this season, even if the attachment is through the television.

Another big cheer comes from near the bar. Ken goes inside to investigate. It's George. He'll watch him again on the news.

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