(East Los Angeles, CA) July 10, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: Mike Brito, the pride and baseball joy of Boyle Heights quietly departed from us on July 7th. Of Cuban heritage, he was one of the most renowned Latino MLB baseball scouts of all-time, and employed the Los Angeles Dodgers for some 45 years. With his sudden passing, his beloved community will be mourning him for a long while as the eventual calls for establishing a fitting memoriam that legends create, and are best determined once they no longer are here with us on earth.
Thus, the efforts to memorialize Mr. Brito will most likely be spurred on by those who knew him well as a friend, a mentor, neighbor, or as just a normal community resident, and surely our Los Angeles Dodgers, will all become part of that endeavor.
There is much more to come about the loss of this longtime legend that provoked the Dodgers and MLB to turn their unwavering support of the creation and subsequent fans’ rise of the phenomena known as Fernandomania, when he discovered, then signed the young Mexican prospect from Navojoa, Mexico, Fernando “El Toro” Valenzuela. The rest is history and true baseball lore at the same time.
We will have more to say here about the Life of, and the Legend, Mike Brito, the Dodgers perennial scout for four and a half decades.
Here is the recent press announcement issued by the Los Angeles Dodgers on the loss of Mike Brito.
LONGTIME DODGER SCOUT MIKE BRITO PASSES AWAY AT 87
LOS ANGELES, CA – Legendary international scout Mike Brito, who worked in the Dodger organization for nearly 45 years, passed away on the early evening of July 7th at the age of 87.
Brito, known for his trademark Panama hat, cigar and ubiquitous radar gun, was one of the most recognizable scouts in baseball history and was responsible for the signing of Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela. A native of Cuba, he played in the Washington Senators’ minor league system from 1955-61, reaching the Triple-A level and later played professionally in Mexico from 1961-66.
In 1968, Brito moved to Los Angeles and through his work as a Mexican League scout, became associated with the Dodgers and then-General Manger Al Campanis. Campanis hired Brito full time in 1978 and the first player he signed was former Dodger pitcher Robert ‘Bobby” Castillo. In 1979, Brito convinced Campanis to sign Valenzuela, who rapidly became the most successful Mexican-born pitcher in baseball history, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award while leading the Dodgers to a World Championship.
“My heart is very heavy today,” said Valenzuela. “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 all, Brito helped to sign more than 30 players that went on to play in the Majors, including Valenzuela, Castillo, Julio Urías, Yasiel Puig, Ismael Vadez, Antonio Osuna, Juan Castro and Dennis Reyes.
Brito was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named International Scout of the Year at Major League Baseball’s 2014 winter meetings in San Diego. Last year, he was the winner of Baseball America’s 2021 Tony Gwynn Award for his lifetime of contributions to the game.
Brito is survived by his wife, Rosario, his two daughters, Diana and Minerva and four granddaughters.
Funeral services are pending.