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Brandon Laird

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Brandon John Laird

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The brother of Gerald Laird, third baseman Brandon Laird was selected by the New York Yankees in the 27th round of the 2007 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Dave Keith and made his pro debut that summer with the GCL Yankees, hitting .339/.367/.577 with 8 home runs and 29 RBIs in 45 games and making the Gulf Coast League All-Star team. He was 5th in the GCL in average and was only 40 points behind slugging leader Michael Burgess.

In the 2003 World Youth Championship, Brandon batted .323 with 7 runs as a 3B-OF for the USA as they won Gold. Laird hit .208 for the USA in the 2004 World Junior Championship as the starting second baseman, forming a middle infield combo with Justin Upton.

On December 30, 2009, Brandon and Gerald Laird were arrested during a fight at US Airways Arena during a Phoenix Suns-Boston Celtics game; Brandon was charged with disorderly conduct.

Brandon made his major league debut at 3B for the Yankees on July 22, 2011, taking over for SS Derek Jeter while 3B Eduardo Nunez moved to short. He walked in his first plate appearance, then got a hit, drove in a run and scored one in a 17-7 Yankee win over the Oakland Athletics. He spent parts of three seasons in the majors, hitting .197/.255/.370, with 6 HR in 127 AB.

Laird signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters for 2015 and hit .231/.301/.488. His 34 homers tied Yuki Yanagita for third in the Pacific League and his 97 RBI were 5th (between Dae-ho Lee and Nobuhiro Matsuda). In 2016, he did better at .263/.319/.516 with 39 home runs and 97 RBI. He won the PL home run title by 4 over Ernesto Mejia, was 4th in RBI (between Mejia and Alfredo Despaigne) and 2nd in slugging (.007 behind Yanagita). In the 2016 Japan Series, he starred, getting Nippon Ham's first run, a solo shot off Kris Johnson in the opener, then hit a two-run blast against Jay Jackson in the bottom of the 8th of game 4 with a 1-1 score to allow the Fighters to even the Series. In game 6, his grand slam off Jackson capped the scoring to give him 3 homers and 7 RBI for the Series. He and Haruki Nishikawa became the first teammates to both hit grand slams in the same Japan Series. He was named Japan Series MVP, the first American to win since Troy Neel 20 years prior.

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