From BR Bullpen
Note: This page is for Ryan Braun, the All-Star outfielder; for his contemporary, pitcher Ryan Braun who played in 2006 and 2007, click here
Ryan Joseph Braun
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of Miami
- High School Granada Hills High School
- Debut May 25, 2007
 Biographical Information
Ryan Braun made his major league debut in 2007 and is one of the main reasons for the Milwaukee Brewers' resurgence as a baseball power since then. Braun was Rookie of the Year in his first season as well as leading the league in slugging percentage, and has since established himself as one of baseball's top hitters, winning the MVP award in 2011.
 Amateur Career
Undrafted out of high school, Ryan Braun went to the University of Miami for college. In 2003, he won the Baseball America Freshman of the Year award. As a sophomore SS/DH on the # 4 team in the country (according to Baseball America, Braun hit .335 and slugged .606, stealing 21 bases. In his junior year, he made the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Conference team at third base, splitting honors with Wes Hodges. Braun hit .388 (sixth in the ACC), homered 18 times (second-best), slugged .726, stole 23 and drove in a conference-high 76. He was 9th in NCAA Division I in slugging and 10th in RBI.
He was named to Baseball America's 2005 College All-American Team as the DH.
Assigned to the Helena Brewers in 2005, Braun batted .341/.383/.585 in 10 games, driving in 10 runs, then found himself up with the West Virginia Power, where he showed lots of power, hitting .355/.396/.645 with 26 extra-base hits and 35 RBI in 37 contests. Braun was rated the 5th-best prospect in the South Atlantic League following that season.
Beginning the 2006 season with the Brevard County Manatees, Ryan was hitting .274/.346/.438 with 14 steals in 18 tries when he was promoted to the Huntsville Stars, where he hit .303 with 15 homers in 59 games. Braun was considered the best Jewish minor league baseball prospect in 2006.. Minor league columnist Jonathan Mayo wrote that Braun is "[b]y far the top Jewish prospect in baseball." Braun was selected to play in the 2006 Futures Game and went 0 for 1 as the backup third baseman to Alex Gordon. Baseball America rated Braun the best batting prospect in the Florida State League.
 Major Leagues
In 2007, Braun hit more home runs (34) than all but 4 of the top 10 career Jewish home run hitters had hit in their best seasons. Only Hank Greenberg (58), Shawn Green (49), and Al Rosen (43) hit more in a single year.
On July 7, he became the fastest Brewer ever to hit his 10th major league home run. Braun hit his 15th home run in the 50th game of his career, and his 20th in his 64th game, making him the fastest to 15 and 20 since Albert Pujols got there in the 49th and 63rd games of his career in 2001. He easily eclipsed Bill Schroeder's pace as the fastest Brewer to 20 career home runs; it had taken Schroeder 94 games and Braun 64. Braun was voted the National League Rookie of the Month for June and July, as well as the NL Player of the Month for July 2007, the first of many times he would earn the prestigious honor.
As of August 12, after 70 games, Braun led the Major Leagues in slugging percentage (.666), and led the National League in batting average (.348) among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. In addition, he had the best batting average (.468), OBP (.553), and slugging percentage (1.026) against left-handed MLB hitters with at least 75 plate appearances against them. He was also leading the Brewers in batting average, slugging percentage, and OBP (.392), was 2nd in home runs (22) and tied for 2nd in triples (4), and was 3rd on the team in RBIs (59) and steals (10) - despite not having played in 48 games in the first half of the season.
At that point, he also led all NL rookies in batting average, slugging percentage, OBP, home runs, and total bases, was tied for 2nd in triples (behind Hunter Pence), 2nd in RBIs (behind Troy Tulowitzki), 3rd in runs (54; behind Tulowitzki and Chris Young) and 4th in stolen bases (behind Young, Michael Bourn, and Rajai Davis).
On September 9th, he followed Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy in homering off Phil Dumatrait to open the game against the Cincinnati Reds. This made the trio the first in major league history to start a contest with three straight homers. (Two other teams have hit three homers to start the bottom of the first inning.)
Offensively, Braun finished with a .324/.370/.634 batting line with 34 homers, 91 runs, 97 RBI and 15 steals in 20 tries in 113 games for the 2007 Brewers. He led the league in slugging percentage and was among the top 10 in OPS (5th) and homers (tied for fifth with Miguel Cabrera and Lance Berkman). He was voted the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year Award, beating out Tulowitzki, and was named to the 2007 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.
In 2008, Braun hit his 56th MLB home run in his 200th game. Only Mark McGwire (59) and Rudy York (59) had hit more in their first 200 games. Braun helped the Brewers set a franchise record with homers in 20 straight games when he delivered a 2-run, 9th-inning game-winner off of Ryan Franklin on July 24th. He was the National League's Player of the Month in July, one year exactly after first earning the award. He had been moved to left field in spring training and took well to his new position, quickly establishing himself as an above-average defender. There was never any question about his bat, and in his sophomore season, he hit .285, but with 37 homers and 106 RBI as the Brewers played in the postseason for the first time since the 1982 World Series. In four games against the Philadelphia Phillies, he went 5 for 16, with a pair of doubles and 2 RBI. He was also named to the All-Star team for the first time, something that would become an annual occurrence for him.
Braun was named to Team USA for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He had another excellent year at the plate, improving his batting average to .320 with 32 homers and 114 RBI. He led the National League with 203 hits and scored 113 runs. In 2010, he fell slightly, to .304 with 25 homers and 103 RBI, but had a career-high 45 doubles.
Ryan Braun was named the National League's Player of the Month in April 2011. He tied for the league lead in homers (10) and runs scored (24) while hitting .367, slugging .724 and accumulating 23 RBI. He kept on that torrential pace over the following months and formed with 1B Prince Fielder a devastating pair in the heart of the Brewers' line-up as the team put it all together, running away with the NL Central title. He repeated as Player of the Month in September, when he hit .330 and had 22 RBI in 25 games. He became the second Brewer player to have a 30-30 season, after Tommy Harper in 1970 and finished the year with superlative numbers all around - a .332 average, .597 slugging, 109 runs scored and 111 RBI. Voters recognized his tremendous season by awarding him a fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award, and then voting him the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Award, ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp. However, there was a cold shower soon thereafter, when it was revealed by ESPN on December 10th that Braun had tested positive for a PED, displaying abnormally high levels of testosterone in a urine sample taken during the postseason. Facing a 50-game suspension, Braun told USA Today "It's B.S.". His agent also issued a statement claiming his innocence: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program." However, no player identified under MLB's drug policy had yet had a positive test result overturned. The result was a bitter blow for major league baseball, which had sought to promote the idea that the steroids scandal was a thing of the past and had promoted Braun as a role model. A number of sportswriters immediately opined that Braun should be stripped of his recently-won MVP title. 10 days later, news stories reported that the positive test had been triggered by medication taken for "a private medical issue", although neither the name of the substance, nor the condition it was supposed to treat were made public at that time. On January 19, 2012 he met a three-person commission in New York City to give his side of the story in the hope of reversing the suspension. On February 23rd, Braun's suspension was reversed through the arbitration process; the three-man panel chaired by independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that proper protocol had not been followed in collecting and storing the incriminating sample before testing, leaving a doubt open as to whether it could have been the subject of tampering. That doubt was important because the level of testosterone found in the sample was so incredibly high as to leave doubt that it could have been produced naturally. As a result of the ruling, the potential 50-game suspension was lifted, to the relief of Braun, his teammates, and the Players' Association, which had fought strongly on the star's behalf.
On April 30, 2012, Braun had the first three-homer game in notoriously pitcher-friendly PETCO Park, and added a two-run triple for good measure, to lead the Brewers to an 8-3 win over the San Diego Padres. No one had hit 3 homers and a triple in a major league game since Fred Lynn in 1975. On September 16th, he hit a pair of homers in a 3-0 win over the New York Mets, giving him 200 homers for his career, and his first 40-homer season. After the game, he was leading the National League in home runs, total bases, slugging percentage and OPS, and by collecting his 102nd RBI, had passed the Padres' Chase Headley to take the lead in that category as well; he was second in runs scored and in the top five in batting average as well. He finished the season at .319/.391/.595 in 154 games. He led the NL in runs with 108, homers with 41, total bases with 356 and OPS at .987; his 112 RBI placed him second behind Headley, and his batting average was third best (discounting the disqualified Melky Cabrera), behind Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen. He finished second in the voting for the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player Award, behind Posey but ahead of McCutchen.
There was more controversy for Braun at the start of the 2013 season, as his name was one of those linked to Biogenesis Laboratories, a drug clinic in Miami, FL suspected of having supplied PEDs to major league players. Still, he started the season hitting well, and had a batting line of .304/.380/.509 after 57 games. On June 15th, however, he went on the disabled list for the first time of his career; he had not played since the end of May, complaining of sharp pain in his right hand caused by an inflamed nerve that had sapped his power. When rest proved not to be sufficient, he had to take some time off, and also sought the expertise of Dr. Don Sheridan, the specialist who had worked on teammate Rickie Weeks' hand the previous year. He returned to the line-up on July 8th, but the time missed meant that for the first time of his career, he would not play in the All-Star Game. On July 22nd, he became the first player to be suspended as a result of the Biogenesis investigation, the punishment covering the remainder of the season and the postseason; this time, Braun decided not to contest MLB's evidence and issued a public apology for his actions: ""As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions." Some 20 other players were being investigated by MLB in conjunction with Braun. At the time of the suspension, he was hitting .298/.372/.498 in 61 games, with 9 homers and 38 RBIs. A lot of Braun's fellow players thought his 65-game suspension was not enough punishment: pitcher Max Scherzer opined that the remainder of his contract should be voided, while Matt Kemp, who had lost out to Braun in the 2011 MVP race, stated that the award should be taken away. Online polls showed that around 90% of fans shared that particular opinion. Braun was soon joined in suspension by a host of other players as MLB cracked down hard on this latest drug scandal. After the season, he continued to make amends, in particular by apologizing in person to Dino Laurenzi, the person who taken his tainted urine sample in 2011 and whose professionalism Braun had questioned in trying to defend himself from allegations of PED use.
After serving his suspension, Braun was back in the Brewers' starting line-up on opening day on March 31, 2014, although he had now switched from left field to right following the departure of Norichika Aoki. He was an unwitting part of history in that game against the Atlanta Braves, as he was declared out at first base following the first successful use of a manager's challenge under the expanded video review rule; umpire Greg Gibson had originally called him safe, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was successful in getting the call overturned after a review. He was bothered by a nerve issue in his right hand however, and was unable to play the outfield when the Brewers traveled to Fenway Park on April 4th, then had to sit out the next game. He had started the season in a 1-for-16 slump. He was at 3 for 20 for the year, all three hits being singles, when he broke out of his slump against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 8th. Greeted by copious boos in his trip to the City of Brotherly Love since his suspension, he first made a great catch to end the 2nd inning, saving two runs when he snagged a sinking line drive off the bat of Carlos Ruiz; he then homered off Kyle Kendrick in the 3rd, his first long ball since May 22, 2013, ending the longest homer drought of his career; he added two more homers in the game, leading the Brewers to 10-4 win; his 7 RBIs on the day also tied a team record. It was the second three-homer game of his career, following the one he had had in 2012. He continued with his heroics over the next few days: on April 19th, he had a two-homer game against the Pirates, including a two-run blast off Jason Grilli in the 9th for an 8-7 win; the next day, he again homered off Grilli with the Brewers trailing by a run in the 9th, this time sending the game into extra innings. With his offense contributing greatly, the Brewers had the best record in the majors when he had to go on the disabled list on May 2nd with a strained right rib cage, with the assignment retroactive to April 27th. He was hitting .318/.591/.952 in 22 games.
He was also named the 2007 Baseball America Rookie of the Year., was voted the Brewers Top Newcomer by members of the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America in October., and became the first player with any Jewish heritage to win the BBWAA Rookie of the Year Award, beating out Troy Tulowitzki in a close race for the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Braun's father is Jewish but is not halachically Jewish and told his college coach he was raised with "no faith" and his mother says "He's totally not Jewish." . His father, Joe, is Israeli-born, and immigrated to the United States at the age of 7. Braun is one of the highest-drafted Jewish ballplayers in the history of professional baseball. The New York Yankees made Ron Blomberg the number one pick in the 1967 amateur draft. Braun was considered the best Jewish minor league baseball prospect in 2006. Braun's nickname is The Hebrew Hammer, and he said he's cool with that according to an unsourced newspaper article. Research by Jewish sportswriter Nate Bloom was unable to come up with any source for such a claim and his family denies the nickname.  It references his Jewish heritage, former Brewer Hank Aaron (whose nickname was "Hammerin' Hank"), and the movie The Hebrew Hammer, starring Adam Goldberg. It was in the past also a nickname of Al Rosen and Hank Greenberg.
"Braun" was the family name of Sandy Koufax, until his mother remarried and he took his step-father's name. "There's no (family) connection that I know of," Ryan Braun said, "but it's kind of cool."
Braun lived for a time with his maternal non-Jewish grandfather in a house that previously belonged to Jewish Hall of Fame outfielder Greenberg. Braun's grandfather has lived in the house for over 40 years.
Braun has said he is "half-Jewish" and never celebrated any Jewish holidays. 
 Notable Achievements
- 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Award
- 2007 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 5-time NL All-Star (2008-2012)
- 2011 NL MVP
- 5-time NL Silver Slugger Award (2008-2012/OF)
- 2-time NL OPS Leader (2011 & 2012)
- 2-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (2007 & 2011)
- NL Runs Scored Leader (2012)
- NL Hits Leader (2009)
- NL Total Bases Leader (2012)
- NL Home Runs Leader (2012)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (2007-2012)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 5 (2007-2009, 2011 & 2012)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2012)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (2008-2012)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (2009-2012)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (2009)
|NL Rookie of the Year|
|Hanley Ramirez||Ryan Braun||Geovany Soto|
|Joey Votto||Ryan Braun||Buster Posey|
Sources: 2005-2007 Baseball Almanacs, minorleaguebaseball.com, Jonathan Mayo column in the 5/4/06 Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh
- "Sporting News honors A-Rod; Third baseman earns magazine's Player of the Year award," MLB.com, 10/15/07, accessed 10/17/07
- "SN awards: A-Rod is player of the year," The Sporting News, 10/15/07, accessed 10/17/07
- "Record-Setting Bat Propels Braun," Baseball America, 10/17/07, accessed 10/18/07
- "Brewers Players Receive Awards," Associated Press, 10/18/07, accessed 10/18/07
- "Give Jewish media an error on Braun," Texas Jewish Post, 10/25/07, accessed 10/28/07
- "Moving to the Big Leagues, Braun becomes next Jewish baseball hope," The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, accessed 9/13/07
- "Rookie could make history — but will he cut Yom Kippur?,", Jewish Standard (New Jersey), August 31, 2007. Accessed September 13, 2007.
- Minor League's top Jewish prospects, May 10, 2006.
- "Graduation Day: June 26 through July 7," Prospect Prospect, 7/7/07, accessed 9/13/07
- "Five Up, Five Down," Sports Illustrated, 8/24/07, accessed 9/13/07
- "Ten great baseball flicks that relate to this year's pennant races," ESPN, 8/16/07, accessed 9/13/07
- "Greenberg To Green To...Braun?", The Jewish Press, August 8, 2007. Accessed September 13, 2007.
- "Give Jewish media an error on Braun," Texas Jewish Post, 10/25/07, accessed 10/28/07
- "Al Rosen," SABR, accessed 9/13/07
- "Off Base ...with Ryan Gorcey," The Daily Californian, 9/13/06, accessed 9/13/07
- "Get to know Brewers 3B Ryan Braun, The Sporting News, 8/8/07, accessed September 10, 2007.
- MLB.com, 9/14/07 entry regarding Braun and Yom Kippur, accessed October 28, 2007