Tilson Manuel Brito Jiminez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 175 lb.
Tilson Brito played a decade in the US minor leagues and spent parts of two seasons in the majors. He then went on to Asia, where he emerged as a prominent slugger, setting new records in Taiwan.
Brito debuted professionally in 1990 with the DSL Blue Jays and hit .254 with 14 RBI and no home runs. In 1991, he helped the DSL Blue Jays I to the Dominican Summer League pennant, hitting .336/~.434/.462 with 4 home runs and 55 RBI. He was 8th in the league in average and might have led in RBI; he had the most RBI of anyone who finished among the batting leaders.
In 1992, he came to the US and batted .307/~.379/.450 for the GCL Blue Jays with 16 steals in 24 tries. He played third base because Brandon Cromer was at shortstop, his usual positrion. Brito was 8th in the Gulf Coast League in batting average and made the GCL All-Star team at third base. He also briefly appeared for the Knoxville Smokies, going 5 for 24 with a double, two triples and 9 strikeouts.
A and AA
Brito played for the Dunedin Blue Jays in 1993 and batted .269/~.351/.366. He stole 27 bases but was caught stealing 16 times. In 1994, the 22-year-old spent the year in AA and hit .267/.323/.363. He stole 33 bases in 45 attempts and hit 7 triples. He was 4th in the league in steals and triples. He led Southern League shortstops with 424 assists and 85 double plays.
AAA and the majors
In 1995, Brito was in AAA with the Syracuse Chiefs. He hit .242/~.303/.343 and stole 17 bases in 25 tries. Brito split 1996 between Syracuse (.238/~.340/.448, 8 triples) and the Blue Jays. With Syracuse, he hit 8 triples, two behind International League co-leaders Joe Hall and Brad Tyler; he tied Alex Cole, Tim Barker, Rob Butler, Ricky Otero and Shannon Stewart for 4th in the IL in that department. He led IL shortstops in errors (30) and double plays (72). With the 1996 Blue Jays, Brito hit .238/.344/.363. He made his debut on April 1 as a pinch-hitter for Domingo Cedeno. He drew a walk from John Briscoe and stole second base. Later that day, he singled off of Buddy Groom and scored on a Joe Carter triple.
Brito started 1997 with Toronto and batted .222/.281/.246 in 49 games as a utility infielder. Dismayed by the lack of production, the Jays put him on waivers and he was picked up by the Oakland Athletics. He was 3 for 9 with 7 total bases and 2 walks in a brief stay with the Modesto A's and hit .283/.298/.500 in 46 AB for the 1997 Athletics. Despite his good finish to the season, he would never play in the majors again. He had batted .238/.305/.329 in two seasons in The Show.
In 1998, Brito joined the Seattle Mariners and hit .259/~.305/.399 as a backup middle infielder for the Tacoma Rainiers. He signed with the Chicago White Sox and played for the 1999 Charlotte Knights, hitting .318/~.370/.498 for the pennant winners. He was beginning to show power, with 30 doubles and 11 home runs. The 26-year-old committed 16 errors, tying Jose Macias for the most by a second baseman in the IL. Brito was 8th in the IL in batting average but Brian Raabe beat him out for All-Star honors at second base.
Brito began 2000 with the Toledo Mud Hens, hitting .265/.339/.347 in limited action before he moved on to South Korea.
Signing with the SK Wyverns, Brito was a star in Asia from the get-go, producing at a .338/.399/.533 clip as the third baseman. He was 3rd in the Korea Baseball Organization in average, with the best mark of any foreign player. In 2001, he hit .320/.425/.540 for SK with 22 home runs and was 10th in average while moving to first base. He was also 7th in the KBO in home runs.
In 2002, Brito batted .283/.355/.499 with 25 home runs and 90 RBI as the shortstop for the Samsung Lions, helping them to the pennant. He was part of an impressive offense which included Hae-young Ma and Seung-yeop Lee. He won a KBO Gold Glove as the top shortstop in the league.
Brito hit .255/.325/.463 for the 2003 Lions, though he still smacked 20 homers. In 2004, he returned to SK but only batted .261/.345/.416 with 13 circuit clouts. The next year, he joined the Hanwha Eagles and hit .286/.328/.512 with 17 homers in 78 games to conclude his Korean career. Overall, he had batted .292/.366/.495 with 112 home runs in 635 games in the KBO.
Brito signed with the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz and hit .324 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 2006.
In 2007, Brito set new Chinese Professional Baseball League records in home runs and RBI (33 and 107 respectively). Luis Iglesias (1996) and Jay Kirkpatrick (1998) had shared the record of 31. Sam Horn had hit 31 in the 1997 Taiwan Major League. Kirkpatrick's 101 RBI in 1998 were the record. Brito batted .313/.393/.614 overall for the campaign. Brito's RBI record only lasted two years; when the league expanded its schedule in 2009, both Chih-Sheng Lin and Yi-Chuan Lin surpassed him. His home run record lasted until 2015 when Kuo-Hui Kao passed him.
Brito hit 46 home runs to win the 2008 CPBL Home Run Derby, including 27 in the final round. Brito led the 2008 CPBL in homers (24, 7 ahead of runner-up Chia-Hsien Hsieh) and RBI (102, 25 ahead of runner-up Kuan-Jen Chen).
- 1991-2007 Baseball Almanacs
- KBO Encyclopedia (2007 edition, pg. 636)
- KT Choi's CPBL Database
- CPBL Player Page for Brito
- Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database
- Taiwan Baseball blog
- Chinese wikipedia entry