Oct 8, 2019
Imagine being so good at your sport that you had to go shop around to find some competition. After 3 stellar years playing local competition, Brad Nelson had become such a threat that many opponents wouldn’t even pitch to him. After a phenomenal sophomore campaign, Nelson was arguably the best baseball player in Iowa and was treated that way as a junior. It was clear that his baseball career was going to be taking him places. This week, Tim sits down with Garrigan Golden Bear and former Milwaukee Brewer, Brad Nelson.
Baseball was Nelson’s true love but he stood out just as much on the basketball court as he did in the batter’s box. In four years on the hardwood, he averaged over 21 points and set all kinds of records for the Golden Bears. Both his successes on the diamond and his jump shot made him a terror in the North Central Conference. As a senior, Nelson made the difficult decision to forego his senior baseball season to play on a traveling AAU team and to compete in showcases to test the waters for his future.
After a successful amateur career, Nelson was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. His success continued as he progressed through the Brewer’s system over the next seven years. Nelson’s minor league career included being a two-time all-star, two homerun derby titles, the 2002 Brewer’s Minor League Player of the Year and the 2005 Pacific Coast League championship with the Nashville Sounds.
Nelson got his shot at the majors at the end of 2008 as the Brewers were making a push for the post-season. His first hit in the majors came was a 2 out double in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Mets. After a strong 2009 spring training, Nelson made the Brewers 25-man opening day roster. However, some early struggles at the plate turned out to be the end of his time with the Brewers. After spending a few years with the Mariners, Cubs, Rangers, and two winters in Central American winter leagues, Nelson retired in 2014.