Fahey always had his dad's support
Rookie utility player recalls taking batting practice in NL fields
BALTIMORE -- When Brandon Fahey was growing up, he hit home runs out of Major League Baseball stadiums.No, as a young child, Fahey didn't have superhuman strength. But as the son of a former Major League player and coach, Fahey would take batting practice with his brother, Scott, from second base so that the ball would travel over the outfield wall. Their father, Bill, a coach for the San Francisco Giants at the time, was the pitcher. "I just remember going out and taking batting practice in all the National League fields," Fahey said. "Eventually some of the players would start coming out there and play with us, like Matt Williams and Robby Thompson [of the Giants]. They'd come out there and shag for us." Fahey, a rookie utility player with the Baltimore Orioles, has baseball in his genes. Bill Fahey was a catcher in the Majors from 1971-83 with four different organizations, including the Washington Senators. "[Our father] would hit us ground balls and fly balls," Brandon said. "I think we were pretty lucky to have a dad like that, for what he did, to teach us all the things that he did." Bill said he is so proud to see his son playing in the Major Leagues, and compared himself to the famous San Diego Chicken mascot when describing his gratification. "[The chicken's] chest doesn't stick out any further than mine; I'm so proud of him," Bill said. "It is so rewarding and fulfilling, and I'm happy for him. ... I couldn't tell you how many people he's made happy." When Brandon wasn't taking batting practice, he and Scott worked in the clubhouse, doing laundry for the team. They would also travel with the team, and Brandon played cards with the players, Bill said. Brandon and his father, who lives in Dallas, talk about three times a week, and their discussions go beyond baseball. Bill avidly follows his son's progress, and was in the stands during Brandon's Major League debut April 30, when the Orioles hosted the Mariners. Brandon went 2-for-4, getting a hit in his first career at-bat. "When he got that hit off Jamie Moyer, it was just like electricity down my arms," Bill said. "I was just so excited for him, words can hardly explain it." Bill Fahey has always been supportive of his son's baseball career, and attended all of his college games. Brandon went to Grayson County College for two years, winning a Junior College National Championship in 2001, and played one year at the University of Texas, where he won the College World Series in '02. "My junior college was an hour, hour-and-a-half away from the house, and he didn't miss a game," Brandon said. "Even at Texas, which was three hours away, he didn't miss a game." Although Bill can no longer make it to every one of his son's games, he watches as many as he can. Bill has a satellite television baseball package, and when games are blacked out, he watches on MLB.TV. Friends of Bill's have been watching his son, too, including Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker and Don Zimmer, the senior baseball advisor for Tampa Bay. Both were coaches with Fahey in San Francisco. "Dusty Baker saw him play ... on ESPN against Boston," Bill Fahey said. "He called me from Chicago and asked, 'Is that the same little boy who used to be running around the clubhouse?'" Bill Fahey has also talked to Chris Speier, the Cubs' third-base coach, another friend of his. Speier's son, Justin, is a relief pitcher for the Blue Jays, who recently played a series in Baltimore. Bill said he and Chris shared stories about their sons, and they discussed how it would be fun if their sons faced each other in a game. And sure enough, later on the same night after Bill talked about that possibility, Brandon Fahey came to the plate with Justin Speier on the mound, with the Orioles down one and the bases loaded -- Speier hit Fahey with a pitch to tie the game. In his 11 professional seasons, Bill Fahey batted .241 and had a .989 career fielding percentage. In 22 games with Baltimore this year, Brandon is hitting .279 with 13 runs and 11 RBIs. "It's been unbelievable," said Brandon about his experience with the Orioles so far. "My dream my whole life was to play in the Major Leagues."
Michael Gluskin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.