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Milton Bradley

(Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

MLB’s One-Season Wonders: Milton Bradley and 2008

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

MLB’s One-Season Wonders: Milton Bradley and 2008

Ah yes, the infamous Milton Bradley. The outfielder that was known for his inability to fit in with clubhouses. The fans weren’t crazy about his temper tantrums or his actions on and off the field. Yet, Milton had a magical season in 2008. Let’s talk about it.

Before 2008

There was no question Bradley could handle a bat. The outfielder arose initially through the Montreal Expos organization after being drafted in the second round. He made his Major League debut in 2000 with the Expos yet struggled.

He bounced around the league. Injuries hindered Bradley’s playing time, especially during his Indians tenure. Bradley showed signs of greatness, but his health never allowed for a full season of this on display.

The Indians then traded Bradley to the Dodgers. Now in a bigger market, his temper was put on full display. Various ejections and squabbles were scattered across his time with Los Angeles. Bradley’s numbers were solid, yet injuries and anger left the team no choice but to trade him.

He found himself with Athletics. Bradley played solidly once again, yet the same issues arose, and the team traded him to the San Diego Padres. He got injured again, tearing his ACL during an argument with an umpire. Are you noticing a pattern here?

During this tumultuous tenure as a journeyman, Bradley compiled a slash line of .273/.358/.439 with a 110 OPS+ – one of the better ones we’ve seen from a one-season wonder. Yet he had something to prove, and Texas gave him that opportunity.


With a one-year deal in the hands of the Rangers, they knew to tread lightly with Bradley. They slotted him into the DH role which was a move that benefitted Bradley. He finally qualified as a league leader in a number of categories.

His slash line was epic. He batted .321/.436/.563 with 21 home runs and an astonishing 162 OPS+. He led the American League in On Base Percentage as well as On Base plus Slugging and OPS+. His batting average ranked him third in the league and also had a WAR of 5.2.

He seemed to finally be the player that was so anticipated. With an injury to David Ortiz, Bradley started in the 2008 All-Star Game as a designated hitter. Bradley probably would’ve placed higher in the MVP voting had his reputation not been so tarnished.

After 2008

As a free agent in the off-season, Bradley signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. More and more trouble followed him, with too many temper tantrums to count. After fighting with manager Lou Piniella, Chicago’s general manager Jim Hendry suspended him for the rest of the season.

The Cubs traded Bradley to the Mariners where injuries and tantrums really rounded out his career toward the end. Poor play in 2011 led Bradley towards an early retirement at the age of 33.

Off the field, Bradley dealt with domestic disputes and crimes committed. His ex-wife accused him of assaulting her repeatedly with one count including a deadly weapon.

If Milton Bradley had kept his head on straight, we might’ve seen even more seasons like 2008. Oh, what could’ve been.


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