Primary Position: Relief pitcher
First, Middle Names: Jamie Chancellor
Date of Birth: Sept. 28, 1971
Current Residence: Chandler, AZ
High School: J.H. Rose High School, Greenville, NC
College: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Bats: R Throws: R Height and Weight: 6-4, 180
Debut Year: 1995 Final Year: 2000 Years Played: 2
Teams and Years: San Francisco Giants, 1995; Cleveland Indians, 2000
G W L Sv ERA IP SO WAR
39 9 4 0 4.85 120.2 70 0.4
Jamie Brewington’s 13-year journey through professional baseball spanned the breadth of a continent, from the sandy loam of the North Carolina coast to the redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest, from the Bisons of Buffalo, New York, to the Toros of Tucson, Arizona. He moved his family 23 times to pitch for 16 different teams, including two in the major leagues where he spent parts of two seasons. As so often happens to pitchers, it was a tour interrupted by arm injuries, surgery, and rehabilitations.
Even in his retirement, baseball continued its hold on Brewington. He’s coached kids, scouted for the majors, and tried to inspire young Blacks to play the game that shaped his life.
Born in 1971 in Greenville, North Carolina, Jamie Chancellor Brewington was one of James and Naomi’s two sons. He came from athletic stock. His father had been a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League and his brother, Mike, would play in the United States Football League in the early 1980s.
It was baseball, though, that called to Jamie. As a young teenager, he pitched for two Babe Ruth teams that advanced to the World Series. He was the star pitcher for a team at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville that went 26-0 in 1988. A sore shoulder limited him to two brief appearances in the state playoffs. Though he pitched in the final game, Brewington didn’t last an inning in an 11-8 loss to Harding High School of Charlotte, North Carolina.
He continued his pitching for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and turned professional in 1992 when the San Francisco Giants chose him in the 10th round of the amateur draft.
The journey then began. It started that year in Everett, Washington, in the Class A Northwest League and ended in 2004 on Long Island, New York, in the independent Atlantic League. In between, there were stops in Clinton, Iowa, and Kinston, North Carolina; in San Jose, California, and Pawtucket, Massachusetts; in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Edmonton, Canada. Two stops in the major leagues were included in the itinerary.
Brewington was a promising pitcher with a 35-17 record in the minors when the Giants summoned him to San Francisco in 1995. He won his debut on July 24 with seven strong innings in an 8-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. He won his second start as well. With his father in the stands at Candlestick Park in San Francisco for his next turn, Brewington pitched well against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hideo Nomo but lost 3-0. He finished with a 6-4 record but found himself again in the minor leagues to start the new season. The journey resumed.
By the time he stopped in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2000, Brewington’s best years were behind him. He had pitched effectively in the minors as a reliever in the two years since an arm injury had forced him take 1998 off to recuperate. He appeared in 26 games for the Indians, all in relief, and won three of them, but he yielded almost six runs a game. The Indians released him in October.
A detour to the hospital for shoulder surgery put him again on the sidelines for the 2003 season. He played one year for the independent Long Island Ducks and retired.
Brewington returned to Chandler, Arizona, where he and his wife, Debbie, had settled in the early 1990s. They finished raising their three children there. Debbie opened a popular apparel and gift shop with a Christian theme while Brewington continued to pursue baseball. He was a high-school coach, an instructor at a youth baseball camp, and a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He also became an outspoken proponent of reforms that would make baseball once again attractive to Black kids. About half the kids who played in youth leagues in Greenville were Black, Brewington once explained. As he moved up the baseball hierarchy, from high school to college to the majors, the Black players started to dwindle, he said. When he was a rookie pitching for the Giants, a plate of collards and peach cobbler mysteriously appeared in front of his locker before each start. After the season, he learned that Manager Dusty Baker, an African American, put the food there. “He did things he didn’t have to do to make me feel comfortable,” he said.[I]
In retirement, Brewington tried to help young Black players. He provided one-on-one coaching and bought them cleats, gloves, and other equipment if they couldn’t afford them.
[I] Woods, Alden. “Young Black Baseball Players Struggle.” Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), March 24, 2019.