Note: This article is for manager and infielder Brad Mills; for the pitcher who made his debut in 2009, click here.
James Bradley Mills
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
- School College of the Sequoias, University of Arizona
- High School Exeter Union High School
- Debut June 8, 1980
- Final Game October 2, 1983
- Born January 19, 1957 in Exeter, CA USA
Third baseman Brad Mills played four seasons in the big leagues for the Montreal Expos, getting into 106 games. He was two years younger than Andre Dawson and three years older than Tim Raines. he made his debut in June of 1980 when he was called up from the AA Memphis Chicks to replace Larry Parrish, who had been placed on the disabled list. He did well, hitting .300 in 21 games, albeit with only one extra-base hit. In 1981, he played 17 games in the second half, hitting .238 and was not on the postseason roster. In 1982, however, he spent the entire season in Montreal, where he was used principally as a pinch-hitter, with Tim Wallach having a break-out season as the team's regular third baseman. He hit .224 in 54 games but had only 76 at-bats. He hit his only career homer on August 10th as a pinch-hitter against Randy Martz of the Chicago Cubs. He started the 1983 season in the same role, and on April 27th struck out against Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros in the 8th inning as the fireballer eclipsed Walter Johnson's career mark for strikeouts in the major leagues with victim number 3,509. He was sent down to the minors in late May after hardly seeing any playing time (he was 2 for 9 in 5 games at the time), then returned in September but did not see much more action, ending the year at .250 in 14 games. In mid-1984, he was traded to the Houston Astros in return for OF Scott Loucks, but neither player returned to the majors after the trade.
He suffered a knee injury that ended his playing career while in the minors in 1986. Since then, he has been a minor league manager, scout, and a big league coach with the Philadelphia Phillies (1997-2000), Montreal Expos (2003), and Boston Red Sox (2004-2004).
Mills is a longtime friend of former Red Sox manager Terry Francona. They were teammates and roommates at the University of Arizona and played together for the Expos from 1981 to 1983. They even appeared on a 1982 Topps baseball card together. He was a member of Francona's coaching staff on the Phillies and joined the Red Sox after Francona was hired as the team's skipper.
He was named manager of the Houston Astros for the 2010 season, at a time when the Astros were beginning to rebuild the team after many of the players who had constituted the core of the team for years, particularly Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, retired. The team remained competitive in his first season at the helm in 2010, finishing in 4th place in the NL Central at 76-86, but was in full rebuilding mode in 2011. That year, the team traded away outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence in mid-year and had the worst record in franchise history at 56-106. The team was sold to Jim Crane during the year and a new front office team led by GM Jeff Luhnow was put in place. The losing continued in 2012, even reaching new levels, for example when the team lost its first 11 extra-inning games of the season, set a team record with a 12-game losing streak in July, and went 2-25 from June 28th to July 28th. The Astros continued to trade away veterans during that period, and it was clear that the writing was on the wall for Mills. On August 18th, following another brutal loss, 12-4 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mills was fired along with hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham.
In 2013, Mills rejoined his old friend Francona to serve as third base coach of the Cleveland Indians after Terry was appointed the team's manager. He was Francona's right-hand man when the Indians made it all the way to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series before losing to the Chicago Cubs in excruciating fashion. In 2017, he stepped in ably for Francona on a number of occasions in June and July when his good friend had to be hospitalized because of heart problems. As Francona was unable to fill the role of manager of the American League team at the 2017 All-Star Game after undergoing a surgical procedure and needing to rest for a few days, Mills took over for him in that high-profile role as well. In 2020, he opted to sit out the season because of the Coronavirus pandemic. He was then replaced by DeMarlo Hale in 2021.
Mills coached for the US in the 2001 Baseball World Cup.
|Houston Astros Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
- Damian Marquez: "Red Sox Bench Coach Spends Winter In Visalia: Two-Time World Series Champion Brad Mills Calls Visalia Home During The Offseason", in Visalia Delta-Times, January 10, 2009.