August 28, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer with photos by Rebecca Herman
ON THE FARM IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
~~WITH BRANDON KLOESS, 2013~~
“We were the worst team in the league when we were 9 and if we ended up winning 4 games out of 20, (I think we had 5 left) all the coaches had to shave their head bald … and they did it!” This the way our interview with pitcher Brandon Kloess began. Growing up in Alabama “the Braves were the hometown team.” He was a fan of John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley who were both successful starters as well as relievers. “Just the fact of closing and starting – doing everything – I like both of them because they could do that.” Attending St. James High School in Alabama, he was a 3 time all-state and all conference recipient, was named the 2001-2002 4A player of the year and threw a 7 inning perfect game in 2001.
Brandon attended Florida Atlantic University, where he bounced between the bullpen and starting. His numbers weren’t very impressive during his career there and he went undrafted but was signed by the Chicago White Sox in June of 2009 and assigned to the A- Great Fall Voyagers. His numbers there were outstanding. He posted a 2-0 record with a 2.45 ERA 4 saves and 72 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings pitched. Each season he moved up in the White Sox organization and became looked at as a possible closer by averaging a strikeout an inning and posting ERA’s below 2 in parts of 4 seasons in the White Sox system.
On November 7, 2012 the San Diego Padres traded Blake Tekotte to the White Sox in exchange for Brandon and assigned him to the AAA Tucson Padres. In 36 appearances he has made this season, he has started 14 games and is continuing to strike out batters at a rate of one an inning.
As we concluded our interview, we asked him what he would be doing if he didn’t play ball. “Lawyer,” said Brandon without hesitation. “My dad’s a lawyer, my sister’s about ready to graduate law school my granddad is a lawyer, so I would be following in the family footsteps.”
What I like about Brandon is that he never gave up on what he wanted to do and that was play baseball. While his college numbers weren’t great, his heart and determination to succeed were there. It’s a great reminder to all of us that you keep pushing forward with your dreams and you’ll make it. I don’t know if Brandon will pitch for San Diego, but I do know that he has put in a 100% effort to achieve his dream.
In the meanwhile, be sure to connect with Brandon …. Follow on Twitter @BrandonKloess
For Brandon Kloess’ current stats with Tucson, click HERE
Kino Stadium is a wonderful ballpark where the staff ensures that there is something fun and exciting going on for the fans all the time. This is the last season for the AAA Tucson Padres as they will be moving to El Paso Texas for the 2014 season. Tonight and tomorrow mark the last two home games of the Tucson Padres at Kino Stadium. We encourage you to come out for the last games – if so – look for us as we will be there! Follow @TucsonPadres