The team announced Thursday afternoon that longtime Dodgers scout Mike Brito has passed away. During his nearly 45 years with the Dodgers, Britto was an influential member of their scouting department.
In 1979, he signed teenage Fernando Valenzuela. He has helped bring Yasiel Puig and Julio Urías to the club in recent years. For decades, his Panama hat and moustache smile made him an instantly recognizable sight in the Chavez Canyon.
Who was Mike Brito? Dodgers scout – Cause of death
He is 87 years old. “My heart is heavy today,” Valenzuela said in a statement released by the team. “Mike was a great person and played a huge role in my success as a baseball player on and off the field. No one loves the Dodgers more than Mike and we’ll all miss him dearly. My heart goes out to his wife Rosa Leo and all his family and friends pray.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Retired Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully (left) jokes with Spanish-language broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela during a pregame ceremony at the Dodgers Stadium on September 2 The Ring of Honor saw veteran Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin at Dodger Stadium 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Cuban-born Britto, who played professionally in the minor leagues and Mexico in the 1950s and 1960s, was hired by the Dodgers in 1978 after serving as a scout for the Mexican League.
One of his early contributions: He persuaded the Dodgers to sign Valenzuela, the future Cy Young Award winner and six-time All-Star who went on to become one of the most important players in Dodgers history.
Over the next four years, Brito helped sign more than 30 players who appeared in the majors.
He is credited with finding Puig, who spent six years with the Dodgers. He also stumbled upon Urias after taking former Dodgers scouting director Logan White to visit another player.
Brito was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2014, he was named Major League Baseball’s International Scout of the Year. Last year, he was honoured with Baseball’s Tony Gwynn Award for a lifetime of service to the game.
In addition to his wife, Brito has two of his daughters, Diana and Minerva, and four granddaughters.