Not only did Arkansas Travelers’ manager Daren Brown’s father, Paul, play in the Big Leagues but his uncle, Jackie Brown, did also. It was only fitting that Brown would be involved in the game of baseball.
Brown was drafted as a pitcher in the 29th of the 1989 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and was in their system for four years before playing with the independent-league Amarillo Dillas. He became a player-manager for them in 1998 and joined the Mariners’ organization in 2001.
“I was around baseball my whole life and figured I’d be in the game,” Brown said. “For a time, it’s about being in the Big Leagues but that didn’t happen for me. I feel like now I can give the guys experience and help them to fulfill their dreams.”
Brown had two short stints as a coach in the Big Leagues. In 2010, his Tacoma Rangers were in first-place, and he was dubbed interim manager of the Mariners after Don Wakamatsu was let go on Aug. 9. In 2013, he was added to the staff as an extra-coach. Last year, Brown was named the Southern League Manager of the Year after leading the AA Jackson Generals to the championship.
“I feel fortunate to be close to being 50 years old and doing something when I was four and five years old and playing catch,” Brown said. “My aspiration is to take one day at a time and win tonight’s game. Players and coaches all want a shot at the Big Leagues, but I feel like it’s my job to do the best where I’m at.”
Brown said managing in the minor leagues is about making adjustments and adapting to the personnel. Because players come and go, change is constant. One thing Brown does enjoy is seeing players develop.
“I like working a guy out and seeing him put that into the game and have success,” he said. “I get enjoyment talking to a guy and seeing him put that into the game successfully. It’s fulfilling.”
After being in Jackson, Mississippi last year, Brown is enjoying the travel in the Texas League. It is easier with several trips three to four hours. In Jackson, only one team was that close.
“The ballpark is nice, and the people are nice,” he said. “I just hope we can make them happy.”