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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Cliff Brantley showed nerves in major league debut; Saw bigs over two seasons

Originally published Aug. 20, 2015
Cliff Brantley's major league debut didn't turn out like he'd hoped. That's because the Phillies starter gave up four earned runs over four innings and took the loss.

His manager Jim Fregosi, though, was understanding after that September 1991 contest, according to The Allentown Morning Call.

"Brantley threw the ball well, but he was just nervous," Fregosi told The Morning Call. "Heck, that's a natural thing. Everyone gets like that when they play their first game in the big leagues."

Brantley improved over his next few outings, ending that six-outing stint for the Phillies at 2-2. He then came back in 1992 for another 28 appearances with the club, but his final major league game came sooner than he'd hoped. It came just over a year after his debut.

Brantley's career began in 1986, taken by the Phillies in the second round of the draft out of Port Richmond High School on Staten Island.

Brantley played his first year at short-season Utica, going 3-5 in 11 starts. He moved to single-A Spartanburg for 1987, then single-A Clearwater in 1988.

His first extended time at AA Reading came in 1989. He made AAA Scranton in 1991. Then, in September, he got his call up to Philadelphia.

Brantley got into six games that September, starting five. His first win came in his third start, against the Cardinals.

"I was trying to mix my pitches," Brantley told reporters after that win. "That's a big part of pitching in the big leagues."

Overall, he gave up 12 earned in 31.2 innings for the Phillies. He then spent much of the first three months of 1992 with Philadelphia. Brantley went 2-6 for Philadelphia in 1992, with a 4.60 ERA.

Sent down in mid-June, Brantley made it a point to ensure he returned, he told The Morning Call.

"I was determined to get back," Brantley told The Morning Call. "I went down with a positive attitude and got my work in. I'm ready to contribute."

Brantley played one more season at AAA for the Phillies and Expos, ending his career.

He's since watched his son Cliff Brantley grow up and play the game. The younger Brantley played 2015 in the rookie Gulf Coast League for the Blue Jays.
1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,752
Made the Majors:1,271-33.9%
Never Made Majors:2,481-66.1%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:524
10+ Seasons in the Minors:310

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