UK Hall of Famer Derek Bryant
This week on the WUKY SportsPage Keith Elkins chats with new UK Athletics Hall of Famer Derek Bryant who played baseball for the Big Blue and then a successful career in Major League Baseball.
Derek Bryant was recently elected to membership in the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. As a Kentucky baseball player from 1970-73, he was named to the All-SEC first team twice. He batted .408 for the Wildcats in 1971. He was Kentucky’s first African-American player. He had been drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 15th round in 1969 after graduating from Henry Clay High School in Lexington before choosing to play at UK.
In 1973, he was drafted by and signed with the Oakland A’s. He worked his way through their minor league system and appeared in 39 games with the 1979 A’s, whose roster included another rookie outfielder, future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. He later had a long and productive playing career in the Mexican League (he once hit four homers and a triple in a single game), and has since been a manager and executive in Mexican professional baseball. He is a member of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.
In this conversation, he talks about his experience in Lexington youth baseball, his time at UK and his long professional career in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as his first major league at bat against Tommy John of the New York Yankees, and his post-game conversation about that with Yankee catcher Thurman Munson.