According to reports out of Chicago, Milton Bradley and the Cubs have agreed to terms on a three-year, $30-million contract. My sources tell me that since the Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy and because the team hasn’t been sold yet, Bradley will be paid in Monopoly money for the first half of the contract.
Now, Bradley has long taken heat for his name, much like Coco Crisp does. When people say “Milton Bradley” they think board games. And for good reason. Milton Bradley is the Godfather of Family Fun. So who is the real Milton Bradley. Is it baseball’s version of Ron Artest or a docile lithographer from Maine? Time to match these two up Tale of the Tape style.
For the purposes of getting repetitive, Milton Bradley of board game fame will be referred to as OMB, or the Original Milton Bradley, and Milton Bradley the bat-breaking, TV commentator-fighting hothead will be designated MBR, or Milton Bradley, The Remix.
Let’s get started.
OMB: In 2004, Milton Bradley was posthumously inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame right next to the likes of Barbie, the Erector set and Etch-A-Sketch. How the inventor of the American board game didn’t make the inaugural class is beyond me. Talk about an oversight. Compared to that snub, Ron Santo doesn’t have a leg to stand on (I’m going to hell).
MBR: Days before the start of the season, Bradley got in a fight with Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge and was traded to Los Angeles, his hometown. Bradley played in a career-high 141 games that season and finished with a career-high 138 hits. On the negative, he batted just .267 and struck out 123 times.
Advantage: Sure ditching the Cuyahoga River for Santa Monica is more than a slight upgrade, but getting a bust next to Malibu Barbie needs no more explanation. The Original Milton Bradley.
Early career blunder
OMB: After leaving behind his job drafting plans for railroad cars, Bradley taught himself lithography and print-making. He made an image of Abraham Lincoln during the 1860 presidential election. However, soon after its completion Honest Abe grew his trademark beard and Bradley’s lithograph, which had sold well in Republican-leaning Massachusetts became obsolete leaving his fledgling printing enterprise without a marketable image.
MBR: A 27-year old Bradley basically called teammate Jeff Kent a racist. Kent had gotten on Bradley for not scoring on a double, saying he didn’t hustle. Bradley responded with this: “The problem is, he doesn’t know how to deal with African-American people. I think that’s what’s causing everything. It’s a pattern of things that have been said – things said off the cuff that I don’t interpret as funny. It may be funny to him, but it’s not funny to Milton Bradley.” He goes on: “If you’re going to be the leader of the team, then they need to mingle with the team and associate with the team. I mean, you can’t have your locker in the corner, put your headphones in and sit in the corner reading a motocross magazine. He’s in his own world. Everybody else is in this world.”
Advantage: There’s no question OMB got screwed when Lincoln went all Amish on us, but a bearded Lincoln did free the slaves. And we’re not quite sure how Jeff Kent feels about that. We kid, we kid. The Original Milton Bradley.
OMB: Not so much Milton Bradley himself, but the company was sued for intellectual property by two men who claimed to have presented the original concept for Dark Tower to the company in the 1970s. You all remember Dark Tower right. “It’s More Than a Game. It’s an Experience.” No? There’s good reason for that. Milton Bradley told the fellas, “Thanks, but no thanks,” but went ahead developed the game anyways. As part of the resolution of the lawsuit, the game was pulled off the market and never republished. Awkward male teen virgins wept. Though you can buy a copy of the game (with extra pegs!!!) on eBay for close to $300.
MBR: On Sept. 23, 2007, MBR tore his right ACL when he had to be restrained by San Diego manager Bud Black during a heated argument with first base umpire Mike Winters. The injury caused Bradley to miss the last week of the regular season and the Padres saw their division lead evaporate before losing to Colorado in a one-game playoff.
Advantage: Seeing as McD and Phillips are major Padres homers, this one is a no-brainer. It’s one of my favorite athlete injuries of all-time, right up there with Gramatica and Frerotte. Milton Bradley, The Remix.
OMB: Candyland, Operation and Battleship.
MBR: Game Two of the 2006 ALCS, Bradley, as a member of Oakland, went 4-for-5 with four RBI and hit two home runs.
Advantage: Despite Bradley’s heroics, the A’s still lost the game. That means that MBR ain’t got shit on Candy Cane Forest or Gum Drop Mountain. What up! The Original Milton Bradley.
OMB: In 1869, Bradley published America’s first book on kindergartens, “Paradise of Childhood,” by Friedrich Froebel, who many credit for the creation of kindergarten. So, in a way we have OMB to thank for nap time and milk breaks.
MBR: Bradley was traded for the same player twice. In 2004, Bradley was traded to Los Angeles for Franklin Gutierrez and Andrew Brown, a right-handed minor league reliever. Brown was later traded to the Padres’ organization as part of the Josh Barfield trade (which also netted the Pads Kevin Kouzmanoff). And then on June 29, 2007, Brown was sent to Oakland for – you guessed it – Milton Bradley and cash. Brown has made 73 career appearances with a 4-3 career record and respectable 3.84 ERA.
Advantage: There are thousands of players in the majors and minor leagues, so getting traded for the same dude twice is quite the rarity, but nap time and milk breaks rule. Plus, my first kiss was in kindergarten (on the oversized railroad mat during a viewing of “Jack and the Beanstalk”). The Original Milton Bradley.
Best “Creepy-Guys-Have-Too-Much-Time-on-Their-Hands” Related YouTube videos that pop up when you type in “Milton Bradley”
Advantage: There’s no question. OMB’s was a two-parter and I hope you watched it all. Seriously, what the F? The Original Milton Bradley.
So when you look at it scientifically there’s really no contest.
The Original Milton Bradley wins it 5 to 1
The OG prevails nearly every time. The Remix hasn’t seen a blowout like this since his right knee. Now if MBR helps the Cubs break their century-long futility then maybe we’ll have a closer ball game. But are you really surprised? I’ve never played a drinking game in which a female takes off an article of clothing when MBR gets a hit. I mean come on, the dude’s company gave us Twister, which competitors at the time correctly called “sex in a box.” I really should have led with that and not wasted all of our time. Oh well.
I guess to make it up to you, I’ll pay ode to the late OMB and link you to a photo of naked girls playing Twister (NSFW).