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The Brett Gardner Story

Mar 13, 2023

The Brett Gardner Story


According to baseball reference, Brett Gardner played 14 years in the MLB, all with the New York Yankees.

But here’s what you probably don’t know: When Brett was in high school, he had no college offers. At 5ft10 and 130lbs, nobody was interested in him. Fast forward four years, and he becomes the New York Yankees' 3rd-round draft pick.

How did this happen?

Here’s the story:

The Very Beginning

Brett Gardner’s story begins in 2001 in Charleston, South Carolina.

He was attending the College of Charleston as a regular student, he didn't have any conversations with the coaching staff before attending college. However, Brett wanted to play college baseball. He planned to try to walk on the baseball team. 

It was an open tryout.

So he worked out with 26 other regular students who were trying out.

He got cut.

A few weeks go by and he receives a phone call from the head coach John Pawlowski.

They wanted him to come back for another look, and practice with the team for one day.

The coaches liked how hard he worked and that he could run.

That day turned into him making the team and playing at the College of Charleston for the next four years.


  • Freshman year he saw limited action and hit 241 AVG

  • Junior year he exploded and hit 397 AVG.

  • Senior season he unleashed a 447 AVG.


    After four years:

  • 217 games played

  • 297 hits

  • 96 stolen bases.


After his senior season the New York Yankees drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2005 MLB draft.

That alone would be a great story.

But Gardner isn't done yet.


Professional Career

After making his professional debut in A ball, his manager had this to say about Gardner.

via @

"His ability to run was the difference-maker, he really got down the line. I think he turned himself into a baseball player, not that he wasn't back then, but he's always had that mentality, a tough kid, no nonsense, 'Yes sir, no sir,'" Stankiewicz said. "He was a guy who was the first one to the park, last one to leave. Always pretty focused on his career. He wasn't, 'Hey, I'm going to try to do this -- I'm in this for the long haul.' I think that's how it's played out. He's turned himself into a pivotal part of the Yankees' success."

After working through the minor leagues, Gardner made his MLB debut in 2008 at the age of 24.

14 years later he retired from the team that drafted him


He finished his career with..

  • 14 year MLB career

  • World Series ring in 2009
  • MLB All-Star

  • $25 million dollars in the bank account


Not bad for a college walk on nobody wanted in high school.


I love this story because it is the perfect encapsulation of what it takes to reach your dream, you may get knocked down, but you need to make sure that you get back up and stay ready, because you're number could be called anytime.


Great reminder for players. 

Be ready.