One of the best independent baseball writers in recent years has passed away. John Brattain, who wrote for The Hardball Times, Sympatico/MSN Sports, Baseball Daily Digest and other outlets, including his blog, Ground Rule Trouble, or as it was once lovingly called, "The Progenitor of Severe Glutial Discomfort" has died at the age of 43.
John had been suffering for several years with ulcerative colitis and (possibly) autoimmune hemolytic anemia -- a disease where the body destroys red blood cells (John never got back to me on whether this diagnosis was in fact true). Ever the optimist, he declared that that was good news as it wasn't cancer. In a case of great humor regarding his condition he had a signature file that for a bit read "Evading Natural Selection since 1965" over at Baseball Think Factory where his articles were often featured and where he regularly commented (read the BTF thread on John's passing).
He loved his family and at one point wrote, "My eldest daughter just graduated in American Sign Language and will be helping the hearing-impaired--I couldn't be prouder."
He was a fantastic guy, and surely one of the wittiest. It seems ironic that the man that published a good deal of articles criticizing the Marlins' stadium efforts dies on the day after they finally land funding. He never seemed to have enough height comments regarding David Samson.
Finally, he was a great source of support, and had an incredible spiritual side that few knew of. After my youngest son was diagnosed as being "classic" autistic, John wrote the following:
If I might suggest a little reading--I find God's reply to Job in Job 38-42 reassuring in that it reminds me that even though we suffer He is still very much in control and as James 5:11 states: "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
I think John took that to heart in his own battle with our failing vessel called a body. His spirit, however, never wavered.
He always lovingly referred to me as the Hell’s Angel, one-part take on my goatee, and another on the spiritual side. I will miss him greatly, and the world is worse today due to his passing, yet incredibly blessed to have had him for as long as it did.
He wrote all the way up to surgery on Monday, where he died of complications. Here's part of his last posting on his Ground Rule Trouble blog:
This will be my last post for a little while–I go under the knife for the ol’ ticker at 7:15 AM Monday. Again, thanks for all the notes and well-wishes; once I’m fixed…er, repaired, I’ll be back with a vengeance. I’ve submitted a column for SMSN Sports that will run next week–beyond that it’s wait-and-see. Regardless, I’ve been a busy boy this week and here’s the latest:
No man is a (Coney) island….
John is survived by his wife and two daughters. Funeral details to follow as they become available.
Other Tributes to John Brattain
Read works by John Brattain
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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