Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
May 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Ausmus '91 produces Gold Gloves and success for Astros

Brad Ausmus '91 admits that his Houston Astros teammates like to joke about where he went to college and "make fun of the prototypical Ivy League student that you see in the movies: smoking a pipe, wearing a sweater vest."

It is difficult, however, to hold a pipe while wearing a Gold Glove, and the former Dartmouth government major has one for each hand.

For the last two years, Ausmus has won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, becoming the first catcher in Houston history to receive the honor, and establishing his reputation as one of baseball's elite catchers. Ausmus' pair of awards stand as a highlight of a Major League career that is currently in its 10th full season and doesn't show any signs of slowing.

Since he first broke into the majors in 1993, Ausmus has worn the uniforms of three teams: the San Diego Padres, the Detroit Tigers and the Astros. Ausmus never wore a Big Green uniform, however, as he was drafted and signed by the New York Yankees in 1987, before he arrived at Dartmouth, and began playing in the Yankees' farm system in 1988.

While New England is hardly friendly territory for a member of the Yankees organization, Ausmus says that he felt no animosity based on his team affiliation during his years in Hanover.

"New Hampshire is Red Sox Country," Ausmus said in an interview on April 23, but Dartmouth College isn't Red Sox Country; you have people from all over the place, so it's not like it was a bunch of Red Sox fans, so that wasn't even an issue."

Rather, Ausmus said, he found that the Dartmouth community in general and the Big Green baseball players were very welcoming. "The players who were there took me under their wing," Ausmus said, "especially the older players. These were juniors and seniors who took myself and a couple of other freshmen ballplayers under their wing. It was great."

As Ausmus continued to pursue his degree in government and became an upperclassman himself, he found younger Dartmouth baseball players looking to him for advice, along with stories about playing in the pros.

"With friends I had at school during the winters, there'd be times when we would talk about baseball, and they would ask what it's like playing in the minors, or going to Major League Baseball camps, stuff like that."

Meanwhile, Ausmus was establishing himself in the minors as a catcher to watch. In his first year, playing for Sarasota of the Gulf Coast League, he led all catchers in several categories, including games, putouts and assists. Ausmus continued to show reliability on his way up through the Yankees farm system, eventually making it to Triple A Columbus, where he stole more bases (19) than any International League catcher since 1988, and showed his major league debut wasn't far off.

Ausmus made it to the majors in 1993, when the Colorado Rockies (who had taken Ausmus in the 1992 expansion draft) sent the rookie to San Diego, where he debuted two days after the trade, then became the Padres' primary catcher for the remainder of the season.

As Ausmus continued to produce in San Diego, he crossed paths with an old friend. Mike Remlinger '88 had made his major league debut with San Francisco in 1991, and after another stint in the minors, returned to the majors with the New York Mets in 1994.

It wasn't long before the two players -- who had been friends and fraternity brothers during their Dartmouth days -- found themselves facing one another. According to Ausmus, however, the novelty wore off fairly quickly.

"I think the first time we faced each other, there probably was something extra attached to it," Ausmus said, "but we've seen each other enough now that it's business as usual."

Remlinger isn't the only old friend Ausmus sees in his travels, however. Ausmus said he maintains "mostly casual contact with people when I'm in their city, playing against their home team."

In addition, Ausmus said, there are "a few people I would say I keep in touch with on a constant basis." Ausmus specifically mentioned John Ross '91, who was the best man at his wedding, as someone he maintains close contact with.

In 1996, Ausmus was traded to Detroit in a five-player deal, and proceeded to alternate between the Tigers and the Astros (Ausmus has served two stints with each team since the 1996 trade). When asked which team was his favorite to play for, Ausmus had difficulty choosing one.

"It's not that I have a favorite," Ausmus said. "There's something about each one that makes it special. Houston: I've played here, we've had great teams every year, we've gone to the playoffs three times. Detroit: I got to be an All-Star in Detroit, and we played the final season in Tiger Stadium. San Diego: there must have been something special there, because I live there now."

While Ausmus doesn't feel that his government degree will affect his life after baseball -- although he does believe that "taking Spanish helped me a bit, with all the Latin American players in baseball" -- Ausmus is quick to acknowledge the impact that Dartmouth has had on his life.

"The people you meet at any college are the most special part," Ausmus said. "The time I spent up there was some great years. I have great memories of it, the things we did and the people we did them with."

Ausmus will hold onto those college memories as he tries to add a World Series ring to a successful professional career.