1 hour ago
17 January 2010
The Brito of Waterloo
Seen here in his third season in A-level ball, young Bernie still hadn't quite found his stroke. Waterloo would be a slight promotion for him, but barely keeping his nose above the Mendoza line, he ended up right back down in A- ball in Batavia the following season. Considering today's state of the farm system, one has to wonder if he'd still have a job if he'd only managed to hit .228 over his first three seasons, but I guess the Indians' management saw something in the 15 home runs scattered across 477 at bats.
Since he sadly had no cards issued for 1984-85 (actually neither Batavia, nor Waterloo had sets issued either year), I'll go ahead and cover the gap. In 1984, Bernardo turned his fortunes around, perhaps finally getting some attention from the Batavia Trojans hitting coach, and hit at a .300 clip, and leading the New York-Penn League with 19 home runs and 171 total bases, and tied for the lead in doubles with 19. That wake-up call earned him a second shot at Waterloo in 1985, which he took by the throat and cranked out 29 home runs (leading the Midwest League) and drove in 78 in 135 games.
For what it's worth, the Waterloo Indians (later the Diamonds) are history, closing up in 1994. Waterloo is now home of the Bucks of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer league. Batavia is now home of the Muckdogs, the short season A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.