Charles Brandon Inge (// INJ; born May 19, 1977) is an American former professional baseball third baseman and catcher. He played 12 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, one with the Oakland Athletics and one with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He bats and throws right-handed.
Inge with the Detroit Tigers
|Third baseman / Catcher|
|Born: May 19, 1977|
|April 3, 2001, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 21, 2013, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||648|
|Career highlights and awards|
Sportswriter Jayson Stark described Inge as a "super-utility dervish." In 2006, his diving stop and subsequent throw from his knees to put out Gary Bennett in an interleague game, on June 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals earned him the ESPN defensive play of the year for a third baseman.
Inge played baseball at Brookville High School in Lynchburg, Virginia, also playing American Legion Baseball. He was named Legion Baseball's 2010 Graduate of the Year. Brookville retired Inge's uniform number (7).
He then attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he played on the baseball team as a shortstop and relief pitcher. In 1997 he played collegiate summer baseball in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Bourne Braves. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd round in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft.
Inge began his professional career with the Jamestown Jammers, of the Single–A New York–Penn League. In 51 games, Inge batted .230. His 8 homers, 10 doubles, and 29 RBI were all team–high totals. Previously a shortstop, Inge became a catcher.
Inge was promoted to the West Michigan Whitecaps for the 1999 season, making 100 appearances. In June, Inge put together a hitting streak that lasted for 12 games. For the season, he batted .244, with 9 homers and 46 runs batted in. He also stole 15 bases, the highest single–season total for his entire baseball career.
Inge split the 2000 season between the Double–A Jacksonville Suns and the Triple–A Toledo Mud Hens. In 78 games with Jacksonville, he hit 6 homers, drove in 53 runs, and compiled a .258 batting average. Inge saw action in 55 games with the Mud Hens, tallying 5 homers and 20 RBI, but only hitting for a .221 average.
Inge began 2001 in the majors, debuting as Detroit's starting catcher on opening day and throwing out a pair of Minnesota Twins baserunners in the game. On April 6, he got his first MLB base hit, a double against Chicago White Sox pitcher Jim Parque. On June 24, Inge sustained a dislocated left shoulder. He was put on the disabled list the next day and was out of action for a month before he was sent to the Gulf Coast League Tigers for a brief rehab stint. After three games with the GCL Tigers and four games with West Michigan, Inge joined Toledo on August 2 and he remained there until he was recalled by Detroit on September 1. In 27 games with Toledo, Inge batted .289, with 2 homers, 11 doubles, and 15 runs batted in. Inge appeared in 79 games with the Tigers, batting .180 and posting 11 doubles and 15 RBI.
Initially signed as a catcher, Inge struggled offensively in his first three seasons. After the Tigers signed free-agent Iván Rodríguez in 2004, Inge played in the outfield, catcher and at third base, batting .287 with 13 home runs that season.
He started 159 games at third base in 2005, and led all AL third basemen in errors (23), assists (378) and double plays (42). In 2006, Inge exceeded his 2005 totals with 398 assists. That number broke the Detroit Tigers single season record for assists by a 3rd baseman (previously 389 by Aurelio Rodríguez in 1974) and was only 14 short of the all time MLB record for assists by a third baseman (set by Graig Nettles in 1971). Only five third basemen (including Graig Nettles, Brooks Robinson, and Mike Schmidt) have collected more assists in a season than Inge.
In 2006, Inge showed power during the first half, with his 17 home runs tying for the team lead. His slugging percentage was .463 and he placed third on the Tigers with 47 RBIs. After the All-Star Break, he raised his season average from .221 to .253 and finished with 27 home runs. On October 27, 2006, Inge struck out vs. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright for the final out of the 2006 World Series.
Inge became expendable at third base after the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera in a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins. Inge asked management to trade him to a team where he would have a chance to be an everyday player. However, a deal was never made, and the team stated that he would be used as a utility player for the 2008 season. Inge reported to spring training early with the pitchers and catchers. He was named the opening day center fielder after Curtis Granderson was placed on the disabled list.
With the absence of backup catcher Vance Wilson, Inge filled this role for the 13-time Gold Glove winner Iván Rodríguez. Inge took over the catching position full-time after Rodríguez was traded to the New York Yankees on July 30, 2008.
Inge opened the 2009 season as the starting third baseman for the Tigers. He started the season by successfully reaching base 24 games in a row, the longest such streak for the Tigers since 1976. Through the first half of the 2009 season, Inge led the team in home runs with 21 and was named to the All-Star team.
Having received a record 11.8 million votes in the Final Vote, Inge was selected to his first All Star Game, joining teammates Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, and Edwin Jackson on the American League squad. Inge participated in the Home Run Derby and became the eighth player in the history of the Derby to not hit a single home run.
Inge underwent surgery on both of his knees on November 3, 2009. He attended a strengthening and rehabilitation program during the winter. He made a full recovery in time to play midway through spring training, and started at third base on Opening Day of the 2010 season in Kansas City.
On July 19, 2010, Inge was hit on the left hand by a pitch. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal. Doctors said it would take 4–6 weeks to heal, however he returned two weeks later.
On August 26, 2010, Inge achieved his 1,000th career hit against the Kansas City Royals.
Inge received the 2010 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, given by the Major League Baseball Players Association each year "to the player whose on-field performances and community outreach most inspire others to higher levels of achievement."
On June 3, 2011, Inge was placed on the 15-day disabled list with mononucleosis. In 239 plate appearances with Detroit in 2011, he recorded a .177 batting average, before being designated for assignment on July 20. He was outrighted to Triple-A on July 26. In his return to the Tigers on August 20, Inge went 2-for-4, hitting a home run in his first at-bat and driving in two runs, en route to a 10–1 win over the second-place Cleveland Indians.
As of January 26, 2012, Inge had lost his starting 3rd base job to Miguel Cabrera who was moving back to the hot corner after the Tigers announced they had signed slugger Prince Fielder to play 1st base. At the press conference announcing the Fielder signing, manager Jim Leyland said that Inge "was not a happy camper". Leyland also said that Inge would be able to play second base for the Tigers, along with Ramon Santiago, and Ryan Raburn, but Inge was still thinking he should have a full-time job. Brandon continued to play second base with the others as Leyland said anyway. Brandon Inge was released by the Tigers following their game on April 26, 2012.
Inge agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics on April 29, 2012 on a $5.5 million deal. The signing provided infield depth for Oakland, who lost Scott Sizemore to a knee injury. He initially wore number 18, but switched to number 7 after a few games (his old #15 was worn by teammate Seth Smith). In his first game against the Tigers a week later, Inge hit a grand slam. On September 1, after dislocating his shoulder for the second time within a month, Inge was forced to undergo season ending shoulder surgery.
On February 12, 2013, Inge inked a minor-league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started the 2013 season on the disabled list. On April 23, 2013, Inge was recalled from AAA. He was designated for assignment on July 23, 2013 and released seven days later.
- Stark, Jayson (July 12, 2008). "Honoring the very best (and worst) of the first half". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- "Brandon Inge Diving Stop". MLB.com. June 25, 2006.
- "Graduate of the Year | The American Legion". www.legion.org. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- "2008 Information Guide" (PDF). detroit.tigers.mlb.com. Detroit Tigers, Inc. pp. 107–112. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "Brandon Inge Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- 2005 American League third basemen fielding statistics Baseball Reference
- Brandon Inge 2006 splits Baseball Reference
- Brandon Inge profile Baseball Reference
- "Tigers send top prospects to Marlins for Cabrera, Willis". ESPN. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- "Inge preparing for utility role in 2008". MLB.com. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- "Yankees find their catcher for stretch, trade for Rodriguez". ESPN.com. July 30, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- Tigers win, position changes for 2009 announced MLive.com September 27, 2008
- Liriano fans 9 to lead Twins past Tigers 7–2 Yahoo! Sports (Associated Press) May 4, 2009
- Brandon Inge 2009 splits Baseball Reference
- Home Run Derby results MLB.com
- Inge undergoes successful knee surgery Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine MLB.com November 4, 2009
- Inge out 4–6 weeks with fracture in left hand MLB.com July 19, 2010
- Inge sets Tigers franchise mark for strikeouts Archived 2010-09-28 at the Wayback Machine MLB.com September 26, 2010
- Brandon Inge 'ecstatic' about Tigers' interest; Jhonny Peralta expects to be back in Detroit MLive.com October 3, 2010
- "Gonzalez, Inge receive top awards". Mlb.com. October 29, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- Mono forces Inge to disabled list Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine MLB.com June 3, 2011
- Nicholson-Smith, Ben. "Tigers Designate Brandon Inge For Assignment". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Dierkes, Tim. "Outrighted: Brandon Inge". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- Beck, Jason. "Inge powers Tigers in climactic return to team". MLB.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Detroit Tigers sever ties with Brandon Inge, but 'heart will always be in Detroit' MLive.com, April 26, 2012
- Brandon Inge agrees to sign with the A's The San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2012
-  CSN Bayarea September 1, 2012
- Brandon Inge Sports New Tattoos Archived 2010-04-05 at the Wayback Machine WJBK-TV August 26, 2009