Braves' Austin Riley Honors Baseball Mentor

Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley paid tribute to his late former hitting coach on June 16.
Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley
Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves won the series against the Tampa Bay Rays, but their star third baseman played with an extra weight. Their star infield slugger, Austin Riley, had a whale of a series – belting a home run in each of the three contests. However, Sunday’s bomb meant more. 

During home run trots, players often point to the sky. For Riley, Sunday’s homer was more than just a show of skill. It was a heartfelt tribute to his longtime friend, mentor, and former Braves hitting coach, Mike Brumley, who played a significant role in shaping Riley's career and life. 

Mike Brumley was the second-most important person in Riley’s baseball career.

Most recently, Mike Brumley was the Atlanta Braves minor league hitting coordinator from 2018 to 2022. In that period, Brumley saw the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley work their way through Atlanta’s farm system to the big leagues. 

For Riley, finding out that his coach passed away in a vehicle accident early Sunday morning at 2 a.m. was devastating. However, he still performed and praised his lifelong baseball role model after finishing the game. 

The 27-year-old's team has three games remaining on its homestand, with an off day this Thursday. He and all those in the Braves organization will be able to pay their respects to the Brumley family during this tragic loss within that time frame before traveling to New York. 

With his recent hot streak at the plate, his mentor would be proud of his accomplishments and the player he is becoming.

CJ Errickson