Brad “The Animal” Lesley
Our next Better Off Red guest blogger brings us some sad news about a member of the Reds family. Stephanie Ben is our Baseball Operations Assistant and manages Reds Fantasy Camp.
Former Reds player, Brad Lesley, passed away on Saturday, April 27th from kidney failure. He was 54 years old (born 9/11/58). Lesley had been staying at an assisted living home for the past seven months where he was receiving dialysis.
Lesley was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 1978 amateur draft and made his debut for Cincinnati in 1982. Nicknamed “The Animal”, he was known for his aggressive style on the mound. He played for the Reds for two years before being traded to the Brewers. After his final year pitching for Milwaukee in 1985, Lesley traveled to Japan to continue playing ball. He learned the language and found a love for the culture as well as the entertainment business as a TV star on a comedy show. Brad went on to guest-star in several sports films in the ‘90s including “Mr. Baseball” (1992), “Little Big League” (1994), and “Space Jam” (1996), along with many others.
Lesley’s longest relationship with the Cincinnati Reds came from his participation at Reds Fantasy Camp. He was a coach at “Baseball Heaven” from 2003 through 2011, until he no longer could physically participate given his illness. He was known (especially to those involved in Reds Fantasy Camp) for his passion for the game on the field, but mostly his practical jokes off the field. Lesley treated each Fantasy Camp participant like one of his close friends, making him or her part of his world. This past Fantasy Camp in January we called Brad during our morning staff/coaches meeting. I remember him saying multiple times that he “sends his love” and that’s exactly how I’ll remember “The Animal” – as someone who gave out a lot of love to those around him near and far. The Reds Fantasy Camp “family” sends their love to our friend and coach, Brad “The Animal” Lesley.