Brett Tomko

Brett Daniel Tomko[1] (born April 7, 1973)[2] is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals.

Brett Tomko
Born: (1973-04-07) April 7, 1973
Euclid, Ohio, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 27, 1997, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
May 24, 2011, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record100–103
Earned run average4.65

Early life

Tomko was born in Euclid, Ohio, but moved to southern California when he was three years old.[3]

Tomko attended El Dorado High School in Placentia, California, and was a letter winner in basketball and baseball.[4]

College years

Tomko attended Florida Southern College for one season in 1995, leading the team to the NCAA Division II National Championship against Georgia College. He went 15–2 with a 1.35 ERA and struck out 154 batters in 126.3 innings that season, with opponents hitting just .180 against him. He pitched two complete game shutouts in the Championship Series, including one in the final game, earning him the Tournament's "outstanding player" award. In addition, he won both the NCAA Division II Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards by the American Baseball Coaches Association.[5]

In 2014, the NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year Award was renamed the Brett Tomko Award in his honor.[6]

Draft and minor league years

Tomko had been drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 20th round of the 1994 draft, but chose to attend college at Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, California) for a year. In 1995, he was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds. He signed with the Reds on June 28, 1995.

He pitched for three years in the Reds minor league system, making stops at Charleston in 1995, Chattanooga in 1996 (where he was named the Reds' top prospect by Baseball America[7]) and Indianapolis in 1997 before getting called up to the Major Leagues during the 1997 season.

Major League Baseball

Cincinnati Reds

Tomko made his first Major League appearance, and first Major League start, against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 27, 1997. He pitched 6 innings and gave up 2 runs while taking the loss in the Reds 2–1 defeat.

He got his first victory in his next start on June 6, against the New York Mets. He pitched 6 innings, gave up one run and struck out seven in the Reds 5–2 victory.

Tomko was 3rd for the Reds in his rookie 1997 season in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 3.0.

He remained in the Reds starting rotation for three seasons, though spending some time as a reliever during a more difficult 1999 campaign.

Seattle Mariners

He was traded on February 10, 2000, to the Seattle Mariners, along with Antonio Pérez, Jake Meyer, and Mike Cameron for Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle used him primarily as a reliever and spot starter during the next two seasons. He also spent some time with Seattle's Triple-A team in Tacoma in both 2000 & 2001.

San Diego Padres

On December 11, 2001, the Mariners traded Tomko (along with Ramón Vázquez, Tom Lampkin and cash) to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Wascar Serrano, Alex Arias and Ben Davis. He returned to the starting rotation with San Diego, making 32 starts, his most since 1998 with the Reds.

St. Louis Cardinals

He was traded again, almost exactly a year later (December 15, 2002) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Wodnicki and Luther Hackman. Tomko won 13 games in his only season in St. Louis. His solid winning record was in spite of leading the league giving up earned runs.

San Francisco Giants

He signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent prior to the 2004 season and pitched with them for two seasons. His 2004 season was very good, garnering a 2.6 WAR and a .611 winning percentage. Tomko's tenure with the Giants effectively ended when the team declined to offer him salary arbitration before the 2006 season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

On December 21, 2005, he agreed to a two-year contract worth a reported $8.7 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched both as a starter and a reliever during his two seasons in Los Angeles. During his time with the Dodgers, Tomko's poor pitching and propensity to give up home runs led to Dodger fans giving him the nickname "Bombko".[8]

He was designated for assignment on August 24, 2007, after a poor season with the Dodgers in which he went 2–11 with a 5.80 ERA in 33 games (15 starts).

San Diego Padres (second stint)

After being designated for assignment by the Dodgers, he was signed by the San Diego Padres on September 4, 2007.

Kansas City Royals

On January 20, 2008, he signed with the Kansas City Royals.

On June 12, 2008, the Royals designated Tomko for assignment and on June 20, 2008, he was released.

San Diego Padres (third stint)

He signed with the San Diego Padres on June 27, 2008, but was released on September 1.

New York Yankees

On February 13, 2009, the New York Yankees signed Tomko to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.[9] He began the season with Triple-A Scranton. He was called up by the Yankees on May 9. Tomko was designated for assignment on July 21, 2009, to make room on the roster for Sergio Mitre. He criticized the Yankees for not using him enough, despite his excellent spring training and minor league numbers, and said his 5.25 ERA was due to a lack of use.[10] He was released on July 29.

Oakland Athletics

He then signed with the Oakland Athletics. On August 17, 2009, Tomko defeated the Yankees in his first start for Oakland. Tomko got his 100th career win with Oakland, however he injured his arm during the game.[11]

He resigned with Oakland during the 2009-2010 offseason and rehabbed with the Sacramento River Cats.[12]

Texas Rangers

On February 19, 2011, the Texas Rangers signed Tomko to a minor league contract with no invitation to spring training.[13] On April 20, the Rangers purchased his contract from the minors and called him up.[14] He was outrighted to Triple-A on May 27. After the 2011 season, he elected for free agency.[15]

Later years

On February 19, 2012, Tomko signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds worth $480,000.[16] On August 2, 2012, Tomko was released by the Reds. Tomko was 0–6 with a 3.78 ERA in 12 starts with Triple-A Louisville. In a rehab start with the Arizona League Reds, he lasted 1.1 innings, giving up eight runs (seven earned) off of nine hits.[17]

Tomko signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 14, 2012. He was assigned to the Double-A Mobile BayBears. On August 24, Tomko was called up to the Reno Aces.

In March 2013, Tomko signed a contract with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.[18] He retired in August and joined the Kansas City Royals organization as a scout.[19]

On March 14, 2014, Tomko agreed to a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.[20] On June 3, Tomko was released by the Royals.

Tomko signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies on June 10, 2014.

Personal life

Tomko married Playboy Playmate Julia Schultz (February 1998) in November 2003,[21] and they have twin boys.[22]

Tomko is an artist. As of 2017, he was training with famous sports artist Opie Otterstad.[23]

Tomko's father won a contest of over 11,000 entries in The Plain Dealer for naming the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team. His entry described the name Cavaliers as "a group of daring, fearless men whose life's pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds."[3]


  1. "Brett Tomko Statistics". Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  2. "ESPN - Brett Tomko Stats, News, Photos - San Diego Padres - MLB Baseball". Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  3. Hale, Mark (May 16, 2009). "TOMKO'S DAD LEAVES LASTING NAME IN CLEVELAND". New York Post.
  4. Martel, Ron (July 26, 2019). "Former pro baseball players call Canyon Lake their home". The Friday Flyer.
  5. "Brett Tomko Jersey Retirement". Florida Southern College. Archived from the original on 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  6. "Division II Pitcher of the Year Award Named After Former Moc Brett Tomko". Florida Southern College. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  7. "The Official Site of The San Diego Padres: Team: Player Information: Biography and Career Highlights". Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  8. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish... unless how you start basically screws everything up". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13.
  9. Tomko joins Yanks on Minors deal
  11. Feinstein, J. (2014) Where Nobody Knows Your Name. p. 165
  12. Slusser, Susan (August 26, 2010). "A's hit make-or-break stretch on road". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  13. Durrett, Richard (February 19, 2011). "Brett Tomko signs minor league deal". ESPN.
  14. Rangers bring Tomko back to major leagues, Associated Press, April 20, 2011.
  15. Axisa, Mike. "22 Triple-A Players Elect Free Agency". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  16. "Brett Tomko Statistics (1995-2012) | the Baseball Cube". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  17. "Brett Tomko Minor, Winter & Independent Leagues Statistics & History".
  18. WHP TV, York Revolution signs former MLB RHP Brett Tomko, March 22, 2013
  19. Sovereign Bank Stadium crowd bids adieu to Brett Tomko Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  20. "Tomko, Troncoso agree deals with Royals". Associated Press. March 14, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  21. Alipour, Sam (August 2, 2007). "In the city of fake, Bonds still public enemy No. 1". ESPN. Retrieved October 3, 2019. In 2001, former Playmate Julia Schultz, wife of Dodgers pitcher Brett Tomko...
  22. Minasian, Isabelle. "Tomko savors chance to experience Cooperstown". National Baseball Hall of Fame.
  23. "New York Yankees pitcher Brett Tomko's next career will play with awesome sports imagery". Retrieved 13 September 2017.
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