Keon Broxton has been a member of six MLB organizations since he was a 2009 third-round pick. He has played in the majors (Pittsburgh, 2015; Milwaukee, 2016; New York Mets, Baltimore and Seattle, 2019), and was invited by the Minnesota Twins to spring training this year after he signed a minor league contract.
The 31-year-old outfielder is one of two Black players on the St. Paul Saints 40-man roster—the Saints are in their first season as the Twins’ AAA affiliate. If called up, Broxton will only have to travel about 11 miles from Lowertown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis, the closest he’s ever been to a major league ballpark from the minors.
“I can hop on the Metro train,” said Broxton matter-of-factly. “I don’t have to pack up anything [but] my baseball stuff.”
Because of his veteran status, Broxton sometimes resembles the Crash Davis character in “Bull Durham” to younger teammates who seek him out on what it’s like to be in “The Show.” “That’s when I started to realize I was getting old in this game,” admitted Broxton, who turned 31 on May 7.
“I remember when I was in their shoes, and I would see older guys talk about the game. Now I’m actually one of those guys. I’ve always wanted to be one of the guys to help out the younger guys if they needed anything.”
An elevator-like pro career is not what Broxton initially signed up for. He had hoped for more than a few cups of coffee in the majors. “It’s definitely unfortunate that I haven’t been able to stay in the majors,” said Broxton. “But it doesn’t take away from what I’ve done.”
He achieved a first last Sunday because the Saints were shorthanded. For the first time in more than 1,400 games in his pro career, instead of his natural outfield position, Broxton played second base.
Originally drafted in 2008 while in high school in Lakeland, Florida, Broxton went on to junior college where he appeared in the JUCO World Series. Arizona selected him in 2009, and he ascended to Triple AAA, where he hit a home run to help Reno win the league title.
The Diamondbacks traded him to Pittsburgh in 2014 and he was sent to the minors. Then the Pirates promoted him late in the season, when he was used mainly as a pinch runner but stole a base and scored three runs.
Pittsburgh traded Broxton to Milwaukee in 2015, and he started Opening Day. He again opened the following season as a starter but midway through the year was sent down to AAA. He was later recalled by the Brewers and finished with a 20/20 season (20 homers and 20 stolen bases).
Broxton opened the 2018 season back in the minors but was brought up later in June and finished the year there. Then the Brewers traded him to the Mets in the off season, where he struggled early in the 2019 season and was designated for assignment. He was traded to Baltimore and played there two months before being put on waivers.
Seattle claimed him for the rest of the season. That off season he signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee but didn’t play last summer due to the minors’ season cancellation due to the pandemic.
Now he is in the Twins’ organization.
“When I was a little kid, I wanted to be in the major league,” said Broxton. “I made it there, and I’m not there now, so I’m not satisfied.
“But I’m still blessed to be playing in the first place. I’m so blessed to be out here and stay in the grind and really have a chance to make it back to the big leagues.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.