The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Mike Brusin, professor emeritus at College of San Mateo, died Thursday, July 7 at his home in San Mateo. He was 87.
A professor of economics and history, Brusin retired from CSM as a fulltime instructor in 1995. He continued teaching through 2009. His first love, though, was CSM Bulldogs baseball. He served as the team’s scorekeeper for generations under head coaches John Noce and Doug Williams, working his final games in the 2019 season prior to the pandemic.
Brusin is a press box legend, and the Bulldogs dedicated their press booth to him as “Mike Brusin Pressbox” in a formal ceremony during the 2022 season. Known as “Brusin” to everyone in the CSM baseball family, his attention to meticulous and accurate scorekeeping was matched only by his wry but welcoming sarcasm.
“We are forever indebted to Mike,” Williams said via press release. “Frankly, I don’t know how we would have done it without him.”
A lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants, Brusin was a season ticket holder. Whether it was from his seats four rows behind the first-base dugout at Candlestick Park, or from his 11th row seats behind home plate at Oracle Park, he could always be identified by the scorebook in his lap as he dutifully scored every game he attended. He oftentimes scored games he watched on television.
Roberta Reynolds, an English professor at CSM and Brusin’s friend of over 50 years, accompanied him to many a Giants game. During games at Candlestick Park, Brusin sat in proximity to Peter McGowan, Giants president from 1993-2008. Reynolds said when there were difficult scoring decisions during games, McGowan would often turn toward Brusin to ask: “How would you score that Mike?”
“He always wanted to know how Mike scored it,” Reynolds said.
Brusin always preferred Candlestick Park to its predecessor, and generally referred to Oracle Park as “Cellphone Park,” Reynolds said. This is testament to Brusin’s old-school baseball tack, something that kept him faithful to scoring games the rudimentary way, with a pencil and a book.
It was a method he employed at CSM upwards of thousands of games in his time at the press table in the righthand corner of the Bulldogs’ press booth.
“He had (Giants) season tickets for a very, very long time,” Reynolds said. “But he always said he loved junior college baseball more than anything.”
When California Community College Athletics Association baseball instituted a computerized statistics database in the early 2000s, Brusin enlisted the help of Patricia Parfett, who worked alongside him at CSM for many years, live-scoring games via the web, while Brusin kept a traditional scorebook.
Parfett was a kindred spirit upon her arrival at CSM games in 1999, when her son Robbie began playing there. Insisting on always keeping a scorebook herself, she and Brusin quickly made friends. Robbie transferred to Menlo College, but when his collegiate career ended, Parfett returned to CSM.
“As soon as he was done, I went right back to CSM,” Parfett said.
She said the reason was simple: “Brusin.”
“Being able to watch baseball with Brusin was always a real treat,” Parfett said.
Baseball with Brusin was a masterclass in how to approach the game. He knew the rulebook, as well as scoring protocols, and enjoyed quizzing people on intricacies of the game. We once joked there should be a sequel to the Brad Pitt film “Moneyball” entitled “Minutia-ball” starring George Clooney as Brusin.
“His insights, his lifelong love of the game — I think his economics numbers background probably helped him a little bit — and he was meticulously fair,” Parfett said. “When Brusin scored, it was going to be fair for both sides.”
Outside the domain of baseball, Brusin was something as a renaissance man. He loved to sail, and captained his boat, “Marybeth,” that harbored in Monterey. He enjoyed making several trips a year to Ashland, Oregon for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was a member of the American Federation of Teachers.
“He was involved with collective bargaining for a long, long time,” Reynolds said. “He was union and he believed in collective bargaining. He did a lot of things for everybody in that way. … He cared about people and how they were treated.”
Around the house, Brusin was a voracious reader and a dedicated dog lover. Amos, his Golden Retriever, would often spend CSM baseball games nestled under the press table at Brusin’s feet. Brusin had three groups of Golden Retrievers over the years, and leaves behind four of them, Sheeba, Gracie, Maggie and Jonah.
According to Reynolds, Brusin was diabetic and was being treated for leukemia. He suffered a stroke in January. The official cause of death was arteriosclerosis, she said.
Brusin was preceded in death by his brother Jimmy and son Don.
He is survived by his sister Joanne; brother Willie; daughter Jane; and son Matthew.
Funeral arrangements are pending.