Major league baseball player and Chickasaw citizen Brandon David Keith Bailey was born on October 19, 1994 in Westminster, Colorado. A gifted baseball player and student, Brandon led his high school baseball team to Colorado's 4A State Championship in 2012. That year, he recorded an 11-0 record and 1.02, and was named to Colorado's 4A First-Team All-State. He was also the 2012 Colorado 4A Player of the Year.
Brandon Bailey's sports and academic success continued during college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he minored in Native American Studies and pitched for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. There, Brandon excelled in the classroom and on the field, as a Gonzaga University President's List honoree and a member of the First Team All-West Coast Conference. As a junior in 2016, he went 10-3 with a 2.42 ERA and 125 strikeouts, the third highest single-season strikeout total in program history.
In the summer of 2016, Brandon beat out thousands of applicants for an internship at Nike's N7 Fund, which raises money to promote health and disease prevention programs among native tribes. During the 2016 MLB draft, he signed with the Oakland Athletics, launching his professional baseball career. Now playing for the Cincinnati Reds, he joins minor league manager Wyatt Toregas, journeyman reliever Dallas Beeler and 1930s righty Euel Moore as the only Chickasaw citizens in major league baseball.
According to the Bailey family's oral history, Brandon's great-great-great-grandmother, Matahoya, was removed from the Homeland on the Trail of Tears. Although her son, George, his great-grandfather, left Oklahoma for Colorado after his service in World War II, Brandon's father, Brad, was determined to reconnect with his Chickasaw roots and pass the traditions of the Chickasaw Nation down to Brandon and his sister Bri, and he proudly represents his tribe each time he steps onto the pitcher's mound.
Brandon says that he hopes to use his baseball platform to become an advocate not only for First American issues and the struggles native people disproportionately face. "As a professional athlete," he says, "I feel I need to use my platform to raise awareness on Native American issues and also try to be the best role model that I can for young Native kids out there that don’t have a ton of people they can turn to or look at, especially in the professional sports world."