This HBCU Alum’s Baseball Journey To The Major League Baseball Front Office

From Alcorn State University to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brandon Rembert shares how his HBCU prepared him for the pros.

Baseball is known as America's pastime, but the path to the big leagues isn't as easy as the moniker sounds. For former Alcorn State swingman Brandon Rembert, the journey to Major League Baseball took an unexpected turn, but it allowed him to showcase that there's more than one way to make the majors.

Rembert's origins in baseball began as he followed the footsteps of his older brother who also played the sport, whether it was in T-ball or high school. Rembert soon passed his brother, becoming the only of the two to play college baseball where his journey took him from the JV team at Faulkner University to the junior college level at Coastal Alabama-Brewton CC and then finally arriving to Alcorn State in 2019.

Rembert needed no time to adjust to playing HBCU baseball, leading the Braves in batting average and on-base percentage in his first season, also earning the Alcorn Sportsmanship Award. After preseason First-Team All-SWAC honors in 2020 and 2021, Rembert was scouted at the professional level. However, an injury limited Rembert to just 10 games in his final collegiate season, dulling his Major League Baseball hopes — as a player.

"After [my injury], I took a break from baseball to see what my next step was," said Rembert. "I needed to see if I wanted to stay in the game or if I didn't want to stay in the game. I took some time to reflect and to figure things out and figure myself out."

Rembert couldn't stay away from baseball as long as he self-reflected. He got into coaching for a brief time, helping out at his alma mater Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida. As Rembert was figuring out his next steps, he didn't give up on his dreams of the pros, thanks to the lessons he learned while playing baseball.

"I fell in love with baseball because it's a game that teaches you a lot about life. It teaches you how to be resilient, how to persevere, and how to deal with failure," said Rembert. 

Rembert's resiliency after his collegiate injury ultimately led him to get a call to join the pros — as a minor league baseball operations assistant in the coaching and player development department. His first role sent him to unfamiliar territory in the Dominican Republic, far from his Pensacola roots.

"It was a major culture shock. It was scary," said Rembert. "But when I got there, it was nothing but great. Being outside of my comfort zone was incredibly fruitful and beneficial for me, not only professionally, but as a person. It helped me experience the culture of the Dominican players, seeing their background, where they live and come from and understand their why behind the scenes. It was incredible."

Rembert's experience as a minor league baseball operations assistant not only opened his eyes culturally, but also professionally. His first experience in the pros helped him realize his strengths and weaknesses, more specifically, his strengths in scouting and evaluating players that he could tie back to his time at an HBCU.

"Playing at Alcorn, I was able to face guys that are in the big leagues now, and I feel like when I was playing, I was not knowingly in the back of my head already evaluating players," said Rembert. "I'm sitting there watching pitchers, saying "What does he have? How can he throw it," and things like that, trying to get an advantage. In the back of my head, for years, I've always been evaluating. "It was the perfect fit for me to grow and learn how to scout and how to evaluate at the professional level."

So, Rembert joined the Pittsburgh Pirates' amateur scouting department as a development scout. Rembert's dream of joining the MLB wasn't denied, only deferred. He credits his Alcorn State coaches for establishing a well-rounded foundation.

"My coaches are one of the reasons that I'm in the position I'm in right now because of their emphasis on academics and baseball. My coach was really big on being good outside of the classroom and being good on the field, which has helped me tremendously after my playing days," said Rembert.

As Rembert continues to develop in his role as a scout, his goal is to learn as much as he can to become the best scout he can be. Yet, as he grows in his position, he knows his job is bigger than himself as the number of African-Americans in baseball on the field continues to decline, and there aren't many in front offices.

"You don't see a lot of us, and I feel like once we get in the room, there's a higher standard and a higher burden for us to be able to perform because there's a lack of representation there," said Rembert. "Everything we need to do has to be on point all the time, which is okay, and that and that just comes with it. But we belong in the room just like everybody else."

With each day, Rembert proves that he belongs in the sport that became his passion at a young age. He overcame adversity in his journey, proving that you can make it to the big leagues from an HBCU.

"It's possible to achieve anything you want to achieve."

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