Chadwick Lee "Chad" Bradford (born September 14, 1974) is an American relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball. Known for his unusual delivery where he releases the pitch side-arm and very close to the ground. This is called a submarine delivery. Because of this delivery he has experienced back and abdominal pain at times.
Bradford was born in Jackson, Mississippi. His father had suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, so that he could only throw underhand when playing catch with his son. Author Michael Lewis speculates that memories of his father's throwing motion may have contributed to the development of Bradford's pitching style.
He attended Byram High School in Jackson. Unlike most players who become major leaguers, he had not exhibited outstanding athletic talent through the early years of high school. But his high school coach suggested he try sidearm pitching after learning some tips about the approach from a professional player. This technique brought him enough success to get a spot on the teams of Hinds Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.
He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1994 but elected to stay in college through 1996. The White Sox - the only major league team that had even scouted him - re-drafted him in the 13th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut in 1998 while only 23 years old.
In 1999, Bradford made only a short stop in the majors with the rest of the season spent with the triple-A Charlotte Knights. He was successful as a September call-up in 2000 and even pitched in the American League Division Series but the White Sox' bullpen was full so they traded him to Oakland A's for catcher Miguel Olivo.
From 2001 to 2004, Bradford was a specialty reliever for the A's, having success against right-handed hitters but getting hit by left-handed hitters. His ERA stayed around 3.00 for his entire career until 2004 when he had a setback. It was said to be because of his mounting back pain which eventually forced him on to the disabled list.
In July 2005, the Boston Red Sox acquired Bradford from Oakland in a trade for outfielder Jay Payton. Bradford, on the disabled list since undergoing lower back surgery March 7, was activated after the All-Star break. Bradford had mixed results in Boston, posting a 3.86 ERA in with a 1.414 WHIP, although he only pitched 23.3 innings.
After the season, he became a free agent and was signed by the Mets where he was reunited with Rick Peterson, his pitching coach from the Athletics. He had a very solid year in 2006 as a right-handed specialist out of the bullpen, posting a 2.90 ERA in 70 games.
In 17 career postseason games, Bradford has posted a 0.00 ERA.
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Lewis, Michael. W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2003. ISBN 0-393-05765-8