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“Brett” documentary reveals how a complicated father/son relationship fueled a Hall of Fame career

The feature airs tonight on MLB Network.

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

George Brett had the kind of baseball career nearly every player who ever played the game would envy. 3,154 career hits. Three batting titles. American League MVP. A world championship. 13 All-Star appearances. National stardom. The adoration of an entire city.

But it didn’t satisfy Jack Brett.

“Fear is what drove George Brett, and no question it originated with his father,” explains former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski near the beginning of the documentary “Brett”, which debuts Thursday night on MLB Network. The film reveals raw emotions from Brett as he talks about his complicated relationship with father Jack, who raised George and his three brothers in Southern California. Even George’s amazing 1980 season, in which he made a run at becoming the first hitter in 39 seasons to hit .400, ultimately finishing at .390, didn’t earn him praise from his dad.

“I saw him after the ‘80 season and the first thing he says to me is ‘you couldn’t have gotten five more hits?” recalls Brett. “There wasn’t a lot of positive stuff. There never was.”

The film follows Brett’s career path, a story that should be pretty familiar to many Royals fans. From his early days working with hitting coach Charlie Lau to his skirmishes with the hated Yankees, Brett brought an intensity to the game that resonated with teammates and even opponents. But he also had a boyish, playful side that endeared him to fans and made him a national star. Before there was Travis Kelce dating Taylor Swift, there was George Brett dating Miss America pageant contestants.

“He was a rockstar, he was an absolute rockstar,” recounts long-time teammate Jamie Quirk.

Featuring interviews with teammates like Quirk, Frank White, Willie Wilson, and Jeff Montgomery as well as opponents Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, and Robin Yount, “Brett” covers the entire career of the Hall of Famer, including the 1980 World Series, the Pine Tar Game, and the controversial 1985 World Series Game 6 call.

“For crying out loud, St. Louis, and I have friends that live in St. Louis,” Brett begins about the “safe” call for Jorge Orta at first base in the ninth inning of that game. “Don Denkinger, he made a bad call. Made a bad call. If they call him out, we still might have won the game. You don’t know. That was Game 6. Come out and play Game 7. That’s all you had to do, is play Game 7.”

“You didn’t show up for Game 7, you lost 11-0. Suck on it.”

The film also includes Royals Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Matthews and rarely-seen footage from Brett’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

And yes, his infamous Bellagio story is in the documentary.

“There are two sides to him, there’s a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy who likes to drink wine and used to like shellfish,” remarks George’s son Jackson. “Then there’s the baseball side. And it’s kind of perfect.”

“MLB Network Presents: Brett” airs Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT on MLB Network.