West Bloomfield’s Barry Bremen: Impostor or Marketing Genius?

There was a time when Morganna would run on the field to kiss a player or an umpire and we would remember that game for the excitement and buzz that moment caused. When Lieutenant Frank Drebin in Naked Gun acted as a Major League umpire, it did not seem totally out of the ordinary because we had seen it before. Sneaking onto the playing field was once a part of the entertainment, often finding its way to that evening’s newscast. With tasers becoming more the standard at ballpark following copycats and threats to athletes, this one-time art is no looked down as a shameful act and a distraction to the actual game.

West Bloomfield’s Barry Bremen was more than your average impostor, he snuck into one sporting event after another pretending to be the athletes we idolize. Whether it was joining the NBA’s All-Stars in the layup line, or shagging fly balls during the MLB All-Star Game, Bremen was acting out a dream that each of us has from a very young age. Who wouldn’t have wanted to tee of during a U.S. Open practice round with Fred Couples? Who wouldn’t have stayed a night in jail for the chance to dress up as a line judge at the Super Bowl? Bremen demonstrated a joy and a passion that every person strives to achieve in life.

His passing this week hit home unlike many deaths that make the Free Press or Detroit News. In 1992, mere months before my grandfather would lose his battle with ALS, Bremen became the fifth golfer in a group with my father, grandfather and two uncles. While he may have been an impostor at some of the largest sporting events in the world, he was surely not a fraud that day on the golf course. In the last golf tournament my grandfather ever competed in, the team won the scramble event led by a long-hitting and smooth swinging Barry Bremen.

The photo still has a special spot at my grandparents’ house. Five golfers ready to set off on a round of a lifetime, with their clubs converging in the center of the group. Barry’s outfit sticking out from the rest of the group with those bright red pants. I remember meeting up with the group after the round and seeing the excitement on everyone’s face. If I could only go back in time and act as a fly on the green that day to catch some of those incredible stories that Barry would have told.

2 replies on “West Bloomfield’s Barry Bremen: Impostor or Marketing Genius?

  • Rabbi Jason Miller

    Great blog post about Barry. That’s a great story about the golf outing with your family and Barry. I was talking to a golf pro at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield on Sunday who remembered Barry’s drives as the fastest swing he’d ever seen.

    It’s interesting too that you mention Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) from the Naked Gun movies because I was just thinking of another Hollywood comparison to Barry. Remember in Fletch when Chevy Chase dressed up as a LA Lakers player? Here’s a photo of that: http://www.chevychasecentral.com/fletch/3643_1.jpg

    The image of Fletch/Chevy Chase (another tall impostor) always reminded me of Barry Bremen. At Barry’s memorial service on Tuesday, his son Noah ended his eulogy by saying, “I promise to make that movie Dad.” Here’s hoping that Chevy Chase gets to play Barry in the movie about The Great Impostor Barry Bremen.


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