Brandon Inge began his baseball career in the majors in 2001, debuting as Detroit’s starting catcher on opening day in 2001. He played 12 seasons with the Tigers, one with the Oakland Athletics, and one with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Brandon resides in Michigan with his wife, Shani, and two sons, Chase and Tyler. Along with his family, Brandon has used his platform to help raise awareness and funds to further research for childhood brain cancer in honor of Chad Carr.
ESPN sportswriter Jayson Stark described Inge as a “super-utility dervish,” referring to his quick movements on the field. In 2004, he moved from catcher to third base and earned a reputation as one of the best-fielding third basemen in 2006 and 2007. In 2009, Inge made the American League All-Star team when he hit 27 homers and had 84 runs-batted-in while playing third base for the Tigers. Inge finished his career with 1,532 games played and had 152 homers. His career batting average was .233, and he was known to be clutch in the playoffs, with a career postseason batting average of .288. In the 2006 American League Championship Series, Inge gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third inning with a homer off of pitcher Barry Zito. Inge finished the game with three hits, and the Tigers went on to sweep the Oakland A’s in four games to advance to their first World Series appearance since 1984. In the World Series, Inge hit .353 in 17 at-bats, tying him for second-highest on the team. In April of 2011, Inge hit a game-winning homer to beat the Texas Rangers — the fifth walk-off homer of his Tiger career.
Brandon and his wife, Shani, have always felt a pull towards making a positive impact in the lives of children with cancer. In the early 2000s, Shani reached out to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to coordinate an effort to have Detroit Tigers players visit sick kids.
Brandon would often stop by to visit kids in the cancer ward. Initially, he feared he wouldn’t know what to say to kids facing a life-threatening disease, or to their families who were thrust into a world of uncertainty.
“I quickly realized that I could brighten up their day just by talking about baseball,” said Brandon. “Just for a moment, they weren’t thinking about cancer.”
During those visits, Brandon and Shani met Tammi Carr. Tammi was working for the hospital at the time, and the two women instantly bonded. Soon Tammi introduced her husband, Jason, to the couple, and a lifelong family friendship was born.
But even after the many hospital visits and countless hours Brandon spent talking with kids and families facing cancer, nothing could have prepared him or his wife for a phone call they received from Tammi on November 23, 2015.
Chad, Shani’s godson and the youngest of the Carr children, had been diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer called DIPG.
It was the first time the Inges had ever heard of the disease, but they quickly learned of its devastating nature. Chad passed away 15 months later, and inspired by the Carrs’ determination to continue their mission towards a cure, Brandon and his wife knew instantly they would do anything they could to join the fight.
Brandon and Shani have been supporting the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation since the very beginning. Each year, they have been instrumental in the foundation’s annual gala, volunteering dozens of hours to help elevate the signature event. Brandon also created Dingers for DIPG, a day-long baseball clinic that raised thousands of dollars and heightened awareness for the disease.