Agent of Trust

By Emily Gold Boutilier / March / April 2002
July 1st, 2007
Richman "Richie" Bry, a sports agent who represented such major league baseball greats as Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, and Darryl Strawberry, died of a heart attack on December 25. He was sixty-seven and lived in Ladue, Mo.

Bry was among the first to seize the opportunity that arose when baseball created free agency during the mid-1970s. At that time he was working as a stockbroker, giving investment advice to a list of clients that included St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock. Brock asked Bry to be his agent, and after much research, Bry founded a sports-agency firm in Clayton, Mo., in 1976. Brock was its first client.

Over the years Bry worked with more than 500 people in the sports field. Many of his clients were baseball players in St. Louis, his hometown, but he also represented football players, including William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and advised sports broadcaster Bob Costas. He earned a living by taking a percentage of the riches he made for his clients.

Bry became Strawberry's first agent in 1980. According to a 1984 New York Times Magazine profile of the New York Mets player, when "hungry agents" started telephoning Strawberry, he referred all calls to his mother. "A few of them were too pushy," Ruby Strawberry told the magazine. "They wanted to tell him about the big money. They feel that kids brought up in the ghetto - money excites them." She chose Bry, she said, because she "felt he was a good person and we could trust him."

As a sports agent, according to the Times article, Bry did much more than negotiate playing and endorsement contracts: "On a recent and presumably typical day, Bry wired $4,000 to one player for unanticipated holiday expenses, advised another on a real-estate deal, told a third that certain expenses were not tax-deductible, and urged a fourth to sign a prenuptial agreement that would provide his soon-to-be wife with graduating claims on his property depending on the length of their marriage."

Once active in the St. Louis Sports Commission, Bry was a former board member of the St. Louis Country Day School and the Jewish Community Centers Association, and was former board president of the Westwood Country Club. He is survived by his companion, Asia Gryglewicz; a daughter, Lauren Bry Rechan '88; two sons, including Robert '86; a brother; and eight grandchildren.

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March / April 2002