Brad Mangin’s Bird’s-Eye View

by | Oct 14, 2022 | Spartan Spotlight

Authors Brad Mangin (L) and Brian Murphy (R) present former San Francisco Giants player Buster Posey with a copy of their new book about him “28” at his home in Lafayette, California, on July 1, 2022. Photo by Kristen Posey.

Brad Mangin, ’88 Journalism, is one of baseball’s pre-eminent chroniclers through the lens of his camera. His bird’s-eye view of the game has been the cornerstone of a distinguished career that began in SJSU’s journalism program. 

During his career, Mangin freelanced for Sports Illustrated, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour. In 2013, he redefined baseball photography with his book “Instant Baseball,” which is a collection of portraits and photos of the game shot entirely on his iPhone for Instagram.

He has published four hardcover baseball books on the San Francisco Giants, including his latest, “28, A Photographic Tribute to Buster Posey,” which he co-authored with KNBR talk-show host and close friend Brian Murphy.

“I can’t say enough about what San José State did for shaping what I have done for a living,” Mangin said. 

From his days learning from the “veteran” Spartan Daily photographers in Dwight Bentel Hall, sitting around eating burgers from Peanuts and trading stories, and the internship opportunity that he earned through SJSU at the Contra Costa Times in the East Bay, to his work for The National Sports Daily, Mangin said he wouldn’t be where he is without being a part of “one of the top five photojournalism schools in the country.” 

Mangin grew up wanting to be a baseball broadcaster, hoping to call games in the booth next to Bay Area legends Lon Simmons and Bill King. He even wanted to be a hot dog vendor.

The opportunity to photograph Major League baseball as a college student in 1987 not only changed that trajectory but also enhanced his passion for the game.

“It took awhile getting used to walking on the field and hanging out in dugouts, but I quickly became very much at home on the field where we work as photographers,” Mangin said. “It became second-nature and a place I never wanted to leave. Thirty-five years later, it’s still special to me.”

He considers his book on Posey to be a “time capsule” for the career of a Giants legend, who led the team to three World Series titles.

“The fans can’t get enough of Buster,” Mangin said.

Mangin said he would tell other young creatives that every place you work early in your life is a building block for where you want to be. 

“They all add up to become the base of what you know and where you have been,” Mangin said. “You also meet some amazing people early on, like I did at SJSU, who will come back into your life at a later date with a chance to help you.”