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Former MLB player Bronson Sardinha arrested for alleged DUI in Kapolei

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                                Bronson Sardinha


    Bronson Sardinha

                                Bronson K. Sardinha’s player card.


    Bronson K. Sardinha’s player card.

A professional baseball player who spent a decade in the minor leagues and had a brief but successful stint with the New York Yankees, was arrested early Monday morning, 10 days before oral arguments begin before the Hawaii Supreme Court in his attempt to overturn a conviction for fleeing the scene of an accident and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Bronson K. Sardinha, was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant on Farrington Highway in Kapolei. He posted $1,000 bail and was released. As a player and since retiring in 2011, he was cited or arrested more than 10 times for traffic violations, including drunk driving. Sardinha pled no contest to some of those charges and successfully fought to have other allegations dismissed.

Honolulu attorney Thomas M. Otake, who represents Sardinha, did not immediately comment.

On the diamond, Sardinha is local baseball royalty. During his playing career and after retiring, whenever he was in Hawaii, he volunteered his time as a coach, mentor and representative of the islands. Sardinha’s baseball career was another example that Hawaii’s talent pool is world-class.

“This is for the sport alone, and Hawaii alone,” Sardinha told KHON2’s Sam Spangler at an open tryout for local kids held by the Atlanta Braves in 2015. “Just for Dan Cox to come out for the Atlanta Braves to hold this … to give kids, in a way, chase their dreams you know? Just give them that chance.”

He starred at Kamehameha Schools and as a freshman was privileged to turn double plays as a second baseman with his brother, Duke, who was a senior shortstop on the 1998 Kamehameha Warriors baseball team. Bronson’s major league skill was evident as a freshman for the Warriors, where he played second base and left field. That year Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Pat Bigold described him as a “5-11, 170-pound freshman second baseman-left fielder who shows stunning potential.”

Sardinha comes from a family of standout baseball players.

Older brother Dane spent six years in the show. Bronson Sardinha was drafted with the 34th overall pick in the 2001 Major League Baseball draft. He made his MLB debut on September 15, 2007, and appeared in 10 games that season, going 6 for 9 with a pair of RBI’s and six runs scored. He realized his dream to play professionally and create chances for other Hawaii players by showing several MLB organizations that Hawaii kids can consistently play the field and swing the stick at the professional level. In 10 minor league seasons he played in 1,116 games, hit .272 for his career, collected 1,104 hits, scored 620 runs, popped 108 home runs, drove in 553 runs and stole 108 bases. 

In Baseball America’s 2002 New York-Penn League Top 10 Prospects, Sardinha was ranked fourth, ahead of veteran major leaguer Curtis Granderson. Many top-tier professional baseball players and NFL Hall of Famer John Elway spent time in the New York Penn league. Bobby Thigpen, Marquis Grissom, Luis Alicea, Ruben Rivera, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Benintendi are among the players, like Sardinha, who played in the New York Penn league.

At 2 p.m. on July 15, the Supreme Court for the state of Hawaii will hear oral arguments by his legal team attempting to overturn a pair of convictions from 2015 for fleeing the scene of an accident and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

On November 29, 2015, at approximately 12:25 a.m., in the parking lot of Nancy’s Kitchen, Sardinha was allegedly involved in an incident that led to the assault against a law enforcement officer charge, according to court documents. His confrontation with the officer happened one hour and 35 minutes after he was allegedly involved in a car collision 2.1 miles away. Sardinha left that scene immediately after hitting the other car.

According to Star-Advertiser coverage of the incident, Sardinha, then 32, allegedly hit a 49-year-old officer who was trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant that was issued in August of that year when Sardinha missed an arraignment on a harassment charge. Prior to allegedly striking the officer, Sardinha was verbally aggressive and hostile when he was asked for his motor vehicle paperwork and license, according to court filings.

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