Being a Brewers fan has always been an exciting but at the same time a very painful experience. From the good times in the late 70's-early 80' and of the past few years, to the horrible times of the 70's 90's and the early millenium. But there is two things that has stayed the same over the years. The fans will always have a love for beer and brats and their will be faces we'll remember for the good times or the bad times. So here's my take on who I think would make an all Brewers team from 1970-2009. So enjoy my look back at the last 39 years of the Brewers. Also I would like to thank the great folks at brewerfan.net for helping me out on this.
P.S the reason why I have the D.H on the team is that the Brewers spent 26 years using a D.H in the A.L
I start out my All-Brewers team with a position that hasn't really been that great. Sure they've had some pretty decent catchers like Charlie Moore, Johnny Estrada, and Ted Simmons. But there's one man that stands out over all of them, and most people didn't even think he was a catcher. Before B.J Surhoff become an outfielder for the Orioles and the Braves ,he was a catcher for the Brewers. From 1987-95 he was a solid offensive catcher (he did bat for a .320 average in 95'. Despite the fact that he was the top pick in the 1985 draft over such legends like Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson,Rafael Palmerio, and Will Clark. In his career with the Brewers he was a pretty solid catcher.and a solid player.
Sure Prince Fielder is one hell of a ballplayer,But the man I'm about to talk about was knocking in runs before Prince was even born. When Cecil started his career with the Red Sox in the early 70's he used as a DH in one of the more powerful lineups ever with legends like Carl Yastremski, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Fred Lynn. But when he came to Milwaukee in 77' he was met with a lineup that included young versions of Robin Yount and Charlie Moore and Sal Bando who just came back from the A's. Cooper was a huge part of the Brewers playoff runs in the early 80's and finished off his time with Milwaukee with a .302 average and 201 home runs
Wisconsin really hasn't been a real hotbed for big-league talent. It's not a place where you can play year-round. Hell, without a retractible roof, the Brewers can't play baseball in April!But Jim Gantner was a big exception. Gantner was born in Fond Du Lac, grew up in Eden, and went to college in UW-Oshkosh.
In the 1974 amateur draft he was drafted by the home-state Milwaukee Brewers. He spent his entire 17 year career with the Brewers. Gantner gave Milwaukee decent defense, durability, and was very reliable in the 82' world series where he had a .333 average.
Currently he resides in Wausau, Wisconsin where he coaches a summer college team called the Wisconsin Woodchucks
Paul Molitor kind of reminds me of Ryan Braun. They both were drafted highly Molitor with the 3rd pick, and Braun with the 5th pick both in the first round. Both started their careers as infielders who struggled defencivly.They were also immediatly embraced by both the national and local markets.
As the similarities end, the comparisons begin. I kind of compare Molitor to a Craig Biggio type of player. Both Molitor and Biggio had excellent skills on the bases,usually had an average at around .300 and were hit machines their entire career. Molitor may have had alot of success at Toronto and Minnesota, but the the Brewers fans will always remember Molitor as the legend from St. Paul, Minnesota.
The name Robin Yount defines the Brewers. His small-town roots, his hard-nosed approached, and last by least his mustache. Yount is well-known as one of the best hitting Shortstops of all-time, having over 3,000 career hits, a .285 average, 251 home runs, and nearly 600 doubles.Yount was the face of the Brewers for nearly 20 years, and of the only life-time Brewers to have a very successful career. Also Robin was one of the best clutch performers hitting for an over.300 batting average in the 1982 World Series against the Cards.
Talk about an underrated player. While most people look back at Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and to a lesser extent Gorman Thomas. Ben Ogilvie really flies under the radar when you look back at the A.L Champion Brewers. Ben started his career as an bench-warmer for the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit TIgers playing an average of 86 games from '71 to '77. But on December 1977 his career changed after getting traded to Milwaukee for Jim Slaton (who is also on this team) and Rich Folkers.1978 was an huge year of the Brewers history as two youngsters by the name of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor were working on making an impact on the history of the young franchise.In Ogilvie's 9 years as an Milwaukee Brewer he made it to 3 all-star games, hit 194 home runs and had an .280 average.
Gorman is as about is Milwaukee as you can get. From his amazing goatee, his powerful swing that could light up any scoreboard, and of course his nickname "Stormin" Gorman that still makes fans reminise of a more relaxed period of time. Actually from 1978 to 1982 Gorman had more home runs than anyone in the American League. Thomas though was almost famous for his high strikeout totals (175 in 1979) and his low batting average .239 in 1980. The legacy of "Stormin" Gorman Thomas will always be alive in for the Brewers faithful, even after he takes his last breath.
Geoff Jenkins..... oh how the times we shared......Sure at the beginning of your career you were loved, well I shouldn't say that because in the late 90's there wasn't a whole lot to love about the Brewers, hell there wasn't any need to love them. The same year Jenkins came up (1998) the Packers were on their way to another Super Bowl apperance, and the Bucks had the "Big 3" with Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Tim Thomas. Now let's get back on topic. Jenkins' best years were in some of the Brewers worst. In 2000 where the Brewers had a 73-89 record Jenkins had a .303 average with 33 home runs. But as Milwaukee got better, Geoff got worse. In 2007 when the Brewers had a 83-79 record Geoff had a career worse .255 average. Geoff may have not been the best player, but in Milwaukee's down times, Jenkins was one of the things that Brewer fans could look forward to
You just have to feel sorry for Jeremy Burnitz in his career with the Brewers. In his second full season with the Crew in 1998, he was having a career season. Hitting 38 home runs with 125 RBI's, but not only was his team struggling (Milwaukee finished with a 74-88) but their was a little home run chase going on in his own division. Also let's take a look at the 1999 all-star game. The all-century team is there with legends like Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Ted Williams who famously rode out in a golf cart and of course you have Pete Rose who was making in one of his only public apperances in a licensed MLB event since 1989. In Jeremy's five seasons with the Brewers he hit 163 home runs, 511 RBI and a .259 average.
When he came to Milwaukee, Brewer fans stated that he would be the next Fernando Valenzuela. They might have both dominated the Mexican Leagues, but there were two differences between the two. The first thing that puts Fernando and Teddy apart is age, when Fernando-mania kicked in in 1981 Venezuela was only 21, and Teddy was 26 in his first season The other difference had to be location. Fernando was one of the biggest stars in the early 80's and one of those reasons was the fact that he played in the biggest market in baseball, Los Angeles. But when Teddy came to town in 1985, the Brewers were just a few years away from their World Series apperance in 1985 and they one of the worst teams in baseball having a 71-90 record.
Teddy may not of had the same success as Fernando, but his 94-64 and his 3.61 makes Higuera one of the best brewers pitchers despite the fact he only played there for 9 seasons.
Mike Caldwell is what you might want to call a journey-man before he came to Milwaukee. He played with Cincinnati, San Fran, and San Diego from 1971-1977. But once he came to Milwaukee he found his home. Hell in his first year with Milwaukee in 1978 he had a 22-9 record with a 2.36 ERA and finishing second to Ron Guidry for AL Cy Young. He was not a one-hit wonder because the year after his 22-9 performance he had a 16-9 record with a 3.29. In his 8 years with Milwaukee he had a decent 102-80 record with a 3.74 ERA. He's good enough for the third spot in the rotation
You all may wonder why Pete Vuckovich is in the middle of the rotation when he a few great seasons. That's the problem, he only had two great seasons. Sure his 1982 season was amazing with his 18-6 record with a 3.34 ERA and also his 1981 season where he had a 14-4 record with a great 3.55 ERA. He also may have won a CY Young with the Crew in 1982. But it's his lack of longevity that puts him in the third spot in the rotation. After his 82' season he had trouble staying healthy and only played in 32 games from 1983-1986.
How can I describe Ben Sheets's career with the Brewers without using the words "When Healthy"? When healthy he helped lead team USA to the Olympic Gold in 2000. When healthy he was a 4 time all-star, and he finished 8th in the CY Young voting in 2004 playing for a 94 loss team. When heallthy he was an ace, and could throw 18 strikeouts a game.
The bad thing about that is he was never healthy.
He's a free-agent that will be gone till 2010, but when he comes back he'll prove he's one of the best.
But he will have to stay healthy.
Jim Slaton is kind of Brett Favre stats wise. He holds the all-time Brewers Wins record like how Favre holds the TD's record. But Slaton also holds the Brewers Loss record like Favre holding the Interceptions record. But other than those two comparisons Slaton is the farthest thing to greatness you could find. Hell he actually had more under .500 seasons than over .500 seasons.Sure he had his 15-9 season in 1979 but he also had a 11-18 record in 1975. Slaton pretty much was your average every day pitcher. He had his good years and his bad years. He finished off his career playing 12 years with Milwaukee and finishing with a 151-158 record.
What is there to say about Rollie Figers that already hasn't been said countless of times. He has one of best facial hair in the history of sports, He will always be one of the best closers in baseball, and he had a beautiful slider. He started out his career as a closer before managers even thought about using a closer. Hell he even started 19 games in 1970.Before he got to Milwaukee he got 244 saves pitching for both Oakland and San Diego. In 1981 he came to a contending Milwaukee Brewers team and helped turn them into AL Champs in 82'. He's one of 5 relief pitchers to have won the MVP and he will always be known as one of the pioneers of the Closer.
Baseball nowadays needs more pitchers like Mike Fetters. The intense, chubby, and a violent jerk with his head in his pitching motion that the long-time Cub Mark Grace imitated. He's what you can call a fan favorite.
It also helped that he was a pretty decent pitcher.After three seasons with the California Angels as a middle reliever he got traded to Milwaukee in December,1991. Once Fetters landed in County Stadium he made a big impact for the contending team in 92' going 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA. Fetters jumped into the closers role in 1994 after an early injury by Doug Henry and he didn't look back. From 94' to 97' Fetters recorded 71 saves before getting traded to the A's in 1998 offseason.
The next time you see a chubby, intense looking pitcher please remember the legacy of Mike Fetters.
I'm saying this right now, Dan Plesac is the best Lefty to ever stop on the mound for the Brewers. Sure he doesn't have any critical acclaim or any hall of fame votes, but take a look at his stats from 86' to 90' and you'll see why he was great. During that period of time he had 124 saves with a 2.98 ERA, and he made it to the All-Star game three times. When the Brewers started the 87' season 13-0 Plesac recorded 5 saves. I really can't figure why Plesac didn't get any Hall of Fame votes this past year but if they had a Hall of Fame for Lefty's Plesac would be in their in the first ballot.
Brewers fans nowadays may know Castro as the longtime Bullpen Coach and most currently the pitching coach. But people may not know that Castro was a pretty good reliever from the mid 70's to 1980. In that span of time Castro had a 2.89 ERA with a 25-23 record. He might have not been there with the 82 team but the way things are going, Castro may be coaching some World Series Champions
Thank God for his nickname. Would you ever remember an above average starter named "Bryan Haas"? Of Course Not, hell I think I would of naming one of my kids Moose. Ok time to move on to the task at hand. Let's flashback to Game 4 of the 1982 ALCS, the game before the mid season addition Don Sutton beat out Geoff Zahn in a must win game. So Haas takes the mound against Mr.Injury himself Tommy John. While Tommy barley made his way through three innings while Haas stayed strong through out 7.1 innings. Other than that great performance in the 82' ALCS Haas had a decent 11 year stint including an 13-3 season in 1983.
I was kinda tied up on where I wanted to put this guy. He did make 246 starts in his career but he had 63 apperances in the pen. So I came to the conclusion that I should put him as Long Reliever to be in the bullpen but if one of my rotation guys go down (likely Sheets) then he can go in the rotation. Chris's best season actually was when he was a starting pitcher for the 92' Brewers where he finished with a 16-6 record 3.62 ERA. In the 88' season he replaced Dan Plesac as the closer after Plesac had a season-ending injury. Chris finished off his run with the Crew with a 67-62 record with a 3.76 ERA. If you would want a decent bullpen or starter just look at Chris Bosio.
It feels like as I talk/listen to certain Brewer fans talk about their favorite players to ever play they don't mention Jeff Cirillo. I think one of the reasons why they don't remember him was because of the era he played in. "Rillo entered Milwaukee in 1994 when they were just off their above .500 season from 92' and were starting to reach a tailspin that would pretty much last until around 2005.In his first stint as a Brewer from 94' to 99' Jeff batted .320 or better three times including a stint in the All-Star game in 97'. After having stints in Colorado, Seattle, and San Diego. 'Rillo returned to the Brewers in the winter of 2005 where he had two pretty successful seasons coming off the bench.Jeff may not have the legacy like some of the other players on this roster, but in my eyes he's gonna be a great Brewer.
You all may be thinking why I have Braun on the bench and not in the starting lineup. The reason for that is when I began setting up this team one of my qualifications is that you have to have at least three full seasons before you make it in the lineup. I wanted players that had some sort of longevity and made a big impact on the team at the time. Braun has the skills to be a Brewers legend, but this his only 2nd full season as a Brewer and the outfielders in the lineup like Jenkins, Thomas, and Ogilvie have but their stamp on Milwaukee's history. One of the more amazing stats for Braun is that he has 86 home runs in 330 games, and has a career .304 average.
What is there to say about this 6'0 260 pound monster. Ever since he was 13 when he was blasting shots out of Tiger Stadium he's been a force to be reckoned with. His first shot out of Johan Santana in an August game in 2005 was a moon-shot that went into the second deck of Miller Park.In his second full season in 07' Fielder was becoming an pitchers nightmare hitting 50 home runs and an disappointing 34 in 08'. Of course even before he got drafted by Milwaukee he was on the radar of the baseball fans by just being the son of former Tigers great Cecil Fielder.If the Brewers can keep Fielder there will be alot of shots that will be making pitchers go crazy.
How could someone that has More RBIs than Bench, more runs than Carter, more hits than Berra or Fisk NOT be in the Hall of Fame.Also he was in 8 All-Star games,and he hit for an .300 average or better in 7 seasons. Sure Simmons played his best years in an St.Louis Cardinals uniform but after he got traded to Milwaukee in 81' he was one of the key role players for the Brew Crew. The aforementioned trade also gave Milwaukee two great pitchers in Pete Vuckovich and Rollie Fingers.Two of Simmons's best years with Milwaukee were when he had an .308 average in 1983 and had 23 home runs in 1981.
Imagine starting your career with a team just getting adjusted to Major League Ball. You have your friends in the dugout and your getting used to the city. But as that happened there's this youngster that is supposed to be the next big thing. Sure you were like that just a few years ago, but this guy is supposed to one of the best players ever, and people are comparing him to the great Eddie Matthews. If you don't know, that great stud that I'm talking about is a guy you might have heard of called Michael Jack Schmidt. So the Phillies couldn't keep both Money and Schmidt so in the fall of 1972 the Phils traded Money to this young team coming into their 3rd season called the Milwaukee Brewers.So now let's get to the stats. From 1973-1983 Money played 1196 games had 134 round trippers, 529 RBI's and scored 596 runs. Sure those aren't gonna make the fantasy geeks drool but with his 215 doubles while with the Crew, he put up the quality hits and also got selected to four all-star games. For Brewers fans Moneyball will not mean Billy Beane's use of sabermetrics and stats but will always be the nickname of the great Don Money