Even though the Milwaukee Brewers have only been in the league since 1970, they still have had plenty of stand out names to make my list.
First, the rules; well, one rule really. The guys I chose from must have played at least five years in Milwaukee, which cuts out Hank Aaron, Juan Nieves and all but one current player.
Let's take a look at who are Milwaukee's Best.
Jim Slaton (1971-77, 1979-83); 117-121, 3. 86 ERA, 929 K: Slaton has started a record 268 games for the Brewers, and has appeared in 364 games overall (second most). That resulted in the most wins, and of course, the most losses. Also leads the team with 19 complete game shutouts. He's the easy No. 1 guy.
Ben Sheets (2001-present); 83-79, 3.75 ERA, 301 BB, 1171 K:The only current Brewer on the list. Has the most strikeouts for a Brewer and a K:BB ratio of nearly 4.0. A three-time All-Star has started every game he has played in Milwaukee. He also has one of the best curveballs in the league.
Mike Caldwell (1977-84); 102-80, 3.74 ERA, 540 K: Leads the team with 81 complete games, 18 were shutouts. Caldwell was AL Cy Young runner-up in '78. The second most wins in franchise history.
Teddy Higuera (1985-94); 94-64, 3.61 ERA, 1081 K: A fan favorite whenever he took the mound with his Fernando Valenzuela pitching style. He has the third most wins in Brewers history and was runner-up for both the AL Rookie of the Year in '85 and Cy Young in '86.
Moose Haas (1976-85); 91-79, 4.03 ERA, 800 K:What fan wouldn't want a 'Moose' on their team? The only guy on the list however, who has an ERA over four.
SP - Pete Vukovich (1981-86); 40-26, 3.88 ERA, 266 K: 'Vuke' is famous for more than just his role of Clue Haywood in 'Major League'. A pitcher who used intimidation to put fear in his hitter. Won the Cy Young in '82 with an 18-6 record on a 3.34 ERA. Goes into my bullpen because I already have five quality starters.
RP - Chuck Crim (1987-91); 33-31, 3.47 ERA, 251 K: Pitched in 332 games, all but five were as a reliever and amassed 42 saves. Maybe not the most spectacular pitcher, but I wouldn't mind having that durability in my bullpen.
RP- Mike Fetters (1992-97); 13-19, 2.99 ERA, 245 K: Fetters pitched in 289 innings, all in relief, and notched 79 saves.
RP - Bob McClure (1977-86); 45-43, 3.97 ERA, 497 K: Pitched in 352 games as a Brewer; third most in their history. McClure came up with two big saves in the 1982 World Series.
RP - Rollie Fingers (1981-85); 13-17, 2.54 ERA: Did most of his damage in Oakland, but pitched in 177 games and earned 97 saves. Finger won the MVP and AL Cy Young Award in '81 and was a two-time All-Star. Plus, he has a mustache that will never be duplicated.
CL - Dan Plesac (1986-92); 29-37, 3.21 ERA, 448 K: Plesac has pitched the most games as a Brewer, 365 and has the most saves at 133. For that reason, he gets the nod at closer over Rollie.
C- B.J. Surhoff (1987-95); .274, 1064 hits, 57 HR, 524 RBI, 102 SB:The 'Beej' beats out Aussie Dave Nilsson and Ted Simmons, who missed the five year quota. Not the best hitting catcher, but a great guy to have behind the plate defensively.
1B - Cecil Cooper (1977-87); .302, 1815 hits, 201 HR, 944 RBI: Cooper is a five-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner. He hit .352 in 1980 to win a Silver Slugger. A fan favorite who still hears cheers of 'Coooooop' whenever Houston comes to town.
2B - Jim "Gumby" Gantner (1976-92); .274, 1696 hits, 47 HR, 568 RBI: Known for his defense rather than his hitting; a career .982 fielding percentage. Played in Milwaukee for 17 years with Yount and 15 years with Molitor. I still don't know why No. 17 isn't on the Miller Park wall along with Yount, Molitor and Fingers.
SS - Robin Yount (1974-93); .285, 3142 hits, 251 HR, 1406 RBI, 271 SB: 'The Kid' leads the Brewers in pretty much every offensive category, and rightfully so, spending 20 years in their uniform. He came up as an 18-year old shortstop, and eventually moved to center field. The three-time All-Star won an MVP Award and a Gold Glove at short in '82 and another MVP in '89 at center. A Hall of Famer who defines Milwaukee Brewers baseball.
3B - Paul Molitor (1978-92); .303, 2281 hits, 160 HR, 790 RBI, 412 SB: The most stolen bases among all Brewers and nicknamed 'The Ignitor' for his ability to jump-start an offense. Molitor was the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year in '78 and a five-time All-Star who also hit 405 doubles. The other Hall of Famer who wears the ball in gove logo at Cooperstown.
OF - Gorman Thomas (1973-83, 1986); .230, 208 HR, 605 RBI: Stormin' Gorman isn't on the list for his average, but rather his power. He didn't hit the ball a lot, but when he did, he sure hit them far. Fans love him and still had a food station in Miller Park.
OF - Ben Ogilvie (1978-86); .277, 1144 hits, 176 HR, 685 RBI: His name always pops up when you talk about great Brewer outfielders. Ogilvie simply went out and got the job done while flying under the radar.
OF - Geoff Jenkins (1998-2007), .277, 1221 hits, 212 HR, 704 RBI: The only other NL era Brewer on the list, along with Sheets. Jenks fell 39 home runs shy of the team record before he left town. Through 2002-04, committed just to errors in the outfield, which spanned over 3,000 innings, 600 putouts and included 28 assists. He also went error free in 2003, amassed a fielding percentage of .983 and still hasn't won a Gold Glove.
DH - Charlie Moore (1973-86); .262, 1029 hits, 35 HR, 401 RBI: Moore played the most games at catcher for the Brewers, but I like him better in the DH. Since Milwaukee played it's first 28 years in the AL, the spot is justified. He played all but one year of his MLB career in Milwaukee.
So there you have it folks, the best players to put on a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. It's too bad Hank Aaron isn't there, even though he's god-like in Milwaukee. I also had to leave out one of my favorites in Greg Vaughn, but the final list is a dandy.
I hope in ten years, the list will have to be re-done in order to include Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovanni Gallardo and perhaps Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy.
The future is bright for the Brewers, but the past wasn't too shabby either.
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