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Author Archives: zantmandu

This Day in Milwaukee Brewers History – .500 Again!

An ancient proverb states that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Even the most longest and difficult of ventures have a starting point.

For the Milwaukee Brewers, reaching the playoffs in 2008/2011 and playing contending baseball in 2017 may appear to be difficult ventures. Yet, these successes do have a starting point – Friday, September 30, 2005.  The single step the Brewers took that day was posting a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Might seem like just another game these days, but it assured Milwaukee would enjoy its first .500 or better season since 1992.

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This Day in Milwaukee Brewers History: Robin Yount’s 3000th Hit

Robin Yount said on the leadup to his 3000th hit that it wasn’t going to be a big deal.  The man who took more pride in his Milwaukee Brewers winning ballgames than personal stats found out he was wrong – the 3000 hit plateau was a huge deal.  On September 9, 1992, a crowd of 47,589 packed Milwaukee County Stadium to see history made when Yount became the 17th MLB player to reach the mark.  He tied Roberto Clemente for 16th on the list.

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The Brewers are 1 – 9 in their last 10 games. They have had the biggest swings in win streaks and then losing streaks. The club has played 21 games at home versus 14 on the road.

Remembering Don Baylor as Hitting Coach of the Milwaukee Brewers

The recent passing of MLB player, coach, manager, and all-around good guy Don Baylor made me recall when he spent a couple years as hitting coach of the Milwaukee Brewers. Let’s take a trip back to the late 1980’s and look at his time with the club.

Baylor retired from baseball in 1988 after 17 years. About a year later, on September 5, 1989, he accepted a position in the Brewers front office, becoming the second African American there along with Ray Burris.  Baylor took on a wide range of duties, including scouting players on other major league clubs, working with players in the farm system, talent assessment in and out of the club, and other front office activities.

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Milwaukee Brewers History: July 9-18, 1982

This weekend the Milwaukee Brewers honored the 1982 World Series team with special promotions and ceremonies.  I’ve done my fair share of reminiscing of that team over the weekend, and it got me thinking…what exactly were the Brewers up to on these dates in 1982?

I vaguely remembered some of the details from the research for my Brewers book, but started revisiting that specific era (July 14-16, 1982) again to put myself back in the right frame of mind for this blog post.  So here are the details…

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The Curious Case of Clyde Wright

Clyde “Skeeter” Wright had his name etched in the Milwaukee Brewers record books in 1974, although not for what anyone would have expected after he was acquired.  Wright became the only Brewers pitcher to lose 20 games in a single season after he posted a 9-20 record.

It has often been argued that to achieve a 20-game loss season in baseball means those specific starters were actually very good. The list of pitchers on the all-time list include 20-game winners and members of the Hall of Fame.  Some won and lost 20 games in the same season – the most recent being Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves with a 21-20 record in 1979.

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Classic Matchups – Milwaukee vs. Baltimore on June 3, 1980

The Milwaukee Brewers played in the American League East division from 1972-93. In 2017, the Brewers will play many of their old foes from the East in Interleague matchups.  Baltimore, Boston, Toronto, and the New York Yankees are all on the schedule this season.  To celebrate the glory days of the old AL East, I’ve created a “classic opponents” series of blog posts.

Milwaukee welcomes Baltimore to Miller Park this afternoon to kick off a three game series. Back on June 3, 1980, Moose Haas of the Brewers came home to Baltimore to try to pick up his first win in front of family and friends.  Haas helped his team win the Baltimore City Sandlot Championship held at Memorial Stadium when he was 16 years old. This time he’d be facing the likes of Al Bumbry, Eddie Murray, and his personal nemesis, Lee May.

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Remembering Lary Sorensen’s Callup to the Majors

Today is a special day in Milwaukee Brewers history for two reasons. On this day in 1977, the Brewers drafted a young kid name Paul Molitor.  A 21 year old righty pitcher named Lary Sorensen also made his debut for the Crew that day.  Since I think we all know how that thing with Molitor turned out, this week on the blog I’m focusing on Lary Sorensen’s callup to the majors and time in a Brewers uniform.

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Classic Matchups – Milwaukee vs. New York on April 8, 1979

The Milwaukee Brewers played in the American League East division from 1972-93. In 2017, the Brewers will play many of their old foes from the East in Interleague matchups.  Baltimore, Boston, Toronto, and the New York Yankees are all on the schedule this season.  To celebrate the glory days of the old AL East, I’ve created a “classic opponents” series of blog posts.

New York was an incredibly tough opponent of those classic Brewers teams.  When the two teams met, literally anything could happen from pitcher’s duels to slugfests.  With so many classic games to choose from, I selected a great pitching matchup from early 1979 to profile for this blog post.

It was Tommy John’s first game in pinstripes.

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Classic Matchups – Milwaukee vs. Boston on May 31, 1980

The Milwaukee Brewers played in the American League East division from 1972-93. In 2017, the Brewers will play many of their old foes from the East in Interleague matchups.  Baltimore, Boston, Toronto, and the New York Yankees are all on the schedule this season.  To celebrate the glory days of the old AL East, I’ve created a “classic opponents” series of blog posts.  I’ll be covering great games, opposing teams, and even individual players from the East, particularly from Milwaukee’s golden baseball era of 1978-82.

Boston was a formidable opponent of those classic Brewers teams, with an impressive roster of their own.  Both teams had some memorable battles, including a couple of games in 1980 where the Brewers exploded for a truckload of runs.

The Matchup

Both Boston and Milwaukee were chasing New York when they met at Fenway Park on the afternoon of Saturday, May 31, 1980

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This Day in Milwaukee Brewers History: A Robin Yount and Hank Aaron Hitting Clinic

An old well-known expression is “April showers bring May flowers.”  On May 1, 1975, the Milwaukee Brewers showered hits all over Milwaukee County Stadium in a 17-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.  Every Brewers starter reached base that day, but it was also one of the rare times that both Hank Aaron and Robin Yount went ballistic on the opposition in the same game.

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Milwaukee Brewers Book Update

I just signed a publishing contract with McFarland & Company to publish my Milwaukee Brewers historical book!  What does this mean?

I need to deliver a draft of the manuscript by END OF AUGUST!  Yes, this coming August.  The manuscript has been completed for some time, but I will be taking another pass through to do even more edits.  I also have to work on compiling sources for quotes.

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Milwaukee Brewers Week in Review: April 18-23

The week in review:  The Milwaukee Brewers wrapped up their road trip with two tough losses in Chicago.  Last Thursday they came home to face the St. Louis Cardinals, and promptly won 7-5.  The Cards won the next three games 6-3, 4-1, and 6-4.  Going into Monday’s action, the Brewers are 9-11 in the NL Central, two games behind the front running Cubs.

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This would have been my 6th selection, and I may still yet throw down $15 on this odds, with a 40/1 odd, and an early Adam Wainwright injury, this is good value.

 

Milwaukee Brewers Week in Review: April 11-17

I’m a touch late this week due to travel to see family over Easter weekend. But the Brew Crew had a big week, and I certainly don’t want to skip a week of Brewers Week in Review.

The week in review:  The Milwaukee Brewers had a hot week on their nine game road trip.  They knocked off Toronto in a two game series (4-3 and 2-0).  They won three out of four in Cincinnati over the weekend (wins 5-1, 10-4, 4-2; loss 4-2).  Last night they beat the Cubs 6-3 to start a three game series in Chicago.  Heading into Tuesday’s action, Milwaukee is 8-6 in the NL Central, .5 behind the Reds.

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Classic Milwaukee Brewers Opponents – The 1980 Toronto Blue Jays

The Milwaukee Brewers played in the American League East division from 1972-93. In 2017, the Brewers will play many of their old foes from the East in Interleague matchups.  Baltimore, Boston, Toronto, and the New York Yankees are all on the schedule this season.  To celebrate the glory days of the old AL East, I’ve created a “classic opponents” series of blog posts.  I’ll be covering great games, opposing teams, and even individual players from the East, particularly from Milwaukee’s golden baseball era of 1978-82.  I’ll be keeping this series fair and balanced – so Milwaukee isn’t always crushing Toronto or striking Reggie Jackson out four times in a game.

Since the Brewers are in Toronto for an Interleague series this week, let’s kick things off with the 1980 Toronto Blue Jays.

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Today in Baseball History – The Indians/Angels Snow Series in Milwaukee

Ten years ago today, the 3-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, scheduled to be played at Jacobs Field April 10-12, moved to Miller Park.  The Indians had already started the season on the road against the Chicago White Sox, winning 2 of 3 games.  When they came home to Cleveland, Mother Nature had plans that would interrupt their festivities and the next several games.

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Milwaukee Brewers Week in Review: April 3-10

The week in review:  The Milwaukee Brewers kicked off the 2017 season with a seven game home stand.  The first four games were against Colorado followed by a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs.

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Happy Birthday Miller Park

Anybody can say they were at Miller Park’s first Opening Day – 42,024 people in fact. That game happened on April 6, 2001.  But only REAL FANS can say they were at the second game.  I went to that game, and I’ll tell you about it after a quick recap of the opener…

In a repeat of the final series at Milwaukee County Stadium the previous year, Cincinnati again met the Brewers. Jeff D’Amico started both games for the Crew, and his first pitch in that first MP game was a strike to Barry Larkin.  At 7:17 p.m. under a closed roof, the action was underway.  It was just 43 degrees outside, but 72 degrees comfortable inside for fans – as had been promised all along.  Talk of a new stadium started over ten years prior to that first pitch, and the construction phase lasted well over four years.

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Milwaukee Brewers Follow-up: Ray Peters

I feel fortunate to have made some connections with ex-Brewers in the past two years. Not everyone wants to talk of course, and some guys say the number games they played combined with the passage of time make their memories not reliable enough to share.  Others have been very giving with their time and memories.  One such connection I made is with 1970 cup of coffee pitcher Ray Peters.

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Chris Sáenz – A History-making Cup of Coffee

Only four pitchers in baseball history have started only one major league game, thrown six scoreless innings or more, and recorded a win in the process.  Chris Sáenz (pronounced SYNS) of the Milwaukee Brewers is the most recent, and actually the first hurler since 1899 to accomplish the feat.

 

As with most cup of coffee players, a perfect chain of events had to play out for Sáenz to make just one appearance and disappear, never to be heard from again.  The early 2004 season for the Brewers was ripe with issues – enough in fact, for a Double A pitcher to be called up to face the Central Division rival St. Louis Cardinals in late April.

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Milwaukee Brewers Research Interview: Pat McBride and Rick Napholz

When I first started thinking I’d like to write a book about the Milwaukee Brewers franchise moving from Seattle in 1970, I kept coming back to a simple question: Who were the original players, coaches, executives, and stadium workers?  Not just their names, but who were they personally and what did they experience when the Brewers were in their infancy.

I started by looking at names and faces on the 1970 team photo card and decided to pursue interviewing as many of these guys as possible.  I was fortunate last year to interview one of the original team bat boys and one of the ball boys.  Both had interesting perspectives and memories of not just the players, but also County Stadium, and what it was like to work at Green Bay Packers games as well.

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Brewers On Deck Event Recap

This past Sunday I attended the Milwaukee Brewers Annual Winter Fan Fest, more commonly known as Brewers On Deck. Here’s a recap of the event and a bit of my personal perspective, with a few photos to boot.

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Milwaukee Brewers Research Interview – Bob Humphreys

Pitcher Bob Humphreys‘ input was extremely important as I started doing research for my Milwaukee Brewers historical book, so I decided to create a full-length profile for him.

Humphreys was born in Covington, Virginia on August 18, 1935.  He loved baseball and basketball, playing both sports in high school and Hampden-Sydney College.  He lettered in both sports in college, but decided to pursue baseball as a career.

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Milwaukee Brewers Holiday Shopping List

With the Hot Stove League heating up and baseball’s winter meetings happening soon, Milwaukee Brewers fans are wondering what could possibly be on General Manager David Stearns’ holiday shopping list. To take a look at what Stearns might do during the remainder of the offseason, first let’s recap what roster moves have happened so far and what holes need to be plugged.

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