Great moments in Brewers history   

Updated: July 8, 2008, 11:17 PM ET

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When I was in junior high, a friend and I used to play one-on-one Wiffle ball. This was 1983. The catch was he was the St. Louis Cardinals and I was the Milwaukee Brewers. We had to bat left-handed for Keith Hernandez, right-handed for Gorman Thomas and so on.

I would actually emulate Cecil Cooper's unique, leaning-backward stance when "he" was up. Every now and then, I'd crank one over the patio onto the roof of my friend's house. That was an automatic home run. The plum tree down the right-field line, however, was an automatic out.

And it's safe to say that hitting the plum tree does not qualify as one of the great moments in Milwaukee Brewers history. Acquiring CC Sabathia, however, certainly does … well, maybe. Check back in late September.

1970: Bud Selig steals acquires Seattle Pilots, moves team to Milwaukee
We'll avoid the dirty details (this is a family Web site), but the owners of the expansion Seattle Pilots didn't really have any money, made a secret deal after the 1969 season to sell the team to Selig's group, played spring training as the Pilots and departed Arizona not knowing whether they were playing in Seattle or Milwaukee.

Some would say the Brewers have been following an indecisive path ever since.

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(Good to have baseball back in Milwaukee, but maybe the slightly skeevy way the team was acquired has cursed the franchise.)

1974: Brewers promote 18-year-old Robin Yount to majors
The third pick in the '73 draft (after David Clyde and John Stearns), Yount played just 64 games in the minors before making the team out of spring training in 1974.

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(The Brett Favre of the Brewers. Yount even threatened once to quit baseball and join the PGA Tour.)

1975-76: Hank Aaron finishes career in Milwaukee
The longtime star of the Milwaukee Braves played his final two seasons back in Milwaukee as a designated hitter. Luckily, baseball long ago erased all video evidence that this actually happened, as Aaron hit .234 and .229 and the Brewers lost 94 and 95 games. His last home run came on July 20, 1976, at home against the Angels, off Dick Drago -- before a crowd of 10,134.

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(Aaron might have been old, but his tally of 10 home runs in '76 was actually third on the team. Ahh, baseball in the pre-steroids era!)

The final day of the 1982 season
The Brewers had led the AL East comfortably, but the Orioles went 17-1 down the stretch to draw within three games of Milwaukee with four to play -- against each other. The Brewers had to win just once to capture the flag. Baltimore won the first three games easily -- 8-3, 7-1 and 11-3 -- setting up a winner-take-all game on the final day, with future Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Don Sutton squaring off. Yount homered in the top of the first and again in the third and scored four runs as Milwaukee won 10-2.

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(Yount in '82 : Best season ever for a shortstop?)

1982 playoffs versus Angels
The Angels won the first two of the best-of-five series, but the Brewers won the next two when the series moved to Milwaukee. California led 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh in Game 5, but Cooper's two-out, two-run single off Luis Sanchez gave Milwaukee the lead and Bob McClure and Pete Ladd closed it out.

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(Ahh, if only Rollie Fingers hadn't been injured for the World Series …)

1985-87: Brewers win Baseball America's Organization of the Year award three straight seasons
And haven't been in the playoffs since!

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(Billy Jo Robidoux never did quite pan out.)

1987: Brewers start 13-0!
Make the cover of Sports Illustrated and finish April 18-3. Alas, team goes 6-18 in May, including a 12-game losing streak.

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(Recover to finish 91-71, third place in the AL East.)

June 30, 1990: Brewers, Mariners in epic brawl
Forget Red Sox-Yankees or Giants-Dodgers, no teams hated each like the Brewers and Mariners for a few years in the late '80s and early '90s. (The hate started after an unnecessary spring training takeout slide by Bill Spiers injured Seattle catcher Dave Valle.) This brawl began when Brewers pitcher Bob Sebra hit Mariners outfielder Tracy Jones (Sebra actually admitted he did it on purpose), leading to a 28-minute melee that saw the bullpens empty on at least two occasions. Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn actually kept the brawl going, and Sebra never pitched again in the majors.

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(Go to for a detailed account from a Mariners fan who says the brawl included four separate fights and at least two charges from the bullpens.)

1992: Cal Eldred goes 11-2, 1.79 in rookie season
Eldred didn't make his first start until July 19, but he won 11 of his 14 games as the Brewers stayed in contention until the final week. It would be the franchise's last winning season until 2007.

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(As for Eldred, he was never the same after a 1993 season that saw Phil Garner slag him to 140-plus pitches six times, including a four-start stretch in August in which Eldred threw 144, 149, 120 and 154 pitches. Speaking of which …)

1992-99: The Phil Garner era
An old Dutch proverb says a handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains. Hmm. Garner managed that '92 team to a winning record and stayed aboard for six consecutive losing seasons after that before finally getting canned in early '99.

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(Thank god for the sausage races.)

2002: Jose Hernandez avoids strikeout record
The Brewers were suffering through a 106-loss campaign, the worst in franchise history, but the lowlight came when Hernandez was benched for the final four games of the season. He finished with 188 strikeouts, one short of Bobby Bonds' then-record of 189.

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(Hernandez was the Brewers' All-Star rep that season.)

2003: Randall Simon attacks Italian Sausage
Needless to say, a dark, dark day in Brewers history, perhaps exceeded only by the Game 7 loss in the 1982 World Series.

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(Do not mess with the sausages. Simon was hauled off in handcuffs and eventually fined $432.)

2005: Prince Fielder arrives in Milwaukee
When the Brewers selected Fielder seventh overall in the 2002 draft, many experts mocked the decision. The last laugh goes to Milwaukee: Fielder just turned 24 and already has 97 career home runs.

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(Jumps up to a full mug if he and CC lead the Brewers to the pennant!)

Oddly, David Schoenfield has now written two articles this year on the Brewers.



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