Tuesday, February 26, 2013
February 26- Milwaukee Brewers
It’s blast from the past time!!! I guess I should be clearer on that. This hat actually is a blast from the past. What? Break it down even more? Ok. So what I mean by all of this is that this particular Milwaukee Brewers hat has been in my possession for a little over 14 years. Funny story actually: During spring break of my sophomore year of high school I ventured up to Vancouver, Washington to visit my mother who I hadn’t seen since Christmas. Blah, blah, blah family stuff… so at the tail end of my trip we went over to the Vancouver Mall to poke around. There was a particular store I developed a fondness for called Just Sports which had quite the array of Cooperstown Collection hats. I dug around a bit and picked three (this one, 1969-1991 Montreal Expos and the 1970-1991 Philadelphia Phillies) of them up, as they were only $22.99 a piece back in those days. A day later, I flew back to Bakersfield, California as class was starting back up. Wait… I forgot the funny part. Two years later I was working in that store when I moved up to Vancouver right before my senior year of high school. So yah, 14 years of owning this cap, and look how immaculate it still looks on this inside. LOOK AT IT!!!
I take care of my hats.
The Brewers rocked this cap from 1978-1985 for all of their road games to pair with their sweet powder blue uniforms. 1978 was also the same time when the Brewers introduced the “MB” mitt logo, which is arguably one of the greatest logos in sports, let alone advertising history. But, like all great things, it faded into the night as the Brewers opted to keep the all royal blue style as their game cap. I don’t like to point fingers (Bud Selig), but I’m pretty sure that someone (Bud Selig) within the Brewers organization (Bud Selig) is responsible for this unfortunate act. It’s probably not one person (Bud Selig), rather a conscientious decision made by everyone in the front office (Bud Selig acted alone).
Throughout that seven year time frame the Brewers only tasted the Promise Land once in 1982 when they faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The year had actually started off rather poorly as then manager Buck Rogers was fired after going 23-24 in the first 47 games. The Brewers replaced him with Harvey Kuenn who finished off the season going 72-43, helping the franchise win their only League Pennant and helping him with the AL Manager of the Year award. Kuenn only managed the team for one additional year as he was fired at the end of the ’83 season despite finishing 87-75; yet another poor decision by someone in the front office (Bud Selig). He managed three total years in Major League Baseball (one game in 1975, 1982-1983), all of which came with the Brewers. Kuenn suffered a grocery list of health-related issues throughout his life, including having his right leg amputated just below the knee in 1980 after a blood clot developed. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 57, and despite his short run, he is still one of the greatest, if not THE greatest manager in the franchise’s history.
For my marks, there really aren’t two guys more worthy than the key members of Harvey’s Wallbangers, let alone the only two guys to go into the Hall of Fame as Brewers.
#19- 14 years ago I didn’t care too much about numerical order. Actually, 14 years ago I only had this number on the hat. Robin Yount was not only a lifer with the Brewers (1974-1993), he’s by far one of the greatest hitting shortstops in the history of the game. He cleaned house with a .285 average and 3142 career hits. He, his blonde curls and his porn stache won two AL MVPs in 1982 and 1989, but they only flaunted the stage at in the Midsummer Classic three times (1980, 1982-83), which totally blows my mind. Not even the second year he won the MVP did he make the All-Star team. What!? I’m not really sure why, but I remember Yount being a stellar shortstop, but apparently only winning one Gold Glove in 1982 disproves that theory.
#4- I didn’t add this sucker on until this last year when I was in New York for the Fan Cave. Paul Molitor is probably the greatest quiet hitter in the history of the game. By that I mean he had 3319 career hits, a .306 lifetime average, but he never won any major hardware in the process with the exception on a few Silver Slugger awards in 1987-88, 1993 and 1996. He won one World Series ring with the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays and finished in second place for the Rookie of the Year award in 1978 to Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers. His best finish in the MVP voting came in 1993 when he finished in second behind Frank Thomas.
I realize I didn’t give as detailed of a story behind both of these guys compared to any of the other hats/players I’ve written about, but there really isn’t a whole lot to say. The Brewers were never really talked about on the West Coast, and realistically I only grew up with these guys via Topps and Donruss baseball cards. Kind of sad actually, as they may be the only two Hall of Famers the franchise will ever have for decades to come.