Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11- Milwaukee Brewers

The Vietnam War had been raging on for a solid 14-and-a-half years when the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee and re-established themselves as the Brewers. During this particular era there hadn’t been a Major League player who had seen any speckle of combat since the Korean War which ended on July 27, 1953, just two years before Vietnam. Teams in Major League Baseball who had been around before 1953 had at least one member of their team who had been involved in a previous war; however, the times were changing and baseball players didn’t rush to the enlistment lines or get drafted like in years passed. The reason I bring up this point is because you, as readers, need to know how difficult it is to pull together some of these posts. As much as I’d like to focus my attention on the veterans who served and also played/worked in baseball, it’s a little bit more of challenge than I had expected. Even though members of the Brewers in their 43-year history didn’t fight for their country, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t done anything to support the troops. I hope with this post I do some justice.

The Brewers first season in MLB came in 1970, and for the past 43 years the Brewers have tallied a record of 13 wins, 25 losses and six years in which they didn’t play. As much as I want to focus my attention on a specific game or date range for this cap I was able to find something more fitting to pay tribute to, which I‘ll get to later in this post.

One of the days I had originally chosen was May 30, 1977; the Brewers had split a double header with the Chicago White Sox, winning the first game 4-3 and losing the nightcap 8-3. It would be the only time in their Memorial Day history in which the Brewers played a doubleheader on the holiday. With that another day of interest popped up. On Sunday, May 24, 1981 the Brewers hosted another doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox in which they won both games; 2-1 in 14 innings in the afternoon and 10-7 at night. The only reason I bring this up is because they played and lost the next day, Memorial Day, against the Detroit Tigers by the score of 12-3. The Brewers would end up winning their next four.

Another time frame I need to bring up took place between 1989 and 2007. During that stretch the Brewers didn’t play on four of those Memorial Days, but they did amass a record of 2-15 in the other 17. If you couldn’t tell by the record I posted above the Brewers tend to struggle on this holiday. The two wins the Brewers were able to claim came in back-to-back seasons, both of which were against the San Diego Padres. In 1999 the Brewers won 8-2 behind former 1995 National League Rookie of the Year Hideo Nomo, while in 2000 the Brewers won 8-3 behind Jimmy Haynes.

The last interesting little tidbit I dug up was that the team the Brewers played the most on Memorial Day was the Seattle Mariners, which they did four times (1980, 1982-83 and 1990). This may not seem like a lot in a 43-year history; however, you might be forgetting that the Brewers jumped ship into the National League at the start of the 1998 season. Therefore that stretch shrunk down to only 29 years. But the most important thing to note from this is that the Mariners wouldn’t exist had it not been for the Brewers relocating after their one-and-done season in Seattle back in ’69. I like to find weird little connections like that. While I’m at it they really should have played for five of those years; the fifth being in 1993. The Brewers didn’t play on Memorial Day that year, but they did play a two-game series in Seattle on June 1 and 2. Seemed like they really should have made it a full three-game series, but that’s just me.

As much as I like this hat I only have one complaint against it. Actually, looking back on the other 128 posts I’ve done thus far, this is the only time I’ve had an issue with any of my caps. For some reason the logo is significantly smaller than their regular game style which I wrote about on February 5th. Check it out and compare: I’m not sure if this was an accident or done on purpose, but the fact that they made this cap’s logo more three dimensional might have something to do with it. Just a little something I noticed is all.

8/11/12: While I realize that this date is still a few months away this date is probably the most significant in the history between the Brewers and the troops. On August 11, 2012 the Brewers hosted a movie premier at Miller Park. The film, “Honor Flight,” is a documentary that chronicles a community coming together to honor living World War II veterans, one last time. The film follows a devoted team of Midwest volunteers as they race against the clock to send every local WWII veteran to the Washington, D.C. memorials built in their honor. The more they do, the more the cause takes on a life of its own. The film captures Honor Flight from the point of view of the volunteers and veterans who share their war and life stories along the way. One of the veterans primarily focused on in the film is Julian Plaster, a Milwaukee native who was a cook in the Navy from 1942-1945.

The response from the fine folks of Milwaukee was overwhelming as 28, 442 people attended the premiere which went down as the highest attended film premier in history. Seriously, look it up; it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. Even though the Brewers have taken part in other outreach and tributes for the troops, it was hard to pass up such a momentous occasion; especially one that went down as a world record. Tip of the cap to you Milwaukee.

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