History of the Milwaukee Brewers: Wikis

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The following is a history of professional baseball in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including its current team, the Brewers.

Contents

Overview / Legacy

Milwaukee was an early prospect for professional baseball, with several brief experiments at the major league level but mostly in the minor leagues.

The longest-lasting minor league club was the Milwaukee Brewers, who played in the American Association from 1902 through 1952.

The nicknames of these teams were initially assigned by the media rather than the teams themselves. Some were known as the "Creams" or "Cream Citys" after the distinctive brick which gave Milwaukee its nickname, others were known as the "Brewers", in reference to one of the city's chief industries.

This chart is a brief overview of the various Milwaukee professional baseball clubs:

  • 1876-77 Milwaukee West Ends or West End Club independent (1876), League Alliance (1877), home games at West End Grounds on "Wells Avenue, near the city limits." (Benson, p.231).
  • 1879-1883 no team
  • 1885-87 Milwaukee Cream Citys Western League (1885), Northwestern League (1886-87), played at Wright Street Grounds and, according to some sources, also at Athletic Park in 1887.
  • 1902-1903 Milwaukee Creams of the revived Western League, played at Lloyd Street Grounds.
  • 1913 Milwaukee Creams of the Wisconsin-Illinois League.
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A Milwaukee Tradition

The nickname "Brewers" has been used by Milwaukee baseball teams since at least the 1880s, although none of those clubs ever enjoyed a measure of success or stability. That would change with Milwaukee's entry into the American Association, which would last fifty years and provide the city's springboard into the major leagues.

The American Association

The American Association Milwaukee Brewers were founded in 1901, after the American League Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Browns. The modern Orioles franchise can trace its roots back to the original Milwaukee Brewers of the minor Western League, beginning in 1894 when the league reorganized. The Brewers were there when the WL renamed itself the American League in 1900. At the end of the 1900 season, the American League removed itself from baseball's National Agreement (the formal understanding between the NL and the minor leagues). Two months later, the AL declared itself a competing major league. As a result of several franchise shifts, the Brewers were one of only two Western League teams that didn't either fold or move (the other being the Detroit Tigers). During the first American League season, they finished dead last with a record of 48-89. During its lone Major League season, the team played at Lloyd Street Grounds, between 16th and 18th Streets in Milwaukee.

The Brewers did not win their first American Association championship until 1913, then repeated the next year. Over 20 years would pass before they claimed another with a 90-64 club in 1936 as a Detroit affiliate. In 1944, the team won again, placing the team in the top 100. Three years later, the Brewers became a farm team of the Boston Braves. Although this move eventually paved the way for the team’s demise, in the short run it led directly to Milwaukee’s final two league championships--one in 1951 when they also won the Junior World Series, followed by an even better team the next year.

Bill Veeck and Jolly Cholly

In 1941 the club was purchased by Bill Veeck (son of former Chicago Cubs president William Veeck Sr., in a partnership with former Cubs star Charlie Grimm. Under Veeck's ownership, the Brewers would become one of the most colorful squads in baseball and Veeck would be become one of the game's premiere showmen. Constantly creating new promotional gimmicks, Veeck gave away live animals, scheduled morning games for wartime night shift workers, staged weddings at home plate, and even sent Grimm a birthday cake containing a much-needed left-handed pitcher.

When Grimm was hired as the manager of the Cubs, he recommended that Casey Stengel be hired to replace him. Veeck was opposed to the idea - Stengel had little success in his previous managerial stints with the Dodgers and Braves - but as Veeck was stationed overseas in the Marine Corps, Grimm won out. The club went on to win the 1944 American Association pennant, and Stengel's managerial career was resurrected.

In 1945, after winning three pennants in five years, Veeck sold his interest in the Brewers for a $275,000 profit.

The coming of the Braves

Milwaukee had long been coveted by major league teams looking for a new home. Bill Veeck himself tried to relocate the St. Louis Browns back to Milwaukee in the late 1940s, but his move was vetoed by the other American League owners.

The city of Milwaukee, hoping to attract a major league club, constructed Milwaukee County Stadium for the 1953 season. The Brewers were set to move in, until Spring Training of 1953, when Lou Perini moved his Boston Braves to Milwaukee. The Brewers moved to Toledo, where they became the next incarnation of the Toledo Mud Hens. The new Mud Hens continued their winning ways, claiming an American Association pennant in their first season in Ohio.

Legacy - Return of the Brewers

The legacy of the American Association Milwaukee Brewers continues in the major league Milwaukee Brewers, which took its name from the 1902-1952 club.

After the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, local automobile dealer and Braves part-owner Bud Selig created a group to lobby for a new major league club in Milwaukee. As a name for his group, he chose "Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Inc.", after the American Association club he grew up watching. As a logo, he chose the Beer Barrel Man in navy and red - traditional Brewers colors.

When Selig bought the one year-old Seattle Pilots franchise in the spring of 1970, he moved them to Milwaukee and they officially became the "new" major-league Milwaukee Brewers. The club continued to use the Beer Barrel Man as the team's primary logo until 1978, although due to time constraints, the team continued to use the old Pilots' colors of blue and gold. Recently, it has seen a resurgence on throwback merchandise, and been featured on several stadium promotions.

The current Brewers have played in the National League since 1998, when the franchise switched over from the American League after 29 years in the Junior Circuit as both the Pilots and the Brewers.

American Association championships

  • 1913
  • 1914
  • 1936
  • 1944
  • 1951
  • 1952

Junior World Series appearances

The Junior World Series was held between the champions of the American Association and the International League.

  • 1936 - defeated Buffalo, 4 games to 1
  • 1947 - defeated Syracuse, 4 games to 3
  • 1951 - defeated Montreal, 4 games to 2

Ballpark

Postcard advertising the "new home" of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1953

During its 51-year tenure in the American Association, Milwaukee played in the same ballpark. Originally constructed in 1888, it was located in the North side of Milwaukee on a rectangular city block with the main entrance on Chambers St. between Eighth and Ninth Streets. It had abnormally short foul lines, 268 feet to left and right. The fences then angled out sharply, making for deep "power alleys" and center field was 400 feet from home plate. It was known as Athletic Park until 1928 when it was re-named Borchert Field in honor of Brewers owner Otto Borchert, who had died the previous year. The Polo Grounds had a similar configuration. 'Borchert Orchard' was also the first Milwaukee home park for the Green Bay Packers, who played the New York Giants on Oct. 1, 1933. The following year, the Packers moved their Milwaukee games to the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. Interstate 43 now runs through where Borchert Field once stood.

The modern Brewers

1966–69:"Home of the Braves?"

In an effort to prevent the relocation of the Milwaukee Braves to a larger television market, Braves minority owner Bud Selig, a Milwaukee-area car dealer, formed an organization named "Teams Inc." devoted to local control of the club. He successfully prevented the majority owners of the Braves from moving the club in 1964 but was unable to do more than delay the inevitable. The Braves relocated to Atlanta after the 1965 season, and Teams Inc. turned its focus to returning Major League Baseball to Milwaukee.

Program for a 1969 Chicago White Sox game played in Milwaukee

Selig doggedly pursued this goal, attending owners meetings in the hopes of securing an expansion franchise. Selig changed the name of his group to "Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club Inc.". The "Brewers" name, honoring Milwaukee's beer-brewing tradition, also was traditional for Milwaukee baseball teams going back into the 19th century. The city had hosted a major league team by that name in 1901, which relocated at the end of that season to became the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles). From 1902 through 1952, a minor league Milwaukee Brewers club in the American Association had been so successful that it lured the Braves from Boston. Selig himself had grown up watching that minor league team at Borchert Field and intended his new franchise to follow in that tradition.

To demonstrate there still was support for big-league ball in Milwaukee, Selig's group contracted with Chicago White Sox owner Arthur Allyn to host nine White Sox home games at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1968. A 1967 exhibition game between the White Sox and Minnesota Twins had attracted more than 51,000 spectators, and Selig was convinced the strong Milwaukee fan base would demonstrate the city would provide a good home for a new club.

The experiment was staggeringly successful - those nine games drew 264,297 fans. In Chicago that season, the Sox drew 539,478 fans to their remaining 58 home games. In just a handful of games, the Milwaukee crowds accounted for nearly one-third of the total attendance at White Sox games. In light of this success, Selig and Allyn agreed County Stadium would host Sox home games again the next season.

In 1969, the Sox schedule in Milwaukee was expanded to include 11 home games (one against every other franchise in the American League at the time). Although those games were attended by slightly fewer fans (198,211 fans, for an average of 18,019) they represented a greater percentage of the total White Sox attendance than the previous year - over one-third of the fans who went to Sox home games in 1969 did so at County Stadium (in the remaining 59 home dates in Chicago, the Sox drew 391,335 for an average of 6,632 per game). Selig felt this fan support lent legitimacy to his quest for a Milwaukee franchise, and he went into the 1968 owners meetings with high hopes.

Those hopes were dashed when National League franchises were awarded to San Diego (the Padres) and Montreal (the Expos), and American League franchises were awarded to Kansas City (the Royals) and Seattle (the Pilots). That last franchise, however, would figure very prominently in Selig's future.

Having failed to gain a major league franchise for Milwaukee through expansion, Selig turned his efforts to purchasing and relocating an existing club. His search began close to home, with the White Sox themselves. According to Selig, he had a handshake agreement with Allyn to purchase the Pale Hose and move them north. The American League, unwilling to surrender Chicago to the National League, vetoed the sale, and Allyn sold the franchise to his brother John.

Frustrated in these efforts, Selig shifted his focus to another American League team, the expansion Seattle Pilots.

1969–70: Roots in Seattle

Pilots' logo

Seattle initially had a lot going for it when it joined the American League in 1969. Seattle had long been a hotbed for minor league baseball and was home to the Seattle Rainiers, one of the pillars of the Pacific Coast League. The Cleveland Indians had almost moved to Seattle in the early 1960s Many of the same things that attracted the Indians made Seattle a plum choice for an expansion team. Seattle was the third-biggest metropolitan area on the West Coast (behind Los Angeles and the Bay Area). The addition of a third team on the West Coast also would balance out the addition of Kansas City. Also, there was no real competition from other pro teams. While Seattle had just landed the NBA's SuperSonics, the NBA was not in the same class as baseball was in terms of popularity at the time.

The front man for the franchise was Dewey Soriano, a former Rainiers pitcher and general manager and former president of the PCL. In an ominous sign of things to come, Soriano had to ask William R. Daley, who had owned the Indians at the time they flirted with Seattle, to furnish much of the expansion fee. In return, Daley bought 47 percent of the stock--the largest stake in the club. He became chairman of the board while Soriano served as president.

However, a couple of factors were beyond the Pilots' control. They were originally not set to start play until 1971. But the date was moved up to 1969 under pressure from Sen. Stuart Symington of Missouri. Professional baseball had been played in Kansas City for all but two years in the 20th century until the A's left for Oakland after the 1967 season, and the prospect of having Kansas City wait three years for its return was not acceptable to Symington. Also, the Pilots had to pay the PCL $1 million to compensate for the loss of one of its most successful franchises. After King County voters approved a bond for a domed stadium (what would become the Kingdome) in 1968, the Seattle Pilots were officially born. California Angels executive Marvin Milkes was hired as general manager, and St. Louis Cardinals coach Joe Schultz became manager.

To the surprise of no one outside Seattle (Schultz and Milkes actually thought they could finish third in the newly formed AL West), the Pilots were terrible. They won their very first game, and then their home opener three days later, but only won five more times in the first month and never recovered. They finished last in the West with a record of 64–98, 33 games out of first.

However, the team's poor play was the least of its troubles. The most obvious problem was Sick's Stadium. The longtime home of the Pacific Coast League Seattle Rainiers, it had been considered one of the best ballparks in minor league baseball. By the 1960s, however, it was considered far behind the times. While a condition of MLB awarding the Pilots to Seattle was that Sick's had to be expanded to 30,000 seats by the start of the 1969 season, only 17,000 seats were ready due to numerous delays. The scoreboard wasn't even ready until the eve of opening day. While it was expanded to 25,000 by June, the added seats had obstructed views. Water pressure was almost nonexistent after the seventh inning, especially with crowds above 10,000. Attendance was so poor (678,000) that the Pilots were almost out of money by the end of the season. The team's new stadium was slated to be built at the Seattle Center, but a petition by stadium opponents ground the project to a halt.

During the offseason, Soriano crossed paths with Selig. They met in secret for over a month after the end of the season, and during Game 1 of the World Series, Soriano agreed to sell the Pilots to Selig for $10 million to $13 million (depending on the source). Selig would then move the team to Milwaukee and rename it the Brewers. However, the owners turned it down in the face of pressure from Washington's two senators, Warren Magnuson and Henry (Scoop) Jackson, as well as state attorney general Slade Gorton. MLB asked Soriano and Daley to find a local buyer. Local theater chain owner Fred Danz came forward in October 1969 with a $10 million deal, but it fizzled when the Bank of California called in a $4 million loan it had made to Soriano and Daley for startup costs. In January 1970, Westin Hotels owner Eddie Carlson put together a nonprofit group to buy the team. However, the owners rejected the idea almost out of hand since it would have devalued the other clubs' worth. A more traditional deal came one vote short of approval.

After a winter and spring full of court action, the Pilots reported for spring training under new manager Dave Bristol unsure of where they would play. The owners had given tentative approval to the Milwaukee group, but the state of Washington got an injunction on March 17 to stop the deal. Soriano immediately filed for bankruptcy - a move intended to forestall any post-sale legal action. At the bankruptcy hearing a week later, Milkes testified there wasn't enough money to pay the coaches, players and office staff. Had Milkes been more than 10 days late in paying the players, they would have all become free agents and left Seattle without a team for the 1970 season. With this in mind, Federal Bankruptcy Referee Sidney Volinn declared the Pilots bankrupt on April 1 - six days before Opening Day - clearing the way for them to move to Milwaukee. The team's equipment had been sitting in Provo, Utah with the drivers awaiting word on whether to drive toward Seattle or Milwaukee.

Much of the story of the Seattle Pilots' only year in existence is told in Jim Bouton's classic baseball book, Ball Four.

1970-77: Early years in Milwaukee

With the season's opening day only six days away, there was not enough time to order completely new uniforms, so the club had to remove the Pilots logo from team uniforms and replace them with Brewers logos. In fact, the outline of the old Pilots logo could still be seen on the Brewers' uniforms. Selig's original intention had been to adopt navy and red as the team colors, hearkening back to the minor league club (souvenir buttons sold at White Sox games at County Stadium featured the major league club's logo in that color combination), but with no time to order new uniforms, the Brewers adopted the blue and gold of the Pilots as their own. That color combination, in various shades, is still used by the club. The short notice (along with their geographical location) also forced the Brewers to assume the Pilots' old place in the AL West. While this resulted in natural rivalries with the White Sox and Twins, it also meant the Brewers faced some very long road trips.

Under the circumstances, the Brewers' 1970 season was over before it started, and they finished 65-97. They would not have a winning season until 1978.

Selig brought back former Milwaukee Braves catcher (and fan favorite) Del Crandall in 1972 to manage the club.

It was during this period that Milwaukee County Stadium gained its reputation for fun as well as baseball. Then-team vice president Dick Hackett hired Frank Charles to play the Wurlitzer organ during the games, and Hackett introduced team mascots Bernie and Bonnie Brewer.

On November 2, 1974, the Brewers orchestrated a trade that brought one of the most beloved Braves back to Milwaukee, sending outfielder Dave May and a player to be named later (minor league pitcher Roger Alexander) to Atlanta for Hank Aaron. Although not the player he was in his prime, Aaron brought prestige to the young club, and the opportunity to be a designated hitter allowed Aaron to extend his playing career two more seasons.

1978-83: The Glory Days

The Brewers franchise reached its pinnacle in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their first winning season took place in 1978 when the Brew Crew won 93 games and finished behind the Yankees and Red Sox. The next season, Milwaukee finished in 2nd place with 95 victories due to their home run power led by Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie (who led the league in homers in 1980 along with Reggie Jackson), and Gorman Thomas (whose 45 home runs in 1979 was the Brewers' single season home run record, tied by Richie Sexson in 2003, until Prince Fielder broke it on September 15, 2007).

The 1980 season had George Bamberger replaced by Buck Rodgers at the helm. After finishing third in 1980, the Brewers won the second half of the 1981 season (divided due to a players' strike) and played the New York Yankees in a playoff mini-series they ultimately lost. It was the first playoff appearance for the franchise. In 1982, the Brewers got off to a slow start with a 23-24 record. They would fire Buck Rodgers and bring in the laid-back Harvey Kuenn. Kuenn's advice to the Brewers was to have fun. As a result, Milwaukee eventually caught up to the Baltimore Orioles. On the final game of the season at Memorial Stadium, the Brewers won thanks to the dominant pitching of future Hall-of-Famer Don Sutton. The Brewers would win the AL East over the dominant Orioles.

The ALCS against the California Angels began on a tough start, going 0-2 in both games at Anaheim Stadium. Back in Milwaukee County Stadium, the Brewers would win the next three games to win the American League pennant. The clinching game featured a clutch double by Cecil Cooper to give the Brewers the lead and the pennant. It was during this series, Rollie Fingers would be hurt, missing the postseason. However, the 1982 World Series was a tough war. They would lose in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

During the 1980s the Brewers produced three league MVPs (Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Robin Yount in 1982 and 1989) and two Cy Young Award winners (Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Pete Vuckovich in 1982). Yount is one of only three players in the history of the game to win the MVP award at two positions (shortstop, then center field).

1984-93: Rollercoaster

Following their two playoff years, the club quickly retreated to the bottom of the standings, never finishing higher than fifth (out of seven) in their division from 1983 to 1986. Hope was restored in 1987 when, guided by rookie manager Tom Trebelhorn, the team began the year with a 13-game winning streak. Unfortunately, they followed that hot start with a 12-game skid in May. But "Team Streak" eventually posted a strong third-place finish. Highlights of the year included Paul Molitor's 39-game hitting streak and the only no-hitter in team history, pitched by Juan Nieves on April 15.

On that day, Nieves became the first (and so far, only) Brewer and first Puerto Rican-born Major Leaguer to pitch a no-hitter, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 7-0 at Memorial Stadium. The final out came on a climactic diving catch in right-center field by Robin Yount of a line drive hit by Eddie Murray. The game also was the first time the Orioles were no-hit at Memorial Stadium.

In 1988 the team had another strong season, finishing only two games out of first (albeit with a lesser record than the previous year) in a close playoff race with four other clubs. Following this year, the team slipped, posting mediocre records from 1989 through 1991, after which Trebelhorn was fired. In 1992, reminiscent of the resurgence which greeted Trebelhorn's arrival in 1987, the Brewers rallied behind the leadership of rookie manager Phil Garner and posted their best record since their World Series year in 1982, finishing the season 92-70 and in second place, four games behind that year's eventual World Champion Toronto Blue Jays.

Hope of additional pennant races was quickly dashed, however, as the club plummeted to the bottom of the standings the following year, finishing an abysmal 26 games out of first. Since 1992, highlights were few and far between as the franchise failed to produce a winning season, having not fielded a competitive team due to a combination of bad management and financial constraints that limit the team relative to the resources available to other, larger-market clubs. With new management, structural changes in the economics of baseball, and the advent of revenue sharing, the Brewers were able to become competitive once again.

1994-98: "We're taking this thing National"

In 1994, Major League Baseball adopted a new expanded playoff system. This change would necessitate a restructuring of each league from two divisions into three. The Brewers were transferred from the old AL East division to the newly created AL Central.

Before the 1998 regular season began, two new teams - the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays - were added by Major League Baseball. This resulted in the American League and National League having fifteen teams. However, in order for MLB officials to continue intraleague play, both leagues would need to carry an even number of teams, so the decision was made to move one club from the AL Central to the NL Central.

This realignment was widely considered to have great financial benefit to the club moving. However, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Commissioner Bud Selig decided another team should have the first chance to switch leagues. The choice was offered to the Kansas City Royals, who ultimately decided to stay in the American League.[1] The choice then fell to the Brewers, who, on November 6, 1997 elected to move to the National League. Had the Brewers elected not to relocate, the Minnesota Twins would have been offered the opportunity to switch leagues. [1]

1999-2003: Building Miller Park

Miller Park, the current home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Miller Park was opened in 2001, built to replace Milwaukee County Stadium. The stadium was built with $310 million of public funds, drawing some controversy, and is one of the few professional sporting stadiums with a retractable roof. The stadium is the only sporting facility to have a fan-shaped retractable roof. The Stadium has a seating capacity of 42,200.

The park was to have opened a year earlier, but an accident during its construction, which resulted in the deaths of three workers, forced a year's delay and $50 million to $75 million in damage. On July 14, 1999, the three men lost their lives when the Lampson "Big Blue" crane, one of the largest in the world, collapsed while trying to lift a 400 ton right field roof panel. A statue commemorating the men now stands between the home plate entrance to Miller Park and Helfaer Field.

The Brewers made renovations to Miller Park before the 2006 campaign, adding both LED scoreboards in left field and on the second-tier of the stadium, as well as a picnic area in right field, shortening the distance of the right-field fence. The picnic area was an immediate hit and sold out for the season before the year began.

During the first 3 years of Miller Park's life the Brewers had posted some of the worst records in their history including losing over 100 games during Miller Park's inaugural season.

2004–Present: Attanasio era

On January 16, 2004, Selig announced that his ownership group was putting the team up for sale, to the great relief of many fans who were unhappy with the team's lackluster performance and perceived poor management by his daughter, Wendy Selig-Preib, over the previous decade. In September 2004, the Brewers announced they had reached a verbal agreement with Los Angeles investment banker Mark Attanasio to purchase the team for $180 million. The sale to Attanasio was completed on January 13, 2005, at Major League Baseball's quarterly owners meeting. Since taking over the franchise, Attanasio has worked hard to build bridges with Milwaukee baseball fans, including giving away every seat to the final home game of 2005 free of charge and bringing back the classic "ball and glove" logo of the club's glory days on "Retro Sunday" home games, during which they also wear versions of the team's old pinstriped uniforms.

Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks at Spring Training, 2005

In 2005, under Attanasio's ownership, the team finished 81-81 to secure its first non-losing record since 1992. With a solid base of young talent assembled over the past five years, including Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J. J. Hardy and Corey Hart, the Brewers show renewed competitiveness. Further encouraging this sentiment, the Brewers have hired former stars Yount (bench coach)(who resigned in November 2006) and Dale Sveum (third base coach), both very popular players for the Brewers in the '80s.

The 2006 season started well with the Brewers winning their first 5 games and ending April with a 14-11 record. On April 22 2006, the Brewers set an MLB record with five home runs in one inning, the fourth frame of an 11-0 defeat of the Cincinnati Reds (home runs hit by Bill Hall, Damian Miller, Brady Clark, J. J. Hardy and Prince Fielder). They then set a new club mark with six home runs in one game on April 29, including two by Fielder, in a 16-2 defeat of the Chicago Cubs. The second half of the season started badly as Derek Turnbow blew three saves in the first seven games. Ben Sheets returned July 25 against Pittsburgh and pitched extraordinarily for 7 innings before the Brewers bullpen blew the game in the eighth. With doubts that all-star left fielder Carlos Lee would re-sign with the club, the Brewers traded Lee on July 28 along with minor league prospect Nelson Cruz to the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielders Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, reliever Francisco Cordero, and minor league pitching prospect Julian Cordero. Francisco Cordero started strong with the Brewers as he converted his first 10 save opportunities. In late August the Brewers swept the Colorado Rockies to climb back to 3 games under .500 and within striking distance of the NL Central title, but they then lost 10 games in a row. The season ended on October 1 with Carlos Villanueva pitching a fantastic game against the eventual World Series champion St Louis Cardinals.

In 2006 the Brewers' play disappointed fans, players, and management. After losing starters JJ Hardy, Rickie Weeks, and Corey Koskie to injuries, the Brewers were forced to trade for veteran infielders David Bell and Tony Graffanino. They also suffered setbacks when losing starting pitchers Ben Sheets and Tomo Ohka for a substantial amount of time, forcing Triple A starters Ben Hendrickson, Dana Eveland, Carlos Villanueva, and Zach Jackson into starting roles at different points in the year. The Brewers ended the season with a 75-87 record.

At the end of the season, Attanasio stated that he and General Manager Doug Melvin would have to make some decisions about returning players for the 2007 season. With young players waiting in the minor leagues, during the off-season the key additions were starting pitcher and 2006 NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan, starter Claudio Vargas, reliever Greg Aquino, catcher Johnny Estrada, and returning Brewer Craig Counsell. The Brewers parted ways with 2006 starters Doug Davis and Tomo Ohka, as well as fan favorite Jeff Cirillo.

During the 2007 season, the buzz surrounding the Brewers noticeably increased. Called one of the 'sleeper teams of 2007' and 'contenders in the NL' by numerous sports analysts and magazines, the Brewers ultimately lost a tight divisional race in the last few days of the season. To celebrate the 1982 successful Milwaukee Brewers team, the franchise decided to have the 2007 season be named as the "25th anniversary of '82", with more fan giveaways than any other Major League Baseball team, and more discounts and deals than any other time in Brewers' history. On February 24, 2007, the Brewers hosted an "Arctic Tailgate" in which they were opening up Miller Park's parking lot to celebrate the first day of sales for single season games throughout the 2007 season. People waited outside of Miller Park for hours, even days at a time, camping in tents, sleeping in cars to get a tickets for Opening Day. At the end of the day, they posted the third-highest total of single day ticket sales with 85,000 tickets sold in one day.

With the 2008 season not immediately meeting the increasingly higher expectations of fans and team management, the Brewers traded a number of prospects, including Matt LaPorta, to the Cleveland Indians for left-handed starting pitcher CC Sabathia. Sabathia, who had started the season 6-8 for Cleveland, went 11-2 for the Brewers with a 1.65 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 130 and two-thirds innings. He also pitched 7 complete games for Milwaukee, including one on the last day of the regular season to keep Milwaukee's playoff hopes alive. The Brewers would go on to clinch the NL Wild Card upon the Mets losing a concurrently-played game, their first trip to the postseason in 26 years.

References

Sources

  • Peter Filichia, Professional Baseball Franchises, Facts on File Press, 1993.
  • Philip J. Lowrey, Green Cathedrals, several editions.
  • Sporting News, Take Me Out to the Ballpark, 1983/1987.
  • Michael Benson, Baseball Parks of North American, McFarland, 1989.

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