Milwaukee Brewers

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 20:03

History of the Milwaukee Brewers

Information about the MLB team Milwaukee Brewers.

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Brewers are a team in Major League Baseball. They are under the National League’s Central Division and has Miller Park as home. From 1969 to 1997, the Milwaukee Brewers were part of the American League before moving to the National League in 1998.

The Milwaukee Brewers only have one major league title under their belt. It was for the American League East Division title and pennant for 1982.

The Milwaukee Brewers: 1901 to the 1960s

The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the eight charter teams of the American League. After a season playing at Milwaukee, they decided to up and leave for St. Louis. Milwaukee ended up with the Braves for its major league baseball, and a minor league baseball team named Milwaukee Brewers.

As Milwaukee’s major league team, the Braves won the World Series in 1957. They played against the New York Yankees. They would repeat the feat in 1958, making it to the World Series against the NewYork Yankees. This time, they were beaten by the legendary team.

However, since 1964, the Braves had planned on moving to a bigger television market. they were temporarily held back by minority owner Bud Selig. The move eventually pushed through in 1965; the Braves relocated to Atlanta.

This left Milwaukee without a major league baseball team. Selig’s group, “Team Inc.,” which had been involved in trying to keep the Braves in Milwaukee set their sights to finding another major league team. He aptly changed the group’s name to “Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club Inc.”

To show that Milwaukee had enough fan base to support a major league baseball team, Selig and his group made an agreement with the Chicago White Sox to have nine of the team’s home games at the Milwaukee County Stadium. This was in 1968 and was a tremendous success. The group repeated the deal for 1969, with 11 home games at Milwaukee. Although the turnout was not the same, the 1969 audience was still enough proof that there is a huge number of major league baseball supporters in the city.

Initially, Selig had agreed with Chicago White Sox owner, Arthur Allyn, for the team’s purchase. However, the American League vetoed the deal leaving the search for a Milwaukee team still wide open. Selig then set his sights to the Seattle Pilots.

The Milwaukee Brewers: The 1970s and 1980s

The status of the Seattle Pilot was still unsure by spring of 1970. It was only after spring training when the deal was finalized and they moved to Milwaukee as the Milwaukee Brewers.

Their first game as the Milwaukee Brewers drew more than 37,000 fans. The team was a disappointment though, losing to the California Angels with 12-0. This would go on for the rest of the season. They placed fourth in the American League West with a so-so 65-97 record. This went on for the rest of the decade, with rankings in either the fifth or last place. In 1972, they moved from AL West to the AL East division.

The Milwaukee Brewers played better at the start of the 80s. In 1980, they posted 203 home runs, 2,535 bases and 774 runs. They finished third for that year with 86-76.

In 1981, Rollie Fingers joined the team and became a key player in their vie for the Eastern Division series. The Milwaukee Brewers would lose to the New York Yankees but put up a good fight. Fingers earned a Cy Young Award and the MVP award for the season.

The Milwaukee Brewers started the 1982 season with a 23-24 record. This got manager Buck Rodgers fired. Harvey Kuenn took over and seemingly ignited the Brewers into action. The team would would win 72 games and make it to the AL Eastern Division title games. They faced the Baltimore Orioles and won. Pete Vukovich earned his Cy Young Award, while SS Robin Yount was AL MVP. For the ALCS, they faced the California angels once again and rallied a three-game straight wins in Games 3 to 5. Their win meant a chance to win the World Series for the first time.

At the World Series, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals. The Milwaukee Brewers started out great with a 10-0 record. However, the Cardinals were able to catch up and everything was down to Game 7, which they lost.

Kuenn would retire in 1983 because of poor health. Likewise, Milwaukee Brewers would experience poor showing in several playoffs during the rest of the decade. The only major highlight would be their try for the AL East Division title. They finished third but had a season with several notable achievements. Juan Nieves had a No Hitter streak. Likewise, Paul Molitor had a 39-game hitting streak. The team also won their first 13 games, straight. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by a 12 game losing streak.

The Milwaukee Brewers: 1990s to today

The Milwaukee Brewers made a strong showing to vie for the AL East Division title in 1992. They only finished second however, with a 92-70 record. Yount batted his 3,000th hit and became the third youngest to achieve the record. SS Pat Listach also won as Rookie of the Year, a first for Milwaukee Brewers. It was also this year when Selig would sell the team to his daughter Wendy to concentrate on working full time as Commissioner.   

1993 saw the team losing some of its key players. Yount announced his retirement just before spring training was about to start. Paul Molitor, on the other hand, became a Free Agent and joined up with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 1994, trouble brewed in the Milwaukee Brewers game play, as well in the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s office. Milwaukee Brewers posted dismal games and finished last. It was impossible for them to make it to the World Series, which, thanks to Selig, never happened.

In a questionable use of his power, Selig forced baseball players to agree to owners’ demands. When nothing was finalized by the due date, the World Series was canceled. The strike continued until the next season until a Federal Judge stepped in, in favor of the players. In the end, the owners did not insist on their demands.

It was a continued struggle for the Milwaukee Brewers after the strike. They consistently posted fourth or fifth rankings and never made it into a close contention for the division title.

The team would temporarily be bolstered by the opening of its new home, Miller Park, in 2001. However, this was not before tragedy struck when a crane collapsed during the field’s construction.

With the continued poor ranking and the 3-12 start at the beginning of the 2002 season, manager Davey Lopes was fired. He was replaced by Jerry Royster. Even so, the Brewers' poor rankings continued. They end the year with the worst record for the franchise: 56-106.

A new manager stepped in by 2003 but even so, plays continued to be bad. It got so much that they even had problems encouraging fans to continue watching their games. Most nights at Miller Parks had half-empty seats. The only silver lining seemed to be Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins, who hit 45 and 28 home runs, respectively. By the end of the season, in an unpopular move, the owners traded Sexson in order to cut payroll.

The players that went into the Milwaukee Brewers because of the trade seemed to infuse new life into the team. Lyle Overbay was a comparable batter to Sexson. The same went for Carlos Lee, who was acquired a year later. The Milwaukee Brewers has been playing better since. In 2007, they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their World Series win in 1982. This was cause to celebrate; however, it also reminded a lot of people how long its been since they won big in Major League Baseball.