John Lepore | May 6th, 2020
The Milwaukee Brewers have a shorter history in Major League Baseball than many teams. They started as the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and moved to Milwaukee after the sale of the team to Bud Selig. They made their only World Series appearance in 1982 so you’d expect a couple of those guys to be on this monument. Who fills out the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers Mount Rushmore?
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Yount played 20 years with the Brewers from 1974-1993. He was somewhat of a prodigy. Drafted third overall in 1973, he made his debut the following year as an 18-year-old shortstop. Although the first few years were decent, Yount would come into his own at the plate in 1980. That season he slashed .293/.321/.519 with 23 HRs and 20 SBs. He also led the league in doubles with 49 and chipped in 121 runs. Yount would put himself and the Brewers on the map in 1982. That season the Brewers made their only World Series. Yount won the American League MVP leading the league in OPS (.957), hits (210), and doubles (46). He also went 12-29 with a HR and six RBI in the World Series and probably would’ve been the MVP had the Brewers not lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
After the 1984 season, Yount would make the transition to center field. He was done playing shortstop but not done making an impact. From 1986-1989 Yount would average 16 HRs and 19 SBs along with a .377 wOBA and 133 wRC+. He capped it off with his second MVP award in 1989. On September 9th, 1992, Yount got his 3,000th hit off of Jose Mesa. He would retire after the 1993 season. The Brewers retired his number 19 in 1994 and Yount was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try in 1999. One can simply not think of Brewers baseball, especially Harvey’s Wallbangers, without picturing the mustachioed SS/CF and his longtime teammate…
Molitor’s career started similarly to Yount’s. He was drafted third overall in 1977 and debuted the following season albeit as a 21-year-old. He finished second to Lou Whitaker for the AL Rookie of the Year. In his first three seasons in the majors, Molitor was primarily a second baseman. After a stint in the outfield in 1981, he moved to third base in 1982 and his already solid hitting got even better. He led the league in PAs (751) and runs (136) that year. “Molly” also chipped in 19 HRs and 41 SBs forming a great one-two punch with Yount at the top of the Brewers lineup. Molitor missed nearly the entire 1984 season due to elbow surgery and battled back injuries throughout his career.
In 1987 Molitor had a 39-game hitting streak falling just five games short of Pete Rose‘s NL record of 44. It ended with Rick Manning getting the game-winning hit on August 26th with Molitor sitting in the on-deck circle. “The Ignitor” spent 15 seasons with the Brewers before moving on to Toronto in 1993 where he finished second to Frank Thomas for the AL MVP. He also won a World Series and took home the WS MVP award going 12-24 with two HRs and eight RBI in the series. He finished his career after the 1998 season. Molitor ranks 14th all-time in doubles (605) and 10th in hits (3,319). in 1999, the Brewers retired his number 4. In 2004, Molitor was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
Another top-5 pick makes the Brewers monument. Braun was drafted fifth overall in 2005 out of the University of Miami. He made his debut on May 25th, 2007, and hasn’t looked back. Braun won the AL ROY award that season leading the league in slugging (.634) and posting a 1.004 OPS. Over his first six seasons (2007-2012) Braun averaged 34 HRs, 21 SBs, 102 runs, and 107 RBI. In that time he also posted a .402 wOBA and 149 wRC+. He also proved to be a strong playoff performer. In Braun’s first 15 postseason games, he hit .379 (22-58) with nine doubles, two HRs, and 12 RBI.
After a suspension in 2013 for a failed drug test and connection to Biogenesis, Braun bounced back in 2014 and has since averaged 22 HRs and 14 SBs. He is the franchises all-time leader in HRs (344), second in RBI (1,128), and third in runs (1,066) and SBs (215). The Hebrew Hammer has been the face of the Brewers since he debuted in 2007. Despite the blemish of 2013, he deserves to be on the Milwaukee Brewers Mount Rushmore.
Many team’s Mount Rushmores will certainly be filled with players who made their marks on the franchise on the field. Uecker is an exception. He has been the voice of the Brew Crew since 1971 and is one of the most recognizable characters in the game. While his baseball acumen is unquestionable, his skills on the field weren’t very good. Uecker would tell you that himself. Despite batting only .200 over the course of 297 games in the majors, he did hit one of his 14 home runs off of legend Sandy Koufax.
Many fans know “Uke” from either the great Miller Lite commercials, or “Mr. Belvedere”, or his hilarious portrayal in the film “Major League“. While he has had much success in TV and movies, he has been the radio announcer for the Brewers for just about their whole existence as a franchise. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2003, he received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting and his speech was great. Uecker is in the Brewers Ring of Honor and has a monument outside Miller Park. Yes Mr. Uecker, you certainly are in the front row.
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