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Milwaukee Brewers

In 1969 the Seattle Pilots and the Kansas City Royals joined the American League. The Royals gradually built a model expansion franchise, the Pilots lasted one season before moving east to become the Milwaukee Brewers.

A pivotal figure in the rebirth of Milwaukee baseball was Bud Selig, a car salesman in the Brew City. Ever since the Braves had left Milwaukee without a team after the 1965 season, the city had been trying to entice Major League baseball back to Wisconsin. The Braves had been tremendously popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, and still had a faithful following when they abandoned Milwaukee, but dwindling attendance and the prospect of riches in the baseball-starved South drew them to Atlanta. The Pilots lone season produced a last place finish and 98 losses. Seattle wasn't ready for the major leagues, either financially or ballpark-wise. Selig and his partners grabbed the team prior to the 1970, after MLB decided to try a change.

Dave Bristol was the first Brewer manager, and he did little to improve the franchise fortunes, losing 90 or more 1970, 1971, and 1972. The few bright spots on those teams were Tommy Harper and George Scott. In 1973 the team drafted Del Crandall as skipper, hoping to capitalize on his name recognition (he was a popular player with the Braves 1950s teams) in the city. Crandall lasted until late in 1975 before he was sacrificed. On the field Scott and Henry Aaron (returning in 1975-76 for a swan song) helped draw crowds. In addition, the nucleus of future winning teams was being formed. Robin Yount, Don Money, Sixto Lezcano, Gorman Thomas, and Jim Slaton arrived on the scene in the mid-1970s.

The 1977-1979 Brewers were one of the most exciting in the American League, finishing near the top in runs scored every season. Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper (acquired from the Red Sox), Thomas, Sal Bando (from the A's), Ben Oglivie (former Tiger), Charlie Moore, and Jim Gantner helped pace the attack. Unfortunately the pitching didn't progress as nicely and the Brewers (though they reached third in 1978 and second behind the Orioles in 1979) were unable to crack the post-season.

From 1980-1983 the Brewers posted one of the best records in the AL, winning the 1981 second-half AL East title and the pennant in 1982. Finally the pitching was up to par with the Brew Crew. In 1982 the team won the East in the final weekend when Don Sutton out-dueled Jim Palmer and the Orioles for the division title. Harvey Kuenn had replaced Buck Rodgers as manager midway through the season. Yount won the MVP that season, dawning the age of many great-hitting shortstops in the league. The Playoffs proved exciting as the Brewers beat the Angels after falling behind two games to none. In the World Series Yount and Molitor banged out hit after hit but Milwaukee fell short, losing to the Cardinals in a seven-game squeeker. Unfortunately the talented nucleus of that pennant winning team never reached the post-season again, finishing no higher than 5th the next four seasons. Rene Lacheman and George Bamberger followed Kuenn to the helm of the Brewers before Tom Treblehorn arrived in 1987. Molitor provided excitement in 1987 when he hit in 39 straight games, the longest string in the AL since Joe DiMaggio's 56-gamer in 1941. In 1989 Yount, now a center fielder, won his second MVP award, all but sealing his induction to the Hall of Fame, which ultimately occurred in 1999 when he joined Nolan Ryan and George Brett as new inductees.

Treblehorn delivered four winning seasons in five years for Milwaukee but was axed in 1992. Selig hired Phil Garner, the scrappy former middle infielder who had played primarily with the Pirates and Astros, as the replacement. Garner retooled the team after the retirement of Yount and the defection of Molitor to Toronto. The team finished a surprising 2nd in 1992, Molitor's final season as a Brewer. But the next year the wheels came off and despite the efforts of Greg Vaughn, B.J. Surhoff, John Jaha, Jeremy Burnitz, Jeff Cirillo, Cal Eldred, and Mike Fetters, the club failed to post a winning record from 1993 to 1999. In 1998 the franchise made history when it became the first team in more than 90 years to switch leagues - bringing Milwaukee baseball back to the National league after nearly 35 years. In 2001 a new stadium welcomed the Brewers on Opening Day.

In 2004 the Milwaukee Brewers finished in last place within the 6 team National League Central Division with a record of 67-94.

In 2006 Milwaukee finished with a 75-87 record and in 4th place in their 6 team division.







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