Forty-Five Years of Brewers Baseball: the 1990s


Paul Molitor played for 15 years for the Brewers, including three seasons in the 1990s. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Note: This is the third installment of a five-part series on the history of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 1990s were a bleak decade for the Brewers, as they finished runner-up once and had two third-place finishes in ten years. They also managed to finish last in their division twice.

1990 (74-88)
Milwaukee ended in sixth spot in the A.L. East. In his only season with Milwaukee, Dave Parker earned All-Star status with his 21 homers and 92 RBIs while slashing 289/330/451.

Closer Dan Plesac saved 24 games for the Brewers.

1991 (83-79)
The Brewers moved up to fourth in the East behind seasons from Paul Molitor (325/399/489) and Greg Vaughn (27 HR, 98 RBI). Willie Randolph (.327) and Darryl Hamilton (.311) both hit over .300.

Randolph finished tied for third in A.L. batting, while Molitor was right behind in fifth. Jaime Navarro and Bill Wegman both won fifteen games, while Chris Bosio picked up 14 victories.

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1992 (92-70)

The Brewers placed second behind Toronto, just four games back. Milwaukee got as close as two games out with two to play, but lost the final pair of games to finish a few games short.

The highlight of the season was Robin Yount’s 3,000th career hit on September 9. (I was at the game on September 8, but Yount could only manage one hit to get to 2,999.)

Molitor knocked in 89 runs and batted .320 and Pat Listach stole 54 bases on his way to the Rookie of the Year award.

1993 (69-93)
Not many good things happened in Yount’s final season, other than Vaughn’s 30 HRs and Cal Eldred’s 16 wins. It was the final year for Milwaukee in the A.L. East and they celebrated in style, finishing seventh in the seven-team division.

1994 (53-62)
The Brewers made their debut in the newly-created A.L. Central, finishing in fifth (last), fifteen games behind the Chicago White Sox. The season ended on August 12 due to a player’s strike and for the first time since 1904, the World Series was cancelled.

Dave Nilsson was on pace for 100 RBIs but ended with 69, while Vaughn could have hit 30 HRs but ended with 19.

1995 (65-79)
Milwaukee ended up in 4th in the Central, thirty-five (yes, 35) games behind Cleveland, who was on pace to win 112 games had they played a full season.

B.J. Surhoff (.320), John Jaha (.313), and Kevin Seitzer (.311) all hit over .300 on the year, while closer Mike Fetters picked up 22 saves in the partial season.

1996 (80-82)
The Crew finished in third behind division-leading Cleveland. Jaha (34 HR, 118 RBI, .300 BA) and Vaughn (31 HR, 95 RBI, .280) both had great power seasons, while Nilsson (.331) finished sixth in the league in hitting.

Fetters finished fifth in the loop with 32 saves.

1997 (78-83)
Jeromy Burnitz hit 27 home runs and Doug Jones saved 36 games, but otherwise this team didn’t have much to cheer for.

They had a nine-game winning streak in late July/early August that pulled them within two games of the division lead, but played uninspired ball the rest of the season.

1998 (74-88)
The National League welcomed the Brewers as they moved to the N.L. Central in 1998. They promptly finished fifth in the six-team division, 28 games behind Houston. (Who woulda thunk it?)

Jeff Cirillo hit .321 and tied for eighth in the league with legend Tony Gwynn. Mark (Get Back) Loretta hit .316 and Fernando Vina batted .311 as the infielders led the way for hitters.

Burnitz hit 38 home runs and drove in 125 while hitting .263 as the right-fielder.

1999 (74-87)
Milwaukee once again finished fifth in the N. L. Central. They had some great power hitting, with Burnitz (33), Nilsson (21), Geoff Jenkins (21) and Marquis Grissom (20) all banging out more than twenty round-trippers.

Cirillo finished fifth in the league with a .326 average, while Jenkins (.313) and Nilsson (.309) weren’t far behind.

Bob Wickman saved 37 games for Milwaukee.

The decade ended with a move to the brand new Miller Park looming, but a disaster in July 1999 would set that dream back one year.

Next: the 2000s