With the rough news that Prince Fielder’s career is over after another neck surgery, it’s only fair to point out the highlights of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Much like where the Milwaukee Brewers are at right now, when Prince Fielder came up in 2005, fans began to have an inch of hope to think that at the very least there’d be some players to watch out for on the highlight reel. It was only a matter of time for the power 1st baseman to go from 28 HRs, 81 RBIs and a 0.7 WAR in his first full year in 2006 to 50 HRs, 119 RBIs, and a 4.7 WAR in 2007.
He matched his batting line right up in 2006 going .271/.347/.483. To pick out just how he excelled when needed in the years the Milwaukee Brewers franchise went the deepest in the playoffs in most recent years, he did just that in 2011 with a batting line of .299/.415/.566 with 38 HRs, 120 RBIs and a 4.7 WAR. And he contributed a bit in the playoffs.
Of course, we could look at numbers all day with Fielder as it seemed the Milwaukee Brewers got the best out of him. But, it really was his personality and love for the game that got the attention that made not just fans get on his side, but also his teammates.
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With his arms up and hands down, his teammates would get on base, look at Fielder and right away do the “Beast Mode.” Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Jonathan Lucroy, Nyjer Morgan, etc. were all a part of it, but it seemed the most fit when Fielder got a double, signaled it right away to the dugout or made his teammates collapse with a walk-off home run.
While other teams at times thought it was a bit too much, Fielder simply loved the game and enjoyed seeing his teammates having fun. Not to mention it was inspired from his sons from the movie Monsters Inc., so it was for the love of the game of baseball.
He talked about the game in such a simple way in 2011 during their playoff race, even when he had his struggles in 2008:
"“I was trying to enjoy the moment,” Fielder said. “Just trying to enjoy it. You know, it’s still baseball. Just more magnified, I guess. I’m just trying to enjoy fans, teammates, just really trying to have as much fun as possible and not make it a job. Not try to win so hard. Just try to enjoy it.”"
While the Milwaukee Brewers are reorganizing and seemed lined up once again to make a push with their #1 ranked farm system, Fielder is one that showed it takes leaders to make the team excel. In the future, he’s definitely one for players to look back on for not only leadership skills, but certainly the finding a way to look for small ways to enjoy the game when the pressure is on.