Coming off of their first playoff appearance in franchise history, the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers were in prime position to pounce in the American League.
That Milwaukee Brewers team personified the city at that time. There were future Hall of Famers and All-Stars all over the clubhouse. As a result, the 1982 team was a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately, it didn’t start out that way. The Brewers limped to a 23-24 start through 47 games, and that cost manager Buck Rodgers his job. Expectations that season were sky high, and the Crew needed a spark to turn things around.
Milwaukee turned to a man beloved by everyone throughout the organization and the community. Harvey Kuenn was the only choice for that team.
Affectionately known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers,” the Brewers would go on to finish the ’82 season 72-43 under Kuenn. With great performances coming from Mike Caldwell and the AL Cy Young winner Pete Vuckovich, among others, the pitching was tremendous all season.
AL MVP Robin Yount along with Paul Molitor, among others, helped pace the ’82 Milwaukee Brewers in the field and at the plate. They played a hard-nosed, aggressive style of baseball. So it was easy to see each player feed off of the next, and the energy spread like wildfire.
On August 30th, the Milwaukee Brewers made a splash by trading for pitcher Don Sutton. He went 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA in seven games that season for Milwaukee. And his last start would prove to be his most important for the regular season.
With only three games left to play in the season, the Brewers needed one win over the second place Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately, the bats disappeared, and they could only muster up seven runs in the three losses. In addition, they allowed a staggering 26 runs to the Orioles.
The team lost three straight to Baltimore. As a result, the two teams faced off in game 163 of the season with the division title on the line. In that game, the Crew let loose offensively, scoring 10 runs. Sutton started the game, and allowed only two earned runs over eight innings pitched. So, one game showed why the Brewers traded for him.
The Brewers would go on to fall behind the California Angels 0-2 in the ALCS. Once again, with their backs against the wall, Sutton delivered a gem. Backed by a strong offensive showing the team won game three, and rode the momentum through games four and five, and into the World Series.
Twelve years after the Milwaukee Brewers moved from Seattle, they found themselves in the World Series facing the St. Louis Cardinals. Brewers fans would be in for a ride of a lifetime, and loving every minute of it.
Heading into game six of the World Series, the Milwaukee Brewers held a 3-2 series lead on the Cardinals. With a chance to close out the series, the Brewers turned to the man who got them there. Unfortunately, Sutton didn’t have it that night and the Brewers lost, forcing a game seven.
Milwaukee couldn’t get going early enough offensively, and they lost game seven 6-3. Although the Crew lost in the World Series that season, the fans made you think differently, when they did this.
When you see a reaction from a city like that, you would think the Crew had won the World Series. I’ll say it until I’m Brewers blue in the face: Milwaukee baseball fans live and die with this team.
Playoffs or no playoffs, the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers have been a glimpse at the future.
As this team grows together, a World Series is definitely possible. So, with the core the Brewers have already built, and the prospects on the way up, this team has the potential to be dangerous in the future. And hopefully, that future begins now.