Milwaukee Brewers: Why is Craig Counsell important for the rebuild?
By Paul Kuehn
In May 2015, Doug Melvin named Craig Counsell to oversee the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild. Counsell, who had had a long-playing career which included time with the Brewers, was chosen as manager for a number of reasons.
First Melvin and then David Stearns recognize that Craig Counsell’s playoff and previous rebuild experience, being a player’s manager, organization experience, and managerial record are assets and important for the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild.
Before joining the Milwaukee Brewers as a player, Craig Counsell scored the winning run in both the 1997 World Series while with the Florida Marlins and in the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was also NLCS MVP in 2001. While with the Brewers 2007-2011, Counsell appeared in both the 2008 and 2011 playoffs.
When the Milwaukee Brewers began a rebuild in 2004, Craig Counsell was starting shortstop for one year until J.J. Hardy came up and debuted in 2005. During the period 2007-2011, Counsell was a utility infielder who could play third, second, and shortstop. He was in Milwaukee when Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, and Yovani Gollardo were establishing themselves as Brewers stars.
A Player’s Manager
Craig Counsell had a long 16-year career. During his career, Counsell was a starter and also rode the bench as a utility infielder. In the 2011 season, he even experienced an 0-45 hitting slump. Drawing on all of these experiences, Counsell knows how to relate to his players.
Upon retiring after the 2011 season, Counsell accepted a position in the Milwaukee Brewers front office as an assistant to General Manager Doug Melvin. During the subsequent 2012-2014 period, Counsell learned about all of the players in the Brewers organization. He also observed all of Melvin’s successes and failures in signing and handling players.
Based on knowledge and experience, Melvin named Craig Counsell manager on May 4, 2015, after Ron Roenicke was fired. From 2015 through the 2017 season, the Milwaukee Brewers amassed a 220-241 record. It is significant that the team has improved each year. In 2017, the Brewers with an 86-76 record just missed getting into the playoffs.
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Craig Counsell’s playing experience, organization knowledge, and managerial record matter greatly for the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild.