The Mount Rushmore Of The Milwaukee Brewers
By David Gasper
With the MLB season on standby, now is a good time to look at the Mount Rushmore of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.
Mount Rushmore, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, features the faces of four prominent U.S. Presidents who were instrumental in the history of the country: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
If they were to make a Mount Rushmore for the Milwaukee Brewers franchise, who would be on it? Who are the four most important, most instrumental people in the history of the franchise that were either key people off the field or fantastic players on the field?
Here’s our list of who is deserving to be on the Brewers Mount Rushmore.
1. Bud Selig
Any creation of a Brewers Mount Rushmore has to begin with Allan “Bud” Selig. Selig led the charge to bring baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves left for Atlanta in 1965. His persistence and perseverance in getting a franchise for this city is the reason that we have the Brewers today.
After trying to get an expansion franchise in the late ’60s and not getting one, the Seattle Pilots went bankrupt in 1969. Heading into the 1970 season, the Pilots did not know where they were going to play until Selig acquired the franchise in bankruptcy court and moved the team to Milwaukee just ahead of Opening Day.
Selig remained the owner of the franchise until the mid-90s when he took over as Commissioner of Baseball.
It’s fitting that Selig goes in the spot that George Washington occupies on the real Mount Rushmore. If it wasn’t for Washington leading the army in the Revolutionary War, winning independence, and becoming the first President, we wouldn’t have the United States of America.
If it wasn’t for Bud Selig, we would not have the Milwaukee Brewers. We would not have had baseball in Milwaukee for the past 50 years. He led the charge, he fought the battles, and he won, creating the Brewers and enriching the lives of everyone in Milwaukee.
Bud Selig is the single most instrumental person in the history of this franchise, and he goes first, because no one else could have followed him on this list if he didn’t achieve his goal of bringing baseball to Milwaukee again.
2. Bob Uecker
Someone who has also been with the Brewers an extremely long time is Bob Uecker. Ueck has been in the Brewers radio booth every season since 1971. He played for the Milwaukee Braves in 1962 and 1963 and his playing days ended in 1967.
Uecker is synonymous with Milwaukee and Brewers baseball. His sense of humor is as famous as he is, and many of us grew up listening to Uecker on the radio, calling Brewers games. He has been, and always will be the “Voice of the Brewers”.
Known as Mr. Baseball, Uecker has been in movies, TV shows, and various pop culture phenomena. His trademarked home run call “Get up, get up, get outta here, gone!” sits above Bernie’s chalet in left field at Miller Park. He’s done commercials, he’s been involved in team promotions, and he has two statues at Miller Park; one outside the stadium, and one in the “front row”.
Ask anyone who isn’t a Brewers fan what they know about the Brewers and one of the first people they’ll mention is Bob Uecker. A legendary broadcaster, and a National Baseball Hall of Famer, Ueck is extremely deserving of inclusion on the Brewers Mount Rushmore.
3. Robin Yount
Robin Yount is the only Brewers player to have his number retired and have never played for another franchise. Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and Hank Aaron all played for other teams, but Yount did not.
Making his debut as an 18 year old in 1974, Yount began his 20 year career as a Brewer at shortstop. Yount had some solid, but unspectacular offensive years during the 70s, but “The Kid” was still very young. He began to hit his peak years at the same time the Brewers were hitting their peak years in the early 1980s, and that’s no coincidence.
In the World Series year of 1982, Yount hit .331 with a league-leading 210 hits, league-leading 46 doubles, 29 home runs, 114 RBIs, as well as league-leading .957 OPS, and league-leading 167 OPS+. Yount also won the Gold Glove at shortstop in 1982 and the MVP award. It’s pretty easy to conclude that Yount had an instrumental part in the most successful season in Brewers franchise history, getting the club to their only World Series appearance so far.
Midway through his career, Yount shifted from shortstop to center field, and then he won a Gold Glove and an MVP award out there. He finished his career with 3,142 hits, which still leads franchise history. Yount also leads most offensive categories in franchise history, including WAR, doubles, RBIs, extra-base hits, and runs created, among others.
Yount brought the Brewers into relevancy, and was a star player for this franchise for 20 seasons. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot with 77.5% of the vote.
Yount is the best player in franchise history, and is the first player on our Brewers Mount Rushmore.
4. Ryan Braun
As turbulent as his Brewers tenure has been, Ryan Braun is deserving of a spot on the Brewers Mount Rushmore.
The fifth overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, Braun rocketed through the minor league system, making his debut in 2007, and swatted 34 home runs with a .324 batting average en route to the Rookie of the Year award.
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In 2008, with the Brewers looking to end a 26 year franchise playoff drought, Braun helped lead the Crew to the postseason for the first time since 1982. He also signed an eight-year contract extension to keep him in Milwaukee long-term. A few years later, in 2011, he signed an additional five year contract to stay in Milwaukee through the end of the decade.
A superstar outfielder that made five straight All-Star game appearances, Braun had his best year in 2011, hitting .332 with a .994 OPS and 33 home runs, and leading the Brewers to their first NL Central division title. He helped lead the Brewers to the NLCS, where their pitching did them in.
However, that 2011 season was tainted after a positive PED test towards the end of the year, which Braun beat on a technicality, and then went on a revenge season in 2012 where he had a career high 41 home runs. Everything caught up with him in 2013 as the Biogenesis scandal broke open and Braun was suspended for 65 games.
Since then, Braun has been a model citizen and model teammate, accepting his role as the veteran leader as the team went through a rebuild process starting in 2015. His stats never recovered to his pre-2012 levels, but he’s still been a solid contributor over the past few seasons.
Ryan Braun has played a prominent role in three Brewers playoff runs, the most of any player in franchise history, and that should count for something. He’s the franchise leader in home runs, and has been with the Brewers for the entirety of his 13 year career. He was a superstar that wanted to stay in Milwaukee and brought the Brewers back into relevancy.
Despite all the off-the-field issues in the early 2010s, Braun is an extremely important member of the Brewers franchise, and he has given fans so many great moments over the years, that he deserves the final spot on the Mount Rushmore of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Even though Christian Yelich is probably a better overall player than Braun, and even Yount has said Yelich is more talented than he was, it’s simply too early. Yelich has had two great seasons in Milwaukee, to be sure, but it’s not quite enough time to be put on Mount Rushmore yet. If he continues like this over the next 9-10 years, Yelich will certainly push himself on there.