Racing Sausage Region
(1) Craig Counsell vs. (4) Alex Grammas
Craig Counsell is entering his 6th year as the Brewers manager and is seeing great success. After taking over for Ron Roenicke early in 2015, Counsell oversaw the rebuilding process for that roster. Counsell is known as being open to new ways of doing things, especially with pitching. He’s valued position versatility and creative thinking as a way to handle roster problems and has managed to win more games than everyone expects with the roster he has.
Counsell has taken the Brewers to back-to-back postseason appearances, the first time in franchise history since 1981-82, but he’s the first manager to accomplish that task. Buck Rodgers got the Brewers there in ’81 but Harvey Kuenn took the Crew to the postseason in ’82. Counsell is one of the longest tenured managers in baseball and has some job security moving forward.
Alex Grammas was the manager for Milwaukee in 1976 and 1977. Grammas was the third base coach for the Big Red Machine and a good one at that. As a manager, well, he was a good third base coach. Despite having some good talent on the team in the mid-70s, Grammas could not get the team to more than 67 wins in a season, finishing in 6th place both years.
Grammas had a 133-190 record as manager and was replaced following the 1977 season by George Bamberger.
(2) Tom Trebelhorn vs. (3) Jim Lefebvre
Tom Trebelhorn managed the Crew from 1986-1991 and had some good years at the helm. He took over for Bamberger for nine games in ’86 and then had the full job from ’87 onward. As most Brewers fans will remember, the 1987 season started off with a 13 game winning streak and included a no-hitter from Juan Nieves.
The Brewers won 91 games that year but finished in third place. In 1988, the Brewers also had a solid showing and finished in third place, winning 87 games. Trebelhorn has the fifth-highest winning percentage among managers in franchise history and has the third-most total wins.
Jim Lefebvre only managed 49 games for the Crew, filling in as the interim manager in 1999 after Phil Garner was fired. In those 49 games, the Brewers went 22-27, as he bridged the gap to Davey Lopes who took over the next year. Lefebvre wasn’t horrible and didn’t really have too much to work with in that 1999 season. It’s hard to blame him for how that team finished, especially when that roster wasn’t going anywhere to begin with.
Lefebvre also has the highest ejection ratio of any Brewers manager, getting ejected three times in his 49 games, which is just over 6.1% of the time.
Voting on these matchups will happen on our Reviewing the Brew Twitter account over the next several days. Be sure to vote to see who moves on in our bracket of the best managers in franchise history.