Brewers Flashback: Jeff Cirillo
Whether their talent wasn’t shown due to a poor performance by the team on the year, or the athlete was simply forgotten about, some former Milwaukee Brewers deserve their recognition for their hard work and talent as we continue our flashback series with Jeff Cirillo.
Often called the “dark ages” of Milwaukee Brewers baseball, the 1990’s weren’t very fun for the Crew, often struggling to stay competitive and show that they wanted the title. But, there were a couple of things worth talking about that shined some light on them within the dark days.
One of the best players of that era was Jeff Cirillo.
An 11th round pick from University of Southern California in 1991, Jeff Cirillo had made his Major League debut just three years later in 1994. In his first season, he appeared in 39 games. In 1995, Cirillo posted .277/.371/.442 in just 384 plate appearances. He was starting to show some promise for Milwaukee.
1996 was arguably be Jeff Cirillo’s best season. Posting a .325/.391/.504 slash line with 15 home runs, 83 RBI’s, and a career-high OPS of .894.
Cirillo would go on to make his first All-Star appearance in ’97. He also posted a .288/.367/.426 slash line in 661 plate appearances and had a little bit of a decline with his OPS, down to .793, but it was still above average.
In December 1999, Cirillo, along with Scott Karl, were sent to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Henry Blanco and Jamey Wright. The Oakland A’s were also involved in that deal and sent Jimmy Haynes to the Brewers in exchange for cash. 2000 would give Cirillo another All-Star appearance and he posted .326/.392/.477 with an OPS of .869, 11 home runs and a career-high 115 RBIs.
He was then traded from Colorado to Seattle in 2002, where fans saw a little bit of a decline from Cirillo but he returned to Milwaukee in 2005 as a bench player.
Jeff Cirillo is one of three players in franchise history that’s appeared in 500 games or more at third base. Cirillo was the kind of player that rarely struck out and was simply looking to make contact.
After spending eight years in Milwaukee, Cirillo bid his farewell. In his final year, Cirillo hit .319 and retired with Arizona in 2007. Although he isn’t a name such as Christian Yelich that people think and go, “Yeah, he’s definitely the face of baseball”, but he had an impact on the Brewers in a time where they really weren’t on their A-Game when it came to competing.
Cirillo was recognized for his efforts by being an inductee to the Brewers Wall of Honor in 2014.