Our series going through the best Milwaukee Brewers player to wear each uniform number continues.
For purposes of the list, we’re only taking a look at the player’s contributions wearing the number for the Brewers organization. If they were to change their number during their time in Milwaukee, they would be considered for a different number. Managers are not included in this list, as well.
Let’s keep it going with Nos. 16-20.
Jersey No. 16
Sixto Lezcano (1974-1980)
Honorable Mention: Domingo Santana
19 people in total have worn number 16 in the 50 years that the Milwaukee Brewers have been a franchise. Right fielder Sixto Lezcano wore the number from 1974-1980, and him, along with Mike Felder (1985-1990), were the two players that sported the number the longest thus far in the franchise.
Many young fans don’t often recognize this name, as Lezcano wasn’t a huge breakout Brewers star. Signed by the Brewers in 1970, Lezcano worked his way up the minor league system, making his major league debut in 1974 and then earning the starting right field job, which he kept through 1980.
A gold glove winner, Lezcano overall batted a .271 with 148 home runs and 1,122 RBI’s. He wasn’t known as a power hitter, but he did hit a grand slam on Opening Day in two different years. He was a key piece in one of the most important trades in franchise history, going to the Cardinals in the trade package for Pete Vuckovich, Ted Simmons, and Rollie Fingers. Once Lezcano was done with the Brewers, he went to play for the Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals and the Padres.
Jersey No. 17
Jim Gantner (1976-1992)
Wearing No. 17 the longest, Jim Gantner was one of the few players who spent their entire baseball career in Milwaukee as a Brewer. Gantner grew up in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin and attended UW-Oshkosh before being drafted by the Brewers in 1974. Gantner then made his big league debut in 1976.
He played all 17 of his major league career in Milwaukee, playing in 1,801 games, which is still 3rd-most in franchise history. He posted a career .274/.319/.351 slashline with 47 home runs and 568 RBI’s. Gantner never really delivered much power, but he was great defensively. He also is the leading Milwaukee Brewers second baseman in WAR at 22.5 for his career.
Gantner was a part of the 1982 World Series team where the Brewers unfortunately lost to the Cardinals in seven games, but Gantner would hit .333 with a triple and four doubles. 1983 was his best offensive season as he would hit 11 home runs, bat .282, and post a 107 OPS+. He retired in 1992 and currently is still involved with baseball in Wisconsin. No other Brewers player has donned the number 17 since Gantner’s retirement.
Jersey No. 18
Khris Davis (2013-2015)
Honorable Mention: Jason Kendall (2008-2009)
Commonly known as “Khrush”, Khris Davis was fairly solid in his short time with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a 7th round draft pick in 2009 and wouldn’t make his major league debut until 2013.
In his first season alone, he had a .949 OPS with 10 doubles and 11 home runs in just 56 games. Offensively, there was little doubt about Davis’ power. It had been his calling card for years. His defense in the outfield however? Not so much. He got dubbed the name “Noodle Arm Davis” for how weak his throws into the infield were. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t throw. He wrote an interesting piece in the Player’s Tribune about that issue a few years ago. Over 2014 and 2015, Khris Davis hit over 49 home runs, but by the end of 2015, it was becoming clear he needed a change of scenery.
When David Stearns was put on as the new GM, he thought that Davis would be better suited in the AL and move him to a full-time DH, a role he could not occupy in Milwaukee. Davis was traded to the Oakland A’s that winter in exchange for Jacob Nottingham and RHP Bubba Derby. It seemed like a good trade at the time, but neither prospect worked out well for the Brewers while Davis has thrived with Oakland.
Jersey No. 19
Robin Yount (1974-1993)
No one wore 19 like the legend himself, Robin Yount. A Hall of Famer, a Brewers legend, Yount was another player on this list that spent his entire baseball career in Milwaukee. He was a very versatile player, and that helped him win the American League MVP twice (both at different positions) and really helped establish himself as arguably the greatest Brewer of all time.
By age 20, he was already passing up Mel Ott in the longstanding record for most games played as a teen, that number being 243. Yount made his debut at age 18 as the starting shortstop with the Brewers.
In 1982, Yount helped lead the Brewers to the AL pennant and won a Gold Glove at shortstop. He also was a part of the 1982 World Series team where he batted .414 with a home run, six runs scored and six RBI’s in the games against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1992, He became the third youngest player in MLB history to get to 3,000 career hits and to this day, he still holds the Brewers’ record for games, at-bats, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, walks, runs, and total bases.
Robin Yount was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and his number is retired at Miller Park, hanging in the rafters forever.
Jersey No. 20
Gorman Thomas (1973-1982, 1983, 1986)
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Lucroy
“Stormin'” Gorman Thomas is the first player many Brewers fans think when they reflect upon who wore jersey No. 20. Many would consider Thomas to be a ‘feared hitter’ in his time in Milwaukee. He was Milwaukee’s first ever draft pick back in 1969 and spent over nine seasons with them.
Thomas is ranked third in Brewers history in home runs (208) and sixth in RBIs (608). In 1979, he led the league in home runs with 45, and would end up finishing seventh in MVP voting. He also go on to lead the league in home runs in 1982 with 39 long balls and another Top 10 MVP finish.
Thomas was a key part of that 1982 World Series team, but would struggle in the Series as he only secured three hits and three RBIs in 26 at-bats.
Jonathan Lucroy was giving Thomas quite the run for his money during his tenure here in Milwaukee, but was unable to surpass him. Lucroy had the edge in batting average, but the overall power and OPS+ numbers push the scales toward Thomas.
Stay tuned as our series will continue soon with a look at the best Brewers to wear jersey numbers 21-25.