Ryan Braun recently announced his retirement prompting fans, writers and players to look back on the controversial career of the Milwaukee Brewers slugger.
There was persistent hope that Braun could rejoin the team at some point during the season. After the all-star break was a popular guess among fans, however on September 14th Ryan Braun announced his retirement. The Milwaukee Brewers will be having a Ryan Braun appreciation day on September 26th. Let’s take a look at what Ryan Braun’s career means to Brewers fans.
Coming up with other beloved Brewers
Ryan Braun was a home grown talent, drafted fifth overall in the 2005 MLB draft. Braun was in the first prospect group to pan out in a long time for the Crew, and he stuck around.
Braun made his major league debut on May 25th, 2007, two years after fan favorites Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and JJ Hardy. While these players will always be looked back on fondly, Braun set himself apart from the others by sticking around. Fielder, Weeks, and Hardy combined for five all-star appearances as members of the Milwaukee Brewers. Ryan Braun himself had six all-star appearances in his tenure with the Brewers.
Magical 2008 season.
Ryan Braun had a fantastic 2008 season, finishing third in the MVP voting, Braun was actually ahead of 2008 NL MVP Buster Posey in home runs and runs batted in. However, that wasn’t the biggest source of pride for Milwaukee Brewers fans in 2008 as the team returned to the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.
Ryan Braun was a main contributor to the Milwaukee Brewers getting into the postseason in 2008, with an unforgettable grand slam against the Pirates to complete a 5-1 win. The call by Brian Anderson and the eruption of the crowd still induces chills.
Then just three days later, Braun launched another clutch home run, this one however not a walk off but clutch nevertheless, putting the Brewers ahead 3-1 over the Cubs and setting up CC Sabathia up to finish another complete game and send the Brewers to the wild card game without having to play a tiebreaker game.
The Milwaukee Brewers lost to the eventual champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 but with the aide of guys like CC Sabathia and Ryan Braun, the 2008 Brewers had given fans some new memories to call upon.
2011 MVP and Playoff return
Ryan Braun put together a strong 2011 season and became the first NL MVP in Milwaukee Brewers history and the first MVP for the franchise since Robin Yount in 1989. What makes Braun’s MVP even sweeter is that he beat out Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp who also had a strong case for MVP.
Braun batted .332/.397/.597 in 2011 with 33 home runs and 111 runs batted in, he also lead the NL with a .994 OPS (on base plus slugging). Braun also stole 33 bases in 2011 becoming just the second Brewer ever to have a 30-30 season, Tommy Harper was the other in 1970.
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The 2011 Milwaukee Brewers, led by MVP Ryan Braun finished the regular season with a franchise record 96 wins and their first division title since 1982, meaning the Milwaukee Brewers became the first franchise ever to win a division title in the American League and National League.
The 2011 season ended again at the hands of the eventual champions and division nemesis St. Louis Cardinals but just like 2008, the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers had given fans new memories.
Ryan Braun’s relationship with Christian Yelich
Finally, for a more modern example of what Ryan Braun has done for Milwaukee, is his relationship and influence with Christian Yelich. Braun and Yelich are both from California and worked together teaming up on the California Strong charity to help residents of their native state through tragedies they faced.
In an article written by Adam McCalvy, Yelich told Brewers radio broadcaster Lane Grindle on the Brewers On Tap podcast that he “bounced a lot of stuff off Brauny”. Yelich also mentioned that his career trajectory has been similar to Ryan Braun’s.
Ryan Braun spent his entire career in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and when Christian Yelich was thinking about a contract extension, Braun was able to tell Yelich all about how great of a place to play baseball Milwaukee is, and helped convince Yelich to sign that extension and stay in Milwaukee for his career.
A great and endearing fanbase, great ballpark and a great manager in Craig Counsell, Milwaukee is a great place for someone to spend the rest of their career. Christian Yelich is locked in with the Crew for a long time, let’s hope we get some playoff memories from Christian starting in 2021.