When I was a kid, I loved collecting baseball cards just as much as the next kid. I probably knew more about baseball from collecting cards than watching the actual games. I’m still pretty sure I gave my uncle a Ken Griffey Jr. card worth money for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Casey Jones action figure. Who does that to a kid?
Anyways, one of my first memories of card collecting was one day getting a B.J. Surhoff card. But he was wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey. I was confused. This couldn’t be. Surhoff was a Milwaukee Brewer! It’s true, B.J was a Brewer from 1987 to 1995. He was then an Oriole from 1996-2000. The former first overall pick played for several teams, but it will always be stuck in my brain that he was a Brewer. It’s weird which players stick with you that long.
Lots of players have come and gone throughout the organization, including players who ALMOST became Brewers. Remember when Wilmer Flores from the New York Mets was told he was going to be a Brewer, then cried because he didn’t want to leave the team and the deal never went through? That actually worked out for the Brewers, who ended up getting Josh Hader from the Houston Astros instead.
But plenty of players, some All-Stars and some random, have come and gone.
There are so many to list, but here are some former Brewers that some fans might have left the old memory bank at some point.
Brewers players you might have forgotten: Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz was originally sent to Milwaukee in December of 2004 from the Oakland Athletics along with RHP Justin Lehr. The Brewers sent over Keith Ginter, an infielder who would be done in MLB after the next year. Nelson would make his MLB debut that season. On September 17, 2005, Cruz made his debut for the Brewers. His first hit came on September 28th.
In 2006, he played in Nashville for the Triple-A team. On July 28th, he was included in the trade to the Texas Rangers with Carlos Lee. The Brewers received back Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Julian Cordero. It was maybe one of the worst trades the Brewers ever completed.
Cruz would go on to be a seven time All-Star, four time Silver Slugger, ALCS MVP in 2011, AL home run leader in 2014, AL RBI leader in 2017, and is still one of the best power hitters in baseball. Last season, the Dominican Republic native had a .265 average with 32 home runs and 86 RBIs and the age of 41.
He will turn 42 this year, and will no doubt be a designated hitter for some lucky team this season. If the universal DH is passed, I know a certain team that had him for a short while that could use a power hitter…