Greatest Catchers in Milwaukee Brewers history #3: Dave Nilsson
Dave Nilsson got off to a little bit of a slow start to his career, after being the starter in 1993 and 1994, Nilsson played second fiddle to Joe Oliver in 1995 and Mike Matheny for the next three years. In 1999, Nilsson got the starting gig back and put together a fantastic season.
Despite not being the opening day starter in 1996, Dave Nilsson played a pretty strong season, batting an impressive .331, a high number for any batter, much less one who endures the wear and tear of crouching behind the plate for nine innings. In 1996, Nilsson also got on base at a .407 clip, another impressive number, while slugging .535 for an again, impressive, .932 OPS. One of the best seasons by a Brewers catcher to that point and one of the best since.
Nilsson's 1999 season was his best and also his last. In 1999, Nilsson batted .309 and was on base 40 percent of the time. Nilsson also slugged .554, posting a .954 OPS. Arguably one of the most productive hitting seasons by a Brewers catcher in franchise history, his 141 OPS+ is a mark not reached by any other Brewers catcher. Nilsson also hit 21 home runs that year and drove in 62 runs. This performance garnered him an All-Star selection.
Nilsson retired to leave Major League Baseball and play in his home country of Australia following his lone All-Star appearance.