- (For the circa-1900 major league baseball team once known as the Milwaukee Brewers, see Baltimore Orioles.) There was also a 20th-century minor league team named the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Milwaukee Brewers are a Major League Baseball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are in the Central Division of the National League. The Brewers were part of the American League through the 1997 season, after which they switched to the National League.
The franchise began its existence in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots, created as part of that year's MLB expansion along with Kansas City, Montréal, and San Diego. Much of the story of the Seattle Pilots' only year in existence is told in Jim Bouton's classic baseball book, Ball Four.
The team was purchased at the close of spring training on April 1, 1970 by an ownership group headed by Milwaukee auto dealer Bud Selig. At the time, with the ownership situation in a state of limbo, trucks carrying the team's equipment had been sent from Arizona to Provo, Utah, where they were to receive instructions about whether to continue to Seattle or Milwaukee. With completion of the sale, the Milwaukee Brewers were born.
The team was renamed the Brewers to honor Milwaukee's beer-brewing traditions. (The city had also hosted a major league team by that name in 1901 that then moved and became the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles), in addition to a minor league team with the same name in the first half of the 20th century.) With the season's opening day only six days away, there was not enough time to order completely new uniforms, so the club had to remove the Pilots logos from team uniforms and replace them with Brewers logos.
The city of Milwaukee already had a remarkable baseball history with the Milwaukee Braves producing such great players as Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, Joe Adcock, Del Crandall, Bobby Thomson, and Lew Burdette. The Braves, who played in Milwaukee from 1953 to 1965, were the pride of the city and won the World Series in 1957. The Braves also won the National League pennant in 1958, and lost a best-of-three playoff in 1959 against the Los Angeles Dodgers for a chance at a third consecutive league championship.
The Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season. Aside from a few Chicago White Sox home games relocated to Milwaukee in '68 and '69, the baseball void was not filled in old Milwaukee County Stadium until the Brewers arrived in 1970 from Seattle.
The Brewers franchise reached its pinnacle in the early 1980s. In 1981, the Brewers won the second half of the season (divided to due a players' strike) and played the New York Yankees in a playoff mini-series that they ultimately lost. It was the first playoff appearance for the franchise. In 1982, the Brewers won the American League pennant by defeating the California Angels 3 games to 2 in the American League Championship Series, becoming the first team to win a playoff series after trailing 2 games to 0. The Brewers then played the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Brewers started out strong, taking the first game of the series 10-0. Unfortunately, Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers had been injured prior to the postseason and relief pitching became a problem for the Brewers. St. Louis eventually triumphed in the series, winning 4 games to 3.
During the 1980s the Brewers produced three league MVPs (Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Robin Yount in 1982 and 1989) and two Cy Young Award winners (Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Pete Vuckovich in 1982). Yount is one of only three players in the history of the game to win the MVP award at two different positions (shortstop and centerfield, respectively).
Following their two playoff years, the club quickly retreated to the bottom of the standings, never finishing higher than fifth (out of seven) in their division from 1983 to 1986. Hope was restored in 1987 when, guided by rookie manager Tom Trebelhorn, the team began the year with a thirteen game winning streak. "Team Streak" eventually posted a strong third place finish, highlights of the year including Paul Molitor's 39-game hitting streak and the only no-hitter in team history, pitched by Juan Nieves on April 15.
On that day, Nieves became the first (and so far, only) Brewer and first Puerto Rican-born Major Leaguer to pitch a no-hitter, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 7-0 at Memorial Stadium. The final out came on a climactic diving catch in right-center field by Robin Yount of a line drive hit by Eddie Murray. The game was also the first time the Orioles were no-hit at Memorial Stadium.
In 1988 the team had another strong season, finishing only two games out of first (albeit with a lesser record than the previous year) in a close playoff race with four other clubs. Following this year, the team slipped, posting mediocre records from 1989 through 1991, after which manager Tom Trebelhorn was fired. In 1992, reminiscient of the resurgence which greeted Trebelhorn's arrival in 1987, the Brewers rallied behind the leadership of rookie manager Phil Garner and posted their best record since their World Series year in 1982, finishing the season with a 92-70 record and a second-place finish, four games behind the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hope of additional pennant races was quickly dashed, however, as the club plummeted to the bottom of the standings in the following year, finishing an abysmal 26 games out of first. Since 1992, highlights have been few and far between as the franchise has failed to produce a single winning season, having not fielded a competitive team due to a combination of bad management and financial constraints which limit the team relative to the resources available to other, larger-market clubs. It is hoped that with new management, structural changes in the economics of baseball, and the advent of revenue sharing the Brewers will become competitive once again.
In 1994, the franchise was placed into a new division with the restructuring which took place that year to accommodate the adoption of the new expanded playoff system. This restructuring entailed changing the composition of each league from two divisions to three, the result being that the Brewers were transferred from the old AL East division to the newly-created Central.
The team was transferred from the American League to the National League in 1998 during baseball's expansion and realignment. With the addition of two new franchises (Arizona and Tampa Bay), one in both the NL and AL, each league would have had 15 teams. Major League Baseball, however, wished to schedule interleague play, introduced the prior year, in designated blocks throughout the season. This required each league to have an even number of teams so as to not have single interleague games scattered throughout the year. It was therefore decided to have a 16-team National League and a 14-team American League, with the Brewers volunteering to be the franchise to switch leagues, moving to the NL Central division.
Miller Park was opened in 2001, built to replace Milwaukee County Stadium. The stadium was built with $310 million of public funds, drawing some controversy, and is one of the few professional sporting stadiums with a retractable roof. The park was to have opened a year earlier, however an accident during construction forced a year's delay.
On January 16, 2004, Selig announced that his ownership group was putting the team up for sale, to the great relief of many fans who were unhappy with the team's lackluster performace and perceived poor management over the prior decade. In September of 2004, it was announced that the Brewers had reached an oral agreement with Los Angeles investment banker Mark Attanasio to purchase the team for US$180 million. The sale to Attanasio was completed on January 13, 2005 at Major League Baseball's quarterly owners meeting.
The team secured its first non-losing record since 1992 on September 30, 2005, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brewers were down 5-0 fairly late in the game but came back to win 6-5 and post a guaranteed .500 record with 81 wins. Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates hold the longest losing streak in all of sports with 13 consecutive losing seasons.
- Founded: 1969 (American League expansion)
- Formerly known as: Seattle Pilots (Sick's Stadium) (1969). The franchise relocated to Milwaukee and changed its name prior to the 1970 season.
- Home ballpark: Miller Park, Milwaukee (2001 ~ current; capacity 42,500), Milwaukee County Stadium (1970~2000)
- Uniform colors: Midnight Blue, White, and Gold
- Logo design: The word "Brewers" in script superimposed over a baseball which itself is inside a circle with the word "MILWAUKEE" above and a pair of crossed barley stalks below
- Official Team Mascot: Bernie Brewer
- All-Time Record(at the end of the 2005 season): 2,761 wins, 3,100 losses (.471 winning percentage)
- The Brewers won this pennant while a member of the American League.
Current 25–man roster
- Much of the 1989 film Major League was filmed at County Stadium, including the movie's final game (which was filmed between innings of a Brewer game). Former Brewer Pete Vuckovich appeared in the film as a power hitter from New York, and Brewers announcer Bob Uecker played the Indians announcer.
- One of the most memorable events of the 2003 season occurred at Miller Park on July 9th. During the Brewers' "Sausage Race," in which four contestants wearing sausage costumes have a footrace on the field, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon leaned over the dugout railing and hit college student /sausage Mandy Block with a bat, knocking her to the ground; Block suffered only a scraped knee. Simon was arrested, charged, and fined for disorderly conduct. He was also suspended by Major League Baseball, and would issue an apology to Block.
Minor league affiliations
- AAA: Nashville Sounds, Pacific Coast League
- AA: Huntsville Stars, Southern League
- Advanced A: Brevard County Manatees, Florida State League
- A: West Virginia Power, South Atlantic League
- Rookie: AZL Brewers, Arizona League
- Rookie: Helena Brewers, Pioneer League
- Rookie: VSL Brewers, Venezuelan Summer League
- Milwaukee Brewers: All-Time Team
- Brewers award winners and league leaders
- Brewers statistical records and milestone achievements
- Brewers players of note
- Brewers broadcasters and media
- Brewers managers and ownership
- Milwaukee Brewers official web site
- Detailed story of the Pilots and their move to Milwaukee
- BrewerFan.net Most Popular Unofficial Brewer Fan Site