The Milwaukee Brewers will formally unveil the “Brewers Wall of Honor” at Miller Park today. The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. A total of 36 former Brewers players will attend today’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.
A private ceremony for inductees, their families and special guests will take place at 4 p.m. and the wall will be available for viewing to the general public beginning at 6:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony honoring the inductees will take place on the field prior to the game.
The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark. Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.
Players who meet any of the following criteria while wearing a Brewers uniform will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:
- 2,000 or more plate appearances
- 1,000 or more innings pitched
- 250 appearances as a pitcher
- Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
- Manager of a pennant-winning team
- Individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
- Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers
Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria and will be recognized on the Brewers Wall during the 2014 season. In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria. Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added to the Wall of Honor.
A total of 38 honorees are scheduled to attend the event six honorees will be represented by family members. The complete list of players who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony today is as follows (attendees subject to change, those who will be present for the event are in BOLD, those who will be represented by a family member at the event are in ITALICS and those not able to attend the event are in PLAIN text):
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
Note: John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement. Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
Fans Can Vote at MLB.com; Award Recognizes Most Outstanding Offensive Performers in Each League
Hall of Fame Panel Led by Hank Aaron Includes Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount
Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media announced that Carlos Gomez was named the Milwaukee Brewers nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.
Fans can vote exclusively online at MLB.com (VOTE RIGHT HERE! http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/fan_forum/haa/y2013/index.jsp) and the 30 Club sites. For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.
Gomez batted .284 with 27 doubles, 10 triples, 24 home runs, 73 RBI and 40 stolen bases (all career highs) in 147 games. The speedy center fielder was selected to his first All-Star Game and ranked among the National League leaders in triples (T2nd), stolen bases (4th), slugging percentage (7th, .506) and extra-base hits (T8th, 61). Gomez, who was the only player in the Major Leagues this season with 20+ HR and 35+ SB, became the first player in franchise history with 20+ HR and 40+ SB in a season. He led the Brewers in doubles, home runs, extra-base hits, total bases (271) and slugging percentage and tied for the team-lead in runs (80) and triples. In addition, his 12 assists ranked second among Major League center fielders in 2013.
The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers – who combined for 17,629 hits, 8,278 RBI and 1,723 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.
Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.
“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”
The finalists for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award are:
Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).
The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.
The Milwaukee Brewers will include 10 All-Fan Bobblehead Dates on the promotional schedule during the 2013 season. All bobblehead dates are scheduled on Sundays and the collectibles will include current and former players.
The first bobblehead, presented by Robert Haack Diamonds, will feature leadoff batter Norichika Aoki on the first Sunday of the season – April 7 against the Diamondbacks. Aoki led all National League rookies in stolen bases (30) and tied for the NL rookie lead in hits (150) and outfield assists (8) while ranking among the leaders in numerous statistical categories. (BN note: Aoki finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting.)
The second bobblehead is scheduled for April 21 against the Cubs when former first baseman George Scott—presented by Toyota—isfeatured with his five Gold Glove awards as a Brewer from 1972-76.
On May 5 against the Cardinals, the Brewers will pay tribute to the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, who played in the American Association from 1902-52. Corey Hart—presented by Kwik Trip—will be showcased in a 1913 Brewers uniform to honor the 100th Anniversary of the team’s first American Association championship. The American Association Brewers won eight pennants during their 51 seasons of existence.
A Ryan Braun bobblehead, which will honor his 40/30 season in 2012, is set for May 26 vs. the Pirates and is presented by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Braun followed up his 2011 MVP season with 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases to become just the ninth member of Major League Baseball’s 40/30 Club. This will be the third Brewers bobblehead for Braun (also 2008 and 2009).
Carlos Gomez will get his first Brewers bobblehead, presented by Time Warner Cable, on June 9 against the Phillies. The collectible will include Gomez in a Cerveceros uniform (“Cerveceros” is the Spanish translation for Brewers and the team has worn Cerveceros uniforms during the Cerveceros Day celebration in each of the last seven seasons).
The Brewers will host Polish Heritage Day on June 23 against the Braves and all fans will receive a Klement’s Famous Racing Sausage Polish Bobble, presented by Klement’s Sausage. Polish Sausage will be featured wearing a “Piwowarzy” jersey, which is the Polish translation for Brewers.
The first player in MLB history with a 40/30 season was Hank Aaron as a member of the Milwaukee Braves in 1963. He finished that season with 44 home runs and 31 stolen bases. On July 7 against the Mets, a Hank Aaron bobblehead will commemorate his 40/30 season in a Milwaukee Braves uniform. It marks the third Aaron bobblehead to be given away at Miller Park (also 2002 and 2010).
Harvey Kuenn, who was named American League Manager of the Year in 1982 after leading the Brewers to the World Series, will be featured with a bobblehead on August 4 against the Nationals.
The month of September will include a pair of former outfielders – Gorman Thomas and Ben Oglivie.
Thomas was the first player selected by the Seattle Pilots in the first round of the 1969 June Draft and as such, his bobblehead will feature him in a Pilots uniform on September 1 against the Angels.
On September 15 against the Reds, Oglivie will round out the bobblehead schedule. This will mark the first full-size Brewers bobblehead of the three-time All-Star.
In a press release about the sale of Brewers 4-game Holiday Packs, there was some information included about some of the bobbleheads for next year. This prompted me to look up the rest of the information which has been shared elsewhere, but not here.
- The Ryan Braun bobblehead will be in commemoration of his 40 HR/30 SB season.
- Likewise, Hank Aaron’s bobblehead will commemorate his 1963 40/30 season as a member of the Milwaukee Braves and will feature him in a Braves uniform.
- Corey Hart will be featured in a “1913 Brewers” uniform.
- Gorman Thomas will don a 1969 Seattle Pilots uniform in his bobblehead.
- The bobblehead for George Scott will feature him holding five Gold Gloves, representative of the five such awards he won during his five-year stint with the Brewers.
- The Polish Racing Sausage will be given away in conjunction with “Polish Heritage Day” at Miller Park. As such, he’ll be wearing a “Piwowarzy” jersey which is Polish for “Brewers”.
- Carlos Gomez will be featured in a gold alternate “Cerveceros” jersey which the team has worn the past couple of years on Cerveceros Day at Miller Park in honor of Hispanic heritage.
The Hank Aaron Awards were given out recently. One winner from each league is chosen and, prior to Game 3 of the World Series, the respective American and National League winners of the award were honored in an on-field ceremony at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
Fittingly enough, the home team’s third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, was selected as the winner in the American League. He earned the Triple Crown in the AL which no doubt factored in heavily.
The winner in the National League was also present, of course, but because he was set to play in the game that evening as well. Buster Posey of the NL Champion San Francisco Giants was named as the winner for the senior circuit, much to the confusion of yours truly.
Don’t get it twisted, Buster Posey had a fine year. A year which arguably saw him as the most valuable player in his league. But “value”, as it is argued in baseball circles, is not the goal of the Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award is described thusly, as lifted from MLB.com:
“This coveted honor is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in both the American League and National League. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.”
Did you catch that part about the “best overall offensive performer”? It’s right there in the first sentence. If you missed it, go ahead back and read it again.
Buster Posey, ladies and gentlemen, was not the National League’s best overall offensive performer in the 2012 regular season. He “won” the batting title after his teammate Melky Cabrera asked to be made an exception to the qualifications of the title, this is true, but as we all know from 2011 simply winning the batting title doesn’t garner you the Hank Aaron Award. Otherwise Jose Reyes would have been shaking hands with Hank Aaron instead of Matt Kemp.
So how exactly does one get selected as the “best overall offensive performer” anyway? Well, part of the problem is that there isn’t anything “exact” about it.
As currently constructed, fan voting counts for 50% of the vote while a five-man panel that consisted of Aaron, and fellow Hall of Fame members Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Robin Yount make up the other half.
We all know after the debacle that was the All-Star Game voting this year that Giants fans know how to stuff a ballot box, but the fact that the fans can even influence this award at all is ridiculous. Fans are biased.
“But aren’t you just being a biased Brewer fan by writing this in the first place?”
Fair question, but that helps make my point. In it being a necessity to have evidentiary support for my point as to maintain some semblance of neutrality in this matter, the statistics do all the backing up needed.
Here are the full-season stat lines for both Braun and Posey. See if you can guess which line was produced by which player.
Player A: .336/.408/.549, 178 H, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 39 2B, 1 3B, 69 BB, 96 K, 172 OPS+, 1 SB, 78 R
Player B: .319/.391/.595, 191 H, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 36 2B, 3 3B, 63 BB, 128 K, 159 OPS+, 30 SB, 108 R
Again I’ll state that Posey, Player A above, had a terrific offensive season. He really did. However, when comparing Posey’s line to that of Braun’s (yes, Player B), how can you argue superiority for the Giants’ catcher?
The biggest issue is that we’ll never know how close it was nor how the voting played out among the five-man panel, but in the opinion of this avid baseball fan, there are shenanigans afoot.
It seems obvious that the collective consciousness of certain individuals is still flawed as it is at best heavily influenced by a scientifically-invalid urine sample from 12 months ago.
That’s a shame and those men who have allowed it to cloud their judgment, influence their analysis, and apparently ultimately impact their award voting should be so ashamed.
Those last two sentences apply even more so to the BBWAA members charged with honoring a player as most valuable.
We’ll just have to see where the winter takes us and when another year of excellence is produced by a certain Brewers superstar, perhaps the fog of confusion can begin to dissipate.
For now, the results of the 2012 Hank Aaron Award voting has left me under that same fog’s veil.
They are inviting fans to play along in a guessing game of sorts where the Bernie Brewer twitter account (@Bernie_Brewer) will post a silhouetted image of the subject of the bobblehead in the morning with some clues. You play along by tweeting back with your guess and a #GUESSBREW hash tag.
Then, later the same day via various official Brewers social media outlets, the subject will be revealed.
The official webpage for the revealing is: http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/mil/fan_forum/bobbles.jsp, but I’ll keep track of them all right here as well.
We can easily see that there will be one sausage bobble as has been the norm the last several years.
The schedule of reveals is as follows:
- Bobblehead #1: CLUE: This Brewer will turn 31 in January of 2013. – Guess: Norichika Aoki – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #2: CLUE: This Brewer played his entire career in the AL. – Guess: George Scott – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #3: CLUE: Wore a Brewers uniform his entire career. CLUE: Has played in 14 career postseason games. – Guess: Corey Hart – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #4: CLUE: Wears a number that has been worn by a total of 20 players in team history. Silhouette Only Guess: Ryan Braun (Updated: Still guessing Braun. http://brewernation.mlblogs.com/2012/06/09/milwaukee-brewers-uniform-number-history-8) – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #5: Silhouette Only Guess: Carlos Gomez – CLUE: The player is active on Twitter. – Guess unchanged. – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #6: Silhouette Only Guess: Polish Racing Sausage – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #7: CLUE: Today’s featured player began and ended his career in Milwaukee. CLUE: Played his first and last all-star game with Milwaukee. – Guess: Hank Aaron – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #8: CLUE: Features a Wisconsin native. Guess: Only three Wisconsinites are famous enough to warrant a bobblehead at this point. One (Bob Uecker) had one last year. That means that this should be either Jim Gantner or Harvey Kuenn. CLUE: This player never played for the Brewers. Updated Guess: Obviously Gantner played for the Brewers. My guess is Harvey Kuenn! – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #9: CLUE: This player goes back to the Seattle Pilots days. Guess: Gotta be Stormin’ Gorman Thomas! Who else from that era still warrants a bobblehead? CLUE: This player still has a presence at Miller Park. (Yup!) – CONFIRMED!
- Bobblehead #10: November 9 – CLUE: Was on the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers. Guess: Far too many to properly say anything definitive, but based on the silhouette I know several players who it is not. CLUE: This player once played professionally in Japan. Guess: Ben Oglivie
So there you have it!
All 10 of the bobblehead subjects for 2013 have been revealed! What do you think of the choices? Which one are you looking forward to the most? Vote here: http://wp.me/p1wIvV-98Ls
Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?
The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.
#44-Retired for Hank Aaron
Hank Allen (’70)
Gorman Thomas (’73-’74)
Hank Aaron (’75-’76)
Courtesy of Hammerin’ Hank and Jackie Robinson, today is the only day out of three that sees a new entry in the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” season preview series.
I do hope that you’ve been enjoying reading about the men who likely have the most say in the fortunes of the 2012 Brewers, along with some who will contribute down the road a bit.
Today we are six weeks plus one day shy of Opening Day 2012 at beautiful Miller Park. Since there are seven days in a week that means, math majors, that Opening Day is a mere 43 days away.
Think back to last season a bit and envision who wears #43 when he takes the field…or I suppose just dart your eyes an inch or so up your viewing device and read the title again.
Either way, today belongs to:
With the distinction of being the final name on the Brewers 40-man roster when listed alphabetically by surname, Randall Christopher Wolf also owns the offering du jour in Brewers camp this spring so far with his fellow starters. His cut fastball is being tinkered with by both Chris Narveson and Zack Greinke.
But more on Wolf’s repertoire in a minute.
First, let’s remind ourselves about Wolf’s physical characteristics. He’s a left-handed throwing starting pitcher who also bats left-handed. Wolf stands 6’0” tall and weighs in, at last update, 205 pounds. He was born on August 22, 1976 in West Hills, California which makes him 35 years old.
Coming to Milwaukee as a free agent in the winter of 2009/10, Wolf signed a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth season as a Brewer. 2012 is the third and final guaranteed year of his contract so his performance this season will obviously go a long way in determining where and for how much his 2013 season will play out.
Naturally, if Wolf is fantastic the Brewers will exercise their option and keep Wolf in town. If he struggles, the team may choose to decline bringing back a 36-year-old pitcher who might be nearing the end of his career. Wolf, though has three things working in his favor meaning he’ll likely find a job in 2013 if he wants one.
After all, Jeff Suppan keeps getting work.
Those three things are his command, his durability, and his handedness. When Wolf’s body no longer will endure the rigors of starting, he’ll absolutely have the option of a “second career” in the bullpen. If you throw left-handed and can get left-handed hitters out, there is a job for you. I could definitely see Wolf finishing out a solid career with bullpen work like former Brewer LOOGy Brian Shouse. It would only be a matter of whether Wolf would want to pitch in the bullpen.
Those things are a little ways off though, so instead of dwelling, let’s take a look back at Wolf’s career highlights, his 2011 season in Brewer blue, and then glance at what his 2012 might hold.
A 13-year MLB veteran at this point, Wolf has seen a lot in his time but there are a couple of things he’s yet to experience, for example, playing in the American League. More than that, Wolf hasn’t tasted the World Series. He came to Milwaukee, in part, because of the window of opportunity he saw here.
Some of that opportunity was realized last year with a division crown, 96 wins, and a decent showing in the NLCS. More lies ahead though.
How much more for Wolf can be tied back to a trade to Houston, of all places, during the 2009 season. Following an All-Star appearance in 2003 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Wolf had been a middling starter at best for parts of five seasons through his time with San Diego in 2008.
Given Wolf’s fly ball pitching tendencies, one would think that a job at notoriously pitcher-friendly Petco Park would lend itself well to Wolf. The opposite was true, and Wolf compiled a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts for the Padres, allowing 6 home runs in 11 home starts, before being sent to the Astros.
His first start with Houston was against the Brewers at Miller Park, an outing which saw Wolf last only 4.1 IP after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks, including one homer.
But it was in Houston where Wolf made a mechanical adjustment in his pitching that made all the difference and extended his career to the point where, after the Los Angeles Dodgers took a chance on a one-year contract for 2009, the Brewers were willing to offer a multi-year deal which Wolf accepted.
In the second year of that multi-year contract, Wolf went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings in 2011. Those numbers were the result of some good luck as Wolf’s xFIP was 4.47 and his strand rate 75.9%. His BABIP against was .286 in 2011 which is better-than-average for a pitcher.
People have enjoyed pointing to regression for Wolf each of the past couple of seasons since his numbers improved after his adjustment, usually citing some combination of xFIP, BABIP, and/or strand rate. While it might be luck that repeats itself, Wolf has been keeping a lot of those numbers relatively consistent.
To paraphrase an exchange between and the Abigail and Ben Gates characters in National Treasure 2, she is like the sabermetric community in saying that when results are good despite the peripherals, it’s luck. To which Randy Wolf would snarkily reply, “I get lucky a lot.”
For the Brewers sake, hopefully Wolf has at least one more season of “luck” left in him. Nothing he’s done over the past two years should make us think otherwise, but for the record both Bill James’ projections and ZiPS have Wolf finishing 2012 with an ERA near 4.00. (James says 3.94 while ZiPS checks in at 4.04.)
As far as Wolf’s immediate outlook for the new season, expect more of what you saw to finish 2011 insofar that he’ll pitch fourth in the rotation, have a personal catcher who isn’t his personal catcher, and finish with a low double-digits win total.
He’ll continue to work off of his four-seam fastball/change up combination, the cutter which Fangraphs seems to have labeled as a slider, and his slow eephus curve.
Wolf will continue to often match up against other team’s fourth starter, giving the Brewers a decided edge against most teams in the league when it comes to pitching ability from that slot.
Also working in Wolf’s favor for a strong 2012 campaign is that he doesn’t have to go into Spring Training games worrying about the rotation’s order or composition. He can focus on getting himself ready. Getting ready to go in the spring is what it’s there for, in the end.
Hopefully by the end of the regular season, though, Wolf and the rest of his teammates will be getting ready for another trip to the playoffs.