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My 5 Favorite Moments in Brewers History

September 25, 2014

#1 – Last Out of the 1982 ALCS

cooper

My all time favorite memory of the Milwaukee Brewers is the last out of the 1982 American League Championship Series. In order to fully understand that moment, it is important to look at some moments that led up to this one.

After the 1980 season, the Brewers acquired Ted Simmons, Pete Vukovich, and Rollie Fingers from the St. Louis Cardinals. These players combined with Brewer mainstays Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas, and a host of others to secure the Brewers’ first postseason. They lost to the Yankees 3 games to 2, but the expectations had been set.

The 1982 season did not start out well. On June 2, they were tied for fifth place in the AL East, 7 games behind the Detroit Tigers with a 23-24 record. This is when the Brewers made a change and fired Buck Rodgers as manager, giving the job to Harvey Kuenn. Harvey’s Wallbangers were born and they stormed into first place by July 11.

wallbangers

At the end of August, the Brewers traded for Don Sutton. This would prove to be key at the end of the season. Just 3 days after that trade, closer Rollie Fingers tore a muscle in his arm and would be out for the rest of the season. Fingers’ absence would be critical in the World Series.

On October 1, the Brewers found themselves ahead of the second place Baltimore Orioles by 3 games with just 4 games left, all against the Orioles. They only needed to win one of the four to win their first divisional crown. They lost both games of a double header, 8-3 and 7-1. The next day, they lost again, 11-3. It was not looking good for the crew. They entered the last game of the season tied for first. Whoever won this game would go on to face the California Angels in the America League Championship Series.

Yount hit 2 home runs to help the Brewers to a 3-0 lead and Don Sutton pitched 8 innings, giving up 2 only runs and leaving the game with a 5-2 lead. The Brewers would score 5 more in the 9th and won 10-2. The Brewers were going to the ALCS!

The Brewers went to California and dropped the first two games, 8-3 and 4-2. They came back to Milwaukee with the knowledge that no team has ever come back from being down 2-0 and won a 5 game series. That did not seem to bother them as they won games 3 and 4, bringing up game 5 for all the marbles.

The Angels struck first with a run in the top of the first that was matched by a Brewer run in the bottom of the first. The Angels scored a run in the third and another in the fourth. Ben Oglivie hit a home run to cut the Angels lead to 3-2. With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Cecil Cooper hit a flair that dropped with the bases loaded, scoring Charlie Moore and Jim Gantner. Brewers lead 4-3!

cooper hitjpgJim Gantner and Charlie Moore

Bob McClure pitched a scoreless 8th and came out for the 9th with a one run lead. He gave up a single, prompting Kuenn to bring in Pete Ladd to finish the game. After a sacrifice and another ground out, there was a runner on second, 2 outs, and one of the best hitters in the game in Rod Carew coming up. Carew hit a hard ground ball to Yount at shortstop. Yount gobbled it up and threw on to Cooper at first. Cooper caught the ball and leaped in the air. The Brewers were going to the World Series!

cooper celebration

The Brewers ended up losing to the Cardinals in 7 games. Perhaps if Fingers was available, things would have turned out differently and I would have had a different number one memory. As it stands, the final out that got them to the World Series is definitely my favorite moment in Brewer history.

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From → Baseball, Brewers, MLB

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