Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Five and a Half Brewers Items for a Five and a Half Game Lead

Holy Hell! It's All-Star night and the Brewers are nine games above .500 and have a 5.5 game lead on the sputtering Chicago Cubs! 

And it's 2017... the year when just about every expert in the world picked the Brewers to finish somewhere near the bottom of the National League. How can this be?

I hadn't really been sold on this Brewers team until the past couple of weeks. Their series in New York against the whatever team it is that Aaron Judge plays for showed that they are both talented and resilient. They've developed a bit of swagger as of late, and I hope to hell they can keep it up. This is a very fun team to watch and they make it a lot of fun to be a fan.

To celebrate, I'm gonna pluck five and a half items from my non-card Brewers collection and share them with the blogosphere. Away we go...

First up, appropriately, is a ticket from the 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park. Like tonight's affair, the game went into extra innings. Unlike tonight's game, the managers didn't act like morons and burn through all their pitchers. I was at the game (my god, I was just 20 years old then) and, despite the tie, it ranks among my greatest in-person baseball memories. Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds is still one of the coolest things I've ever seen live. Sadly, the ticket suffers from some paper loss. I kept it in the lanyard I got at the game for way too long and it pulled some of the ink off when I finally removed it. 

Next up is a 1977 Brewers program cover. I got this at an antique shop here in Milwaukee for a buck. And I believe that it contains a Charlie O. Finley autograph. I have no real of knowing, but it looks pretty close to other examples of his sig and I have no idea why anyone would fake such an autograph on a Brewers game program. It's reasonable thinking that Charlie O might have traveled with the club to Milwaukee and, with his flamboyant style, certainly would have drawn some attention and some autograph seekers. It's a pretty cool item, but I'm not really sure what to do with it. For now, it sits in my TTM binder.

Number three is actually an item from the old minor league Brewers, who played in Milwaukee until 1952. Before the 1953 season, they were chased out of the city (and denied a chance to play in brand-new County Stadium) when the Braves moved west. This is a program that I have dated to the 1952 Little World Series and was likely purchased at one of the final games every played at Borchert Field.

Batting fourth is Harvey Kuenn... or rather a coaster from Harv and Aud's Ceasar's Inn signed by the AL Rookie of the Year, batting champ, 8-time All Star and pennant-winning manager. During the 1982 season, Harvey and Audrey Kuenn lived in the back apartment of Caesar's, the bar that the couple ran. It's a bit surreal to imagine today, a big league skipper keeping (and living at) a corner bar just over a mile from the ballpark. I wrote a piece on Harvey a while back and I think it's one of the better things I've written.

Number five is this way-cool poster of the 1989 Brewers, a team that many picked to win the AL east (they did not). Not much to say about this other than that it is HOT AWESOMENESS. 

And for the half, we have half of a bolt. But not just any bolt... this was a bolt from County Stadium. I went to a game there in 1999 and when I sat down in my seat, somewhere in the lower grandstand, it damn near fell apart. I took a look at it and saw that the thing was barely hanging on to the concrete block. Jiggling it a bit, this half-rotted bolt fell out. I kept the bolt and moved to one of the other 40,000 or so seats in the park that were empty that afternoon. Miller Park is fine. But I really do miss that old dump. 

Thanks for reading and here's a great second half!

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