Every 25 years or so, the baseball gods throw a bone to Milwaukee. Or so it would seem.
Fifty years ago, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. Twenty-five years ago, the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers went to their only World Series, but came up one game short of a world championship.
So, will 2007 be the year the Brewers return to post-season play? We can only hope, and as the great Bob Uecker is fond of saying, "Hope springs attorney."
Bud Lea, former Milwaukee Sentinel sportswriter and the vice president of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Society, is concerned that the Brewers' silver anniversary will drown out the half-century celebration for the 1957 Braves.
After all, the people who are old enough to remember the Braves are fewer in number every year, and the players also are fading away. Former Braves pitcher Lew Burdette passed away just this week.
The historical organization, which is the brainchild of former Braves shortstop Johnny Logan, is inviting the 22 surviving members of that '57 club to come to Milwaukee to attend a banquet on Aug. 30 at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Northern Lights Theater. Former Braves star Henry Aaron is among those committed to attending the banquet, Lea said.
However, Milwaukee's corporations and the community in general have been slow to support the Braves' anniversary, Lea said.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, the only time you're going to see these guys together. We're having a tough time convincing people. Fifty years -- I think maybe people have forgotten," Lea said.
Tom Kaminski, treasurer of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Society, said, "That's going to be the last chance. It's important for the city."
Kaminski said they will attempt to reenact the Braves' celebration parade, ending at a monument for the team that is erected along the third base line of Helfaer Field, the youth baseball diamond in Miller Park's parking lot.
Kaminski, who was an assistant to the traveling secretary for the Braves as a young man, is hopeful they can persuade the ESPN Classic cable television channel to cover the team's reunion.
Lea, Logan and Kaminski are fine fellows. But they're not professional fundraisers or marketers. They need the help of the public relations agencies in this town and anyone else who could volunteer for the cause. If you can help them, call Kaminski at (414) 347-1212.
By contrast, the Brewers have the full marketing resources of a modern Major League Baseball team, and they're using them.
Regardless of how the team performs on the field, the Brewers' front office is hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. And that work is paying off, as the Brewers' season ticket sales are 15 percent ahead of last year's pace, according to Tyler Barnes, the team's vice president of communications.
Last year, the Brewers drew more than 2.3 million in attendance, and Barnes is confident they'll surpass that total this year.
With youngsters such as shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Ricky Weeks returning from injuries to complement centerfielder Billy Hall and first baseman Prince Fielder in a potent lineup, the Brewers' hot stove league is heating up. And the flame was stoked even higher when the team recently signed free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan.
"We're optimistic that the season will have improvement over last year. People certainly have very high hopes," Barnes said.
The Brewers will be celebrating that 1982 team's accomplishments throughout this season.
The team and Major League Baseball Productions are digging through their vaults and will produce a 60-minute DVD documentary that will capture the pennant fever that swept Milwaukee during that magical summer. "Harvey's Wallbangers: The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers," which will be narrated by Uecker, will go on sale for $24.95 on April 10.
The Brewers plan to book a Milwaukee-area movie theater for an advance showing of the documentary, Barnes said.
The Brewers also are producing a companion DVD that will feature Game Five of the Brewers' 1982 American League Championship Series against the California Angels in its entirety. That win capped a remarkable comeback and propelled the Brewers into the World Series.
Visitors to Miller Park will be reminded about the 1982 season throughout the upcoming season:
- Every Friday home game, fans will receive a five-inch bobblehead featuring a member of that 1982 club.
- The Brewers will have "Retro Fridays," when the team will wear its alternate home uniforms with the pinstripes. The jerseys will feature a special patch with a logo commemorating the silver anniversary of the American League pennant on the sleeve. New merchandise featuring that logo also will be available at the Miller Park Fan Zone store.
- The Brewers are planning a two-day reunion celebration for members of the '82 club on Aug. 13-14. The festivities will include a charity golf outing (for more information, call Patty Harsch at 414-902-4585).
"We have planned a number of very special events and activities related to the 1982 championship team, from special giveaways and promotions to appearances all summer long in and around Miller Park," said Rick Schlesinger, executive vice president of business operations. "It all culminates with a reunion of the entire organization from 1982 during our August series against the Cardinals."
The Brewers will give away nesting dolls featuring the likenesses of Braves legends Aaron, Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews on Sept. 2.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published July 23, 2014
If you do a Google search for the phrase "bowling is a dying sport," you will discover that folks have been predicting the demise of keggling since the dawn of the digital age.
Published July 18, 2014
The Milwaukee Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force invited business leaders from Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland to discuss a new arena, mass transit and other infrastructure projects in Milwaukee.
Published July 9, 2014
Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are times when the customer is not worth the drama, and the customer must be fired.
Published June 25, 2014
Kay Plantes, an MIT-trained economist, author and expert on business model innovation, recently predicted the next big wave of innovation in health care.
Published June 11, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to open up recently proposed rules concerning the future of the Internet for public comment. The changes could end net neutrality.
Published May 29, 2014
To many of my colleagues in the baby boom generation, the rising generation of millennials is a mystery.
Published May 15, 2014
Could Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy Corp. or Madison-based Aliant Energy Corp. become takeover targets for renowned investor Warren Buffett? Possibly, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg.
Published April 30, 2014
When Harry S. Dennis III walked into the room, more times than not, he was the smartest guy in that room. So it is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that I inform OnMilwaukee.com readers that Harry passed away on Sunday, April 27, from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.
Published April 22, 2014
After a national search, Marquette University decided that the best candidate to be its next president was sitting in an office five miles across town. Sources said it was Marquette that pursued Michael Lovell, rather than the other way around. After all, Lovell will leave behind a strong legacy of achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Published April 18, 2014
Sheboygan-based Johnsonville Sausage LLC says it is "as much amused as it is surprised" that the European Union, in negotiating the terms of a new trade deal with the United States, is pushing to trademark several different foods - including bratwurst - that have originated in an EU country.