brewers baseball and things

and in 1971, the Brewers select ____________


The Seattle Pilots and Kansas City Royals both joined the American League in 1969; same year the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos joined the National League.

Same starting gun for four teams; same collective bargaining agreement; same draft rules; same signing bonuses; same everything.

The Pilots did fairly well in their first and only year in Seattle or well in comparison to Montreal and San Diego who both lost 110 games. Seattle also did better than Cleveland and Philadelphia who lost 99 games.

Kansas City went 69-93 in 1969 and became the quickest to climb above .500 and quickest to make the playoffs. That all happened in 1976. The other three teams; including Seattle followed a similar course through the 1970’s; one losing season after another; but by 1978; things started to change. Both San Diego and Milwaukee enjoyed winning seasons and Montreal did as well the following year.

Montreal was also very competititve between 1973 and 1975; nearly reaching .500 all three seasons, but the Brewers and Expos both reached the playoffs for the first time in the strike shortened 1981 season; San Diego not until 1984.

In those early years; draft picks played no role in any of the four team’s success or failure, but the Seattle picks would soon change that with Gorman Thomas from 1969 and Porter-1970. Kind of rare to hit the sort of jackpot in two consecutive drafts.

The Expos had high hopes for Balor Moore; their number 1 pick in 1969. He was a lefty and cruised through the minor leagues with sparkling numbers; but arm injuries derailed his promising career.

The Expos selected Barry Foote the following year and he turned out to be a serviceable catcher for more than a decade. He couldn’t hit but I assume he was a decent defender. He was probably the end or beginning of  a lot of jokes too; being a catcher with that last name.

49fc595e_davisThe Padres and Royals didn’t do too well in the 1969 and 1970 drafts. I guess it was inevitable or Murphy’s Law or something that Milwaukee would fall back to earth in 1971 and they did; picking Tommy Bianco with the third overall pick. He did  reach the majors and is still the only one to ever do so from New Rock land ville Center, NY

A cup of coffee for him. He appeared in the big leagues as a Brewer in 1975; 12 games and 34 at bats; 6 hits for a not so sexy .176 batting average, but he started at first base on Sept 27 against the Detroit Tigers.

It was the second to last game of the season and Bianco reached base with two singles; one against Vern “Golden” Ruhle. He also scored two runs and struck out twice.  The Brewers won 5-2 and Bianco never played in the major leagues again.


Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

10 thoughts on “and in 1971, the Brewers select ____________

  1. Steve, I never heard of Rockland Center, New York and I had the feeling that you meant Rockville Centre, New York. Sure enough, I looked it up. Bianco was born in Rockville Centre, New York, which is near Baldwin, New York, which is where I grew up from the 2nd grade on. He graduated from Sewanhaka High School, which it says in Baseball Reference is in Elmont, New York but is actually in Floral Park, New York. In other words, since it says he was born in Rockville Centre, New York, he was probably born in the only hospital there, which is Mercy Hospital. I was there in the emergency room in the same hospital that Bianco was born in once or twice. Baldwin High School used to play Sewanhaka High School in football and in other sports.

    Incidentally, Rockville Centre is also where Sandy Koufax spent part of his childhood.


    • In fact, the house right in back of OUR house was in Rockville Centre. In other words, just like Sarah Palin could see Alaska from her backyard, I could see Rockville Centre from our backyard. In fact, when we’d play throw a baseball (back to the baseball theme) in our backyard, my friends and I often had to go into the backyard of the people who lived behind us to get the ball. The people behind us lived in Rockville Centre in a big house that I used to joke made our house look like their outhouse.


    • There’s a Richland Center, Wisconsin and I think a shoe company called Rockport; headquartered in Maine and a Barry Foote selected by the Expos, but still no joke to go with his name? Thanks for the correction Glen!

      • It’s spelled Rockville Centre, not Rockville Center. Who gives a shit, anyway. Call it Rockville Center.

        Yeah, I thought that Barry Foote was a funny name. Kind of like Rockville Centre instead of Rockville Center, Barry Foote with an “e” at the end.

        George Carlin had an album called “Occupation: Foole”. In the album, he said that when he’s filling out an application for something, where it says “Occupation”, he puts “foole”, and puts an “e” at the end, just like Rockville Centre and Barry Foote. Carlin said on the album that he puts the “e” at the end of “foole” just to piss them off.

        Barry Foote is an athlete. Athlete’s Foote.

        Speaking of names, you mentioned Vern Ruhle. I remember him pitching for the Astros when I was a teenager, and when he came into a game, I immediately thought of Vern LAW (Pittsuburgh Pirates, 1950s, and father of Vance Law). Vern LAW. Vern RULE. A law and a rule are pretty much the same thing.

        As you can see, I had a very exciting teenager-hood that I had time to think of these things. I should have been out chasing tail.


    • It’s always interesting to know where players are born and their places of death too for visits to the tombstones and what not. I once looked up Hall of famers places of birth and if I remember right; many were from Pennsylvania; more than any other state. That surprised me because of the cold weather, but maybe the location of teams had a lot to do with young kids getting into baseball, but then again, so many players were born in Oklahoma; not necessarily HOFers, but so many players and even more from Pennsylvania.

      • A bunch of those Okies came out of the Dust Bowl 1920s and ’30s. Baseball was a lot better than trying to farm in Oklahoma then. Sorta like various ethnic groups using baseball as a way out of their “ghettos”.

        • Thanks v. I’m reminded of a Woody Guthrie recording; an intro to a song about the dust bowls; him sitting around in Oklahoma when a dust storm gathers and things get real dark and in a big hurry and a lot of the folks fundamentalists and thinking the end is here.

  2. As far as I know, there is no such place as either Rockland Center or NEW Rockland Center. You might want to change it before you piss off Joey Bianco and his goon squad.

  3. That’s an interesting point, V, about the Dust Bowl. I guess it was either baseball or California.


  4. Tommy, don’t go back to Rockville.

    I’ll see myself out.

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