brewers baseball and things

Mt. Muchmore

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There must have been some talk of 100 miles in 1973. That’s how far Wounded Knee, South Dakota is from Mount Rushmore.

In 1973, the Oglala Lakota Sioux and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded Knee; scene of the massacre December 29, 1890.

The occupation lasted for 71 days; from February 27-May 8; from pitchers and catchers reporting to May day regular season; scared the FBI enough to send in troops. There must have been some talk of messing with mug shots 100 miles away; smearing red paint lipstick on Thomas Jefferson or eye shadow to Teddy Roosevelt; getting rid of George Washington and Warren Spahn all together.

Did I say Spahn? I meant to say Abraham Lincoln. Schnozes and hats; I get confused. There must have been some talk about the Baltimore Orioles 1971 and four pitchers winning 20 games in the same season. The AIM members came from all over North America. It was a pan Native American Movement; all tribes welcome including Winnebago from Wisconsin.

Black Elk promised. He was a second cousin of Crazy Horse and an Oglala Lakota Sioux medicine man, so it’s no wonder the Milwaukee Brewers drafted position players for five consecutive years and only in their 6th year of existence-1974 did they select Butch Edge beginning a string of three consecutive pitchers. Edge was followed by Richard O’Keefe and Bill Bordley.

It was time to realize the Lakota Sioux definition of Mount Rushmore; Six Grandfathers; to draft and develop six pitchers worthy of being carved into a rock face, but no need to carve the actual image; the vision always enough; never know about relocation and contraction; Trail of Tears, the Etruscans and Phoenicians, Nero and the Montreal Expos; genocide after genocide; since 1996 over 5 million people killed in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The irrelevance of the first round; of it being a Milan runway super legs fade away, but those other girls tucked away working cashier jobs at a 7/11 in Racine, Wisconsin. They last.

Butch Edge pitched 51.2 innings for Toronto in 1979  Richard O’Keefe never surfaced in the major leagues but there is a Canadian beer with his last name. Bill Bordley pitched 30.2 innings for the Giants in 1980. Bordley was honored as chief of MLB security in 2011 and that’s cool, but please let us kids and adults run wild on the diamond when our team wins.

Ok, so 1974 wasn’t the time for the Brewers to chisel all time great pitchers into mountain side mind. It would be many years before any picks made it that far and not a first rounder either. Even teams with more Brewer years under their wampum belts and already 6 pitchers carved….even those franchises scan the spring training horizon for a new one in the mist..

In 1977, the Brewers surrendered their short-lived experiment and returned to tradition; the elders echoing “draft position players; draft shortstops” and so Paul Molitor was the fourth shortstop drafted in nine Brewer years; not that surprising since the best athlete typically plays shortstop and easily shape shifts into other positions.

Gorman Thomas became an outfielder. Tommy Bianco became a used car salesman or something. Robin Yount did double duty; first at short and then center field and Paul Molitor played third, second, outfield, first base and in a quiet under tone-dh, but all of them originally shortstops.

Molitor was voted into the HOF in 2004; five years after long time Brewers teammate Robin Yount enjoyed the same honor….book ends of Hall of Famers; same franchise first round draft picks; rare…..Black Elk rare.

Molitor played 15 years in Milwaukee and then 3 more with Toronto and 3 more with Minnesota. 

Molitor was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and that’s not too far from Milwaukee or Toronto so Molitor played all 21 years close to home and he was fantastic; finishing with a .306 average and .369 OB% to go along with 3319 hits including 114 triples and 605 doubles, 234 homers.

He was the ignitor; by far the greatest lead off hitter to wear a Brewers uniform.

 

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Author: Steve Myers

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

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