|Brewers honor 'Harvey's Wallbangers' World Series team in reunion|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 14 August 2007 15:45|
The Brewers hosted a 25-year reunion of what remains the only World Series team in franchise history before Monday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, honoring 26 former players and coaches - including the team's current manager, Ned Yost - at Miller Park.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who owned the team in 1982, spoke of the joy the Brewers brought to the city despite falling short of their ultimate goal.
``I'll tell you this: The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers will go down as one of the great teams in baseball history,'' said Selig, who received polite applause from the crowd.
Former Brewers slugger Ted Simmons, one of the 1982 team's clubhouse leaders, said the Brewers might have lost the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games, but their fans certainly never made them feel that way.
``Wisconsin Avenue, when it was all over, greeted us in a way that only champions were greeted,'' Simmons said in an interview session before the game. ``And what I think every one of us will remember.''
The heavy-hitting, hard-charging, mustache-wielding 1982 team was nicknamed ``Harvey's Wallbangers'' in honor of manager Harvey Kuenn. Broadcaster Bob Uecker introduced Kuenn's widow, Audrey, to the crowd.
``I cry every time I talk about it,'' Kuenn said of the 1982 team. ``But anyway, I hope you fans stick by the Brewers we have now, and I think you'll have a winner too.''
The Brewers - who led the N.L. Central by 1 1/2 games going into Monday - and the visiting Cardinals both wore throwback replicas of their 1982 uniforms for Monday's game.
``I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I speak for most of us in saying that this team here would probably be the highlight of all our careers,'' Hall of Famer Robin Yount said.
Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton described the team as ``two altar boys, four guys that had just escaped from Attica State Prison and the rest of us.
``It brought a collection of personalities and people, from the quiet guys to the rambunctious guys to just about any personality you wanted to find,'' Sutton said.
Sutton said it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a similar cast of colorful characters in today's game because media scrutiny has become more intense.
``It's politically incorrect now to be that kind of characters,'' said Sutton, now a television broadcaster for the Washington Nationals. ``I'd get fired now if I called guys the names we called each other. I'd be covering a cattle auction in South Alabama now.''
As this year's Brewers team tries to recapture some of the 1982 team's winning ways, Yount said he is impressed by the quick development of the Brewers' current crop of young players.
``There's a lot of young kids still on that field that are playing just about as good as anybody in the game, and that's great to see,'' said Yount, a former member of the Yost's coaching staff. ``The progress has been really fast for a lot of these kids. They're right in the middle of a pennant race, which is great.''
Yost - who shed his current No. 3 jersey to wear his old No. 5 jersey for the pregame ceremony - said he hasn't gotten a whole lot of advice from his former teammates on how to handle this year's team.
``(Just) what we've been doing the whole time - let them play,'' Yost said.