Major League Baseball makes game notes, press releases, headshots, and media guides available at the MLB Pressbox on MLB.com. The information is usally updated for the new season sometime during spring training, but for now you can get the Brewers 2008 media guide in PDF form here. While some parts of the guide are in need of updating following last season, the history & records section is still full of interesting trivia. In the spirit of Jeff's Friday Night Trivia, here are a couple things I ran across while looking through the media guide.
Think through all the players in Brewers history. Focus on the good hitters, or at least the patient ones. See if you can come up with the Brewers' single-season walks record holder. Maybe I don't remember the 1990's enough, but I was surprised who it was. Topping the list with 99 walks in 2000 was none other than right fielder Jeromy Burnitz. That was the year Burnitz hit 31 HR with 98 RBI and fellow outfielder Geoff Jenkins hit 34 HR with only 94 RBI. The lack of power outside of those two helped prop up Burnitz's walk totals: he was walked intentionally ten times. He also was hit by 14 pitches, giving him a lovely .232/.356/.456 batting line. That wasn't the only year Burnitz drew a bunch of free passes, however. Since the Brewers franchise began in 1969, only five different players have reached 90 walks in a year. Burnitz is the only one to do so twice, walking 91 times in 1999 to go with his 99 in 2000. The others are Richie Sexson (2003 - 98), Gorman Thomas (1979 - 98), Tommy Harper (1969 - 95), and Prince Fielder (2007 - 90).
Do you remember when the Brewers had pinch hitter extraordinaire Lenny Harris on the team? The former infielder now holds the MLB record for most career pinch hits and the Brewers helped him get there by giving him a franchise record 72 pinch hit at bats in 2002. He rewarded the Crew with a franchise record 22 pinch hits that year. But that's not surprising - it was his job. What caught my eye about the pinch hitting numbers was one of the career marks. In 72 pinch hit at bats with the Brewers, ex-center fielder Brady Clark had 15 pinch hit RBI during his four years in Milwaukee. Coming into 2008, this led all Brewers pinch hitters, even career pinch hit (31) and at bat (96) leader Charlie Moore. This record will have to be updated for next year's media guide, though. That's because a certain veteran Brewer surged past Clark with one swing of the bat on a balmy St. Louis night in August. On August 26, the Brewers rallied in the 9th to put up a 10-0 lead over the Wild Card challenger Cardinals. With one out and a runner on third, Bill Hall strode up to the plate in place of pitcher David Riske. Hall drove the third pitch from Jaime Garcia into the center field bleachers, giving him career PH RBI #16 and #17.
If Hall starts 2009 as part of a platoon at third base, he'll have a great chance to supplant Moore as the franchise's career pinch hit at bats leader. Hall is sitting on 93 for his career, only three behind Moore. The hits record is a different story: Hall has only 18 pinch hits in his career, thirteen behind Moore.
Finally, I want to point out one record on the mound: lefty Dan Plesac holds the franchise record for saves in a career with 133. Given he was Milwaukee's closer for a few years and a middle reliever for a couple others, it shouldn't be surprising that he holds the record for most blown saves with 45. Did you know he also holds the record for most blown saves in a season? In 1987, the year of Team Streak, Plesac saved 23 games for the Crew, but blew 13 saves. For the first two months of the year, Plesac was golden, converting 13 of 14 saves and putting up a 0.70 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. After June 6, however, he saved 10 games while blowing 12. Eventually rookie Chuck Crim was used to help nail down games. It wasn't that Plesac was jaw-droppingly awful, though, as he put up a 3.52 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings after June 6. He just gave up runs at inopportune times. He came back to save 30 games while blowing only 5 the next season, so it's not as if his troubles carried over through the offseason.
That's all I've got out of the Milwaukee record book for now. Page through (or scroll through) the team's media guide and see what you can find.