Brewers Numerical History: #0/00

Last Post: #58

There have been three Brewers who have worn the lowest of uniform numbers.  In a sport that originally assigned uniform numbers based on batting order, there wasn't much room for zero.  It is a number that has rarely been worn on any team.  That holds true today, as not a single player wears zero.   This lack of zeros is not limited to baseball; zeros are also rare in football and basketball.

There are actually two separate zeros available on uniforms: 0 and 00.  Given the rarity of players willing to wear zero, it is unlikely a team would ever have a #0 and #00, but I have to assume it would be allowed.  In the team's four decades in Milwaukee, the Brewers have seen one player wear single zero and two wear double zero.

The first zero in Brewers history was found on the back of left fielder Jeffrey Leonard.  By the time he reached Milwaukee, Leonard had spent over a decade in the majors with the Dodgers, Astros, and Giants.  In 1987, he made his first All-Star team and followed that successful season with an excellent NLCS.  He went 10 for 24 with four home runs while getting under the skin of the Cardinals and their fans before the Giants fell in the seventh game of the series.  Despite the Giants' loss, Leonard was named NLCS MVP.  Leonard brought his "one flap down" home run trot and #00 to Milwaukee following a June 1988 trade for nfielder Ernie Riles.  Leonard didn't find much success in Milwaukee, hitting just .235 with eight home runs in 94 games down the stretch.  He signed with the Mariners as a free agent following the season and bounced back to make the All-Star squad in 1989.  He was released by the Mariners after the 1990 season, ending his career.

Before the 1990 season, the Dodgers traded backup first baseman/outfielder Franklin Stubbs to Houston in exchange for pitcher Terry Wells.  Wells made five starts for the Dodgers before departing the majors for good.  Stubbs, meanwhile, rewarded Houston with a career year, hitting .261 with 23 home runs.  During his six years in Los Angeles, Stubbs had hit just .227/.294/.401.  Stubbs was able to parlay his good season for the Astros into a then-princely three-year, $6 million deal from the Brewers.  Unsurprisingly, he returned to his Dodgers form, hitting .213 with eleven home runs in 1991.  Perhaps hoping to change his luck, Stubbs switched to #0 before the 1992 season.  The remedy was ineffective and his contract was bought out after he put up a .229/.297/.368 line with nine home runs.  He resurfaced with the Tigers in 1995, but did not return to the majors after that season.

In 1992, the Colorado Rockies selected prospect Curt Leskanic in the expansion draft.  Leskanic started a few games for the Rockies in 1993 and 1994 with limited success before being moved to the bullpen in 1995.  He led the league with 76 appearances in 1995, over half the 144-game schedule, with a fine 3.40 ERA and ten saves.  He wasn't quite able to recapture that success in Colorado over the next four years.  That didn't stop the Brewers from acquiring the righthander before the 2000 season in exchange for lefty Mike Myers.  Despite a penchant for walks, Leskanic did well wearing #00 in 2000, putting up a 2.56 ERA in 73 appearances and recording 12 saves after closer Bob Wickman was traded in July.  He recorded seventeen saves the following season before losing all of 2002 to injury.  He returned in 2003 with a new number (#33) and had good results before being traded to Kansas City (where he had even better results).  Leskanic struggled with the Royals in 2004 before being released and joining the Red Sox for their World Series run.  That was his final season in the majors.  He currently works as a scout and presumably still avoids his cousin's concerts.

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