Brewers Numerical History: #2

Last Post: #61

There have been fewer Brewers players to wear #2 than you might expect.  When Joe Inglett made his first appearance in the 2010 season, he became just the twelfth Brewer ever to do so in a regular season game.

The first Brewer to wear #2 was Ted Savage, born Ephesian Savage on February 21, 1937, in Venice, Illinois.  Over a nine-year career as a major league outfielder, he amassed 321 hits and 34 home runs in 642 games.  He managed to play for eight teams in his career, moving from place to place while not living up to the promise of his rookie season.  At least not until 1970.  After being purchased by the Reds just two days before the season opener, Savage played wel in Milwaukee, socking twelve home runs and stealing ten bases while putting up a respectable .279/.402/.482 batting line as the team's fourth outfielder.  The good times were not destined to last and he was shipped to Kansas City after an ice-cold start to the 1971 season.

The number did not stay empty for long, as three weeks later Bob Heise was acquired in a trade with San Francisco.  Heise, who found regular playing time, if not success, with the Giants after three cups of coffee with the Mets, spent three years as a utility infielder for the Brew Crew.  Demonstrating why he never quite earned a starting job, he hit just .251/.282/.289 in just under 600 PA during his three seasons in Milwaukee.  In his 499-game career, he hit a grand total of one home run, off the Padres' Danny Coombs.

Follow the jump for the other nine players!

After Heise was traded following the 1973 season, Bob Sheldon took his number to begin the 1974 season.  Drafted out of Loyola Marymount University in 1972, he started the season just 2 for 17 at the plate and was demoted for the rest of the year.  He came back to hit .287/.338/.337 in exactly 200 PA in 1975.  After another two months with the Brewers in 1977 (wearing #21), he was out of the majors for good.

In 1979, second baseman Lenn Sakata donned #2 for all of four games.  He had appeared in parts of the 1977 and 1978 season but hit far too poorly to stick in the majors, even at the keystone.  In his four games in 1979, however, spread out over the last two weeks of September, he was 7 for 14 with two doubles.  That fine performance earned him a trade to Baltimore, where he was later involved in one of the quirkier innings of all time

By 1983, it was clear that #2 deserved a player who would wear it proudly for more than one season.  Into the void stepped Randy Ready, a second baseman drafted out of Mesa State College in Colorado.  He started out at third with the Brewers, but eventually also appeared in the outfield and at second base.  After a torrid start to his career, hitting .405 (15 for 37) over twelve late-season games in 1983, he cooled down significantly.  He ultimately hit .240/.311/.374 through 1986 as a Brewer but found better success in San Diego and Philadelphia.

As Ready was finishing his career with the Brewers, Kiki Diaz was making his debut.  The Puerto Rican shortstop appeared in five games at the end of the 1986 and then found himself marooned in AAA Denver.  He made it back to the majors, wearing #2, as the team's backup shortstop in 1990.  He ultimately started 66 games and actually hit better than the starter, Bill Spiers.  Still, his .271/.338/.298 line was hardly inspiring, and he never appeared in another major league game.

The Brewers' #2 jumped to another islander in 1992, this time appeared on the back of Dominican second baseman William Suero.  In 33 games split between the 1992 and 1993 seasons, he was 7 for 30 with one double.  He started five games at second base for the Brewers and became a free agent after the 1993 season.  After one season at AA and AAA for the Pirates, he was out of minor league baseball.

In 1994, another long-term occupant of #2 arrived on the scene.  Jose Valentin actually made his debut in 1992 but didn't stick for good until 1994.  Over his six full seasons and parts of two others with Milwaukee, the Puerto Rican shortstop socked 90 home runs and stole 78 bases along with a .240/.323/.421 batting line.  He had the dubious honor of leading the league in errors committed in 1996, with 37, though he also led the league in Range Factor as a shortstop in his rookie season.  After six years of wearing #2, he was traded to the White Sox along with Cal Eldred for ex-Brewer Jaime Navarro.  Valentin hung around the majors with the White Sox, Dodgers, and Mets through 2007.

If you can catch, even just a little bit, you can carve out a pretty nice career for yourself.  Tyler Houston certainly did.  After bouncing from the Braves to the Cubs to the Indians, Houston signed with the Brewers as a free agent before the 2000 season.  Splitting time between first base, third base, and catcher, he hit 18 home runs with 43 RBI in just 305 plate appearances.  On July 9 of that season, he hit three home runs against the Detroit Tigers, making him the eighth and final player to hit three moon shots in one game at County Stadium.  In 2001, his batting line jumped to .289/.343/.472 as his playing time dropped slightly; he still finished with a dozen home runs.  No longer catching by 2002, he was hitting .302 when the Brewers traded him to the Dodgers, where he struggled to close out the season.  After one more year in the majors with Philadelphia, his career was over.

In September 2002, 1998 6th round pick Bill Hall made his debut for the Brewers.  After a couple seasons showing some power and speed but also inconsistency, he broke out in 2005, hitting .291/.342/.495 with 17 home runs and 18 stolen bases while splitting time between second, third, and short.  He built on that campaign with an even better 2006, hitting .270/.345/.553 with an astounding 35 home runs after taking over at shortstop for the injured JJ Hardy.  He was rewarded for his breakout seasons with a four-year, $24 million contract.  Unfortunately, he did not live up to the deal.  Whether or not he struggled with moving to a new position every year or trying to live up to his deal, the fact is his offense rolled steadily downhill following the 2006 season.  By 2009, he was in a platoon at third base and was traded to Seattle in August after hitting just .201 in 76 games.  Though his four-year deal made him a lightning rod for criticism as he struggled, he remains just one of 18 Brewers with 100 career home runs for the team. 

In January 2010, the Brewers made an interesting waiver claim.  Seeking a veteran bat off the bench, as well as infield depth, they picked up Joe Inglett from the Texas Rangers.  (The Rangers would later return the favor by claiming infielder Hernan Iribarren, leading radio announcer Cory Provus to continually point out how that resembled a trade.)  Inglett was a valuable bat off the bench to start the year, hitting .344 as late as July 8, albeit in just 64 at bats.  He tailed off in the second half of the season, hitting just .187 in the second half of the season.  He ultimately started 17 games for the Brewers, a surprising 15 of which were in the outfield corners, and even took the mound at the end of a blowout in Cincinnati on July 27.  The 32-year-old remains unsigned going into spring training.

The number 2 remains unassigned as Spring Training 2011 starts.  It's safe to assume at least a few players will join the team over the next eight months, however, so it could easily make another appearance at Miller Park.

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