PROGRAMMING NOTE: I woke up this morning to a flooded bathroom, so the Mug will be off today. Here's something else to keep your occupied while I wake up a plumber. The Mug is also off tomorrow, but will return on Friday. - KL
The 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot is out and MLB.com has broken it into two groups: 22 players who got their own profiles, and 14 guys lumped together under "other candidates." Four former Brewers are among the latter and, while they're unlikely to garner more than a token vote, they're worthy of recognition for their MLB careers.
Going alphabetically, we'll start with second baseman Ray Durham. He played 14 MLB seasons between 1995-08 as a member of the White Sox, Athletics, Giants and Brewers and accumulated 2054 hits, 440 doubles and a .277/.352/.436 batting line. He also appeared in two different All Star Games, representing the AL in 1998 and 2000 with a hit and a run scored in each contest.
Durham was acquired by the Brewers late in the 2008 season and played his final 41 MLB games with the Crew, batting .280/.369/.477 as the Brewers reached the NLDS.
One of Durham's teammates on the 2008 Brewers was reliever Eric Gagne, who also wrapped up his MLB career in Milwaukee. While Durham's career is a story of steady productiveness, though, Gagne's is a tale of a brief flash of brilliance. Gagne was baseball's most dominant closer from 2002-04, saving 152 games with a 1.79 ERA and 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He was an All Star in all three of those seasons and the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner.
Unfortunately, Gagne's brilliance had pretty much burned out by the time the Brewers signed him as a free agent before the 2008 season. He recorded ten saves in his lone year in Milwaukee but posted a 5.44 ERA and was lifted from the closer role in May.
The former Brewer most likely to receive some Hall of Fame votes this year might be starting pitcher Hideo Nomo, who was something of a pioneer for Japanese pitchers in the US. Nomo pitched five seasons for Kintetsu in Japan's Pacific League before coming to the US and winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award with the 1995 Dodgers.
Nomo's performance steadily declined during his first four seasons in Los Angeles and a brief stint with the Mets, however, and following the 1998 season his career ran into a bit of a roadblock. The Brewers signed Nomo on a minor league deal after he was released by the Cubs in April of 1999, and were rewarded with 28 starts and a 4.54 ERA from the Japanese sensation. Nomo went on to pitch seven more MLB seasons as a member of five teams.
Finally, of these four the player who had the best Brewers career has to be first baseman Richie Sexson. Sexson was a budding young star with the Indians (where he hit 31 home runs in 1999) when Cleveland traded him to the Brewers in the Bob Wickman deal. Sexson played four seasons during dark times in Milwaukee and hit 133 home runs in 534 games, tying the then-franchise record with 45 in both 2001 and 2003. Sexson averaged about one home run for every four games as a Brewer, a feat no other player in franchise history has matched:
Following the 2003 season the Brewers traded Sexson to the Diamondbacks in an nine-player deal. Chris Capuano, Lyle Overbay and Craig Counsell were among the players who came to Milwaukee in that transaction, while Sexson appeared in just 23 games for Arizona before suffering a season-ending injury. Sexson was never quite the same after leaving Milwaukee, hitting .243/.335/.477 in his final four MLB seasons.