Each season from the early days of the relocated Seattle Pilots through to the modern Miller Park era, we apply McLeam's Formula to the roster and cook up the player who represents the Brewers as the Face of the Franchise that year.
1970 Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers finished 23rd in winning percentage in 1970, and the 23rd ranked player in WAR was Fred Stanley.
Fred Stanley was a September call-up, having played most of the season with the AAA Portland Beavers. He played six games for the Brewers and was used exclusively as a pinch runner. Twice he stayed in the game to play second base, scoring one run on a single by fellow second baseman Ted Kubiak.
A modern player might have grumbled at his reduced role, after seeing decent playing time the year before with the Pilots, but Fred was probably fine with it. Not that he wasn't a hard-working and ambitious player - his glove work at shortstop helped preserve many leads, and established his value as a defensive specialist over a 14-year career. But even as a young player Fred was already a veteran; he was one of 54 MLB players who served in the military during the Vietnam War.
Fred was purchased in the spring of 1971 by the Indians, and after playing briefly for Cleveland and San Diego he was traded to the Yankees where he made his biggest impact as a defensive replacement. He appeared in three World Series with New York and won rings in 1977 and 1978 under manager Billy Martin.
As a guy who had seen the world before he saw America in his travels in baseball and played under its brightest lights, he returned to Milwaukee in 1991 as an infield coach on Manager Tom Trebelhorn's staff. When Trebelhorn was replaced by Phil Garner in '92, Fred became Farm Director for the Brewers from '92 through '96, a job that he would be recognized for his excellence in when he moved on to the Giants organization.
Fred's nickname was Chicken, and it was probably due to being a small, wiry player*. He hit ten home runs in 14 seasons, and one of them was memorable as Mickey Rivers recounts:
You know how Chicken was. Chicken didn't' never play that much. He didn't want to play that much he just wanted to be around the guys. He was just happy being there. So we took Bucky out one night and he needed a replacement the next day, so they put Chicken in. I'll never forget this. He got to start against Gaylord Perry. Gaylord Perry one of the best pitchers in the league.
We all knew each other. So Gaylord Perry says "Where's Chicken at?" He said "If Chicken gets a hit off me that'd be okay." But Chicken hit a homerun. Oh he just nailed it. Perry said "Anybody can get a home run off me except him." Anybody in the league could hit a home run off him but he didn't want Chicken to hit a home run off him.
[After the game] He beat him down! He literally beat him. He come in the locker room and literally beat him. I thought he was joking but Gaylord wasn't joking. He was serious.
1970 FotF: Fred reminds us of the transition that this club was making in its first season in Milwaukee, as one of 45 different players used in an organization with a lot of work to do in building an army of personnel at all levels for the future. A player who was 'hired from within' for coaching and administrative roles, he was both a kid from Iowa and an architect of the future. He also symbolized the qualities of many Milwaukee favorites, guys who worked hard and filled roles, and were valued for their character as much as their talent.
*This is not true. They call him Chicken because he walks like he has a bat stuck up is ass. Now you're thinking I made that up, but I'm not.