County Stadium's Coldest Day

Doug Pensinger

The cold days of County Stadium are over, but this week's frigid temperatures got me thinking about them.

As we get ready for Opening Day, 2014, it's easy to take something for granted: The Brewers will host the Braves on March 31, the game will start reasonably close to its 1:10 scheduled first pitch and conditions will be good, either under a nice spring day or (more likely) Miller Park's closed roof. The Brewers didn't always have that luxury, though, and this week's arctic vortex got me wondering: What was the coldest day for a game at County Stadium?

The answer is April 5, 1994, when the Brewers hosted the A's on Opening Day. The temperature at game time was 31 degrees under cloudy skies, with a 29 mph wind blowing out to right field. That means the wind chill was roughly 16 for the season's first home game.

Normally cold days tend to be dominated by pitchers, but this game's high winds turned it into an offensive slugfest. A's catcher Terry Steinbach hit a first inning grand slam off Cal Eldred to give Oakland a 5-0 lead, but the Brewers battled back with a run in the first, another in the second, three in the third and five in the sixth to take a 10-6 lead. Mike Fetters eventually pitched a scoreless ninth to nail down an 11-7 win.

Dave Nilsson had four hits in the game, starting off one of his best MLB seasons. He played in 109 games over the course of the strike-shortened campaign and hit .275/.326/.451 with 12 homers. It was the Brewers' first game without Robin Yount following his retirement, and Darryl Hamilton went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first opportunity as an everyday center fielder.

The two teams played a night game two days later under significantly warmer conditions (45 at game time), and the Brewers clobbered the A's 12-2 to open the season with a sweep. They got off to an 11-7 start and were in first place on April 25 before falling all the way to 53-62 before the strike.

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