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Weekend Mug Pt. 2 - Opening the Eighties

Yesterday we covered the first 10 Brewer Opening Days (1970-79), today we will tackle the 80s.

1980 Brewers 9 Red Sox 5

In 1980 the Brewers took a small step backwards, winning "only" 86 games, compared to the 95 that they won in 1979. Buck Rodgers was at the helm for game 1, as George Bamberger was ill. The Red Sox rolled into County Stadium to kick off the 80s. They threw a lineup featuring four HOFers at the Brewers, however, they could have used a couple more.

Boston Red Sox         Milwaukee Brewers
1 Jerry Remy 2B 1 Paul Molitor 2B
2 Rick Burleson SS 2 Cecil Cooper 1B
3 Fred Lynn CF 3 Dick Davis DH
4 Jim Rice LF 4 Ben Oglivie LF
5 Carl Yastrzemski DH 5 Gorman Thomas CF
6 Tony Perez 1B 6 Sixto Lezcano RF
7 Butch Hobson 3B 7 Don Money 3B
8 Dwight Evans RF 8 Robin Yount SS
9 Dave Rader C 9 Charlie Moore C
Dennis Eckersley P Jim Slaton P


Jim Slaton got the first start in the 80s for the Brewers, and he pitched into the 9th inning spreading out 5 runs. Butch Hobson and Carl Yastrzemski touched Slaton for homeruns, and the game was tied at 5 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning.

Red Sox manager called Dick Drago into the game, to get the Red Sox into extra innings. Paul Molitor lead off the inning with a single, and Cecil Cooper sacrificed him over to 2nd. Dick Davis popped up to Tony Perez for the second out. The Red Sox IBB'd Ben Oglivie, and Gorman Thomas also drew a walk, leaving the bases loaded with 2 outs. Dick Drago was a decent pitcher, but was no match for the greatest Milwaukee Brewer of all-time, Sixto Lezcano (show below). Lezcano promptly took Drago out of the park, with a walkoff, grand slam opening day victory.


Money, Molitor and Oglivie also homered in the game, and Sixto Lezcano's 9th inning jackshot was actually the second of the game he hit, as he homered off of HOFer Dennis Eckersley in the 4th inning.

If one were to rank all of the home openers in Milwaukee, 1980 would probably be on top of the list. Even though the Brewers ended up not meeting expectations in 1980, they certainly started the season off with a bang.

1981 Brewers 5 Indians 3

1981 would be a season marred by a players' strike, with the Brewers only playing only 109 games. 1981 would also be the first year the the Brewers made the playoffs and have a Cy Young and MVP winner. George Bamberger stepped down after the 1980 season to deal with his health issues, and Buck Rodgers took over the Brewers helm permanently.

Milwaukee Brewers
Cleveland Indians
1 Paul Molitor CF
1 Miguel Dilone DH
2 Robin Yount SS
2 Rick Manning CF
3 Cecil Cooper 1B
3 Mike Hargrove 1B
4 Ben Oglivie LF
4 Joe Charboneau LF
5 Ted Simmons C
5 Toby Harrah 3B
6 Larry Hisle DH
6 Jorge Orta RF
7 Gorman Thomas RF
7 Bo Diaz C
8 Don Money 3B
8 Alan Bannister 2B
9 Jim Gantner 2B
9 Tom Veryzer SS

Mike Caldwell P

Bert Blyleven P


In the off-season the Brewers traded Sixto Lezcano for Ted Simmons, Rollie Fingers, and Pete Vuckovich. Fingers would have a monster 1981 season winning both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards. 

The Brewers were powered by home runs from Gorman Thomas and Larry Hisle, and lefty Mike Caldwell pitched good enough to secure the opening day victory against the Tribe. MVP closer Rollie Fingers nailed down his first save. 1981 also marked the first OD start for long time Brewer, Jim Gantner, and the last OD start for long-time Brewer Don Money.

1982 Brewers 15 Blue Jays 4

In 1982 the Brewers played their first home opener in Canada. Buck Rodgers started the 1982 campaign as manager, however he was replaced by Harvey Kuenn after going 23-24 to start the season. For the second straight season the Brewers would make the AL playoffs and bring home the MVP trophy (Yount), and Cy Young award (Vuckovich)

Milwaukee Brewers         Toronto Blue Jays
1 Paul Molitor 3B 1 Alfredo Griffin SS
2 Charlie Moore C 2 Al Woods LF
3 Cecil Cooper 1B 3 Lloyd Moseby CF
4 Ben Oglivie LF 4 Willie Upshaw 1B
5 Gorman Thomas CF 5 John Mayberry DH
6 Larry Hisle DH 6 Jesse Barfield RF
7 Robin Yount SS 7 Ernie Whitt C
8 Mark Brouhard RF 8 Damaso Garcia 2B
9 Jim Gantner 2B 9 Rance Mulliniks 3B
Pete Vuckovich P Mark Bomback P


Former Brewer Mark Bomback got the start for the Jays, and only got one out, before giving up 6 runs, in what was probably the worst start by a pitcher in MLB opening day history. Pete Vuckovich pitched as well as you need to when your offense generates 15 runs to get the win.

Cooper, Oglivie and Yount all had 3 hits for the Brewers, and Oglivie homered in his second straight opening day. 1982 would also mark the last OD start for Larry Hisle, who after his MVP-caliber campaign in 1978, only managed to play in roughly 25 games the next 4 seasons.

1983 Brewers 2 Angels 3

After losing the World Series to the Cardinals in 1982, the Brewers kicked off the 1983 campaign traveling to play the Angels in Anaheim Stadium. Don Sutton, who was acquired at the end of 1982 got the first start for the Brewers, and was the first HOFer to start for the Brewers.

Milwaukee Brewers         California Angels
1 Paul Molitor 3B 1 Brian Downing LF
2 Robin Yount SS 2 Bobby Clark RF
3 Cecil Cooper 1B 3 Daryl Sconiers 1B
4 Ted Simmons C 4 Reggie Jackson DH
5 Ben Oglivie LF 5 Fred Lynn CF
6 Gorman Thomas CF 6 Doug DeCinces 3B
7 Roy Howell DH 7 Bobby Grich 2B
8 Charlie Moore RF 8 Tim Foli SS
9 Jim Gantner 2B 9 Bob Boone C
Don Sutton P Bruce Kison P


The Brewers struggled to score runs against Bruce Kison, and went into the 9th trailing 3-1. The Brewers however mounted a rally, scoring one run, but Andy Hassler got Cecil Cooper to ground out with runners on 2nd and 3rd to end the game.

1983 would also be remembered as the year that Gorman Thomas was traded for Rick Manning. 1983 would be the last year that Gorman Thomas would start as a Brewer to kick off the season.

Roy Howell got the start at DH for the Brewers (shown below). He was terrible.


1984 Brewers 5 Athletics 6

Harvey Kuenn was replaced in the off-season by manager Rene Lachemann, who was an unsuccessful manager with the Seattle Mariners from 1981-1983. The Brewers would only win 67 games in 1984 and Lachemann would be fired at the end of the season.

Milwaukee Brewers         Oakland Athletics
1 Randy Ready 3B 1 Rickey Henderson LF
2 Jim Gantner 2B 2 Dwayne Murphy CF
3 Robin Yount SS 3 Joe Morgan 2B
4 Cecil Cooper 1B 4 Carney Lansford 3B
5 Ted Simmons DH 5 Bruce Bochte 1B
6 Ben Oglivie LF 6 Dave Kingman DH
7 Jim Sundberg C 7 Mike Davis RF
8 Charlie Moore RF 8 Mike Heath C
9 Rick Manning CF 9 Donnie Hill SS
Don Sutton P Steve McCatty P


Noticeably absent from the lineup was Paul Molitor who was injured and replaced by Randy Ready. Jim Sundberg took over at catcher for Ted Simmons, and Don Sutton made his second consecutive OD start.

The Brewers were actually in good shape to win the game, as the Brewers enjoyed a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th. Future Brewers manager Dave Lopes hit a HR off of Chuck Porter and an Jim Gantner error ushered in a 6-5 win for the A's.

1985 Brewers 2 White Sox 4

George Bamberger returned to manage the Brewers in 1985, however, the Brewers still managed to lose 90 games. The White Sox led by Tony LaRussa, made the short trip to County Stadium to kick off the 1985 season.

Chicago White Sox         Milwaukee Brewers
1 Ozzie Guillen SS 1 Paul Molitor 3B
2 Rudy Law LF 2 Robin Yount LF
3 Harold Baines RF 3 Cecil Cooper 1B
4 Greg Walker 1B 4 Ben Oglivie RF
5 Ron Kittle DH 5 Ted Simmons DH
6 Luis Salazar 3B 6 Doug Loman CF
7 Daryl Boston CF 7 Bill Schroeder C
8 Marc Hill C 8 Jim Gantner 2B
9 Julio Cruz 2B 9 Brian Giles SS
Tom Seaver P Moose Haas P


HOFer Tom Seaver managed to hold the Brewers to 2 runs, as the Brewers struggled to put hits together. Moose Haas got his first OD start for the Brewers, as did current TV "analyst" Bill Schroeder. Brian Giles filled in for Robin Yount at SS, and Yount made his first OF opening day start.

I shuddered to see Doug Loman's name in this lineup (shown below), as I would never have guessed that Loman would have been an OD starter. I remember reading an article about Loman as a kid, describing how he would "put himself in a trance" during each AB. For some reason that pissed me off. In all fairness, Loman did hit a 2b off of Seaver.


1986 Brewers 5 White Sox 3

In a rematch from the previous year, the Brewers traveled to Comisky Park to take on the White Sox in 1986. This would be the last Brewer OD that George Bamberger would be a part of, as he would be replaced at the end of the season by Tom Treblehorn.

Milwaukee Brewers         Chicago White Sox
1 Mike Felder LF 1 John Cangelosi CF
2 Robin Yount CF 2 Wayne Tolleson 3B
3 Paul Molitor 3B 3 Harold Baines RF
4 Billy Jo Robidoux 1B 4 Carlton Fisk LF
5 Ernie Riles SS 5 Ron Kittle DH
6 Rob Deer RF 6 Greg Walker 1B
7 Paul Householder DH 7 Tim Hulett 2B
8 Jim Gantner 2B 8 Joel Skinner C
9 Rick Cerone C 9 Ozzie Guillen SS
Teddy Higuera P Tom Seaver P


1986 ushered in a lot of changes to what had been a very stable OD lineup. Gone were Brewer stars Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie and Ted Simmons, replacing them were a bunch of guys no one remembers with the exception of Billy Joe Robidoux (shown below).


Lefty Teddy Higuera out-dueled HOFer Tom Seaver pitching 7 innings for the Brewers. Rob Deer in his first OD start as a Brewer hit a HR as did SS Ernie Riles. The Brewers would go on to win 77 games in 1986.

1987 Brewers 5 Red Sox 1

1987 is a season remembered very fondly by many Brewer fans, as the year the Brewers started out the season with 13 straight victories. Tom Treblehorn in his first OD, started "The Streak" against the 1986 AL Champs, Boston Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox         Milwaukee Brewers
1 Wade Boggs 3B 1 Paul Molitor 3B
2 Marty Barrett 2B 2 Robin Yount CF
3 Bill Buckner 1B 3 Glenn Braggs RF
4 Jim Rice LF 4 Greg Brock 1B
5 Don Baylor DH 5 Billy Jo Robidoux DH
6 Dwight Evans RF 6 Rob Deer LF
7 Dave Henderson CF 7 Bill Schroeder C
8 Marc Sullivan C 8 Jim Gantner 2B
9 Spike Owen SS 9 Dale Sveum SS
Bob Stanley P Teddy Higuera P


Teddy Higuera, in his second straight opening day start pitched 7 shutout innings, with Dan Plesac nailing down the ninth. Current Brewer hitting coach Dale Sveum made his first OD start at SS, and Paul Molitor sparked the Brewers hitting a double and a triple.

While the 1987 season would end in disappointment, it did mark the return to the 90+ wins plateau for the Brewers, as the 1987 team managed to rack up 91 wins.

1988 Brewers 12 Orioles 0

Tom Treblehorn took the Brewers on the road, to Memorial Stadium in 1988. Coached by Cal Ripken Sr., the O's had a lineup that featured HOFers, Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray. Teddy Higuera made his 3rd consecutive OD start for the Brewers.

Milwaukee Brewers         Baltimore Orioles
1 Paul Molitor DH 1 Jeff Stone LF
2 Robin Yount CF 2 Billy Ripken 2B
3 B.J. Surhoff C 3 Cal Ripken SS
4 Greg Brock 1B 4 Eddie Murray 1B
5 Rob Deer LF 5 Fred Lynn CF
6 Glenn Braggs RF 6 Larry Sheets DH
7 Ernie Riles 3B 7 Rick Schu 3B
8 Jim Gantner 2B 8 Terry Kennedy C
9 Dale Sveum SS 9 Joe Orsulak RF
Teddy Higuera P Mike Boddicker P


For the second straight season Teddy Higuera pitched 7 shutout innings and Dan Plesac pitched the ninth, to secure a OD win for the Brewers.

Rob Deer got a couple of doubles and Dale Sveum hit a HR, helping the Brewers score 12 runs. Rookie catcher BJ Surhoff also chipped in with 2 hits and 3 runs in his first OD start.

1989 Brewers 1 Indians 2

1989 would close out the 80s for the Brewers, as Tom Treblehorn's squad would only win 81 games. Game 1 was played in Cleveland against the Tribe.

Milwaukee Brewers         Cleveland Indians
1 Gus Polidor 3B 1 Oddibe McDowell LF
2 Gary Sheffield SS 2 Jerry Browne 2B
3 Robin Yount CF 3 Joe Carter CF
4 Rob Deer RF 4 Pete O'Brien 1B
5 Glenn Braggs LF 5 Cory Snyder RF
6 Terry Francona 1B 6 Dave Clark DH
7 Joey Meyer DH 7 Brook Jacoby 3B
8 B.J. Surhoff C 8 Andy Allanson C
9 Jim Gantner 2B 9 Felix Fermin SS
Don August P Greg Swindell P


Olympian Don August, pitched well for the Brewers, only giving up 2 runs in 8 innings, however, he was out-pitched by his Olympian teammate Greg Swindell.  The Brewers managed to only scratch out 5 hits against Swindell, and never managed to mount much of a threat.

Gus Polidor filled in for an injured Paul Molitor, and Brewer rookies Gary Sheffield and Joey Meyer (shown below) made their OD debuts.


This seems like a fitting place to end this chapter. I would guess that Joey would like wish everyone a Happy Easter.