On this day in 1953, James Elmer Gantner was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He stayed close to home and went to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for college, then was drafted by the Brewers in the 12th round (270th overall pick) in the 1974 draft.
It didn't take Gantner long to make it to the big leagues: He had cups of coffee in 1976, '77 and '78 before becoming a part time player in 1979 and getting his first full time gig in 1980. Gantner's bat was never anything all that special: His best year was 1983 when he hit .282/.329/.401 and was worth an estimated 3.9 wins above replacement (rWAR).
Gantner, however, was a Brewer fixture for a long time. He played all 17 of his major league seasons for Milwaukee, appearing in 1801 games (including 1449 at second base and one as a pitcher in 1979). His 1696 hits and 726 runs scored are the fourth most in Brewer franchise history, behind only Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Cecil Cooper.
Gantner turns 59 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2001-03 Brewer Ruben Quevedo, who turns 33.
- 1986-88 Brewer Juan Nieves, who turns 47.