On this day in 1923 George Bamberger was born in Staten Island, New York. He served in the Army in World War II, signed with the New York Giants as an amateur free agent in 1946 and was already 27 when he made his major league debut in April of 1951.
Bamberger's big league playing career was short: He pitched in just ten major league games over a span of eight years. Less than a decade after his final major league game, though, he was back in the big leagues as pitching coach of the Orioles. He served in that capacity from 1968 to 1977, and in 1978 the Brewers became the first team at any level to hire hm as a manager.
Bamberger's first season at the helm of the Brewers was the first winning campaign in franchise history, as the team went 93-69. They went 95-66 in 1979 but again missed the playoffs.
After winning 188 games in his first two seasons Bamberger may have been positioned for a long run as Brewer skipper if not for a heart attack during spring training in 1980. He still managed 92 games that year but resigned following the season to focus on his health.
Bamberger returned to the majors as manager of the 1982-83 Mets, and later returned to guide the Brewers through the 1985-86 seasons with much less success. Those two Milwaukee teams combined to go 142-171.
Nonetheless, Bamberger's 377 managerial wins are still the fourth most in franchise history behind only Phil Garner (563), Ned Yost (457) and Tom Trebelhorn (422). His .518 winning percentage is better than all three of the managers ahead of him.
- Wisconsin Timber Rattler Nick Ramirez, who turns 23.
- Huntsville Star Brandon Kintzler, who turns 28.
- 1974 Brewer Roger Miller, who would have turned 58.
- 1978 Brewer Tony Muser, who turns 65.
Today is also the anniversary of a 5-4 loss to Arizona in 1998 where reliever Bronswell Patrick became the first Brewer pitcher to homer in 27 years. We covered that event in this space last year.