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.
1983 Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers finished 9th in winning percentage in 1983, and the 9th ranked player in WAR was catcher/outfielder Charlie Moore.
Charlie Moore was a catcher drafted out of Minor High School in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1971. Moore was a good offensive performer and was a September call-up in 1973, and he was never sent back down. But his hold on the starting catcher job for the Brewers was tenuous and interrupted. Possibly because his bat brought him to the majors early, Moore had acquired a lot of bad habits that needed to be corrected. Said Manager Buck Rodgers:
I'll give you an example. When I came over here they told me that Charlie Moore was so bad that he didn't even take his mask off to take a throw from the outfield.
Hell, that's Number 1. That's A-B-C.
But it wasn't that he was bad. It was just that he'd gotten into some bad habits.
Our whole idea was to make him into an adequate catcher. That's all we were hoping for. We wanted to get his bat into the lineup for 80 or 85 games. He can do so much offensively - hit with men on, steal a base, go from first to third. He's probably the fastest catcher in the major leagues.
But Charlie's done more than we hoped. He's become better than adequate. He's become an asset behind the plate.
At first, Moore was the backup to Darrell Porter, and then Buck Martinez. He established himself as the starter in '79, but with the acquisition of Ted Simmons from the Cardinals, the Brewers found themselves with two good-hitting catchers. Rather than settling with Moore doing pinch-hit duty and assigning him a personal pitcher, his athleticism opened other options in 1982.
"I had always done what the organization told me to do. Whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I try to do, in whatever role they want me to play."
Molitor had been playing in center field because Don Money was at third base, but Money was nearing the end of his career. Money was given the DH duties to split with Roy Howell, Molitor moved to third base, Thomas back to centerfield, and Moore found a home in right field. It proved to be an excellent move, as Moore led all right fielders with 6 double plays and a .992 fielding percentage.
Moore wasn't the first name you would remember from the powerful early 80's Brewers teams, but he was athletic, versatile, and came through in the clutch. He remains third all-time among team leaders in triples with 42 behind only Molitor and Yount, and hit .354 in 16 postseason games.
Moore's performance peaked at the right time for the club, as he was a solid performer and defender in his prime years from 1981-1983. He was an essential tool for the club in winning games, and he was one of the guys in the bottom half of the lineup that made the club exceptionally dangerous in those years - even after they got through the heart of the lineup, an opposing pitcher got no relief with tough outs like Moore.
Moore played a few more years with the Brewers and then one last payday season as a backup catcher for Ernie Whitt with the rising Toronto Blue Jays. After the season he retired to a normal life as a salesman back in Birmingham.
1983 FotF: I wish every season could be represented by a guy like Charlie Moore. He needed a little work, but he brought talent and enthusiasm, and he fought hard to find ways to help his team win. He was an important part of the team's success in the early 80's, and he probably had his best season in 1983, playing a 2nd position. His career was on a soft decline after '83, and so were the Brewers.
You can also read about 1982's Face of the Franchise Robin Yount here