It is an annual tradition here at Brew Crew Ball to take a moment before turning the calendar to a new year to look back and remember the members of the Brewers and Wisconsin’s baseball history that we’ve lost over the last 12 months. This year our list includes five former Brewers and one Milwaukee Brave. As is invariably the case, I likely missed someone somewhere along the line: If you could please add them in the comments, it would be appreciated.
Thanks to the B-Ref Play Index for their help compiling this list.
Lance Rautzhan, age 63, passed away on January 9
A third-round pick in the 1970 draft, Rautzhan’s big league tenure was brief but he made the most of his time, pitching in the World Series for the Dodgers in both his MLB-debut 1977 season and again in 1978. He was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS despite facing just one batter in the game, his postseason debut.
The Brewers purchased Rautzhan from the Dodgers in May of 1979 and he made just three appearances for Milwaukee. He had lost command of the strike zone at that point and walked 21 batters in 12 2/3 innings in his final MLB season, including ten in three innings as a Brewer. He spent his final professional season in 1980 pitching for the Brewers’ AAA affiliate in Vancouver.
Virgil Jester, age 88, passed away on February 15
Jester made his MLB debut as a member of the 1952 Boston Braves and followed the team to Milwaukee, where he posted a pair of rough outings on the road in 1953 before returning to the minors. He never appeared in a game at Milwaukee County Stadium.
Jester’s passing leaves just four surviving members of the 1953 Braves:
Catcher Del Crandall, age 86
Pitcher Johnny Antonelli, age 86
Second baseman Mel Roach, age 83
Pitcher Joey Jay, age 81
Ron Theobald, age 72, passed away on April 15
Originally signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1964, Theobald spent time in the minors with four organizations before the Washington Senators traded him to the Brewers in 1970. He made his MLB debut with the Brewers on April 12, 1971. On June 8, 1971, he became the third player in franchise history to lead off a game with a home run.
Theobald was the Brewers’ regular second baseman for two seasons, appearing in 251 games between 1971 and 1972. His 107 hits in 1971 were the third-most on the team, and his .342 on-base percentage was the third-best among players who made at least 324 plate appearances.
Ruben Quevedo, age 37, passed away on June 7
Born in Venezuela, Quevedo was signed by the Braves as an amateur free agent in 1995 and sent to the Cubs as part of a trade deadline deal in 1999 before making his MLB debut with Chicago in April of 2000. He was still only 22 years old in July of 2001 when the Cubs traded him to the Brewers in a deal involving reliever David Weathers.
Quevedo made 45 appearances, including 43 starts, for the Brewers over parts of three seasons, including a complete game shutout in a 2-0 win over the Padres on May 25, 2002. That outing came just a few months after he made headlines for the wrong reasons by being unable to complete a mandatory one-mile run in spring training.
Quevedo’s final MLB appearance was as a member of the Brewers in September of 2003 but he pitched professionally as recently as 2008, when he appeared in nine games for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League. All told, he pitched just over 1000 professional innings.
Bryan Clutterbuck, age 56, passed away on August 23
A seventh-round pick in the 1981 draft, Clutterbuck was just the 13th alum of Eastern Michigan University to pitch in the majors when he made his MLB debut in July of 1986. He appeared in 20 games for the Brewers down the stretch that season before returning to the minors in 1987 and later resurfacing in the big leagues as a starter in 1989.
Clutterbuck picked up his first MLB win on April 25, 1989, pitching a complete game in a 10-4 victory over the Twins. He pitched that game on just two days’ rest following a relief outing on April 22. Less than two months later, he made his final MLB appearance on June 23.
Juan Bell, age 48, passed away on August 24
A Dominican native and brother of 1987 AL MVP George Bell, Juan Bell was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1984 and played in the majors for the Orioles and Phillies before the Brewers selected him off waivers in June of 1993.
Bell appeared in 91 games in his lone partial season in Milwaukee, playing primarily as a shortstop and second baseman but also appearing occasionally in the outfield. With the Brewers he batted .234 with a .321 on-base percentage and .322 slugging in 327 plate appearances. Including his 24 appearances with the Phillies before being waived, he set career highs that season in games played (115), plate appearances (400), hits (80), runs scored (47) and home runs (5).