The Numbers Game: Lucky Number 7?

Don Moneyby Kevin Kimmes

Welcome back loyal readers to another volume of The Numbers Game, the series in which I look at past Pilots/Brewers players based on their jersey numbers and hopefully impart a little baseball knowledge or trivia in the process. Today, we look at one of the most transient numbers thus far, the number 7. With the exception of 3 players (Don Money, Dale Sveum and J.J. Hardy), no Brewer has worn the number for more than 2 seasons, and in the case of Danny Perez, he took his “cup of coffee” and promptly spilled it in his lap. So, let’s get started shall we?

Seattle Pilots:

No player was assigned the number 7 in the Pilots organization in 1969.

Milwaukee Brewers:

Russ Snyder – 1970: Snyder played the final year of his 12 year major league career with the fledgeling Brewers in 1970 as an outfielder. He batted .232/.270/.315 across 124 games with 64 hits and 16 walks.

Danny Walton – 1971: Walton, who had worn number 12 for the Pilots in 1969 and the Brewers in 1970, would change his number to 7 for the 1971 campaign. With his season just underway for Milwaukee, Walton would be traded to the Yankees on June 7th, 1971 for Bobby Mitchell and…

Frank Tepedino – 1971: Received in the trade for Walton from the Yankees, Tepedino would take Waltons former number for the 1971 season. He would play in 53 games for the Brewers recording a sub-Mendoza batting average of .198 with 21 hits and 4 walks in 106 at bats. On March 31, 1972 his services were purchased back from Milwaukee by the Yankees.

Ron Clark – 1972: Ron Clark is one of  the shorter tenured player to put on a Brewers uniform. Acquired on June 20th, 1972 from Oakland for Bill Voss, he would bat a paltry .185 across 22 appearances before being traded on July 28th, 1972 to the Angels for Joe Azcue and…

Syd O’Brien – 1972: O’Brien’s 4 year major league career made it’s final stop in Milwaukee where he would bat .207/.230/.293 recording 12 hits and 2 walks across 31 appearances.

Don Money – 1973-83: The transient nature of the number 7 would finally halt as it would stay on the back of Don Money for 11 seasons. A 4 time All-Star selection (1974, 1976-78), Money arrived in Milwaukee due to the Phillies needing to make room for future Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt.

In his first All-Star campaign in 1974, Money would set career marks in hits (178), doubles (32), and at bats (629). His third All-Star campaign highlighted his ability to hit for power as he set career marks in homeruns (25), RBI (83), slugging (.470), and total bases (268). Finally, his fourth All-Star campaign was about consistency as he set career marks in batting average (.293), OBP (.361), and sacrifice hits (14).

After retiring from active play, Money went on to manage for the Brewers in the minor leagues, first for the Single-A Beloit Snappers from 1998-2004, then for Double-A Huntsville from 2005-08, and finally with Triple-A Nashville from 2009-11. After the 2011 season, Money became Milwaukee’s special instructor of player development.

No player was assigned the number 7 in the Brewers organization in 1984.

Paul Householder – 1985-86: In 2 seasons with Milwaukee, Householder batted .249/.313/.398 with 94 hits and 34 walks in 121 games.

Dale Sveum – 1987-91: Best known to younger Brewers fans as the current coach of the Cubs, and for being accidentally shot in the ear last year by Robin Yount, Sveum wore number 27 in 1986 before switching to number 7 for his five remaining seasons in Milwaukee. He would bat .243/.299/.382 with 413 hits and 137 walks for the Brewers in his 5 seasons on the team.

It should also be noted that he took over as interim skipper after Ned Yost was fired by the Brewers en-route to their 2008 NLDS appearance against the Phillies. As a manager he has a post season record of 1-3, a record which may not change anytime soon as the manager of the Cubs.

No player was assigned the number 7 in the Brewers organization from 1992 to 1995.

Danny Perez – 1996: Perez appeared in 4 games in 1996. In 4 plate appearances he did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a strikeout. Just a statline with a lot of zeroes. Moving on.

Brian Banks – 1996-97: The last player to wear number 7 in the AL for Milwaukee (he would wear 25 in 1998 and 23 in 1999), Banks played in 161 games for the Brewers over the course of his 4 seasons. He would bat .248 with 78 hits and 36 walks before being granted free agency on March 28th 2000.

Dave Nilsson – 1998: One of 4 different number that Nilsson would wear in his 8 years with Milwaukee (he would also wear 11, 13 and 14), Nilsson would don the number 7 en route to batting .269/.339/.437 with 83 hits and 33 walks in 1998.

Sean Berry – 1999-2000: Signed by Milwaukee prior to the 1999 season, Berry would play in 106 games and bat .228/.281/.301 with 59 hits and 17 walks. He would struggle mightily in 2000, batting only .152, leading to his release on June 21st, 2000.

Tony Fernandez – 2001: If Fernandez’s Brewers’ tenure was a headstone, it would read: “Signed 02-08-2001, Released 05-29-2001″. Tony, we hardly knew ya!

Alex Sanchez – 2001:  Claimed off of waivers by Milwaukee in 2001, Sanchez played in his first game on June 15th, 2001. Despite a disappointing year offensively in 2001 (he batted .206), Sanchez found himself in the role of starting center fielder, wearing number 22 for the Brewers, in 2002 and 2003.  His erratic defensive play and bad attitude would get him traded to Detroit during the 2003 season.

On April 3rd, 2005 Sanchez would acquire the dubious distinction of being the first person suspended under the MLB’s newly adopted drug policy.

Eric Young – 2002-03: In 247 games as a Brewer, Young batted .271/.340/.392 with 244 hits and 87 walks. His 15 homeruns in 2003 were a career best which nearly doubled his previous high of 8.

No player was assigned the number 7 in the Brewers organization in 2004.

J.J. Hardy – 2005-09: A 2007 National League All-Star, Hardy’s career with Milwaukee was marred by injury. In 2004, while still in the minors, Hardy suffered a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum which cost him his season. Then on May 16th, 2006, Hardy would severely sprain his ankle sliding into Phillies’ catcher Sal Fasano at home, resulting in his placement on the 15 day DL. Upon returning to play, Hardy realized that the tendon kept popping in and out of place resulting in the team shutting him down for the season on July 18th, 2006.

In 2007, Hardy would begin to develop some power in his bat hitting 26 homers in 2007 and 24 in 2008. After signing a 1 year extension prior to the 2009 season, Hardy would suffer a power outage that would see him be sent down to the minors on August 12th, 2009. He would be recalled on September 1st and would finish his 2009 campaign batting .229 with 11 homers.

Chris Dickerson – 2010: Acquired on August 9th, 2010 in a trade with the Reds for Jim Edmonds, Dickerson would bat an unimpressive .208 with 5 RBIs in 25 games. To nobody’s surprise, Dickerson was traded to the Yankees prior to the 2011 season for pitcher Sergio Mitre.

Felipe Lopez – 2011: Lopez’s second stint with Milwaukee, he wore number 3 in 2009, was to be short lived. Acquired on July 28, 2011, for cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Rays, he would be designated for assignment on August 21st, 2011 after hitting .182 in 51 plate appearances for Milwaukee.

Jeremy Reed – 2011: Reed appeared in 7 games for Milwaukee in 2011 recording no hits in 7 at bats while striking out twice.

Norichika Aoki – 2012: In his first of hopefully many MLB seasons, Aoki proved why he was a batting champion in his native Japan. Being able to seemingly deliver clutch hits at will, Aoki batted .288/.355/.433 with 10 home runs, 50 RBIs, 81 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. Not too shabby for a 30 year old rookie!

So there you have it, all of the players who had the fortune (or misfortune) to wear the number 7 for Milwaukee. Come on back tomorrow for part 8.

Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com and an applicant for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes.

Morgantown

Morgantown has come to Miller Park.  The speedy outfielder, picked up in a trade with the Washington Nationals, is expected to spell Carlos Gomez in center, but has potential to receive the bulk of the playing time.  I haven’t had much of an opportunity to look into the Brewers’ newest acquisition, but my initial impression of the trade is a favorable one.  In Cutter Dykstra (what a great name), the Brewers traded a guy who was not likely to make the big league roster in the near future, if ever.  In return, they received much-needed outfield depth.  Let’s look at Morgan’s offense, speed, and defense.

  • Offense:  Morgan broke into the big leagues on September 1, 2007, with a hit against his new team.  In four seasons of major league play, his slash line of .283/.344/.360 shows Morgan is a contact hitter with virtually no power (a career-high 3 HRs in 2009).  His 2010 strikeout and walk rates (17% and 7%, respectively) were nothing exceptional, but were also down from about 16% and 7.5% in 2009.  If Morgan performs at historic levels, he looks to be about league-average offensively.  However, that would represent a big upgrade over Carlos Gomez’s below-average plate production.  If Gomez cannot continue his hot spring and falls back to old habits, he will almost certainly cede playing time to Morgan.

  • Speed:  One of Morgan’s greatest weapons is his speed.  He nabbed 42 bags in 2009, and 34 last season.  But his speed is also one of his greatest downfalls; Morgan was caught stealing a league-leading 17 times in both 2009 and 2010, leading Fangraphs to describe his approach as “reckless.”  I don’t envy Ed Sedar’s job with Morgan this year.

  • Defense:  Morgan’s defensive metrics are rock-solid.  He has done very well defensively in both left and center, but most do not believe his defensive skills overcome his offensive deficiencies.  For the Brewers, defense is less essential, as starting CF Gomez is more than capable of running down balls.  Both Gomez and Morgan appear to have strong arms, with Morgan probably being slightly better in that respect.

The bottom line: In Morgan, the Brewers have protected themselves against injury (or ineffectiveness) to Carlos Gomez.  Morgan could ultimately challenge Gomez for playing time if Gomez’s hitting skills sag, and that might be a welcome thing.  The Brewers have lacked a solid number two hitter, and a cursory review shows Morgan could fit the bill.  They could pretty seamlessly insert Morgan into the lineup without giving up much in terms of defense.

Of course, the Morgan-Dykstra swap goes hand-in-hand with the Brewers’ decision to trade outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Yankees for spot-starter/long-reliever Sergio Mitre.  While Dickerson was widely expected to make the club, injuries to starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum forced the Brewers to find a serviceable arm out of the pen.  Although neither Dickerson nor Mitre will dazzle, the Brewers took a position at which they had a surplus (outfield) and turned it into something they were short of (long relievers capable of starting in a pinch).  If the Dickerson/Mitre trade indeed helped pave the way for the Morgan trade, it must be viewed as all the more positive.