The Numbers Game: Enter the 5th Dimension

George Scottby Kevin Kimmes

Welcome back to another installment of The Numbers Game. Today we’ll be looking at every player who has ever worn the number 5 for the Pilots and Brewers, including the ever colorful George Scott and former slugger Geoff Jenkins. So, let’s get down to business.

Seattle Pilots:

Don Mincher – 1969: As mentioned in yesterday’s article, the Pilots had two All-Star selections in 1969: the previously mentioned Mike Hegan and Mincher. The interesting thing here is that Mincher is the only Pilot to have actually played in an All-Star game as Hegan, selected as a reserve, did not see play.

Mincher is also one of five Twins players (including  Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rich Rollins, and Zoilo Versalles) to have hit a homerun in the 7th inning of the June 9, 1966 contest against the Kansas City Athletics. The five home runs in a single inning still stand as a Major League record for the most home runs batted in a single inning. The hits were given up by Catfish Hunter and Paul Lindblad.

Milwaukee Brewers:

Phil Roof – 1970-71: A great defensive catcher who was not really known for his bat, Roof recorded a career best 13 home runs for the fledgeling Milwaukee club in 1970. Early in 1971, Roof would suffer a concussion on a ball pitched by Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven.  Three months later, he would find himself traded to the Twins where he would catch for Blyleven in just his second appearance for Minnesota.

Paul Ratliff – 1971: The third former/future Twin on today’s list, is Paul Ratliff. A sub-Mendoza Line batter (.171 in ’71 and .071 in ’72), Ratliff was acquired from the Twins for the previously mention Roof in 1971, acquiring his previously worn number 5 (he would switch to 17 in ’72). He was traded to the California Angels on July 28, 1972 and never again appeared in a major league game.

George “Boomer” Scott – 1972-76: The first player on today’s list who didn’t play for the Twins is the one-of-a-kind Scott. George was a 3 time American League All-Star (’66, ’75, ’77) and an 8 time Gold Glove award winner (’67-’68 and ’71-’76). Offensively, Scott hit over 20 homeruns (which he refered to as “taters”) six times in his career, and tied Reggie Jackson for the most in the AL in 1975 with 36,  a career-high.

Known for his sense of humor, Scott wore a distinctive necklace which he told a reporter was made of the 2nd baseman’s teeth, and nicknamed his 1st baseman’s glove “Black Beauty”. Scott is also well known for wearing a batting helmet while in the field, something he started doing while with Boston in the 60′s after opposing fans pelted him with objects while playing on the road.

Jamie Quirk – 1977: Quirk played one season with Milwaukee in which he went .217/.251/.330 with 48 hits and 8 walks in 93 games.

Tony Muser – 1978: In his final year in the majors, Muser only appeared in 16 games for Milwaukee where he recorded an underwhelming .133/.212/.233 with 4 hits and three walks in 30 at bats.

No player was assigned the number 5 in the Brewers organization in 1979.

Ned Yost – 1980-83: Used primarily as a backup catcher, Yost spent the first 4 years of his playing career in Milwaukee. He had his best hitting season as a member of “Harvey’s Wallbangers” in 1982 recording a stat line of .276/.324/.429 with 27 hits and 7 walks over the span of 40 games.

Yost would return to Milwaukee as manager in 2003 where he would take the team from perennial losers to championship contenders. He would be fired from the team on September 15, 2008 after the team went into a two week long tailspin en-route to a wildcard playoff appearance.

Doug Loman – 1984-85: In Loman’s only 2 seasons in the majors, he had a career stat line of .246/.325/.366 with 35 hits and 16 walks in 47 games.

No player was assigned the number 5 in the Brewers organization in 1986.

B.J. Surhoff – 1987-95: Drafted 1st overall by the Brewers in the 1985 amateur draft, Surhoff would make a career for himself based on both consistency and versatility. He batted over .280 in 12 of his 19 major league seasons and appeared at every defensive position, other than pitcher, throughout this time. Despite these accomplishments, Surhoff would only be selected to the All-Star game one time (1999). He finished his career with 2,326 hits and 1,153 RBIs.

No player was assigned the number 5 in the Brewers organization in 1996.

Kelly Stinnett – 1997: The final player to wear number 5 for Milwaukee in the AL is Kelly Stinnett. In 44 games for Milwaukee between ’96 (wearing number 11) and ’97, Stinnett was .177/.250/.244 with 11 hits and 5 walks.

Geoff Jenkins – 1998-2007: Playing all but his final season with Milwaukee, Jenkins ranks 3rd on the Brewers all-time home run list behind Hall of Famer Robin Yount and Prince Fielder. To add to this accolade, Geoff hit over .300 in both his 2nd and 3rd seasons in the majors (.313 in ’99 and .303 in ’00), was named team MVP in 2000 and was selected to the National League All-Star team via the All-Star Final Vote contest in 2003.

After declining Jenkins option for 2008 on October 30, 2007, Geoff would go on to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies on December 20, 2007. As a member of the 2008 Phillies, his team would defeat the Brewers in the NLDS en-route to winning the World Series. Jenkins would be released by the Phillies at the end of Spring Training in 2009.

Jenkins would retire from baseball as a Milwaukee Brewer on on July 9th, 2010.

Ray Durham – 2008: Acquired in a trade with the Giants for prospects Steve Hammond and Darren Ford in July of 2008, Durham would finish his major league career as a Brewer. He would bat .280/.369/.477 in 41 games with 30 hits and 15 walks.

No player was assigned the number 5 in the Brewers organization in 2009 and 2010.

Taylor Green – 2011-12: Debuting on August 31st, 2011 as a pinch hitter, Green singled in his first at bat. He would average .270 in 37 at bats for Milwaukee that year. Due to the acquisition of Aramis Ramirez in 2012, Green’s current role is that of utility infielder and pinch hitter.

I’ll be back tomorrow to look at those players who wore number 6.

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.

All You Need Is Love – What I Love About The Game of Baseball

by Kevin Kimmes

With today being Valentines Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on the things I love most about baseball. And while I’m on the subject of love, I would like to dedicate this article to my fiance, Abigail Bellehumeur, who has shown unwavering patience despite having to share me with the “other woman” who she claims has the initials “M. L. B.”, and to my mom, Sandy Kimmes, whose birthday it is today. I love you both very much!

I Love The Brewers

I know, that should go without saying, but it’s important, I think, to start here. Through thick and through thin (and there has been a lot of the later and a lot less of the prior), the Brewers have been, and will always be, my home team. Throughout the years, I’ve tried to cheer for other teams, but much like wearing someone else’s clothes, I never felt comfortable sporting another teams colors.

I think we fall in love with the team that we have the greatest connection to as children. For me, I remember going to my grandparents and spending time sitting in the garage with my grandfather as he listened to Bob Uecker call the games on the radio, a warm summer breeze blowing in through the open garage door. For me, these were some of my first experiences with the game, and will always be cherished memories that I carry with me throughout my life.

I Love The History Of The Game

The fact that we as fans celebrate the teams, and players, of yesteryear just as much, if not more so, than the players of today says something about the game as a whole. Despite changes to the game throughout the years, baseball is fundamentally the same game it was over 100 years ago. This allows for easy comparison of today’s teams and players with those from the past, allowing us to have a better understanding of those who we never had a chance to see play.

Need proof? Every year we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day and award the best pitchers with the Cy Young Award. Our favorite teams wear throwback uniforms to remind us of where they came from, and to pay homage to those that paved the way (the Negro Leagues). And, millions take the pilgrimage to Cooperstown each year to not only view history with their own eyes, but to wish congratulations to that years Hall of Fame induction class.

I Love That The Game Is Allowed To Move At Its Own Pace

Baseball is that rare sport that we allow to take as much (or as little) time as needed. We express patience and hang on each moment with the wonder of what may come next. We do not hold the game to a time limit, like we do with football, basketball, hockey, etc. As long as a team can avoid the final out in the 9th, we give them as much time as they need to mount a comeback, no matter how improbable.

This to me is beautiful in the sense that it allows hope and optimism to bloom even when things look their darkest, something that we can take away from the game and use in our daily lives.

I Love Bud Selig

This has nothing to do with his work as commissioner, no, this has to do with the fact that he was the man who brought Major League Baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves walked out after the 1965 season. Having been born in the late seventies, if Bud hadn’t purchased the ailing Seattle Pilots and relocated them to Milwaukee, there is a strong possibility that I would never have known the joy of cheering for my home team. I would have still found the game through the school yard or Cable TV, but would have probably wound up a Twins fan,  a White Sox Fan, a Tigers fan, or (gasp) a Cubs fan!

I Love The Emotion That A Game (Or Moment) Can Create

While I have been wowed by spectacular plays and angered by bonehead on field buffoonery over the years, the strongest emotional reaction I have ever felt during a game transpired on September 23, 2011. Seated 4 rows up off of the 1st baseline between Fielder and Hart, Abby and I saw the Brewer win the NL Central Division title for the first time in franchise history.

When we had first received the tickets in July, I had joked that it looked like we would probably be going to a AAA game that night, as this was the final series at home for the year and the Brewers were on pace to have the division locked up prior to the game transpiring. As the weeks went by, and the Brewers pace slowed, the likelihood began to become more and more real that we may be on hand to see history. However, it was a Cardinals loss the previous evening to the Mets that finally cemented the scenario.

As we sat in our seats that night, our eyes kept shifting from the play on the field to the wall in left field where the score from the Cardinals/Cubs game was occasionally displayed. In the top of the 9th, with 2 men out, and the batter in a 1-1 count, we saw what we were waiting for. Alfonso Soriano had just gone yard putting the Cubs ahead. In his post game interview that night John Axford was asked if he knew what was going on when the crowd erupted, saying that he assumed he knew, but hadn’t turned around to confirm his suspicions. One player who did though was Ryan Braun, who checked the score over his shoulder, then returned to his defensive position with a huge grin on his face.

With two innings to go in the Cardinals/Cubs contest, no one moved as 44,000 fans, plus the team, turned to the outfield video wall to await history. As the Cardinals game went final and the image on the screen changed to the NL Central Champions graphic, I turned to Abby as I fought back tears, only to find that she was crying. I pulled her close and hugged her tight, kissing her cheek in the process, as confetti rained down around us. That’s what I mean by emotion, and that is why I truly love this game.

Happy Valentines Day!