Sep 17, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; The Racing Sausages ride Harley Davidson motorcycles before game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers have never properly honored their proud history as a franchise, but that’s all about to change. On Thursday the team announced their plans to create a Wall of Honor at Miller Park, featuring plaques commemorating players, managers and others who have made their mark in Brewers lore over the past 40 years.
A whopping 58 players will be included in the inaugural Wall of Honor class. That’s a lot, but even with all those inductees, there were still some notable snubs.
Any time you do a thing like this, there are going to be snubs. That’s just how it works. It’s just too handy a talker. Plus who doesn’t like saying the word “snub?” It’s just a great word.
So who do I think got snubbed the hardest? First let’s look at the 58 individuals chosen for induction:
Hank Aaron, Jerry Augustine, Sal Bando, Chris Bosio, Johnny Briggs, Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Caldwell, Bill Castro, Jeff Cirillo, Jim Colborn, Cecil Cooper, Craig Counsell, Chuck Crim, Rob Deer, Cal Eldred, Mike Fetters, Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner, Moose Haas, Bill Hall, Darryl Hamilton, Teddy Higuera, John Jaha, Geoff Jenkins, Harvey Kuenn, Sixto Lezcano, Pat Listach, Mark Loretta, Davey May, Bob McClure, Paul Molitor, Don Money, Charlie Moore, Jaime Navarro, Dave Nilsson, Ben Oglivie, Dan Plesac, Darrell Porter, Ken Sanders, George Scott, Kevin Seitzer, Bud Selig, Richie Sexson, Ben Sheets, Ted Simmons, Jim Slaton, B.J. Surhoff, Don Sutton, Gorman Thomas , Bill Travers, Bob Uecker, Jose Valentin, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina, Pete Vuckovich, Bill Wegman, Bob Wickman and Robin Yount.
The Brewers tried to avoid any controversy in these selections by having arbitrary standards. Players were deemed worthy of the Wall if they met at least one of the following criteria:
2,000 or more plate appearances
1,000 or more innings pitched
250 appearances as a pitcher
Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
Manager of a pennant-winning team
Individuals memorialized with statues on the Miller Park Plaza
Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who played for or managed the Brewers
Member of a World Series winning team
Sounds nice and neat and clean, but here’s the problem: you still leave guys out who deserve to be on the Wall of Honor.
Not saying I would necessarily strike any of the above people. I’m not saying kick John Jaha off the Wall of Honor. If there’s going to be a Brewers Wall of Honor, John Jaha needs to be on it. For his name alone.
My thing is, why snub people if you don’t have to? If you’re going to go 58, why can’t you just go 60 or 65? Round it up? Add some wild cards from below the arbitrary thresholds? Put it to a fan vote maybe. Everyone loves voting.
There were some completely outrageous and unnecessary snubs here in my opinion. Here are the guys I think got shafted the hardest.
Dale Sveum – Sveum is a perfect example of why the arbitrary cut-off thing doesn’t work. He only had 1878 plate appearances with the Brewers. Okay so if he’d played one more half-season he’d be in. Because of that we’re going to ignore his 236 RBI. More importantly, we’re going to ignore the two years he spent helping ruin the Cubs?
Ricky Bones – It wasn’t Bones like the show Bones, it was Bones like “bonus.” Kind of. Actually it was more like “bone-ess.” It was like…I don’t know how to say it, but it wasn’t like the show Bones.
Ed Romero – I don’t remember one thing Ed Romero did on the baseball field. I just remember his card. Cause I was a Brewers fan as a kid and I had all their cards. This card brings back the early ’80s so hard it’s like a gut-punch. I can practically smell the hot Atari cartridge plastic.
Franklin Stubbs – It’s weird that he only played in Milwaukee two years. Could’ve sworn it was longer.
Doug Davis – Another egregious one like Dale Sveum. All this guy did was top 200 innings three straight years, posting an exact .500 winning percentage each of those seasons. That’s consistency. Is this the Wall of Super-Outrageous-Excellence? No. If it were, Doug Davis would have no business being on it. All he needed was to be honorable. He achieved that.
Gary Sheffield – When you’re remembering history you need to remember all the history. Not just the stuff you want to remember but the stuff you want to forget too. Just cause Gary Sheffield ended up leaving and becoming a near Hall of Famer, that doesn’t mean you should expel him from your memory bank. I say put Gary on the Wall of Honor. Because closure feels good.
Nyjer Morgan – A Brewers Wall of Honor without Nyjer “Seven Second Delay” Morgan is like a bratwurst without pig anus.
Greg Brock – This guy came so close. 1958 plate appearances. Man he’s kicking himself. If he’d only hung on a little longer. Hey, remember when he was a phenom with the Dodgers and then turned out to be total crap? And the Brewers picked him up and he hit .299 one year?
Ronnie Belliard – Oh hell no. What? Oh wait, his All-Star appearance was with Cleveland. Never mind on this one.
Bill Spiers – Think “Tom Trebelhorn era” and there’s a good chance this guy’s name will be the first that comes to mind. Good old Billy Spiers. Billy Billy Billy Spiers. Shortstop. I got nothing.
Again, I’m not saying I’d throw anyone off the list of inductees just to get one of these guys on. Although, honestly, Craig Counsell? Anyone else think it’s a little fishy that Counsell, who is now a special assistant to the GM, was reportedly instrumental in getting this idea off the ground, and oh wow isn’t that a coincidence, the criteria happen to be set up so he gets on?
But Dale Sveum is off? I think we need to start a petition.