Adam McCalvy, MLB.com Brewers Writer
This is the sporting life on. Espn radio and the ESPN APP. Here's Jeremy Shop. The Milwaukee brewers would be celebrating now. They're fifty first season in Milwaukee. Of course we don't know when baseball is coming back. But the brewers are the subject of new book by Adam Mckelvey who's been covering them for. Mlb DOT COM for decades. He is a native of the Milwaukee area and his new book is the Milwaukee Brewers at fifty celebrating a half century of brewers baseball Adam. Thanks so much for being with us. Of course thank you for having me off so I gotta say I'm doing this with all due respect but I was looking at some of the numbers right. I mean the brewers I think over there fifty seasons in Milwaukee have a winning percentage of about forty eight percent which I think might be actually a little bit better than I would have guessed. And they've played a total in fifty seasons. If my math is right again I think of thirty postseason games. And they've won pennant no world series of course at Nineteen Eighty-two pennant lost in seven games to the cardinals and Keith Hernandez and that whole story was Bob Maclaurin who gave up the head to Hernandez in the in the big game in my right. That's right no rollie fingers haunts till this day right so so when you said about a project like this Your how do you do it when there? Aren't you know twenty seven world championships like a team that place in the Bronx for instance? Yeah we'll look. There still are a lot of beloved characters in the story of this franchise and I. I think that's what I tried to do. As much as possible instead of just recounting the history. I think people especially the many of the people who buy this book. No the basic history of the team the playoff years and eighty one. Eighty two and then Resurgence in two thousand eight. Two thousand eleven with the Prince Fielder Ryan Braun teams and then more recently led by Christian. Yelich you know. The basics are known but but to try as much as possible in a book like this To get into some of the characters that tell the story of this team and I think there are some unique things about this franchise and it it starts with the founding you know how many franchises can say that. They existed as an idea for seven days about seven days before they played their first game. But that's the amount of time between a bankruptcy judge in Seattle determining that the pilots after one year there could be sold to a group led by bud seal again Milwaukee Between that decision being made and the very first game the opening day at County stadium that was the night of March thirty first. Nineteen seventy two the afternoon of April. Seven nineteen seventy I. I just think that's kind of a remarkable starts and a fitting start for a team that then throughout the years and said you know some really interesting characters from George Scott and Gorman Thomas and more recently Ben Sheets Niger Morgan Just on some big time personality. So look you're right. They have won one. Tenant they are still chasing that world series and There's a parade there. There is a parade to tell a about. We can talk about that losing world series parade. But there's not a championship to tell the story of And I you know I I it. There still are stories to tell them. That's what I try to bite into. We're speaking with Adam. Mckelvey about his new book. Milwaukee brewers at fifty celebrating a half century of brewers baseball. And you know I mean you know it's easy for somebody coming from New York. You know where they've got twenty seven champions ships with Yankees and before that the giants and In the dodgers and the mets well it's been. It's been a long track for the mets too. But we'll we'll talk about that another time. But you know people forget when you talk about Milwaukee Baseball outside Milwaukee forget that there were some incredible teams there in the fifties and early sixties. How long were the days? What what was it? Fourteen years something like that. Yeah never had a losing season. led the major leagues and attendance on a number of occasions. I nationally franchise to draw two million fans. It was a town that fell in love with baseball. Aaron and Mathews and spawned debt. I mean It was a they had those great teams and they beat the Yankees. And what was it? The fifty seven world series right and then they decamped for Atlanta. What did it mean to Milwaukee to get baseball back in one thousand nine hundred seventy of course it meant the Seattle lost the team that had had for one year as you already said it was the that the city was big league again And you know it came at a time that her Cole had also brought the NBA to Milwaukee Just a year before and it was a big boost for town. That was really heartbroken when the braves left you know in in in reading about that I always known the braves left town. I never exactly need the history of that. How a team that has been so successful at the gate and on the field and as you said had so many hall of famers suddenly decamped and I learned through this research that one of the reasons Milwaukee lock the braves was they made a policy against carrying beer and people were so horrified of the notion of having to buy their beer at the ballpark. Let's do some really hard feelings. I'm sorry Adam only in Milwaukee I mean that's that's that is a great story you know. Can you picture wheeling? You're into the ballpark for for a long now. Look it's more complicated than that and I don't mean to oversimplify but that was certainly one factor and really before the brave even the camp but she was already trying to gather civic leaders. You know he's around thirty years old at the time To try to I save the braves. When that effort failed he turned his sights to bringing in almost immediately and other expansion team and you know he had so much heartache in close calls over and over there was American league expansion during that period between sixty five and seventy there was naturally expansion. You tell them watching Walter. O'malley announced the winner in mouth of a word that began with 'em and his heart lifted and of the word was Montreal. Feel heart was broken again He had a deal to buy the Chicago. White Sox from one of the Allen Brothers The other brother Nix. That deal hurt was broken again. So the way bud ceiling tiles that this idea of bringing the Seattle pilots as you said lasted only one year for attendance The ownership a at least one member of the ownership was willing to part with the team. It was as buddy tells it the very last chance and had that effort failed There may not be bigly baseball in Milwaukee today and a whole generation of fans including me would you know either becomes fans are twins fans or maybe just focused on the Green Bay packers. So it's a story of a close calls and sort of how I use. This history can hang on such a thin line and impact so many people in in the decades that followed Th that is sort of a story of this franchises. Though we're speaking with data Mckelvey is new book. Is Milwaukee brewers at fifty celebrating a half century of brewers baseball? And you got a foreword by Robin Yount a Hall of Famer. Shortstop center fielder off the top of my head Robin Yates easily. The greatest player in franchise history right usually yes easily. Easily Was He was? He full-time playing shortstop when he was eighteen. For the brewers yeah and again a story of right place right time. I think about that in my career sometimes. And how many of us have you know are where we are because of Sort of vet that idea just being ready when opportunity strikes you But feeling tells the story of a real battle within their front office in. Nineteen seventy three When the Bruce had the third overall pick and The GM wanted a pitcher from New York Scouting director really liked the shortstop from Woodland Hills. California and they battled in battled and battled and it was ultimately the scouting directors. Call Jim bomber. Who himself was who made it to the big leagues at age eighteen. He got to Select Robin. Yount in the following spring. And you're talking about nineteen seventy four. The brewers are still basically an expansion team. They've had very little success on the field and they get to spring training. Imagine was del Crandall speaking of the Great Milwaukee braves he was one of the core players of that team and He decided you know why. Not Give it a shot to the kid And Robin Yount had impressed At times in that Spring and they made the decision sort of near the camp that that's just give it to. Let's give him a shot in the Big Leagues. And you know really. It's it took years for robbing out to become the hall of Famer that he eventually became. It was really a four really. Disappointing seasons You set a club record as a rookie. That probably won't ever be broken for Arizona season at shortstop And really just you know didn't perform the bat until about nineteen seventy eight. So you know would it? Sometimes I think back when you look at players today in the social media age where everybody wants you know Mike Trout from the second he steps foot major league deal with how many hours four years of real struggling what would what would he look. What would his career look like in today's game? Would it be different? Would they have the patience to stick with an eventual hall of Famer? Sort of an impossible question to answer but one of the you know one of the best things for robbing out was that he was able to learn on the job. The next year the bruised brought back Henry an to Milwaukee he was a fantastic mentor for robbing out and Frank Robinson was also a great mentor on the Robin McDonald played. Winter Ball Frank Robinson and Robinson took to this kid was you know the sort of cool calm southern California. I Robinson really liked him and they'd have a couple of cocktails at the bar. Each night and Robin. Yount says that was a phenomenal influence on his career as well and and he blossoms into nearly the face of this franchise may you know. Maybe it's Bobby euchre seen. Maybe you can make the case for that abroad after the face of the team but For if you're talking about player there's no doubt that Robin young man who defines this sort of Understated blue-collar Loyal sort of town He was the player. That he's the face of this franchise. And I was just GonNa get to Bob Euchre before we go again. We're speaking with Adam. Mckelvey FROM MLB DOT COM. Who's been covering the BREWERS FOR MLB for twenty years? Nearly and that's forty percent of the history of the franchise. Tell me Bob Euchre story and then we'll let you go. Well his deadpan gets you you know my favorite personal bobby. You could story. There was a year one of the early years. I was covering the team where they weren't very good as you said for some of those years and in the two thousands and they agreed to let sports illustrated follow the team for like a road trip and it turns into this nightmarish road trip. They lost every game. I've injuries whatever could go wrong. Went wrong but when the piece comes out in sports illustrated there's this fantastic photo of the guys playing Ping Pong cool in in Miami In in the background is Euch in a very very stylish black speedo and this thing is published in the magazine and he picks them ribbon for it and I think it was like the next spring. Were just talking about an totally casually in conversation. This comes up and he goes. Oh Yeah my sports so strange Simpson issue for some reason that line just like stuck in my head forever and it and it's those types of little things that you will drop on you and you know you not even expecting you to laugh and then you spend the next hour laughing about that. He said I've said many times. You know it's a it's a it's a it's a joy to cover the T. When your team that that you follow makes it to the postseason Look Your Nas. Stick about covering this team doing the job as a journalist. But it's it's you know when the teams good it's it's a good thing you know you get to cover huge games deep into a lot of fun. I've always said my team could win the next ten world series or the you know I could cover the next ten world series of nothing will be as a thrill as just standing around the batting cage with Bobby. You could do this little job. Make you laugh. is a total joy to be around and You know I hope he gets there for a long time. This was supposed to be fiftieth season. on the Mike for the Milwaukee brewers his hometown team. Not exactly the way he envisioned Season number fifty going. But hopefully we get some baseball for before this yoga. That would be nice. Adema cavities new book. The Milwaukee brewers at fifty celebrating half-century. A brewers baseball Adam. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck good luck with the book. Jeremy I appreciate it so much thank you. I'm Jeremy Shop and you can listen to new editions of the sporting life every Saturday and Sunday morning on ESPN radio and ESPN APP. Beginning at six am eastern time.