It would be easy to give every Brewer a grade of A for the 1982 season because they came within one win of a World Series title. But while the team will receive an A (whoops, did I ruin the surprise?), like the Brewers season, nothing is easy, not even grading this team.
It will come as no surprise that Robin Yount received the highest grade while others such as the injured Larry Hisle bottomed out.
Cecil Cooper, 1B
Is there a better first baseman in the American League? Nope. He’s a legit Triple Crown threat each season. For the third consecutive full season, Coop hit at least .300 (.313), he slammed 32 homers and was second in the AL with 121 RBI. He added 38 doubles as a part of his 205 hits and scored a career-high 104 runs. He committed only five errors.
Jim Gantner, 2B
Played in 132 games, the fewest of all the regular Brewers infielders, which isn’t surprising, considering his hard-charging style and his ability to hang in when runners are bearing down on him. For a guy who hit from the nine-hole, a .295 average wasn’t too shabby. He’s not a masher (four homers), but a good bottom of the order guy.
Paul Molitor, 3B
The Ignitor lived up to his name as he provided the spark for the American League’s most potent offense. Led the league in AB (666), plate appearances (751) and runs scored. Hit .302 and had career highs in homers (19), RBI (71) and stolen bases (41). One of the best baserunners you’ll ever see. Adequate in the field.
Robin Yount, SS
Simply one of the finest seasons ever by a shortstop. His 129 runs, most ever by a shortstop. His 114 RBI, third all-time. Add to that a .331 batting average with 29 taters, 46 doubles, 12 triples and you get a .578 slugging percentage, which was .001 behind Ernie Banks for best ever. But Banks hit .285. Yount hit for power and average. Would have won the AL batting title if Willie Wilson had been man enough to play the last day of the season. He led the league in hits (210), doubles, slugging percentage and total bases with 367. And to think, he’s only 26. He was the clear MVP.
Don Money, DH, INF
A damn good season for the 35-year-old Money, who platooned with Roy Howell at DH. In 275 ABs, Money slugged .891 as 33 of his 78 hits went for extra bases, including 16 home runs, the third highest total of his career.
Roy Howell, DH INF
The Brewers had plenty of power, but only four taters? That’s Gantner territory (no offense, Gumby). Howell hit .260 and managed to drive in 38 runs. Other than that, the Crew may need to find another left-handed bat at DH.
Ed Romero, 2B
Backed up Gantner at second and played in 52 games and hit .250. He didn’t walk much, didn’t steal a base and hit one homer. He’s a typical light-hitting middle infielder.
Rob Piccolo, INF
Came over from Oakland in a midseason deal, hit .286 in 21 ABs in 22 games.
Ted Simmons, C
Simba’s slower than the orbit of Pluto, but few backstops call a better game. He also’s a switch hitter and the Crew doesn’t need to sit him depending on who is pitching. His 97 RBI were the most since he drove in 100 with the Cardinals in 1975 and his 23 homers were the most since he hit 26 in 1979. His 29 doubles were fourth on the team. At 32, Simmons is what he is.
Ned Yost, C
His homer in Boston proved to be one of the biggest hits of the season, as it helped the Crew get a four-game lead with five to play. Other than that, he played in 40 games, hit. 276 and was OK as Simmons’ backup. He’s 27, but he’s not starter material.
Ben Oglivie, LF
Benji, with Coop, provided the left-handed pop in the lineup smashing 34 homers and driving in 102 runs. He won’t hit for average, but his .244 followed the 1981 season where he hit .243. This from a guy who hit .282 or better in his first three seasons with the Crew.
Gorman Thomas, CF
Stormin’s 39 homers and 112 RBI were beautiful. His .245 average and 143 strikeouts were not. Gorman’s not gonna hit for average, ever, but his 29 doubles were third on the team, even ahead of Molly, who had 26 doubles. With Gorman, what you see is what you get: a gritty dude who’ll swing for the fences.
Charlie Moore, RF
A converted catcher, Moore’s hose accounted for 23 outfield assists. And who can forget the throw that nailed Reggie Jackson in Game 5 of the ALCS? Like the rest of the Crew outfield, Moore didn’t hit for average (.254), but he had 22 doubles. Other than that, he hit like a catcher.
Mark Brouhard, RF
Brouhard saved the Crew’s bacon in Game 4 of the ALCS, his finest moment of the season. His worst moment, losing the job in right field to Moore after being injured. Brouhard played in 40 games and had four homers and 10 RBI.
Marshall Edwards, OF
The only outfielder on the Brewers with any speed, but he suffered from the same affliction of the other Crew outfielders: low batting average. Edwards hit .247 and worse yet, walked only four times. For a team that drove in runs by the bunches, Edwards didn’t distinguish himself in any fashion.
Larry Hisle, OF-DH
It was sad to see the man who helped the Crew’s renaissance in ’78 succumb to injury. He hit .129 in what will likely be his last season.
Bob Skube, OF, UTL
Never saw enough time to make an impact, compiling 12 ABs between them.
Stats don’t lie: They hit a major-league leading 216 home runs, drove in an MLB-high 843 RBI, led the majors in total bases (2606), runs (891), slugging percentage (.455) and at bats (5733). Wait, we’re not done yet. The Crew was second in hits (1599, four behind the Royals), doubles (277, also behind the Royals), batting average (.279, six points behind the Royals) and second-last in strikeouts (714). They didn’t walk much (484, 14th in the majors) and they don’t steal bases (84), but when you pound the ball like the Crew did this season, you don’t need to go station-to-station.
There is no other grade for this team. It was second to none at the plate.