Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Cecil Cooper’

Brewers beat 6/27

June 27, 2010 Comments off

Parra recalls perfect game in Minors

MILWAUKEE — Three years ago this weekend, Brewers lefty Manny Parra had the best performance of his professional career when he tossed a perfect game for Triple-A Nashville.

In his second Pacific Coast League start, Parra retired 27 consecutive batters for the Sounds on June 25, 2007. Current Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles remembers the game well, as he was serving as the Sounds’ pitching coach at the time.

“It was the most dominating performance I’ve ever seen,” Kyles said. “He had 11 strikeouts, no balls were put in play hard, and it was just the best performance I’ve seen on the mound up close and personal. It was really impressive.”

What made the perfect game even more impressive was the way Parra’s bullpen session had gone prior to the game.

After struggling in his previous outing, Parra was not confident in his stuff as he warmed up. Once he reached the mound, however, everything changed.

“I remember when I was out in the bullpen, thinking it was going to be a struggle out there that day,” Parra said. “But when I got out to the mound, everything started going my way.

There was one ball, hit about five feet fair toward third, but just before reaching the bag it rolled foul. That was the one where I was like, ‘Wow, this could really happen.'”

Parra’s perfect game was the first thrown in the PCL since the Sounds’ John Wasdin did so on April 7, 2003.

“It’s something I never expected would happen to me,” Parra said. “I’ve always said I was not the kind of pitcher that would ever throw a no-hitter or perfect game because I tend to give up a lot of hits. That day, though, everything just came together for me.”

Gomez striving to be everyday player

MILWAUKEE — When the Brewers brought Carlos Gomez in from Minnesota, he was expected to be the club’s everyday center fielder. Despite his recent struggles, that’s still his goal.

“I want to play everyday no matter what happens at the plate,” Gomez said. “Everybody knows when they signed me that I was supposed to be the everyday center fielder.”

Brewers manager Ken Macha sees the potential in Gomez, but he has had a hard time keeping him in the lineup lately with his struggles at the plate.

For now, it appears as though Gomez will start against left-handed pitching and veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds will get the nod against righties. Like Gomez, though, Macha would like Gomez to improve to the point of facing both right-handers and southpaws.

“The plan was for [Gomez] to face right-handers also,” Macha said. “After he came off the DL and Jimmy was on the DL, he played against right-handers and he struggled.

“So hopefully we’ll get him to the point where he can be an everyday guy.”

For Gomez, the situation is much like the one he faced in Minnesota last season before the Twins traded him to the Brewers.

Gomez struggled to find playing time in a crowded outfield that featured three young outfielders in Delmon Young, Denard Span, and Gomez. According to Gomez, the one benefit of moving to the National League this season is being able to pinch-hit or enter as part of a double switch in any game.

Even with that, however, Gomez is not excited about the situation he’s faced with.

“I don’t want to be in this situation every year,” Gomez said. “I’m only 24 years old, and it’s happened to me two years in a row now. But they know what I can do if I play everyday. Good things can happen.”

Coffey needs time to freshen up to bigs

MILWAUKEE — Only time can help Brewers reliever Todd Coffey get back to the point he was at before going on the disabled list June 6.

Coffey struggled Tuesday in his first outing since returning, allowing two runs to score on two hits, as he did not record an out over three batters faced.

“The first one, probably, he doesn’t want to rehash that one,” said Milwaukee skipper Ken Macha. “[Saturday], he had a little lapse on covering first base, so that wasn’t good. Otherwise, he would’ve had a 1-2-3 inning. He threw the ball good.”

Though he made just one rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville before returning, Coffey did not believe any additional time with the Sounds would have made a difference.

According to Coffey, pitching in the Minor Leagues does not do nearly as much as getting back into a pressure situation in the Majors after three weeks off.

“The first outing was a little shaky, but it was the first time I was really competitive in almost 20 days,” Coffey said. “Yesterday was definitely a step forward. I feel like I’m getting back on track.

“It’s not about the feeling off the mound down there, it’s about the feeling off the mound up here against big league hitters. It’s just going to take time. I took 20 days off, so it’s just going to take some time to get comfortable again.”

Brewers unveil top moment of 1980s

MILWAUKEE — With nearly 40 percent of the vote, Cecil Cooper’s two-run single in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS against the Angels was selected as the top Brewers moment from the 1980s in fan and media voting.

Fittingly, all fans in attendance on Sunday received a bobblehead commemorating the hit.

Cooper’s game-winning hit gave the Brewers the American League pennant and advanced the club to its first World Series in franchise history.

Behind Cooper’s single, it was a close race for second place, as two moments from the 1987 season were decided by just 2.2 percent of the vote.

Dale Sveum’s walk-off home run on Easter Sunday, which extended the Brewers’ win streak to 12 games to open the season, edged out Juan Nieves’ no-hitter, which came just four days earlier.

The unveiling of the Top 3 moments from the 1980s occurred at 1 p.m. CT on broadcasts and in Miller Park. The same process will occur for the ’90s and 2000s, with separate polls and reveals for each decade.

On Sept. 3, the polls will open again at Brewers.com and fans will be asked to vote for their Top 3 moments in Brewers history from the group of Top 12 “finalist” moments (Top 3 moments from each decade).

Worth noting

Veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds celebrated his 40th birthday on Sunday. … With his appearance on Saturday, Trevor Hoffman moved into a tie for 11th place on the all-time games pitched list. … Sunday is the Brewers’ final Interleague contest of 2010. Despite going 5-10 last season and just 92-106 in the history of Interleague Play, Milwaukee entered Sunday’s contest with an 8-6 record against the AL this season and is guaranteed a winning record for the sixth time since Interleague Play began in 1997 — the first time since 2007.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The ’80s were a banner decade for Crew

June 25, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — If you were at County Stadium on that late October day in 1982, you might never guess the celebration was for the World Series runners-up.

When Robin Yount circled the warning track at County Stadium on a Harley Davison motorcycle, the crowd of more than 20,000 fans was thrilled for the return of their beloved Milwaukee Brewers.

To this day, the Brewers’ 1982 team is adored by fans for giving Milwaukee its first World Series since the Milwaukee Braves won back-to-back National League pennants in 1957-58.

After finishing the previous decade with what remains the club’s best record to date in 1979, the Brewers enjoyed their greatest success of any decade in the 1980s, finishing .500 or better five times while reaching the playoffs twice and making the franchise’s only World Series appearance in ’82.

This weekend, as a part of the 40th anniversary of the move from Seattle, the Brewers are celebrating and reflecting on the club’s second decade in Milwaukee. On Friday, the team will wear reproductions of its 1978-89 uniforms, highlighted by pinstripes with “BREWERS” block letters on the front and the ball and glove logo on the cap. The Mariners will wear light blue road uniforms worn from 1981-84.

On Sunday, all fans in attendance will get a bobblehead doll commemorating Cecil Cooper’s base hit to drive home the winning runs in Game 5 of the 1982 American League Championship Series.

Harvey’s Wallbangers
While nearly everyone’s first thought of great Brewers teams goes immediately to the 1982 squad, the 1981 team was impressive in its own right.

With a 62-47 record, the Brewers finished with the best overall mark in the AL East and earned a playoff berth for their second-half record due to the split schedule that season caused by the players’ strike from June 12 to Aug. 10.

But while the Brewers lost the division series to the Yankees, three games to two, the 1981 season is remembered fondly by the players involved.

“That was probably our best team, we just jumped out in front and never looked back,” said Rollie Fingers, who won the AL MVP and Cy Young Awards in 1981. “It was a shame we had the strike in the middle of it, but it may have helped me.

“I remember I only gave up one earned run in Milwaukee that year. It was on a triple to Freddie Patek, I remember. It was one of those years where nothing went wrong.”

Following the club’s first-ever playoff appearance in 1981, expectations were high for the Brewers in 1982. Through the season’s first two months, however, things did not go as planned.

After the Brewers struggled to a 23-24 record on June 1, manager Buck Rodgers was fired in favor of Harvey Kuenn. With that, Harvey’s Wallbangers were born.

“When I think about the 1982 season, that’s the first thing that comes to mind: Harvey’s Wallbangers,” said Robin Yount, who won the first of his two AL MVP awards in 1982. “We worked hard, but we had a lot of fun that season, too. We wanted to win it for Harvey, and we did it his way.”

Over the last four months of the season, the Brewers went 72-43 to finish first in the AL East, one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. After losing in the division series the year before, the Brewers returned to the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

As they squared off with the California Angels in the AL Championship Series, the Brewers immediately dropped the first two games of the series in Anaheim. But as the series returned to Milwaukee, the Brewers swept all three games at County Stadium, including a thrilling 4-3 victory to clinch the AL pennant.

Milwaukee loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, which led to the most famous single of Cooper’s career, a two-run hit that put the Brewers on top and won the series.

After winning the ALCS, the Brewers were set to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the “Suds Series,” the first World Series in club history. Though they fell short in Game 7, the 1982 season remains fresh in the memories of players and fans alike.

“My career might be over, and the games are in the past, but the memories, those last forever,” second baseman Jim Gantner said. “That group of guys we had those years, it was unique. No matter how many teams you look at, I don’t think you could find another with so many characters like we had. It was incredible.”

“Pitching was the difference”
But the Brewers would not make it back to the playoffs in the 1980s.

Despite having much the same ballclub as the previous two seasons, the Brewers dropped from first in the AL East in 1981-82 to fifth in ’83, seventh in ’84 and sixth in ’85 and ’86.

In looking back, Yount sees a distinct difference between the successful clubs of the 1981-82 seasons and those that never made it back to the playoffs in the years following that success.

“Pitching was the difference,” Yount said. “I think that’s true of any great team. Look at any team that wins a championship, they’ve probably got great pitching.”

When asked if it was disappointing not to make it back to the playoffs in his career, Yount did not hold back his feelings on the matter.

“Of course it was disappointing,” Yount said. “That’s an understatement.”

Though they still would not reach the playoffs over the decade’s final three seasons, the 1987 team would provide plenty of memories.

And all within the first two weeks.

Streaking
To open what turned out to be a wild and wacky season, the Brewers tied a Major League record, winning its first 13 games of the year. One month later, the club lost 12 in a row.

But the 13-game stretch to open the season is among many Brewers fans’ favorite memories. Along the way, two highlights stand out.

First, in the team’s ninth game of the season, lefty Juan Nieves tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history, blanking the Orioles on April 15, 1987, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Nieves became the first Puerto Rican-born pitcher to toss a no-hitter, but he couldn’t do it without a little help from Yount, who made a tremendous no-hitter-saving catch in center field for the 27th and final out.

“There’s no way I wasn’t going to catch that ball,” Yount said. “When I saw it, I just took off running. There’s no time to think in that kind of situation. So I just reacted and luckily I got there and was able to be part of the Brewers’ only no-hitter.”

Three days later, the current Brewers hitting coach delivered the most famous home run in Brewers history, on Easter Sunday no less.

With the winning streak on the line, the Brewers headed to the ninth down, 4-1. At that point, the might have Brewers thought it was over, as did their fans. With that in mind, the crowd of 29,357 gave a standing ovation in appreciation for the 11-game win streak.

But it was far from over.

With two on and one out, slugger Rob Deer crushed a 1-0 curveball out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Rookie B.J. Surhoff followed Deer with a strikeout, but after a walk was drawn by Gantner, the switch-hitting Dale Sveum had a chance to make it 12 in a row.

He did just that.

With a full count, Sveum got a cut fastball, waist-high over the middle of the plate. Sveum jumped on it and blasted a two-run walk-off homer, sending County Stadium into a frenzy, as the Brewers had won their 12th straight to start the season.

“It was one of those games where nobody really wanted to leave,” said Brewers infielder Craig Counsell, a Wisconsin native who stood in the stands that day as a 16-year-old. “If you were there, you’d remember it.”

Later that season, Paul Molitor drew national attention when he hit in a team record 39 straight games. It remains the seventh-longest hitting streak in big league history, and fifth-longest since 1900.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.