Yesterday the Brewers unveiled the new Wall of Honor display on the north side of Miller Park outside left field. The brainchild of former Brewer player and current Brewer official Craig Counsell, the Wall is meant to commemorate players (plus Uecker and Selig) who left their mark on the franchise. Individuals earn a spot on the Wall by meeting 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 recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
- Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers
Those standards seem mostly fair, although I’m not sure those who already have their own statues need even more recognition. Based on those criteria, the Wall already contains 58 members – much more inclusive than the highly exclusionary Walk of Fame,s creation.)
All 58 Wall members are commemorated with tasteful plaques that briefly describe their accomplishments. When I first read the list of inductees,re doing something right, or at least have a positive WAR. The plaques do a nice job of putting relatively modest accomplishments in context and make the case these guys are on the Wall for a reason.
In no particular order, here are a few honorees that interest me.
As you are no doubt aware, Hank Aaron played the final two not particularly productive seasons of his career for Milwaukee’s upstart franchise – or as his plaque says, “retired as a Brewer.” I wonder if the Kansas City Chiefs have a plaque of Joe Montana anywhere. I mean, it’s great that Aaron lent a little bit of his legend to the Brewers even though he will always be remembered as a Brave. It just seems a little generous to honor someone who had such a fleeting association with the organization. I guess you have to make accommodations for someone of Aaron’s stature.
Sixto Lezcano was before my time, so I don’t have an emotional connection to him as player, but I couldn’t help but notice he got a pretty big ovation during the pre-game ceremony. I do wish I knew more people named Sixto. His plaque says Lezcano was the first player to hit grand slams on two different opening days, in 1978 and 1980. That’s the kind of sports stat that’s both completely trivial and kind of neat.
I had no idea who Johnny Briggs was until reading his plaque, which says he had a career high of 73 RBI in 1974 and ranked fifth in extra base hits that season. It seems like they were stretching a bit with Briggs, but we can all agree he really pulled off the bushy sideburn look better than anyone else in the last 40 years.
Bill Hall – yep, he sure was a Brewer for a period of time. The plaque devotes a chunk of space to his 2006 Mother’s Day homerun, which is certainly worth remembering. Other than that, Hall had some really good seasons in the middle of his career, so this seems like honoring a guy just for hanging around. Fair enough, but I imagine this plaque will earn more than a few eye rolls by fans wondering what the big deal is.
Brewers fans love Counsell, and with good reason. I just think the last line in his plaque should be, “This Wall was his idea.”
Overall, the Wall of Honor strikes me as a decent way to recognize players for their service, most of which was remarkable. Even the Jahas and Halls of the world had something to contribute, and there’s nothing wrong with giving them some credit. If you visit it, it will count as the something new you learn every day. Two word review: pretty cool.