Saturday, May 10, 2008

History strikes out

When I first heard that Ben Sheets set the Brewers' career strikeout record today I was a bit surprised. Sheets is twenty-nine years old, has never won more than 12 games in a season and because of arm trouble has not been able to start more than 24 games in a season since 2004. I still think of him (wrongly) as a young pitcher on the rise, so it seemed odd for him to be setting a franchise record. But then I took a look at the Brewers' all-time pitching leaders and it all became clear.

Milwaukee Brewers franchise might have the least impressive collection of pitchers of any franchise that has been around for more than two decades. At least the Expos had Cy Young Petey and the Rangers had Charlie Hough and a few good seasons from Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Fergie Jenkins. The Brewers' career wins mark (117) is held by a man, Jim Slaton, who had a losing record (151-158) in his sixteen year career. Slaton also leads the Brewers in innings pitched, hits, walks (760, an astounding 312 more walks than the number two man, Cal Eldred), earned runs and home runs. Slaton was an all star in 1977 when he went 10-14 with a 3.58 ERA, and in 1982 he was a valuable member of a bullpen that helped the Brewers to an AL Championship. Slaton attended Antalope Valley High School in Lancaster, California, which also produced Frank Zappa, Judy Garland and and 1995 AL ERA champ, Kevin Appier. Sheets, Slaton, Appier, Zappa, and Garland would comprise the best rotation in Brewers' history.

Unlrelated to the pitching, did you know Jeremy Burnitz is the Brewers' all-time leader in slugging percentage (.508) and Jeff Cirillo is tops in batting average (.307) and OBP (.398)? Robin Yount leads everything else.

1 comment:

areinsch said...

There's something sort of unjust about the Brewers' career leaders in the rate batting categories coming out of the late 90's and early 00's.

They had some real hitters on those early-to-mid-80s teams, but they're still just good hitters for 1982.