Midwest Diamond Report - 6/15
Miller Park already had the Walk of Fame, Autograph Alley, the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor and other reminders of baseball history in Milwaukee.
On Friday, the historic monument representing the largest group of Brewers yet was unveiled with the Brewers Wall of Honor.
The Wall of Honor commemorates Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. That included: 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 and members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers.
A total of 36 former Brewers players attended Friday’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.
Craig Counsel, former player, current front office executive and a guy who grew up watching the great Brewers’ teams of the early 1980s, reportedly spearheaded the idea of the Wall.
The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark. Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor.
The list of former players on the Wall is impressive: Hank Aaron, Jerry Augustine, Sal Bando, Chris Bosio, Johnny Briggs, Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Caldwell, Bill Castro, Jeff Cirillo, Jim Colborn, Cecil Cooper, Craig Counsell, Chuck Crim, Rob Deer, Cal Eldred, Mike Fetters, Rollie Fingers, Jim Gantner, Moose Haas, Bill Hall, Darryl Hamilton, Teddy Higuera, John Jaha, Geoff Jenkins, Harvey Kuenn, Sixto Lezcano, Pat Listach, Mark Loretta, Davey May. Bob McClure, Paul Molitor, Don Money, Charlie Moore, Jaime Navarro, Dave Nilsson, Ben Oglivie, Dan Plesac, Darrell Porter, Ken Sanders, George Scott, Kevin Seitzer, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, Richie Sexson, Ben Sheets, Ted Simmons, Jim Slaton, B.J. Surhoff, Don Sutton, Gorman Thomas, Bill Travers, Bob Uecker, Jose Valentin, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina, Pete Vuckovich, Bill Wegman, Bob Wickman and Robin Yount.
John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement. Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
Field of Dreams Anniversary
While they celebrated history at Miller Park, another celebration was going on outside Dyersville, Iowa, where the 25th anniversary of the Field of Dreams movie and site was marked.
Kevin Costner, who starred in the film, was back and spending a couple days visiting with old friends, signing autographs and have a catch with his own kids. Others who were part of the film also appeared. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who was in the movie, spoke at a ceremony on Friday.
Meanwhile, there is a continuing controversy over the site's proposed redevelopment. Denise Stillman of suburban Chicago heads the company planning All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a youth sports complex that would surround the field.
A newly installed "Save the Field of Dreams on Facebook" billboard stood on the south edge of Dyersville where traffic turns east to drive to the movie site. A coalition of neighboring farmers (known as the Residential and Agricultural Advisory Committee) sued the City of Dyersville, alleging that its rezoning of the Field of Dreams farm from agricultural to commercial ground was illegal. The case awaits a judge's ruling.
Player of the Week
The Brewers’ Scooter Gennett hit .412 and served as a sparkplug when he was moved to the leadoff spot. Gennett also had a game-changing 13-pitch at-bat before doubling off the Reds’ Mat Latos Saturday night. For all this, he gets the MDR Player of the Week honor.
Other MDR teams Players of the Week include:
** the Cubs’ Luis Valbuena, who was 11-for-25 with a homer in seven games.
** the Twins’ Kyle Gibson, who allowed five hits in seven innings in a win.
** the White Sox’s Adam Eaton, who hit .318 for the week.
** The Brewers committed four errors in a loss on Friday. RHP Matt Garza continued to have trouble throwing to bases with two of those errors.
** LHP Tom Gorzelanny was activated Saturday from the DL. Optioned to Triple-A Nashville were outfielder Logan Schafer and utility man Irving Falu, creating space for Gorzelanny to return from the disabled list and for another utility man, Elian Herrera, to come up from Nashville.
** RF Ryan Braun’s two-run homer Saturday was to right field, where Braun has been getting most of his hits lately.
** OF Emilio Bonifacio was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with rib cage inflammation after injuring himself during Thursday night's game against the Pirates.
** The Cubs have activated Ryan Sweeney from the 15-day disabled list. Sweeney, who had been sidelined since May 3 with a right hamstring strain, got the start in center field Friday night and was put in the No. 2 spot in the order.
** Mike Olt, Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena homered on Saturday.
** RHP Kyle Gibson held the Tigers to five hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win on Friday.
** OF Aaron Hicks went on the DL with shoulder problems and OF Sam Fuld was called up from the minors.
** Brian Dozier came back from back problems to homer Saturday.
** Avisail Garcia played catch on the field Thursday and Friday for the first time since he tore the labrum in his left shoulder and sustained an avulsion fracture diving for a fly ball in right at Colorado on April 9.
** The White Sox have signed RHP Henry Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, 27, will be placed on the Triple-A Charlotte disabled list.
** The Sox acquired OF Michael Taylor from the A’s for RHP Jake Sanchez.
Turning to a slightly larger ball, the Arcadia high school girls softball team won the Wisconsin state Division III championship with a 30-0 record after a 1-0 win over Laconia on Saturday. It was Arcadia’s fifth one-run win in a row!!
The highlight of the week will be a White Sox-Twins series at Target Field from Thursday through Sunday. Pitching matchups will be added to the Facebook posting of this blog.
Target Field will host the All Star Game in July. Commemorate the 2014 All-Star Game with a limited edition print by renowned Minnesota sports artist Terrence Fogarty.
Now available for purchase, the print titled "Our Game" paints a stunning vista of Target Field and the cityscape of the Twin Cities. However, its portrayal of baseball's youth celebrating America's Midsummer Classic is the heart of this commemorative piece.
All net proceeds from the sale of "Our Game" will benefit the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Visit www.twinsbaseball.com/fogartyprint for more information.
The MDR Blog can be found at the locations below. Updates are periodically added to the Facebook posting of the blog: