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Love the Brewers...Him, Not So Much

by Tim Muma                                                            7/11/2012
(Twitter:  @brewersblend)                                        12:15pm


It doesn't matter which team someone loves to root for or how passionate of a follower anyone is, there are always players that drive people nuts - for good reason or not. Fans in general lean toward a lot of irrational thought and behavior, especially when it comes to their own club.

In this aspect, I was trying to think of Brewers' players (past and present) that created a true, visceral detestation among a certain faction of fans. Of course, this list could include everyone (including Ryan Braun) because it has to do with personal preference.

The names I put below are based on my recollection of people's reactions and a little bit of my own strong distaste for some.


1) Rob Deer (1986-1990)


Mustache, mullet,
home runs and K's
This one goes out to my cousin, Josh, who I recall cursing Deer's name at a very young age. He wasn't the only one who was frustrated with Deer's mostly all-or-nothing big swing that led to him leading the league in strikeouts in '87 and '88. Of course, many people in Milwaukee loved the slugger's style (mullet not withstanding) as it fit in with guys like Gorman Thomas of the early '80s.

He was a sub-par outfielder and only once hit better than .250 in his 11-year career. Though RBIs can be a fickle stat because it depends on others, he never drove in 90 runs in a season, despite 2 seasons with more than 30 HR (and a 28 HR year). Deer did have an .800+ OPS in '86 and '87, so perhaps he had just the right amount of haters and admirers.


2) Ronnie Belliard (1998-2002)


His LBs were higher
than his AVG in '02
Failed expectations and obvious laziness drew the ire of large masses of Brewers' fans who would just as soon see an underdog out-hustle the opponent than win any style points. Belliard busted out in '99 with a .379 OBP and .808 OPS as a 2nd baseman. However, it seemed as though that was enough for him - at least in Milwaukee. Lack of effort is not the way to go, especially in the Brew City.

His weight would quickly balloon while his baseball numbers dipped, which included a couple of DL stints (no doubt related to his weight gain). After that quality '99 campaign, his next 3 seasons were increasingly disappointing, totaling a slash line of .251/.327/.384/.711. Clearly the last straw was in 2002 when Belliard had a .287 OBP and a pathetic .544 OPS in 104 games, prompting Milwaukee to let him leave at season's end.


3) Chad Moeller (2004-2006)

Chad falls in line with the Brewers history of
catchers, including Paul Bako and Jesse Levis
He only played in 106 games for the Brewers, but his name brought about more eye rolls and sighs than most players I remember. With a .204 average with Milwaukee and a .576 OPS, Moeller was touted as a "defensive catcher," but those skills left a lot to be desired as well. He had fans believing just about anyone would have been a better option.

Things actually got worse for Moeller when he made a deal with the Devil and hit for the cycle on April 27, 2004 (that date is etched in my memory because that's the only thing they ever put on the scoreboard when Moeller came up to bat). Moeller only had two 4-hit games in his career (the other was a 2-HR binge), but he lives on in Brewers' history with the likes of Molitor and Yount, despite his unbelievably mediocre-at-best career.


4) Wes Helms (2003-2005)

A guy known as the "Southern Gentleman" (and he actually was very nice the couple of times I got to talk to him), Helms probably didn't deserve the volume of negativity he received from Brewers' fans. Touted as the next big thing at 3rd base out of Atlanta, he did hit 23 bombs in his first season in Milwaukee. Still, he wasn't the stud many hoped he'd become, and never lived that down.

The man, the myth,
the legend
He was roundly booed on Opening Day at Miller park in 2005 and saw his playing time diminish over his 3 seasons with the Brewers. The fact of the matter is, Helms was a classic platoon player who put up good numbers against southpaws (career .358 OBP, .800 OPS) and struggled mightily versus righties (.300 OBP, .380 SLG). He could be extremely valuable as a starter against lefties and a pinch-hitter.

Helms' lack of favor in Milwaukee stemmed mainly from a failure to reach his perceived potential, as well as the frustration of Brewers' fans watching the team go 259-388 (.400) from 2001-2004. Of course, his greatest contribution to the Brewers came as a Florida Marlin when he hit a game-winning, 8th-inning home run against the Mets to help the Brewers reach the playoffs in 2008.
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I could probably come up with half a dozen more, but I don't want to steal anyone's thunder. Perhaps I'll add on some later, but I'd really like to get the opinions of others, especially if you have good (or irrational) reasoning for hating on a past or present Brewer.

As much as we love the Brewers, it's cathartic to vent our frustrations - let this be the place we can all empathize with each other.

6 comments:

  1. Wes Helms always bothered 14-year old me for two reasons: 1) he was rather doughy, thus affecting his range, and 2) he always looked at least a decade older than he actually was. A 27-year old who looked like he was 45 and couldn't lay off the Old Style.

    ReplyDelete
  2. uhhh...Sheffield, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, Sheffield is one of those guys the Brewers fan base wants to forget he ever existed. To essentially admit to throwing balls away intentionally to get out of Milwaukee...that's about as classless as it gets.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kevin Mench and Johnny Estrada. Watching Estrada scream at the ump in sheets' 20 strikeout game made me sick.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, Mench and Estrada are excellent choices. Estrada with a sub-.300 OBP when he was supposed to be a "good hitter" because his defense was blech.

    Mench reminded me a lot of Wes Helms. Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
  6. i got russell branyan, eric gagne, bob hamelin, marc newfield and sean berry on my list. those are just people i couldnt stand!

    ReplyDelete


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