Tonight’s Robin Yount Ceremony at Miller Park a Special Treat for Brewers Fans
Robin Yount is perhaps the most iconic player in Brewers history. Any Brewers fan can tell you how much he meant to the teams he played on and to Milwaukee. Tonight, Yount was honored in a very special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park that celebrated the 20th anniversary of his retirement as a player. Also participating in the ceremony were fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Rollie Fingers, Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio and Brewers President of Baseball Operations Doug Melvin.
“Hard to believe it has been that long,” Yount said today. “That saying ‘The older you get, the faster time goes by,’ I can attest to that.”
Yount’s 20-year Major League career was spent entirely in Milwaukee and he retired after the conclusion of the 1993 season. His number 19 was retired in a ceremony on May 29, 1994 at Milwaukee County Stadium.
He finished his career with 3,142 career hits and was the first player to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Brewer after being inducted on July 25, 1999. Yount broke into the big leagues at age 18. He won the American League Most Valuable Player awards in 1982 (shortstop) and 1989 (outfield), becoming the third player in Major League history to win that award at two different positions.
By looking at Yount today, he looks he could probably put on a uniform tonight and go 2-for-3 at the plate.
“I stay active,” Yount said. “I certainly don’t have any workout regimen, but I don’t sit still long. My parents passed off good genes.”
The ceremony itself was definitely memorable. Seeing three Hall of Famers together like that on the Miller Park field was a rare opportunity and something the fans in attendance tonight will not forget.
The celebration included a presentation of an original painting commissioned to remember the occasion. The first 30,000 fans through the gates for the tonight’s game received a poster of the painting that presented to Yount during the ceremony. Doug Melvin presented a $10,000 check from the Brewers Community Foundation on behalf of the Yount to the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
“Robin’s contributions to the Brewers are far too numerous to list, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back for this special occasion,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “His time in Milwaukee was marked by great personal and team success, and it’s an era that will forever be remembered as a magical time for baseball in Wisconsin.”
Yount met with the media before the game at Miller Park and with all the news surrounding the recent suspension of Ryan Braun, the issue of violations of the MLB drug prevention and treatment program was a hot topic and one that Yount didn’t shy away from.
“I don’t have a comment on anyone individually, because you need to know all the facts and in Ryan’s case, I don’t have all the facts,” Yount said. “Obviously this is a bump in the road for baseball, but I hope that maybe this will put an end to all of this once and for all. Hopefully the guys that are testing the system will realize that maybe they can’t beat it.”
Yount continued to say what this all means for the game itself.
“It’s important to baseball that we get rid of this. It is not something we want to focus as an industry. We want to focus on the game itself. This will pass. There are no players bigger than the game. It is not our brightest moment, but hopefully this will make the guys aware that they are not going to beat the system.”
For the 2006 season, and part of the 2008 season, Yount served on the Brewers coaching staff. He also spent some time with the coaching staff of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although he has been out of coaching for over five years now, he sounded pretty secure in the fact that he enjoys his life as a retired player today.
“I loved every second of the coaching that I did,” Yount said. “I really enjoyed working with the guys. My biggest issue was that it takes so much time and such a commitment and I have a lot of other things that don’t have to do with baseball that I enjoy and that I would have to give up. I’m just not willing to give up these hobbies and free time, but that is not to say I didn’t enjoy the coaching that I did because I really did enjoy it.”
So what does Yount do with all that free time? Plenty. In addition to his hobbies of racing and dirt bikes, he has “Robinade”–his “old-school lemonade” that supports the MACC Fund–and, his latest venture, part ownership in the Lakeshore Chinooks baseball team of the summer Northwoods League.
“It’s (the Chinooks) been great, I was out there last weekend and we are playing really well in a playoff run,” Yount said. “Everyone is excited. In doing this we are promoting baseball. It’s not just about the college kids that are playing the game, but we also have college kids running the show too behind the scenes. They are getting a taste of what it is like to be involved with a sports franchise. Hopefully someday it won’t be a player that makes it, but it is a guy selling merchandise now that will one day work in marketing with the Brewers. I just think the opportunity that is provided out there is a good way to promote the game.”
Like many of my friends who I grew up with in Milwaukee, Robin Yount was our hero. He was a great baseball player, a great person and he represented Milwaukee. Tonight’s ceremony was a perfect reminder of how lucky every Brewers fan is to call Robin Yount a Brewer.