Results tagged ‘ Hank Aaron ’
The 9th Annual “Evening With Hank Aaron,” presented by Brewers Community Foundation and the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, was held last night in the NYCE Stadium Club at Miller Park.
The exclusive event with the Hall-of-Famer, husband, philanthropist and businessman included a dinner with notables Hank’s former teammates Felix Mantilla and Johnny Logan, as well as former Brewers player Craig Counsell, now Special Assistant to the General Manager; a silent auction and a Q&A session with Hank hosted by Bob Costas, broadcaster with NBC Sports and the Major League Baseball Network. Each guest also received a professional photo with Hank, and a special gift autographed by him.
“My week goes from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Bob said in his introduction, referencing the fact that not only did he have the opportunity to interview Hank Aaron during the event, but that he will also be the emcee for Bob Uecker’s statue dedication on Friday.
The riveting interview touched on some of the adversity that Hank experienced en route to becoming the Home Run King.
Growing up in Mobile, Ala. Hank was told by his own father that he couldn’t be a pilot, something that he aspired to do as a young boy. “Forget about it boy, because there ain’t no colored pilots,” Hank recalled his father saying. When Hank told his father he would focus on baseball instead, his father told him, “You can forget about that too. Your only options are to become a school teacher or blow a saxophone.”
Hank didn’t let that stop him, though. And, when, as an 18-year-old, he attended a baseball camp with the Dodgers in Mobile and he was told, “Listen son, you’re too little, go home. You can’t play baseball,” he didn’t let that stop him either.
Coming up in the Negro and Minor Leagues, Hank started out as second baseman—batting cross-handed nonetheless—before he grew into the powerful home run hitter we remember him as.
And, even as his professional career flourished and he was chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record, there were a lot of people who wanted to see him break it, but there were also a lot of people who didn’t.
“The two years that I spent chasing Babe Ruth’s record were two years that I don’t talk about much because I have mixed feelings about it, really,” Hank said. During that time, he received a lot of hate mail and his family had to be protected.
In spite of those barriers, Hank prospered and is, as Bob noted, one of the two greatest players living today, along with Willie Mays.
“So, which one of you was better?” Bob asked.
Without missing a beat, Hank said, “I was! I say that jokingly. We played in many All-Star Games together and he truly was a great ballplayer, no question about that. But when I had a bat in my hand, I didn’t fear anybody. I didn’t think that anybody could get me out. I felt like I was in complete command of everything. I wasn’t worried about playing the outfield. I could steal a base when I wanted to; I felt like I had enough knowledge of how to run the bases. I didn’t have the strongest arm in the world, but I didn’t make too many mistakes throwing from right field. I felt like my baseball career was second to none and I didn’t take a backseat to anybody. I just played baseball. “
Hank talked about his two stints in Milwaukee, the city that bookended his career. He hit his first home run as a Milwaukee Braves player and his last as a Milwaukee Brewers player.
“This is the greatest city in the world. I loved playing here in Milwaukee… I don’t remember ever being boo’ed here….I always felt like I was treated fairly in Milwaukee. I was one of the first players to come through the system from Eau Claire to Jacksonville and I felt like I belonged in the city. I felt like people appreciated what I was doing.”
Throughout the night, fans were treated to a walk down memory lane as names like Joe Adcock, Wes Covington, Warren Spahn, Don Drysdale and more were bought up in a conversation that spanned a wide range of topics like pitchers Hank enjoyed facing, his greatest rivals and regrets, and how Hank and Bob each initially fell in love with the game.
And, while Hank’s statistical record speaks for itself, when Bob closed by asking him how he wishes to be remembered, Hank said,
“Not for whatever I did in baseball, but as someone who cared about other people. Baseball came easy to me, but I felt like there were other players who were capable of doing the things that I did. The most important thing is how I tried to treat other people. I’ve tried to live my life that way.”
And indeed, Hank is already living this legacy with the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, created by Hank and his wife, Billye. The foundation’s goal is to help children with limited opportunities and financial barriers develop their special talents and pursue their dreams.
All proceeds from the event benefit the fund and are administered locally to help children in the Milwaukee area.
A slideshow from the event is below. I hope you will join me in 2013!
To learn more about Brewers Community Foundation’s Evening with Hank Aaron and how you can support both BCF and the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, click here or contact Meredith Malone at email@example.com.
Back in March, we announced that the legendary “Mr. Baseball,” Bob Uecker, will be honored on Friday, August 31 with a statue placed outside of Miller Park near the Home Plate Plaza.
Well, it is now August and we’re extending our celebration of Mr. Baseball all month long with photos, our favorite “Ueckerisms” and more across our various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
We also want to hear from you! On Twitter, post any photos you may have, or share your favorite memories of Uecker, or listening to Uecker, in 140 characters or less using the hashtag: #Uecker.
Not on Twitter? Share your stories by posting in the comment fields below our various Uecker pictures on Facebook, or email your personal photos to: JohnandCait@brewers.com (Subject line: UECKER).
We’ll compile some of the best fan submissions and share them here on the blog.
An iconic figure for the franchise, Uecker has provided the soundtrack of summer to generations of fans listening to Milwaukee Brewers games on the Brewers Radio Network. His irreverent style and knowledge of the game are unrivaled and his talents have also been known to audiences worldwide for years through his work on television and film projects.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Uecker’s first Major League game and, while Uecker’s roots will always be in baseball (including six seasons as a player and 42 years as a Brewers broadcaster), his career includes an incredible base of performing and entertaining all featuring one common thread – he always leaves the audience laughing.
Uecker blasted onto the national scene as an entertainer in 1969. A visit with Al Hirt led to Johnny Carson booking Uecker for an appearance on the “Tonight Show.” The chemistry between Uecker and Carson was immediate, and it led to approximately 100 encore appearances. Uecker soon became one of the most sought-after guests on the Talk Show circuit as appearances followed on the “Mike Douglas” and “Merv Griffin” shows, “Late Night with David Letterman” and even a hosting role on “Saturday Night Live.”
Highly respected in the industry, Uecker was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Hall of Fame this past spring.
Uecker’s credits go far beyond guest appearances and play-by-play. In 1985, he launched a television acting career as one of the stars of ABC’s sitcom “Mr. Belvedere,” which put 122 episodes into syndication. He also hosted two syndicated television shows, “Bob Uecker’s Wacky World of Sports” and “Bob Uecker’s War of the Stars.”
One of Uecker’s most memorable roles came as the anchor of arguably the most successful advertising campaign in the history of television – The “Miller Lite All-Stars.” For years, Uecker served as the captain of the crew that acted in spots promoting Lite Beer from Miller.
As a film actor, Uecker starred in what is widely regarded as one of the best baseball movies of all time, serving as a radio announcer in the film “Major League.” He followed that up with a reprised role in the equally popular “Major League II.”
Uecker’s national sports broadcasting experience included serving as color commentator for ABC Sports coverage of Monday Night Baseball, League Championship Series and World Series, and NBC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week.
A former catcher who spent six seasons in the Major Leagues, Bob authored a book entitled “Catcher In the Wry,” a humorous look back on the years he spent with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. One of his career highlights as a player came in 1964 when he was a member of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Despite his national attention and success, Uecker has always worked toward helping others. His charitable efforts benefit many organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Uecker will be the fourth person to be honored with a Miller Park statue. Hank Aaron and Robin Yount were the first to be recognized with statues that were unveiled on April 5, 2001, the first year of Miller Park’s existence. The first two statues were donated by the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Foundation. On August 24, 2010, Major League Baseball Commissioner and former Brewers Owner Allan H. (Bud) Selig became the third honoree when his statue was unveiled in an afternoon program.
The statue will be cast in bronze, measure over seven feet in height not including the base, and is being designed and produced by Brian Maughan, who (along with Douglas Kwart) also created the Aaron, Selig and Yount statues.
Specific details related to the statue unveiling & ceremony on August 31 will be announced later this month.
Please join as we celebrate all month long!
Yesterday marked our seventh annual Negro Leagues Tribute at Miller Park.
As part of the Negro Leagues Tribute, the Brewers wore reproductions of uniforms worn by the Milwaukee Bears, the city’s 1923 representative in the Negro National League. The team played just one season before disbanding but featured some of the game’s most influential men, including Hall-of-Fame player/manager John Preston “Pete” Hill. The Washington Nationals also joined in the celebration by wearing the uniforms of the Homestead Grays, which played in the Negro Leagues from 1912-1950.
As part of our tribute, we also honored two former Negro Leagues players, Porter Reed and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson in a pregame ceremony.
Porter Reed is 90 years old and played as an outfielder with four different teams from 1946-1953–the Detroit Wolves, the Ligon All-Stars, the Omaha Rockets and the Houston Eagles. Porter was known for his speed and strong arm. Prior to his career in the Negro Leagues, he served in the United States Army from 1942-46 and played baseball on the military teams while stationed overseas in Saipan.
“When I was a young man, there wasn’t much to do, but play sports. In the summertime, we played baseball and in the fall, we played football,” Porter told me.
His neighborhood in Muskogee, Oklahoma, though, really influenced his career.
There was a baseball diamond about 60 yards from his house Porter also noted that two men in the neighborhood played for the Kansas City Monarchs, which inspired him to want to play in the Negro Leagues.
Porter told me he doesn’t have one favorite memory of his time, but he enjoyed playing all over the United States, against all of the different Negro Leagues teams. Porter played with and against players like Satchel Paige (more on him in a minute), Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.
It was an honor to speak to Porter, but personally, as a female, I was very excited to have the opportunity to meet and speak with Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. After facing rejection as a team member of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League due to race, Mamie turned a negative into a positive by becoming just one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues alongside the men (the other two were Connie Morgan and Toni Stone). Mamie was a right-handed pitcher and utility player for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953-55.
“Where I came from in South Carolina, we had had nothing else to do when I was a child. Baseball was all we knew and we made our own baseballs with a stone, some twine and masking tape and that was our baseball. I learned how to play it pretty good when I was about 7 or 8 years old. The more I played, the better I got. The better I got, the more I wanted to play. And it just stuck with me. Baseball was just my thing and I enjoyed it and it was in mind as I got older that that was what I was going to do,” Mamie said.
Mamie moved to New Jersey and then to Washington, D.C. In Washington, D.C., she played sandlot ball with the men.
“One day a gentleman that was an old Negro League ballplayer asked me if I wanted to play pro baseball and I said, ‘Hell yeah! I’m ready. This has been on my mind for years. ‘ I was just at the right place at the right time. He sent me to meet the Clowns.”
Mamie said she went for a tryout that day… and the next day she was on the bus to Spring Training.
Mamie, who compiled a 33-8 record, earned her nickname “Peanut” when Kansas City Monarchs third baseman Hank Baylis taunted her because of her small size.
I had read that Mamie received some advice on her curveball from the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige. When I asked her about this, she confirmed it, telling me:
“I met him and it was such a pleasure. I didn’t realize who he really was, that he was one of the greatest pitchers that ever lived, you know? I didn’t realize it because we were just playing ball and then-hey! It meant so much to me to know that he was that kind, to help me.”
When Mamie was asked if she struck out anyone with that level of notoriety, she said, “‘I struck out a whole lot of fellas” and named Henry “Hank” Aaron, also a former Indianapolis Clown, among them, as well as the Negro Leagues All-Star catcher, Art “Junior” Hamilton (who was honored at Miller Park in 2007).
During her career, Mamie was part of the Clowns’ championship team in 1954. Of winning, “It felt beautiful!” she said.
“”To be able to say you were an equal to some of the best ballplayers that ever picked up the bat….I am proud to say I did it and I did it well!” Mamie exclaimed.
“When you have something that’s in you that you want to do and you get the opportunity to do that, It’s a tremendous feeling and this is how I started playing Negro League Baseball and it was so, so wonderful, I enjoyed it,” she said.
Following her baseball career, Mamie returned to school and became a nurse for over 30 years.
The ceremonies for both Porter and Mamie will continue today, beginning at 1:45 p.m. when they will be inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center located at 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way on the grounds of Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Church (COGIC). The event is open to the public.
In addition, the game-worn Milwaukee Bears uniforms from last night’s game will be available for auction on brewers.com starting at noon CT on Wednesday, August 1. The auction will end at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, August 15. The proceeds from the auction will go to Brewers Community Foundation to benefit the Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball Players Foundation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
Greetings from Arizona!
I’m happy to inform you that pitchers, catchers and Cait have all reported to Spring Training!
This week, we’ll be shooting our new TV spots for 2011 down here, but today was an off day for me.
I understand we’re getting some snow back in
Milwaukee, but don’t be too jealous of me–it’s about 50 degrees and
raining here as I write.
I figured that since it isn’t pool or golfing weather, I might as well do some work, so I
headed over to the ballpark to talk with some folks for the blog.
Clouds looking ominous over Maryvale Baseball Park today. It will be 70 and sunny by the time you get here, I promise!
My first stop was to meet with “Mr. Spring Training” himself, Joe Zidanic, our VP-Controller, who moonlights as our director of Spring Training.
Joe Zidanic: VP-Controller & “Mr. Spring Training”
That means that, in addition to his finance
responsibilities in Milwaukee, Joe is pretty much responsible for all of
the business operations in Maryvale: ticket sales,
sponsorship sales (along with Tom Hecht, our VP-Corporate
Marketing), advertising (which he works with our department on), hiring
staff, running the games and serving as the main liaison with the City
When Joe first came to the Brewers in April of
2003, his job was to work in the finance/accounting department as the
So then, how did he get this gig where he flocks to Arizona during two of Wisconsin’s coldest months while getting paid for it?
“In December 2004, I was handed the assignment to
come down here and run Spring Training for the months of February and
March,” Joe said.
“Prior to 2005, which was my first season running
things down here, Spring Training had really been kind of under the
radar so my job was to go in, document everything, develop policies and
procedures and create checklists. I did a good
job and I’m still doing it,” he explained.
I can’t imagine having to balance two separate
jobs, much less essentially relocate for two months of the year, so I
asked Joe how he does it.
“Luckily, I have a great staff in Milwaukee to
handle things and it’s a slower time of the year for us. We’ve already
published our financials, closed the fiscal year-end, closed the
calendar year-end for W-2′s and 1099′s
and have made progress in filing our taxes. It is kind of a nice, slower time for me to break away from the Milwaukee area.”
As far as relocation, Joe will settle into a room
in an extended stay hotel near the Glendale area for the duration of
I had enough trouble packing for just this week and I’m
probably going to end up paying extra for my luggage on the return
flight due to the great shopping down here (don’t worry, Joe, I won’t
try to expense that), so I had to ask: “How on earth do you pack for something like this?”
“Well, that’s a good question,” Joe said. “The
equipment truck leaves in January every year, so I just go to the closet
and get all my short sleeve shirts and shorts and throw them in a bag
and ship them down with everything else,” he said.
Joe’s Spring Training job doesn’t start just when
steps off the plane in Phoenix. He’s got to prepare in advance for those
games, just like we do for our regular season.
There are tickets to sell, promotions to plan, sponsorships to sell and more.
“As far as ticket promotions go, I work with our
ticket office here and back in Milwaukee to try and generate excitement
and ticket sales,” Joe said.
“Last year, we averaged about 4,500 to 5,000 fans
per game. We’re expecting that to be around the same this year, but it
really varies. Attendance will be slower in the beginning and then there
are some peak games in the middle where we’ll
almost reach capacity. It really depends on the week and things like
when Spring Break happens for the colleges in the Phoenix area and
around the United States. Generally, the most popular times are the
second and third weeks in March.”
Joe tells me that the most popular games are also,
not surprisingly, those against the Cubs (March 2 this year) and also,
the Diamondbacks (March 12) because of their local fan base.
“We did a survey out here a couple of years ago and
we’ll get about 50% of the fans coming from Wisconsin. The rest of the
fans will either be fans of the visiting team or local Phoenicians who
are down here,” Joe tells me.
That makes me proud–Brewers fans have always been good travelers!
So, what can you expect if you’re traveling down here this year?
Well, lots of fun and excitement, of course!
Just like our games in Milwaukee, there are giveaways and in-game promotions to entice fans.
“For giveaways, we work with Tom Hecht and his
group in Corporate Marketing. If there are leftover bobble heads from
the prior season, we will use those in the following season’s Spring
Training camp so that we don’t let anything go to
waste and we’re also picking up room in the warehouse back at Miller
Park,” Joe said.
So, if you missed out on your Robin Yount
(March 5), Cecil Cooper (March 8), Hank Aaron (March 21) or Italian
Sausage (March 26) Bobbles at Miller Park, there’s a second chance for you to get them
at Maryvale Baseball Park!
During the games, Joe’s crew will also run popular promotions such as: the
Junior Announcer, which is similar to what we have at Miller Park,
where a child will announce batters during an inning of the game; Jimmy
Buffet’s Margaritaville‘s “Name that
Jimmy Buffet Song”, which is always a fan favorite; the City of Phoenix
golf promotion where a lucky fan who buys a game program that has a
Bernie Brewer autograph on the City’s golf ad will receive a coupon for
free golf at a local City of Phoenix golf course;
and a Hooters promotion where a lucky row is chosen to receive coupons for free wings at the local Hooters restaurant.
Another popular promotion down here is the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursdays, which means that on Thursdays, you can get a game ticket, a beer and visor for just $20. There are three
Thirsty Thursdays this year–March 3 vs. the A’s, March 10 vs. the Rockies and March 17 vs. the White Sox.
In addition to the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursday promotion on
St. Patrick’s Day, the players will be also be wearing a special green
hat, which will eventually be auctioned off to fans.
And just like in Milwaukee, there is even a special
tribute game. On March 22 vs. the San Diego Padres, there will be
a Cerveceros Day in Maryvale, paying tribute to Hispanics in baseball. The Brewers will wear
special Cerveceros jerseys, which is the Spanish translation of ‘Brewers.’ (Note: Our regular-season Cerveceros Day is slated for June 11 vs. the Cardinals at Miller Park.)
“Cerveceros Day is popular down here,” Joe said. “We will use our electronic billboard campaign to promote it. Maryvale is a largely Hispanic area, so we try and reach out to the community and have special things
there. We have had a Mariachi band in years past and we’ll try and do that again this year.”
All in all, there are 17 home games played at Maryvale
and if you make a trip of it, you can catch the Brewers on the road,
too, at one of the other nine Spring Training facilities in the Cactus League, which are all
within an hour of each other.
As you can see, there are lots of things to look forward to if you’re planning on making it down here.
As for Joe, with two jobs in the organization, he
certainly has a lot on his plate, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a
little fun while he’s down in Arizona. When I was talking with him this
morning, I couldn’t help but notice this photo,
hanging in his office.
Turns out that yesterday, Joe, who is also a huge sportsman, went on a javelina hunt where, as you can see, he was successful!
That’s great that Joe had some time to himself his
weekend, because things are really ramping up now and he’ll hit the
ground running next week, starting with the first game on Monday,
Do any of you have any plans to come down to
Arizona? Post your stories of this year’s trip or from years past in the
comment field below. We’d love to hear from you!
If you don’t have plans yet, make some! Click here to get your tickets now!
As the Brewers 40th Anniversary season winds down, the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park is offering fans a great opportunity for a great keepsake. Beginning tomorrow, fans spending $75 or more at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic will receive a copy of the 2010 Brewers Yearbook absolutely FREE. The regular retail price is $10.
If you haven’t already picked up your copy of the book, this is a great opportunity. My colleague Ken Spindler, Brewers Coordinator of Media Relations spent many long hours making sure this was the best Brewers year book ever. Meredith Malone, Brewers Communications and Brewers Community Foundation Coordinator, served as co-editor for the book.
Dennis Sell, part of the Miller Park Gamenight Scoreboard Crew and collector of all things Brewers history, provided a lot of insight on the historical perspective. Sell has an amazing collection of Brewers artifacts and was instrumental in helping me get the Brewers Museum at Brewers On Deck together. Mario Ziino, former Brewers Public Relations Director was also on the team that made the 40th Anniversary Yearbook a true collector’s item.
“We really wanted to capture a lot of the history with it being the 40th Anniversary of the team,” Spindler said. “Looking back, this is the most extensive and complete Brewers yearbook to date. We included every Brewers team photo which will make for many great memories from all Brewers fans.”
The 2010 yearbook has around 180 pages of articles, photos and other Brewers information–50 more pages than last year. In addition to the historical element of the yearbook, it includes photos of the current team and photos of every player in the Brewers Minor League system–from Rookie Ball through the Big Leagues. A number of articles about current players as well as the Brewers Farm System are also included in the yearbook.
Much like we did with the 2010 Brewers Media Guide, the 2010 Brewers Yearbook includes a spread with pictures of every previous Brewers Yearbook cover. The cover of the 2010 Brewers Yearbook features a collage of Brewers past and present including George Pollard drawings of Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Hank Aaron and Rollie Fingers.
Speaking of the Brewers Team Store by Majestic, remember that the new shipment of Trevor Hoffman 600 Saves t-shirts is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. If you already picked up your voucher, you can redeem that beginning on Monday at Miller Park. Keep in mind that these shirts are ONLY available at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park and will not be sold online or at any other retailers.
In addition, a series of limited edition “600 Saves” Lithographs are being produced and will be available for purchase in the Team Store. Fewer than 150 will be available to the public. The Lithograph is the same artwork that was presented to Hoffman by the Brewers to recognize the 600th save. The painting was created by noted artist Janet Olney. There will be only 51 copies (representing his uniform number) autographed and numbered by Trevor Hoffman (unframed are $250 each; framed are $500). Only 60 prints not autographed and not framed ($25 each) will also be available.