A harsh, grim reality is finally falling over Brewers fans: the beloved slugger Prince Fielder will not be a mainstay in the cleanup spot for Ron Roenicke and the Brewers anymore. In a well chronicled free agency with no void of wild, circulating rumors surround Prince, the former Brewers first baseman signed with Detroit for nine years and $214 million. The inevitability of the day that Milwaukee attempted to ignore was finally a crashing reality.
Looking back, Fielder provided the Brewers with dozens of memories on the field. He was an everyday shoe-in for the cleanup spot and was adored by the fan base. On behalf of every person to proudly don a navy blue cap emblazoned with a metallic gold ‘M’ underlined in barley, thank you, Prince.
For one last tribute to No. 28, here are his 28 most memorable moments as a Milwaukee Brewer.
28. Cover Boy (2007, ’11)
Fielder was featured on the cover of ESPN: The Magazine in the August 13, 2007 edition and, again, on the August 29, 2011 edition of Sports Illustrated along with Ryan Braun and Nyjer Morgan. His first appearance on a magazine cover for ESPN marketed his name to the national audience, despite playing in “small town” Milwaukee. You can see the recent SI cover here.
27. Home Run #200 (2011)
In only six seasons with the Crew, Fielder amassed a total of 230 homers, good for second in franchise history. The historic 200th round-tripper came on May 11, 2011 at Miller Park off of Tim Stauffer of the Padres. Trailing 5-3 with two outs in the fifth, Fielder hit a line drive over the fence in right-center to tie the game and reach the 200 homer mark. He was the first Brewers player to reach the plateau since Geoff Jenkins in 2007.
26. Post-NLDS Interview (2011)
I searched long and hard for this one–trust me–and finally found this footage of Fielder’s interview with TBS after the Brewers 3-2 Game Five of the NLDS. For some, this moment may not even be memorable or already may have been forgotten about (probably because of this). But for me, Prince’s reaction after advancing to the NLCS was priceless. He displayed immense shades of T. Plush when TBS reporter Sam Ryan asked him for an interview after the on-field celebration. Caught in the emotion of the moment, Fielder started talking, couldn’t produce any semblance of words, and simply uttered the words of Plush: “I GOTTA GO.” Attaboy, Prince.
On the final day of the 2009 season, with St. Louis already having clinched the division and Milwaukee eliminated from playoff contention, is when Tony LaRussa’s douchiest moment as a manager against the Brewers happened. Fielder entered the game batting .297, needing a 4-6 game to reach the .300 mark for the season. After a single and two homers, Prince was sitting at .299 with one plate appearance left and needing a hit to reach .300. What does LaRussa do at a point when the game meant nothing to either team? He intentionally walked him, and Fielder finished the season at .299.
24. Payback against Pittsburgh (2007)
Pittsburgh may be the most relieved team too see the Prince swap out of the NL Central. The first of many memorable moments against the Pirates (trust me, there’s a lot more to come), Fielder was drilled by a Matt Capps fastball in May of 2007 after a JJ Hardy three-run home run. The pitch was justifiably deemed intentional and Capps received a four game suspension from MLB disciplinary czar Bob Watson. Fielder avenged the hit by pitch the next night by blasting two home runs and scoring the winning run, after which he stared down the Pirates bench, gesturing emotionally, before being shown the way back to the home dugout. Since that series, the Pirates are 4-37 at their house of horrors, Miller Park.
23. Houston, We Have Blast Off (2011)
486 feet. I’ll just let this do all the talking.
22. Third in MVP Voting in 2007, 2011
After becoming the youngest player to hit 50 home runs in a season and slugging .618, Fielder took third place in the National League Most Valuable Player voting, trailing only the winner Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia and the Rockies’ Matt Holliday. Again in 2011, Fielder took third, behind Matt Kemp of Los Angeles and teammate and winner Ryan Braun. Fielder hit 38 homers, drove in 120 runs, and batted .299 on the division champion Brewers.
21. Splash Hit in San Fran (2008)
On July 17, 2008, Fielder went yard at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. If that wasn’t already the hardest place to dial 8 in the Bigs, it would still be just incredibly impressive that the ball of his bat landed in McCovey Cove for a “Splash Hit”. Check the blast out here, and see how quickly all those sailboats went scurrying for the Fielder Blast.
20. Salami for Prince (2009)
The once-renowned vegetarian hit his first and only career grand slam on June 15, 2009 against Cleveland. Once down 8-3, Milwaukee
(sitting in first place at 34-29) had managed to cut the lead down to one before Chris Narveson and Mark DiFelice surrendered four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Down 12-7 and facing former Brewers greats Greg Aquino and Luis “Lose the Lead” Vizcaino, the Crew drew within three after RBI from Corey Hart and Ryan Braun. With the bags full and facing erratic lefty Rafael Perez in the eighth, Prince roped a line drive that cleared the right field fence at Progressive to give the Brewers a 13-12 lead they would not relinquish. This was also the moment that made Braun and Fielder’s home run celebration (below) particularly exoteric.
19. Everyday I’m Scufflin’ (2008)
Though more people tend to remember his attempt to reach the LA Dodgers clubhouse and confront Guillermo Mota, his in-game altercation with teammate Manny Parra in 2008, to me, is more important. After surrendering six runs in six innings, Parra was taken out for a pinch hitter and infuriated Fielder by heading toward the clubhouse instead of remaining with the rest of the team in the dugout. Prince shoved Parra twice before being restrained by teammates. This singular moment may have turned the Brewers ’08 season around, precipitating an eight-game win streak that vaulted Milwaukee to the top of the National League Wild Card standings. Unlike the not-so-brawl at Dodger Stadium that was over-hyped by the media, Fielder’s scuffle with Parra was a turning point in their season.
18. Time to Send ‘Em Home (2011)
What remained of a Friday night crowd of 33,361 at Miller Park on May 20, 2011 went home happy after enduring a marathon between the Rockies and the Brewers. A game that featured 14 different pitchers and lasted four hours and 35 minutes ended abruptly with a no-doubter into the right field bleachers to give Milwaukee a 7-6 victory in 14 innings. The Brewers trailed 6-5 with one out when Fielder hit the two-run walk off homer that launched a sweep of Colorado.
17. Move Over, Coop (2009)
On September 19, 2009, with 14 games remaining in the season, Fielder broke Cecil Cooper’s single-season franchise record of 126 RBI with a sacrifice fly against the Cooper-managed Houston Astros. He would go on to drive in 141 runs on the season, tied for the league lead with Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard.
16. First Career Walk Off (2005)
I remember as a 10 year-old boy, listening to Bob Uecker call the Pirates-Brewers game on August 31, 2005, just days after the infamous tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina. Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, that new guy called up to the Brewers pinch hit for Derrick Turnbow–I had to refute the temptation to turn his name into the oft-mentioned joke–and added another career first to his mantel. After Pirates closer Jose Mesa, indelible to Brewers fans for giving up Robin Yount’s 3000th hit, walked Lyle Overbay on four pitches, Fielder began his legend as a Brewer by hitting a towering walk off homer to win 6-5 much to the chagrin of Mesa. The Brewers finished 2005 at 81-81 and, much to the credit of Fielder’s walk off blast, ended their 12 year streak of finishing with a losing record. Oh how would the Buccos soon become ever so familiar with big No. 28…..
15. Prince’s Debut Single (2005)
Technically, Prince’s first Big League hit was a double, but please tell me you get the reference. After taking the collar two nights before in his Major League debut, Fielder took care of business and picked up his first of many hits to come with a double down the right field line of Hideo Nomo a frozen rope that would soon become colloquial at Miller Park and stadiums across the country. The double marked the start of Prince’s memorable career as a Brewer.
14. Beast Mode (2011)
Yup. A picture’s worth a thousand words. Aka, shut up, Curt and let the pictures do the talking.
13. Prince Becomes Brewers HR King (2007)
“There’s a new home run champion of all time…and it’s Prince Fielder.”
Okay, I get it. I’m not Milo Hamilton and Hank Aaron didn’t just break Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, but on September 15, 2007, Fielder gained sole possession of the Brewers single season home run record. His third inning dinger was number 46 on the season, surpassing Gorman Thomas and Richie Sexson, who were previously tied for the record with 45 homers apiece. He would hit 46 homers again in 2009, only behind his 2007 eventual total of 50.
12. Catcher in the Way (2006)
Prince Fielder, meet Todd Greene. Todd Greene, meet Prince Fielder.
In a type of play Giants fans would soon grow to hate, Fielder completely obliterated San Francisco catcher Todd Greene on a May afternoon in 2006. After an extra base hit to right field, Fielder was waved home and was beaten easily by the throw. He went to his last resort and simply lit up Greene, jarring the ball loose and scoring. The photo beneath shows Greene shaken up by a perfectly fine Fielder as he watches Corey Koskie get tagged out.
11. Snake Bitten (2011)
NLDS. Game One. Brewers 2. D’Backs 0. Ian Kennedy fastball. Prince Fielder blast off. Gave the Brewers a 4-0 lead and clinched their first playoff series lead since 1982.
10. First Career Home Run (2005)
In a well document game, both Prince and Rickie Weeks hit their first career homers against Jesse Crain and two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana of the Twins, respectively. As Darren Sutton said of Fielder’s round-tripper, it was ” career home run number one for the man who is Prince but will soon be king.” Fittingly, Fielder’s three-run homer came with the Brewers trailing 5-4 and would prove to be the winning hit. It was the beginning of great things for both Prince and Rickie.
9. Hunting Cards in October (2011)
Down 5-2 in the fifth inning in Game One of the National League Championship Series, the Brewers bats exploded. Base hits by Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Ryan Braun cut the St. Louis lead down to 5-4. Enter Prince Fielder, stage right. The big fella wasted no time, launching the first pitch from Jaime Garcia into the visitor’s bullpen to give the Brewers a 6-5 lead as Miller Park erupted. The Brewers went on to win 9-6 and take the early series lead over the Cards. A clutch, game changing homer in the NLCS is, without a doubt, an incredible moment.
8. All Star Game MVP (2011)
For many, this would be one of Prince’s most memorable moments as a Brewer, and surely would be higher if Milwaukee had reached the World Series. With the National League going winless in 13 consecutive All Star Games (including the 2002 infamy in Milwaukee), they appeared to be on the same track, down 1-0 in the fourth. That is until Fielder stepped up. Prince connected with a CJ Wilson cutter and drove the ball out of Chase Field in left-center for a three run home run to give the National League the lead. The streak was snapped as the NL ultimately won, 5-1, and Fielder received the Most Valuable Player award for his game-winning homer.
7. One Final Pirate Killing (x3) (2011)
In his second-to-last regular season game as a Brewer, Milwaukee was facing the Pirates. That in itself should say enough. The noted Pirates killer had the best single-game performance of his career. Prince homered not once or twice, but three times. His final moon shot, a 7th inning frozen rope to right off of reliever Jared Hughes, broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Brewers a 6-4 lead. But are we surprised that a homer off the bat of Fielder gave the Crew a late lead? Fielder’s first, a 453 foot shot to Souvenir City in right, was impressive in itself. Add to this another homer in the fifth off the Miller Park scoreboard to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead and his game-winner in the 7th, and you have the formula for a night when Prince cemented his status as a king of BrewTown.
6a & 6b. Rumble, Prince, Rumble. (2007, ’08)
I’d like to thank the MLB for complaining about copyright infringement and, thus, keeping me from posting YouTube videos for Prince’s two inside-the-park home runs against the Twins and the Blue Jays. BUT, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Brew Crew Ball for this video of the 2007 one in Minnesota and of this round-tripper against Toronto in 2008. Seeing Prince chug around the bases for a rare inside-the-parker has to be one of the most memorable moments from his career.
5. One Final Hoorah (2011)
Admittedly, this was one of the saddest moments as a Brewers fan. The culmination of an entire career and the brute face of reality finally faced Brewers faithful everywhere. Trailing 12-6 and almost assuredly on the verge of Playoff elimination, Fielder came to the plate for one last time in the eighth inning. Always a gentleman and understanding the emotion (he would sign with the Angels two months later), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols called time as Fielder stepped to the plate to let the moment soak in. Tough moment, to say the least.
4. Nifty Fifty (2007)
Fielder became the youngest player in MLB history (then 23) to hit 50 homers in a single season when he blasted two out of Miller Park on September 25, 2007 against the Cardinals. The historic home run came in the seventh inning off of Kip Wells on a no-doubter to left field. He received a standing ovation that evoked emotion and created memories to last. Seeing Prince run around the bases after reaching the milestone that is 50 home runs was simply incredible.
3. “He hit that one to the MOON!” (2009)
At Busch Stadium in July of 2009, against hometown favorites Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard, Fielder beat out former Brewer Nelson Cruz in the final round to win the Home Run Derby. In terms of importance to the Brewers, this moment may have been the least important, but it sure made for one fun night. Watching Fielder dominate the competition–including connecting on a 503-foot blast, the longest of the night, that led to Chris Berman squawking the above quote–while his kids and Braun celebrated was one of Prince’s best moments as a Brewer. Behind 23 home runs, he was crowned champion of the night.
T-1. Final Week Heroics (2008)
Trailing the New York Mets by one game in the final week of the 2008 regular season, with the Mets having already won that night, Prince came up with his most clutch moment as a Brewer. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and tied 5-5, Fielder launched a walk-off, two run home run to the Toyota Territory in right-center field off (surprise, surprise) Pirates. Clutch. I remember completely erupting in my basement and waking up the entire house when Fielder hit the homer. It launched a simply unforgettable week. Two nights later with a 13 year-old Curt Hogg in attendance, Braun hit a walk off grand slam to beat the Pirates. On the final day of the season, Braun hit a beyond-dramatic go-ahead homer in the eighth against the Cubs as Milwaukee clinched the NL Wild Card.
T-1. Bowling With the Prince (2009)
In what may have been the greatest celebration after a walk off hit ever, Prince and the Brewers created a long-lasting and hilarious memory. On September 6, 2009, Fielder cracked a walk off home run to beat the San Francisco Giants. The homer wasn’t even the most memorable part, as Fielder majestically jumped on home plate and the rest of the Brewers fell down like bowling pins. The Giants didn’t like the move (but who cares?) and Barry Zito plunked Fielder for redemption the next year in Spring Training. The celebration will forever be associated with Prince and his incredible career with the Brewers.
*Thanks, Prince: No. 28’s 28 Most Memorable Moments as a Brewer is the “third inning” in a series of nine posts on An Infectious and Unconditional Love for The Game. Read the first and second posts here.
Three two-run home runs, two of which came in a six-run fifth inning, propelled the Brewers to a 1-0 lead in the NLCS. Ryan Braun’s 463-foot blast over the Harley Davidson Deck in left-center opened it up, and homers by Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt ensued in the fifth to give the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“With the shadows it can get hard (to hit), but I’m just fortunate it went over the fence,” said a modest Ryan Braun on his first inning moon shot off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia (0-2).
However, it wasn’t all fun and games for Milwaukee, who is 4-0 at home so far in the Playoffs.
A three-run home run by David Freese in the fourth gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead against Brewers starter Zack Greinke. St. Louis added to their lead with a two-out RBI single off the bat of Lance Berkman in the fifth.
Milwaukee responded, down 5-2 in the fifth. The rally began humbly with a meager base hit through the left side by Corey Hart. Following a Jerry Hairston double to left, Braun sent a Garcia breaking ball down the line in right that barely stayed fair for a ground-rule double. 5-4. Fielder carried the momentum by launching Garcia’s first delivery into the visitor’s bullpen on a rope to give the Brewers the lead 6-5. Octavio Dotel then relieved Garcia and botched a Rickie Weeks grounder, disposing the ball into right field for a two-base error. The usual free-swinging Betancourt then put together an eight-pitch at bat before homering to the Milwaukee bullpen to make it 8-5.
Braun finished with 4 RBI with a homer, double, and two runs scored as the Brewers followed suit of the 1982 Milwaukee team to take the opening game in a Playoff series with St. Louis (the two teams met in the World Series that year).
The team that won Game 1 of the NLCS has advanced to the World Series in 16 of the past 19 years.
Milwaukee is now 17-0 at home in games Greinke (1-0) has started. Greinke, who criticized the demeanor of Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, went six plus innings, allowing all six of St. Louis’ runs, striking out six.
Takashi Saito relieved Greinke after a leadoff single from leadoff man Rafael Furcal in the seventh and immediately made Brewers fans nervous.
With Furcal running on the pitch, the Cardinals avoided a double play and wound up with a Jon Jay single to put runners on the corners with no outs and the heart of the order coming up. Saito avoiding the jam, breaking Albert Pujols’ bat for a 5-4-3 double play with Furcal coming home. A Lance Berkman pop out ended the inning and Milwaukee escaped up 8-6. A Jonathan Lucroy RBI single would get the run back immediately for the Brewers.
Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford held the lead in the eighth and ninth with no trouble as Axford picked up his second postseason save.
Diamondbacks Game One starter Ian Kennedy is the Cy Young candidate, but Yovani Gallardo pitched like the deserving winner on Saturday.
Over eight innings, Gallardo only allowed four hits and one run, coming on an eighth inning home run to Ryan Roberts. Meanwhile, Kennedy was consistently in jams, but had held Arizona in the game through 6 2/3 innings with the score still at 2-0 until Milwaukee’s big boys stepped up.
Ryan Braun fought off tough pitches from Kennedy before dumping an outside corner fastball down the right field line for a double. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson then opted to pitch to Prince Fielder with a base open and the Brewers slugger made him pay. Fielder laced a 1-0 breaking ball over the right field fence for a home run that was caught by Jack Wallisch, a friend of mine, to put Milwaukee up 4-0. (What a monster, right??)
That was all Milwaukee would need, as John Axford came on to record a 1-2-3 9th for the save and Milwaukee’s first Game One victory since the 1982 World Series. Gallardo struck out nine over his 8 innings for the victory.
The Brewers opened up the scoring with a Jerry Hairston, who was starting in place of Casey McGehee, sac fly that scored Braun. Jonathan Lucroy followed up a Yuniesky Betancourt triple with a two-out jam-job RBI single to left (Arizona once again opted not to walk a batter with two out and a base open and paid).
When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in the 50’s it was considered a Western move for Major League Baseball. Now, however, with teams in California and Arizona, Milwaukee is no longer considered a western baseball city. Don’t tell that to the 2011 Brewers.
In what was reportedly Nyjer Morgan’s idea, all Brewers players and coaches “cowboy’d up” for their flight to St. Louis on Sunday after sweeping the Astros in Houston.
Morgan showed up to Minute Maid Park as the self-titled Tony Tombstone, a play on Tony Plush.
Here is “Tha Crew Western Wear Day” (Morgan’s words).
Here are some of the Brewers best Beast Mode pictures.
After the Brewers 11-4 win over the Pirates, Telly Hughes interviews Tony Plush, who displayed Plushdamentals with a four-hit night, before Plush interviews Prince Fielder (P Dot). I’ll just let the video do the rest of the talking.
WE BROUGHT THAT SWAT!
After Milwaukee’s convincing win behind a strong start from Marco Estrada, an offensive explosion, and Los Angeles’ blowout victory over the Cardinals, you can now just barely count the Brewers first-place lead on two hands.
In his best start with the team, Estrada (4-8) went seven strong innings, allowing only two runs with two strikeouts and no walks. The offense backed him up with a seven-run second inning in Pittsburgh.
After a Jonathan Lucroy RBI single to being the outburst, Estrada’s sac bunt turned into a two-base error on catcher Ryan Doumit as Jerry Hairston scored. Following up a Tony Plush RBI single to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead, Ryan Braun doubled over Andrew McCutchen’s head to score Estrada and Morgan, making it 5-0. With two men out, Casey McGehee capped off the pyrotechnics with a two-run home run to left, his second long ball in three days.
Prince Fielder drove in his 100th run to extend his NL lead in that category with a double in the 6th that scored Ryan Braun.
The Brewers will go ten games up in first place, setting a new franchise record for largest margin in front each time they win and the Cardinals lose. More importantly, their magic number will go down to 23, assuming the Dodgers hold on to an 11-0 lead over St. Louis out west.
Milwaukee improves their record away from the confines of Miller Park to 31-37. They have now won 10 of their last 12 games on the road.
Pittsburgh starter Ross Ohlendorf only struggled for the one inning, but he was desecrated by the “SWAT Team” of the Brewers offense enough in one inning to put the game seemingly out of reach against a sharp Estrada.
His changeup kept hitters off-balance but the command of his high 80’s-low 90’s fastball was what kept the Pirates in check. Batters weren’t swinging and missing at the changeup or slider with two strikes and the defense behind Estrada didn’t allow Pittsburgh to have any breathing room.
On the eve of the Sports Illustrated cover featuring Braun, Morgan, and Fielder, the 2-3-4 hitters for Milwaukee had 7 hits (4 for T. Plush), 5 RBI, 11 total bases, 5 walks, and scored four runs. Braun also stole two bases before being lifted after drawing a walk in the eighth inning for precautionary measures.