Harvey's Wallbangers are still packing them in, 25 years later.
A full house Saturday night at The Pabst Theater watched the premiere of "Harvey's Wallbangers: The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers," a two-DVD set that goes on sale to the general public Tuesday.
The DVD, produced for the 25th anniversary of the Brewers' only pennant-winning season, truly captures what has been termed "a love affair between a baseball team and a city."
Like the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, the '82 Brewers seemed to symbolize the Milwaukee of their era -- blue collar, hard-working and hard-playing, unpretentious, genuine. The team went beyond just sports and became a sociological phenomenon in 1982.
"Special people and a special time in Milwaukee," is how current Brewers' manager Ned Yost described the '82 team and season.
Yost was a backup catcher on the '82 team. He joined announcer Bob Uecker, who serves as the narrator on the main DVD, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas, Jerry Augustine and Larry Hisle on a panel that discussed 1982 before the DVD was presented to the public. Radio announcer Jim Powell hosted the panel discussion.
"There was a real bond between the players and fans every day," Yost added. Uecker says in the introduction to the DVD that the Brewers "captivated an entire city."
Speaking as a reporter who covered that team for several media outlets, this writer could not agree more. The only state team in recent years to capture the affection of fans as much as the '82 Brewers was the Packers of the mid-1990s.
Although most guys on the '82 Brewers considered themselves too macho to use the word "love" to describe the phenomenon of that season, the players did love each other, and the community.
"The first word that always comes to mind for me is team," said Thomas, as he walked down the stairs from the balcony after the premiere. "But, love tells the story too."
Augustine said, "Everybody cared about each other. It was a really together team. Everybody was important, no matter how much you played. We hurt together and laughed together."
The DVD intersperses interviews with players, opposing players, then-owner and now Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, reporters and others with wonderful clips of action during the season.
Pitcher Don Sutton, a late-season addition to the club who won the pennant-clinching game in Baltimore, describes the Brewers as "blue collar" with guys who looked like they had just gotten out of "Attica."
Goose Gossage, a top reliever for the Yankees at the time, says there was "no letup" in the Brewers' lineup and that it was a thrill to face the Wallbangers.
Special segments of the DVD are devoted to the roles of manager Harvey Kuenn, Thomas, Gantner, Sutton, Ben Oglivie, Pete Vuckovich, Cecil Cooper, Ted Simmons, Paul Molitor, MVP Robin Yount and others in the march toward the pennant.
The DVD also includes interviews with fans recalling the 1982 team and expressing hope that the current Brewers are building again toward such an experience.
The second "Bonus DVD" in the set includes the '82 ALCS Game 5 win over the Angels, highlights of the Hall of Fame speeches by Yount and Molitor, footage of the last half innings of the pennant clincher in Baltimore and the first ALCS win, and the Brewers' post-season home runs.
Before the premiere, a reception was held at the Pabst that included current and past members of the Brewers' team and front office, as well as those who purchased tickets for the event.
The DVD set sells for $24.95 and will be available at various retail outlets. You can learn more about the DVD at brewers.com.