Where were you in 1982? When Harvey's Wallbangers were swatting their way to the first and only Brewers World Series appearance, some of us on the OnMilwaukee.com editorial staff remember it like it was yesterday. One of us wasn't even born yet.
It was a magical October in Milwaukee, even if it didn't end exactly as planned. As the 2011 Brewers head into the post-season, we take this time to reflect once more. Then, it's full-steam ahead into the playoffs. Add your memories using the Talkback feature below.
I was a reporter at the Green Bay Press-Gazette back in 1982, having made the move from Chicago at the end of '80. I've been scratching my head trying to recall the mood in that newsroom – which had plenty of Brewers fans. But I've come up empty. Maybe it was my own lack of interest in the Brewers (I'm a South Side Chicago boy and an organic White Sox fan). More likely it's because of the thriving tavern culture of Green Bay. There's a lot from the early '80s that I don't recall very clearly.
Senior Contributing Editor
My memory of the 1982 World Series is dominated by a masked and caped superhero wannabe who wore a couple of words emblazoned across his chest – Simba's Sudsuckers. Let me explain.
I was fortunate to score two tickets in County Stadium's left field bleachers for all of the Milwaukee games in the World Series. I am not a bleachers guy, but it was the Series, and I was going to take what I could get.
Seats were reserved, and for the most part, the same people showed up in our section for every game. One of them was a masked guy who looked to be about 20. His uniform was a blue and yellow cape and cloth helmet.
Simba was the nickname for the Brewers' catcher, Ted Simmons, who was apparently the masked man's favorite player. Our superhero frequently roamed back and forth at the front of the bleachers, waving his arms, exhorting fans to cheer.
We never saw the other Sudsuckers the name implied, and we never saw any suds being sucked by this fellow. But the masked and caped dude has remained in my memory for 29 years.
Seeing as how I wasn't even a thought back in 1982, I find my memories of the Brewers post-season are fuzzy at best. But in all seriousness, between @Tweetsfrom1982 and the ever-increasing comparisons of that illustrious year as this season's Brewers took off, I feel like I could have been there, anyway. While I'm sure that doesn't compare to actually seeing it firsthand, it's been interesting getting indirectly swept up in the experience. And it's pretty awesome that I'll finally have a season of my own to reminisce about later. After all, I've only been waiting my whole life for it.
Probably the best thing about playoff memories are how they only become better with time.
I don't remember the parade or even many specifics around any of the World Series games. Two things, though, always make me smile. My buddy Matt and I watched most of the games together. We made our moms go to Merle Harmon's Fan Fair at the old Mayfair Mall to buy T-shirts. The lines were out-of-control long, but of course we got our shirts. Thanks, Mom!
I also vividly recall the final out. We were in my friend Matt's den. As only 11-year-olds could, we wrote notes to the Brewers. "Please, please, please Brewers don't lose." "Please, please Gorman don't strike out." Gorman Thomas, of course, struck out to end Game 7. I'm certain there were some notes addressed straight to God, himself. (Hey, gotta call in the big guy for the big game.) Of course, it wasn't the plan for the Brewers to win. Good lesson, I guess. You don't always get what you want. But, you gotta enjoy it while you have it.
Oddly, I liked the Cardinals as a kid. They were my "alternate team" that we all had to prove our sports depth. So, I wasn't massively heartbroken.
Two more tidbits: The series, which was dubbed the "Subs Series," was the first that Bob Costas worked for NBC. He was a color analyst. Thirteen years later, in 1995, I would help bring Costas to Milwaukee to induct Robin Yount (and others) into the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame. Go Brewers!
My father was at County Stadium when the Brewers clinched the American League pennant in '82, and so my mom, sister and I jumped into our Ford Escort and drove from the East Side to Downtown to celebrate with other Milwaukeeans. I honestly remember only two flashes of memory from the drive: first, that there were mobs of people hooting and hollering on Water Street and second, my mother was honking the horn so often and intensely, it broke. From that point on, it never worked again. From that day forward, when my mom, not really a sports fan of any kind, would try to use the horn out of mild road rage, the lack-of-honk led her to say, "Damn baseball!"
Although I didn't live in Milwaukee in 1982, the Brewers were always on my radar because we visited here every other summer. We got Brewers T-shirts as gifts from my grandparents and had been to games at County Stadium. So, even though I paid more attention to things other than baseball during my high school years, I remember hearing about the Brewers' run. And when I moved here the following year, it was still fresh in the city's mind. The first Brewers excitement I witnessed first-hand came at the start of the 1987 season when the team won 13 straight (I was there in the bleachers on Easter Sunday with my brother and his in-laws), Nieves hurled a no-no and Molly put together a much-discussed 39-game hitting streak.
I was 8 years old and my family watched the game against the Orioles that propelled the Brewers into playoffs from the comfort of our Whitefish Bay home. I don't remember the game, really, but I remember watching it.
I remember art and music classes that week at Lydell Elementary School. We learned the words to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and created Brewers-themed collages. And I remember the night we clinched the American League pennant. It was Oct. 10, the day after my grandma turned 65. We went out for dinner to celebrate at a now-defunct Italian restaurant on Farwell (I can't remember its name, but my mom thinks it was in the building that now houses Shank Hall), and we got updates to the game throughout dinner.
After Robin Yount fielded a grounder and fired it over to Cecil Cooper to send the Crew to the World Series, my parents decided to take us to the action. I remember quite vividly driving down Lincoln Memorial toward Summerfest. This could just be the recollection of a child, but the street was packed with rowdy fans, honking their horns, high fiving each other. I saw a guy standing on a pylon or something, guzzling a beer. Hanging out the car window, I was both terrified and excited.
Hilariously, my mom now tells me that she remembers most that I was concerned that the celebration was past my own self-imposed bedtime. I was a strange kid.
My final recollection of the 1982 postseason was of game seven of the World Series. Before the game started, I gathered all my Brewers memorabilia from my bedroom and came downstairs to watch the game. I walked into the living room wearing wristbands and carrying a tiny Brewers tote bag, I think. Again, I decided it was time for bed before the end of the game, and I went to sleep hoping I'd wake up to a victory. The first thing I said to my mom when I woke up the next morning was, "Did we win?"
"No, honey, the Brewers lost," she said.
Senior Staff Writer
I was 3 years old when the Brewers made their first and only World Series appearance, so I really can't offer any nostalgic trips down memory lane. Still, I know plenty about the '82 season.
Growing up a Brewers fan, a mile from the ballpark, we went to plenty of games. In fact, my earliest Brewers memory is Helmet Day in '83. They were white batting helmets and they marked the '82 American League pennant. We sat in right field, upper deck, almost at the end of the concourse.
But I digress...
I knew plenty about '82: be it Buck's firing and his replacement with Harvey; Ned's home run against Boston; Robin's two homers and Sutton's gem in the finale; the rally against California and the Game 6 that never should have been. I was willing to study as a kid when it had to do with baseball.
I feel like I know more about '82 now than ever, though, thanks to the non-stop efforts to find some sort of symmetry between the current Brewers and that club from 29 years ago, which is growing to Bill Brasky levels of mythology. There's no escape ... whether it's throwback uniforms, TV commercials or just random conversations with fans, reminders of '82 are everywhere.
During the 2008 pre-playoff pep rally, I asked one of the players on that team about a connection. He didn't want to go on the record, but he said he was glad the drought was over. He was tired of hearing about '82, too, and was happy to see the present-day Brewers make some history of their own.
To be honest, I am, too. These Brewers are a special bunch and deserve the right to stand on their own accomplishments.