By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Nov 15, 2001 at 4:56 AM

Dave Stewart and Gary Matthews are good hires as the Brewers' pitching and hitting coach respectively.

Both were All Star players. Stewart has experience as pitching coach with San Diego and Toronto. Matthews is coming from the Toronto broadcasting booth, but has plenty of knowledge about hitting.


The Brew Crew Review listed Stewart as a top choice for the pitching coach job at the end of the season. Stewart was hoping to land the Blue Jays' GM job. When he was passed over, he resigned Tuesday, making some angry remarks about racism in baseball when it comes to upper level front office positions.

This writer would have liked to see former Brewer Larry Hisle be named hitting coach, but Sarge is plenty qualified.

So, it looks like GM Dean Taylor and manager Davey Lopes have made good decisions. But, let's remember that coaches don't win baseball games. Players do.

Carew was a Hall of Fame hitter, but he couldn't get the Brewers to even make consistent contact with the baseball. Bob Apodaca is a respected pitching coach who got a job with the Mets within days of being let go by the Brewers. But, he couldn't turn Mac Suzuki and the others into aces of the staff.

Taylor still has to spend much of this winter acquiring talent. He should sign at least one free agent and make a deal or two. Otherwise, Stew and Sarge will face the same frustrations as Carew and Apodaca.

Lopes' Status?

Stewart and Matthews have histories with Lopes. Their selections would indicate that the Brewers' manager is on solid enough ground to definitely start the season as the skipper.

In fact, you wouldn't think the two coaches would have taken the jobs if they didn't have some assurances that Lopes, or at least themselves, will have some longevity.

Could their hiring be an indication that Lopes will have his contract extended? Or could Stewart, who has aspired to become a GM, be considered as a field manager? Would he even consider it if his friend was fired?

Or would bench coach Jerry Royster be the likely replacement for Lopes and retain the coaches? We'll have to see how it plays out next season.

Sterling Pitcher?

Some people believe Stewart's hiring could help the Brewers land free agent pitcher Sterling Hitchcock, who spent the latter part of last season with the Yankees. Hitchcock, 30, had his best years with the Padres, when Stewart and Lopes were there.

His main credential is that he is a lefty. The Brewers had none of those in their rotation last season. After that his credentials raise questions whether the Brewers should spend much for him. His lifetime record is 67-67, with a 4.74 earned run average. Those are hardly sterling career numbers.

Does a team hoping to become a winner need a .500 pitcher?

Don't Forget Collins

Don't forget that the Brewers also have hired a new first base coach in Dave Collins, who replaces Luis Salazar. Collins was hired shortly after the season ended after spending last year with the Reds.

Collins, Stewart and Matthews will be introduced to the media at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Big Mac's Farewell

Let it be known that Mark McGwire's last home run, if he doesn't pull a Michael Jordan and come back some day, will have been at Miller Park.

Gregg Hoffmann writes The Brew Crew Review on Thursdays and The Milwaukee Sports Buzz on Mondays, exclusively on OMC.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.