By David Linden, Special to OMC   Published Aug 20, 2007 at 5:05 AM Photography: Zach Karpinski

There are not enough hours in the day for Larry Hisle to accomplish everything that he needs to do when it comes to working with children.

In his position as head of the Brewers youth outreach program, the former all-star outfielder has an especially demanding schedule that requires him to be on the go seven days a week in trying to meet the continuing needs of area youth.

But Hisle, 60, sees his overflowing appointment book not as a problem, but rather as a pleasure, for children are both his passion and his number one priority in his professional life.

One day, he'll lecture a local little league squad on the values of hard work on the field. The next, he'll talk with an entire student body at a Milwaukee-area school about the importance of setting and obtaining high goals. He mentors parentless children in need of stability in their lives.

In general, Larry Hisle likes to help.

"It seems like my whole adult life I've been trying to help people," said Hisle, an Ohio University graduate with a degree in mathematics.

"My academic work is more important than my athletic work when it comes to these kids, because very few, if any, will probably play professional sports. So the academic importance is more than the athletic (importance). I just want to stress that to the kids."

When mentoring youngsters, Hisle believes that maintaining focus is the key to achieving lasting success. "Whatever we are doing, be it studying for a math test, or swinging a baseball bat or shooting a free-throw, for that time we're practicing, I try to get total dedication and total focus. I think that if there is one thing that I can do, it is to get the kids to try what I ask. The joy that I get from these young kids can't be measured."

A former All-American high school basketball player, Hisle, frequently stresses to children that, "You can do almost anything you want, if you are willing to pay the price."

Signed from the Minnesota Twins as a free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers in November 1977, Hisle added a potent bat to a powder keg lineup for 1978 that included sluggers Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, Sixto Lezcano and Don Money, in addition to future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.

At no point in his professional baseball career did Hisle's baseball talents shine brighter than during that season, a year he called his, "most rewarding," as he slammed 34 home runs, led the team with 96 runs scored, drove in a then-franchise mark of 115 runs, logged a .290 batting average and was twice honored as American League Player of the Week.

Hisle's stellar performance on the field helped Milwaukee finish with a mark of 93-69, the first winning season in franchise history, led to his second consecutive American League All-Star selection and garnered him the team honor of being named Most Valuable Brewer for 1978.

Hisle spoke about his decision to come to Milwaukee and join the Brewers organization as a player.

"My family and I were looking for not only a team for me to end my career playing for, but, a city we could call home. (Former owner) Bud Selig had a lot to do with it. He, for an owner, was as genuine a person as one could ever meet, and that had a lot to do with my decision.

"Looking through that (Brewers) lineup, I saw a lot of potential. There was a nucleus there that certainly with the right players there, that could compete in that (American League East) division."

On-field success for the Portsmouth, Ohio native was short-lived, as an injury to his throwing shoulder early the following year would lead to surgeries, frustration, pain and only partially-successful rehabilitation that would ultimately end his major league career.

Hisle, who was used as a designated hitter early during the 1982 season before his shoulder gave out for good that May, could only watch as his teammates clinched the American League pennant and went on to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

For Hisle, the painful memory remains of a doctor's appointment, "And being told that another surgery could possibly eliminate any use of the shoulder. Our team doctor said that he was going to tell the (Brewers) organization that I couldn't play anymore. And I remember those words because it still hurts a little bit to even think about it."

After retiring as a player, Hisle broke into coaching with the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system in the late 1980s and would eventually own two World Series championship rings as the Blue Jays' batting coach in 1992 and 1993.

He returned to the Milwaukee organization as a minor league hitting instructor in 1998 when his former teammate, Cecil Cooper, was directing the Brewers' farm system. After one season, Hisle left the Milwaukee organization and began independently mentoring Milwaukee-area youth.

In 2001, former Brewers President and CEO, Ulice Payne Jr., hired Hisle to his current post with the Brewers.

"He was one of my best hires that I made when I was with the Brewers," said Payne, who said that he offered Hisle the position because, "of the sincerity he shows in trying to touch people less fortunate than he is. He is a hero in my book."

Hisle recalled first meeting with Payne to discuss his new position. "(Ulice) stated that he wanted to hire someone that would go into the community and really be an ambassador for the Milwaukee Brewers (for) kids who possibly would never get the chance to come to Miller Park-go to those kids and do something that would make them smile when they heard the Brewers (name). And that became my official, personal duty-make as many kids, throughout the city, when they hear the name, ‘Milwaukee Brewers,' they think of just wonderful experiences."

Today, Hisle spends his time in a variety of locations where people may be in need, including juvenile detention centers, prisons, elderly care centers, boy's and girl's clubs, muscular dystrophy benefits, war veteran's functions, Children's Hospital, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and various churches.

"There are a lot of small churches that focus on specific needs of individuals, like (drug) addictions, that I go to, to help people. Anywhere where there are people that I think I can make an impact, I go. I'm just fortunate that I can give out a little helping hand."

For Hisle, another day brings another list of appointments, places to go and people to see, and he is fully aware that the schedule will not get easier any time soon.

"I know I was chosen to be a professional athlete for more than just playing the game, for more than hitting home runs, or trying to get base hits to win ball games. I was chosen, when I retired, to get out and try to positively affect the lives of as many kids as humanly possible.

"And I know I've got a lot more kids to see, but, I hope that in some small way, a lot of people I have influenced, (or) hopefully said something or did something with those kids to impact their lives in a way that will make them wonderful citizens."