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Top 5 most surprising Brewers moves

In light of today's trade of John Axford to the Cardinals for a player to be named later, here are the top five most surprising Brewers moves.

5. Paul Molitor is allowed to leave via free agency

Photo: WikiCommons

After the Brewers re-signed him as a free agent following the 1987 season, Molitor was allowed to walk away after the 1992 season in which he hit .320. He signed in Toronto, where he helped the Blue Jays win two World Series titles. He was the 1993 World Series MVP, appeared in two more All-Star games and collected his 3,000th hit with the Minnesota Twins in 1996.

4. Gorman Thomas is traded to the Cleveland Indians

On June 6, 1983 the fan favorite Thomas is dealt away with Ernie Camacho and Jamie Easterly for Rick Manning and Rick Waits, just a year after Stormin' helped the Brewers reach the World Series.

3. Zack Greinke is acquired

On Dec. 19, 2010 the Brewers traded four top prospects (Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi) to the Kansas City Royals for former American League Cy Young winner and Yuniesky Betancourt. Greinke went 25-9 for the Brewers and helped them reach the 2011 National League Championship Series.

2. Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich and Ted Simmons are acquired

Photo: Dlz28 | WikiCommons
On Dec. 12, 1980 catcher Ted Simmons, pitcher Pete Vuckovich and closer Rollie Fingers in exchange for outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green and pitchers Lary Sorensen and Dave LaPoint setting the Brewers up for a playoff appearance in 1981 and a trip to the World Series in '82.

1. CC Sabathia is acquired
Photo: Keith Allison | WikiCommons

The Brewers shocked all of baseball on July 7, 2008 when they sent top prospect Matt LaPorta and two others to the Cleveland Indians for the former AL Cy Young winner. Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 earned run average in 17 starts, tossing 130 2/3 innings in leading the Brewers into the playoffs. After the season, Sabathia inked a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankee…

Going through old baseball cards was a trip down memory lane.
Going through old baseball cards was a trip down memory lane.

I can't let go of my baseball cards

Keith Comstock.

Keith freakin’ Comstock.

This dude, a former pitcher for a variety of teams in the 1980’s, was the bane of my existence as a kid collecting baseball cards in 1988 and 1989. For a guy who appeared in 33 career games for the San Diego Padres from 1987 to 1988, the baseball card companies seemed to have produced millions of his cards. And, as an 8 and 9-year-old collector – I seemed to have gotten every one of those damn things.

I forgot about my irrational hatred for that guy until last night, when I decided to break open some of the 12,000 or so sports cards I had collected in the late '80s and early '90s. My wife and I had decided to do some "fall cleaning" and I had decided that it was perhaps time to rid myself of these, most of which were commons.

Then, I cracked open a few of the boxes and flipped through them. And wouldn’t you know it, there was Comstock in that crappy Padres jersey and '80s mustache looking back at me.

Actually, there were so many mustaches. So many. Fred Manrique’s is still a favorite.

Anyway, I sorted through some of them looking for particular teams to pick out and give to some people as gags, and memories came flooding back.

It was riding my bike to the drug store on 76th Avenue in Tinley Park, Ill. with 50 cents in my pocket for a pack of Topps or Donruss and tearing it open in the hopes of finding a Cup card or a Diamond Kings or Rated Rookie. I loved all cards back then (except for Comstock) and couldn’t get enough of them.

It was a fun thing to do with friends, and my dad got in on the act, too, buying me various team sets and taking me to card shows.

A few other memories:

  • Breaking the 1989 Upper Deck New York Mets team set to trade the Gregg Jeffries rookie to a kid for an autographed Cal Ripken, Jr. 1987 Topps card. Felt it was worth it even as a 9-year-old. Obviously, I was amazingly smart, even back then.

  • My dad taking me to these local card shows in Tinley and Orland Park, and meeting some …
Ryan Braun was caught in one of the biggest sports lies ever. (Photo: Debby Wong /
Ryan Braun was caught in one of the biggest sports lies ever. (Photo: Debby Wong /

Five biggest sports lies

5. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame linebacker

Sept. 15, 2012: "They were with me. I couldn’t do without them, I couldn’t do without the support of my family and my girlfriend’s family."

Jan. 21, 2013: "I even knew, that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet, and that alone – people find out that this girl who died, I was so invested in, I didn't meet her, as well. So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away, so that people wouldn't think that I was some crazy dude."

4. Robert Irsay, Baltimore Colts owner
Jan. 20, 1984: "I have no intention of moving the goddamn team."
March 28, 1984: The team moved to Indianapolis.

3. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder

Feb. 24, 2012: "If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, ‘I did it.’ By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point."
July 22, 2013: Accepts a season-ending suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.

2. Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds manager

Aug. 24, 1989: "Despite what the commissioner said today, I didn't bet on baseball."
March 16, 2007: "I bet on my team every night. I didn't bet on my team four nights a week. I was wrong."

1. Lance Armstrong, cyclist

Jan. 4, 2000: "We just have to ride it out and show that we are clean, hardworking guys."
Aug. 23, 2012: "There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now."

A sneak peek at the exhibit layout of "The Mecca" floor on Aug. 23.
A sneak peek at the exhibit layout of "The Mecca" floor on Aug. 23. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
Organizer Andrew Gorzalski.
Organizer Andrew Gorzalski. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
The historic hard wood.
The historic hard wood. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
The Bucks first home court.
The Bucks first home court. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)

Robert Indiana's "MECCA" basketball court comes back to life

Art can move a person. So can sports. Milwaukee put the two together when Robert Indiana (famous for the "LOVE" postage stamp) was commissioned in 1977 to design the floor of the Milwaukee Bucks arena that was a part of the old MECCA (Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena).

The famous and still loved court was rendered obsolete in 1988 when the Bucks moved to the Bradley Center. It was disassembled and stashed away.

Sure, some high school and college games were played on it through the years, but it was never the same. Or so I've heard. And, as someone who is still a relatively new Milwaukeean, it's the one piece of art I've heard most about. Yes, that even includes the great pieces in and around the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Now, you can see it once again, or for the first time, on Aug. 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Arena thanks to Andrew Gorzalski, a producer at Cramer-Krasselt and passionate Bucks fan, Ben Koller and several area arts groups. 

Gorzalski and Koller will curate an exhibit of Indiana's MECCA, along with pieces from other artists (including live art by Dwellephant) and music from Andy Noble and Kid Millions. Reginald Baylor also will debut new work that is somewhat MECCA inspired.

Photography and access to the floor will be permitted.

The MECCA floor is the oldest portable basketball floor in existence, originally created in 1954 for the Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta), 23 years prior to Indiana painting the floor. The history of nearly the entire NBA has run up and down the floor, from Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell to Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. It was also the floor for Dr. J's final NBA game

This will be a truly unique event, purely Milwaukee, and one worth being a part of.