For Milwaukee Brewers fans, the 1987 season was a bittersweet mix of unexpected winning, shallow contention, intriguing position changes, and, ultimately…goodbyes.
After a 77-84 sixth-place finish in 1986, the Brew Crew blazed to a 13-0 start to the 1987 campaign, matching the 1982 Braves’ mark for season-opening fire.
Not surprisingly, that surge gave them a lead in the old American League East, and even when they came back to earth, the Brewers were able to stay in first place through May 13.
Alas, by the end of the day on the 14th, they were in second and would never regain the top run.
And, though Milwaukee finished a healthy 91-71 on the year, that was good enough for just third in the East, behind the Tigers and Blue Jays.
Besides the joy of outright winning that summer brought, the almost two million fans who pushed through the County Stadium turnstiles witnessed …
- The continued emergence of Teddy Higuera as one of the best pitchers in the game.
- Another excellent performance (.312, 21 home runs, 103 RBI) from Robin Yount in his second season as the centerfielder.
- An experiment to shift fragile Paul Molitor to designated hitter, where he logged 58 of his 118 appearances and responded with a .353 batting average and AL-leading 41 doubles.
The Brewers also got big(ish) power from Dale Sveum and Rob Deer, and a solid rookie season from catcher B.J. Surhoff.
And then, there were was the big wind-down — after ten mostly stellar seasons with the Brewers and 16 big league campaigns, 37-year-old Cecil Cooper struggled through the first half of the season at DH and didn’t play a game after the All-Star break.
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That’s when Molitor stepped in.
It was a sort of quiet end to an understated, underrated career that left Cooper as one of the greatest Brewers ever.
But before Cooper could ride off into the sunset, Canada’s Stuart Bakery issued a set of baseball cards, grouped in panels of four and organized by team.
Each panel featured three player cards and a sweepstakes entry card.
Now, can you guess who the Brewers’ three gents were?
Yeah, the Milwaukee lineup was … Cooper, Molitor, Yount.
The panel was just like the season itself, with Cooper yielding to Molitor, and all of it backed up by the bedrock Yount.
Hobby Holiday Hots
Cecil Cooper began his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox in the 1970s, wearing shirts that looked just like this one on eBay …
It’s a game-used rookie jersey from 1972. And, though the listing doesn’t mention a COA, it’s still fun to look at. Just be sure to do your homework before you pull the trigger on any game-used items.
See the full listing here.