Yount reveling in another postseason
Bench coach and Hall of Fame shortstop played in 1982 Series
PHILADELPHIA -- Robin Yount, Mr. Brewer, would have been back in Milwaukee on Saturday for the city's first postseason game in 26 years under any circumstances, but not particularly these circumstances.On Sept. 15, Yount was sitting at home in Phoenix, a plane ticket already in hand to attend last weekend's final home series of the season, against the Cubs, when he received a phone call from Dale Sveum. Ned Yost had just been dismissed as Brewers manager. Sveum was the interim manager. Did Yost want to be his bench coach for the final 12 games?
"This is not exactly what I had in mind, the way I was going to come and watch these playoff games," said the Hall of Fame shortstop while sitting in the Brewers dugout before Thursday night's Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. "I had planned on coming to all the games, but I was going to be sitting in the stands."With the unfortunate circumstances of Ned being fired, Dale called, and I couldn't say no to that." Yount played his entire 20-year career with the Brewers, from 1974 to 1993. And as such, he was the shortstop on the 1982 squad that made it to the postseason for the last time, losing the World Series in seven games to St. Louis. Four members of that club, which Commissioner Bud Selig owned, are in the Hall of Fame. In addition to Yount, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Rollie Fingers are enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., but Yount is the only pure Brewer in there. He's the continuum from one postseason appearance to the next, even working as Yost's bench coach in 2006 before leaving the game to entertain his outside interests. "I have others beside baseball," Yount said with a laugh, his lips curling under that trademark red mustache. Even with all that, and with the Brewers struggling to make the playoffs, Yount said that he didn't have to think twice when he received the call from Sveum, even if the position is just for the short term. "I was coming back either way, not expecting to be in uniform," he said. "So it was a pretty easy decision. My wife wasn't home, and I had to try to find her and tell her what had just happened. It was a done deal, about as quick as it could be. I feel very lucky to be here and be a part of it." Yount was a .285 lifetime hitter with 251 homers and 1,406 RBIs. But he excelled in the 1982 World Series, saving his best work for those seven games. He batted .414 (12-for-29) with three doubles, a homer, six runs scored and six RBIs. His homer came in the seventh inning of the Brewers' Game 5, 6-4 victory at Milwaukee's old County Stadium off Cardinals starter Bob Forsch on Oct. 17, 1982, and it stands as his fondest memory of that World Series. "Playing in it was the highlight of my career, but to pinpoint little things is not that easy to do," he said. "If I had to pick out one single thing, I guess every kid dreams of hitting a home run in a World Series game. And I did that in one of the games, so if I had to pull one thing out of a hat, that might be it." On the downside, the Brewers left Milwaukee that October needing one win in the final two games at Busch Stadium to win the World Series. "We didn't get it," Yount said. Down, 1-0, in the current best-of-five series, the Brewers entered Thursday night's tilt having not won a postseason game since that Game 5 of that World Series nearly 26 years ago. To Yount, as it is to so many others, it's mind-boggling that the years have soared by so quickly. "It's hard to imagine it's been so much time," he said. "We expected to be back in it the next year. I think most players feel that way when you get to a World Series. We were certainly like that, and to think it's gone this long since that time, it's pretty amazing. On the other side of the coin, there are organizations that have gone even longer than that. "What you realize is that it's such a special thing to get to the postseason and even more so to win a World Series. You can't take any of it for granted, because you just never know."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.