Brewers tip their caps to Sheffield
Players, manager offer musings on slugger's milestone
NEW YORK -- Brewers left-hander Mitch Stetter had no idea what he was getting himself into when he started his pitch sequence to veteran Mets slugger Gary Sheffield to start the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night.
The ninth pitch Stetter threw Sheffield -- an inside fastball -- was lined into the left-field stands at Citi Field. The historic 500th home run of Sheffield's career tied the game at 4. The Mets won the game, 5-4, by scoring a run after two were out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"Going in, I didn't realize he was on 499, so I wasn't even thinking about it at all," Stetter said. "And after it happened, I kind of realized it had happened after their whole dugout was out on the field. I heard them say it was 500."
The Brewers were impressed, but they sure wish it had been another team against Sheffield, who became the 25th player in Major League history to reach the 500-homer mark.
"Hats off to him -- it's the sign of a great career," Stetter said. "He hit 499 other ones."
Milwaukee manager Ken Macha wasn't in much of a mood to pay Sheffield compliments, focusing on the outcome that the historic homer led to.
"Five hundred," Macha said. "Not too many people have done that. He tied the game up. I'm not too pleased with that."
Macha had been stung by Sheffield before, when the slugger played across town with the Yankees.
"He hit a home run in Yankee Stadium off Octavio Dotel that caused us to walk off the field," Macha recalled of his time as Oakland's manager.
Brewers starter Dave Bush was already in the clubhouse when Sheffield, who began his career with Milwaukee at the age of 18, connected.
"It's a great milestone for him, no doubt about it," Bush said. "He's been a great hitter for a long time. I kind of wish it hadn't come at that time."
Bush figured he was 9 years old when Sheffield broke into the Major Leagues.
"I was probably in the second or third grade," Bush said. "He's had a great career. That's an awful long time to be playing."
"It's pretty cool," said Brewers slugger Prince Fielder. "Unfortunately, as a competitor, you don't want him to do it at that time. It's a pretty unbelievable feat. I'm happy for him. To his credit, he not only hit his 500th home run, he also had a great at-bat. Good swings. He's an unbelievable player."
Ryan Braun agreed.
"It's cool to see it, for sure," said Braun, who hit his first home run of this season in the game. "You never root for an opposing player, especially in a situation where he hit the home run.
"But just being a fan of baseball and the history of the game, it was pretty cool to see that. He was taking good swings that whole at-bat. It was definitely a cool experience to be a part of it, but it would have been nice to see it on TV and do it against somebody else."
"Congratulations to Mr. Sheffield," Stetter said.
"Got to call him that now, I guess," the reliever said.
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.