Brewers Vault: Tito gets the boot

June 23rd, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

July 9, 1989: Tito booted on intentional walk
Terry Francona is far better known as the manager of the Cleveland Indians than for anything that happened in a Major League playing career that spanned parts of 10 seasons. But he managed to find a place in Brewers history when he was ejected after taking an intentional walk.

The story goes back to early in the 1989 season, when a scuffling Francona hit a low line drive on a short hop to Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell for an RBI hit, only to see umpire Ken Kaiser signal a catch. Francona went ballistic and had to be dragged off the field.

Flash forward to July 9 of that season in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Baltimore at County Stadium. Kaiser was umping home plate and was hit by a deflected pitch. When he went to the Brewers dugout to get checked out, Francona had some choice words for the imperiled ump. Kaiser fired back. When Francona batted for the first time in the bottom of the seventh inning, he and Kaiser kept jawing as Orioles pitcher Bob Milacki delivered four intentional balls.

“You're a lucky [guy],” Kaiser snarled, according to Francona’s retelling of the story to Cleveland reporters in 2015. “We're going back and forth for four pitches. On the second pitch he said, ‘You cost me $200’ because they fined him for the call [in the Red Sox game]. I get to the fourth pitch and he says, ‘I make 5,000 calls a year.’ The ball came by. I threw my bat and said, ‘4,000 suck!’ He goes 'Get out of here!’”

According to Tom Haudricourt’s book, “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die,” the story had a coda. Kaiser later called Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn to gripe that Francona had phoned the umpires’ room to continue the argument. Turns out, it was a clubhouse attendant pulling a prank.

“It really happened,” Francona said in the book. “But when I tell people about it, they don’t believe me.” (Highlight requested by Todd Bethe of Oshkosh, Wis.)

July 27, 2004: Branyan's record blast
Sometimes the pitcher supplies all the velocity needed for a tape measure home run. And then there was the time Russell Branyan hit one to Kenosha off command artist Greg Maddux.

It’s not called Miller Park anymore, but 20 years after the stadium gates opened Branyan’s 480-foot solo shot off Maddux and the Cubs on July 27, 2004, remains widely regarded as the longest home run ever hit in a game here. It would have sailed out of the stadium entirely if not for a large advertising sign hanging in the way. There was no Statcast then; a member of the Brewers media relations department estimated the distance of each home run based on a stadium chart with measurements.

It was quite a first impression. The Brewers had just acquired Branyan from Cleveland for cash the day before, and he was making his first start.

"The meeting of the bat and the ball is just a good feeling," Branyan later told legendary Wisconsin State Journal beat writer Vic Feuerherd.

The trouble was meeting bat and ball with any degree of consistency. Branyan struck out a lot, even by today’s standards, but his power was prodigious enough to keep him in the big leagues for parts of 14 seasons, including two separate stints with the Brewers. Folks might forget that he hit 12 homers for the Brewers in 2008 during his second tour in Milwaukee, providing some pop to the team that snapped the city’s 26-year MLB postseason drought. (Requested by David in New Berlin, Wis., and Jon in Denzer, Wis.)

April 18, 2014: Maldonado hits cover off ball
Someday, Brewers backup catcher Martín Maldonado will gather his grandchildren and tell them about the night he literally knocked the cover off the baseball. Maldonado had never seen it happen before. Neither had Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle or longtime Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, who has witnessed a few ballgames in his day. But that's what Maldonado did when he hit an infield single to third base in a 2014 game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Best part was, the hit contributed to the Brewers' 5-3 win over the Pirates.

"I mean, I remember as a kid when you use the same ball so long that it tears," Uecker said, laughing in the clubhouse while examining Maldonado's keepsake. "We'd tape it up and keep on playing." (Requested by Steve Thoms)

Oct. 9, 1981: Molitor hits go-ahead homer in '81 ALDS Game 3
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Division Series in Major League history, the result of a strike-interrupted 1981 campaign that was split into halves, with the first-half winner taking on the second-half winner for the right to play in the ALCS. The Brewers met the Yankees in the best-of-five ALDS and were on the verge of being swept in a back-and-forth Game 3. The Yankees had a 1-0 lead until the Brewers pushed ahead in the seventh inning, 3-1, on Ted Simmons’ two-run homer and Sal Bando’s run-scoring single, but the Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the inning against Rollie Fingers.

Up stepped Paul Molitor leading off the eighth inning to give the Brewers the lead for good. Molitor's home run off of Tommy John was his third hit of the game and the first of his six career postseason home runs.

April 27, 2004: Moeller hits for the cycle
Chad Moeller was sick, but that didn't stop him from becoming the first Brewers player to hit for the cycle in 13 years -- and the first ever to achieve the feat in a home game. In a win over the Reds decided on Bill Hall's walk-off home run, Moeller went home run, double, triple, single -- in that order -- grounding a base hit up the middle in the seventh inning to make club history. Moeller then reached on a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth to extend the inning for Hall's walk-off winner.

Before Moeller, the only Brewers hitters to hit for the cycle were Mike Hegan, Charlie Moore and Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.

“It’s pretty darn cool to be in that company,” Moeller said. “They are some of the best that have ever played the game. I am nowhere even in the ZIP code of being with those guys, but with one little silly stat, I am.” (Requested by Luke from Milwaukee)

Sept. 14, 1975: Aaron's 745th homer is his first at Fenway
Hank Aaron homered in 34 different ballparks during his career, but until Sept. 14, 1975, he’d never hit one at historic Fenway Park. That changed when Aaron lofted a Bill Lee changeup over the iconic Green Monster for his 12th and final home run of the 1975 season, Aaron’s first year back in Milwaukee with the Brewers. A bonus of the highlight: Those great powder blue Brewers road uniforms.

For a fleeting moment in the offseason of 1974-75, when the Braves were determined to trade Aaron to an American League team in the twilight of his career, there was a possibility of Aaron hitting more home runs at Fenway Park than that lone solo shot in ‘75.

“There was some talk about me going to Boston and some other places,” Aaron said for the book “The Milwaukee Brewers at 50” in 2019, “but I just refused to go anywhere other than Milwaukee. I didn’t have anything else to prove.”

Oct. 9, 1982: Marshall Edwards' ALCS web gem
After Cecil Cooper's go-ahead hit in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS, there was Marshall Edwards' catch, an under-the-radar moment in Brewers history from a player who never appeared in more than 69 regular-season games in a season across three years in the big leagues. A seventh-inning replacement in center field for a limping Gorman Thomas, Edwards’ leaping catch at the wall in the eighth took away extra bases from the Angels' Don Baylor in a one-run game -- a huge turn of events considering that Doug DeCinces followed with a base hit. For a moment, Marshall lost track of the ball as he chased it down, but he found it in time to make a play that preserved the lead and helped send the Brewers to the World Series.

“I knew if I didn’t catch that ball, they would escort me out of town,” Edwards told Tom Haudricourt in the book, ’Where have you gone, ’82 Brewers?’ “It was my moment.”

Oct. 1, 2018: Domingo's clutch hit
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns ranks it among the favorite moments of his tenure. In 2018, Domingo Santana came off the bench in Game 163 to deliver a pinch-hit double that gave the Brewers runners at second and third with nobody out in the eighth inning of a tie game -- and a tie season at that point -- with the Cubs. Santana had lost hold of his starting spot in the outfield but proved improved invaluable down the stretch, going 8-for-18 as a September/October pinch-hitter to help Milwaukee catch Chicago in the NL Central race. When Lorenzo Cain followed with a tie-breaking single and Ryan Braun followed later in the inning with another RBI single for insurance, the Brewers were on their way to their third division crown in franchise history.