Classic Brewers card: Burnitz in '98

December 9th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

Jeromy Burnitz, 1998 Fleer Metal Universe

Baseball cards were produced in bulk during the late 90’s, as the hobby started to take a dip due to the copious amounts of product that was available. And nothing embodied the surplus of the era quite like the Fleer Metal Universe set.

Burnitz was not actually running from a freight train in his card -- I would assume something in his contract that prevented that -- as Fleer manipulated the image for the Metal Universe set that superimposed stars into wacky situations. Highlights over the years include sending Vladimir Guerrero Sr. to outer space, dropping Chipper Jones in the middle of a corn field and giving Barry Bonds robotic arms. If you’re into cards that have very little to do with baseball, you can still grab them off eBay.

Burnitz spent parts of six seasons with Milwaukee and you could argue that he might have been able to outrun that train in 1997, stealing 20 bases and racing around for eight triples. He was an All-Star in 1999 for the Crew and ended his tenure in Milwaukee with a very solid slash line of .258/.362/.508. -- Nick Aguilera

Cecil Cooper, 1987 Topps

The T206 Honus Wagner from ‘09. The Topps Mickey Mantle from ‘52. The Topps Roberto Clemente from ‘55. These are some of the most valuable baseball cards in the world. But to a young Gina Ciardo growing up in Wisconsin, the most valuable card was this one: Cooper’s card from the ‘87 Topps set.

“The summer of 1987, I was a 7-year-old girl living in the Milwaukee area with my family, which included my two brothers,” Ciardo wrote. “While I knew at the time that my brothers valued their cards using Beckett price guides that they bought at Walgreens with their chore money, for me, baseball cards had only personal value. This card of Coop was my most prized card, and I always announced it as ‘off limits’ during trades with my brothers. At the time, they thought I was silly. For perspective, I remember trading away my Jose Canseco card and I may have only asked for stale ball pack gum in return. In hindsight, I was a genius. I still love this card. In fact, I challenge anyone to find a Cecil Cooper card that doesn’t just ooze cool... you can’t. Love you forever, Coop!” -- Thomas Harrigan

Iconic Brewers rookie card: Robin Yount, 1975 Topps

The bold, bright coloring on these throwback Topps cards always stands out in a good way. Yount's fielding pose on his rookie card is a nice one, too, with the then-19-year-old shortstop taking the ready position.

Two decades later, all in Milwaukee, Yount had collected 3,142 hits and was on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Brewers fan Nick Falk of Little Rock, Ark., submitted this card. He writes: "My favorite card is a Topps 1975 Robin Yount rookie card. I was too young to see him play, but respect all he did to establish the Brewers as contenders and put Milwaukee on the map."

B.J. Surhoff -- 1987 Topps Future Stars

“BJ Surhoff. Started every position for the Brewers except pitcher. I love the Topps that year with the wood grain effect. Surhoff is the most underrated stud ever for the Brew Crew!”

Wait, he did?

He did. And thanks to Chritopher H. of Racine, Wisc., we have been reminded of this fact with a great baseball card.

Surhoff had a solid 19-year career from 1987-2005, primarily as a catcher, but it was one of his very first baseball cards that may have been his best. The 1987 Topps set is a favorite of many, and for good reason. The wood-grain border, as Christopher mentioned, is a great touch. And with the classic Brewers “MB” logo and the multicolored “Future Stars” script, you just can’t go wrong. -- Manny Randhawa

Prince Fielder, 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers

This is an awesome rookie card of one of the most fun and feared Brewers sluggers in recent memory. Plus, it's autographed.

Even back in 2002 -- the year that he was drafted No. 7 overall by the Brewers and three years before his Major League debut -- an 18-year-old Fielder just looked like he could hit. That's the follow through of a powerful swing depicted on the card.

The big lefty went on to crush 230 homers in seven seasons in Milwaukee, including a mammoth 50-home run season in 2007.

Brewers fan Mike Czeczot of Milwaukee, who sent in this card, writes: "Fielder was part of the core that brought Milwaukee out of the dark ages of baseball and into a perennial playoff contender. His aggressiveness, leadership and heart should never be forgotten here in Milwaukee."

Best Brewers facial hair card: Gorman Thomas, 1981 Topps

When it comes to great Brewers facial hair, you really can’t go wrong with any Thomas card.

This one was submitted by Abraham Puder of Madison, Wis. It depicts Thomas staring through a fence, presumably contemplating the mysteries of the universe. The profile shot shows off Thomas’ wildman look, which included a mustache, thick sideburns and an unkempt hairdo that could barely be contained by his cap.

“This was a tough ask since there are so many great baseball cards,” Puder wrote. “It took me about 12 hours to settle on one. My stipulations were that it had to be a card in my personal collection and of my favorite team. I went with the '81 Thomas because I've had the pleasure of meeting Gorman and he might be the most iconic Brewer of all time. I also have his '79 Topps and '87 Topps, but felt the '81 was the best look and represented a high point in Gorman's career.”

Thomas made his only All-Star team during the strike-shortened ‘81 season, when he hit 21 homers in 103 games and posted a career-best 146 OPS+. From ‘78-82, only Mike Schmidt hit more homers than Thomas (175), who became one of the most beloved players in franchise history. -- Thomas Harrigan

Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Rollie Fingers, 2003 Topps

In 2003, Topps produced a beautiful “Best Seat in the House” set, which featured a piece of a seat from select ballparks and photos of some of the greatest players in a franchise’s history on the front next to the relic. In the case of the Brewers and County Stadium in Milwaukee, the three were Hall of Famers Yount, Molitor and Fingers.

“Though I obtained this card as an adult, it epitomizes my youth as a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers,” wrote Paul H of Two Rivers, Wisc. “It displays three key Brewers from the 1982 ALCS championship team (the only Brewers team to date to make the World Series), all Hall of Famers.

“Specifically, it highlights my favorite player growing up, Robin Yount (the only player to spend his entire career with the Brewers and make the HOF). Finally, it contains an authentic piece of the now demolished Milwaukee County Stadium, the ballpark in which I grew up watching my beloved Brewers.”

It’s special to have a piece of history such as part of your favorite club's ballpark, particularly when the venue is no more. That card certainly holds many fond memories for Paul, as it does for many other Brewers fans who witnessed the club’s magical run in ’82.” -- Manny Randhawa

Don Money, 1977 Topps

One of the best third basemen in Brewers history, Money spent 11 years with Milwaukee, hitting 134 homers and providing strong defense at the hot corner. A fan favorite, he became the first Brewer ever to start an All-Star Game in ‘78.

Milwaukee’s own Robert Sands wrote in to share his personal affection for Money’s ‘77 Topps card:

“Growing up a huge Brewers fan, [Money] was my favorite player. As a kid, my dad would run in the store and always buy me a pack of Topps baseball cards. When he came back to the car he would open them for me and not let me see as he would reveal the team of the player. I would hear him get excited when there was a Brewers player. I can still remember the time when he opened a pack and there was my favorite player Don Money in the pack. Seeing Brewers on the card and those blue and gold uniforms, smelling that gum smell on the card was a great moment for a 10-year-old kid.”

The 1977 season would be a big one for Money at the plate. He had a career-high 25 homers and 83 RBIs, marking the only time he would reach the 20 and 80 marks in his career. -- Thomas Harrigan

Iconic Brewers card: Kurt Bevacqua, 1976 Topps

It's perfectly normal to see a guy blowing a bubble with his chewing gum while on the baseball field. It's perfectly normal for such an occurrence to be captured in photographic form for a trading card. What is extremely unusual is to see a guy blowing an 18 1/4-inch bubble that is larger than his head.

That's what Brewers infielder Kurt Bevacqua is seen doing on a 1976 Topps card depicting his victory in the '75 Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Big League Bubble Gum Blowing Championship on Aug. 4 of that year.

When asked how his life changed after clinching the title, Bevacqua said, "I feel like an old Western gunfighter now. Every 6-year-old kid in the United States is writing letters to challenge me."

The card became iconic, and it was submitted for our survey several times -- Jack G. of Wauwatosa, Wis.; Jeff C. of Lebanon, Ind.; Jon of Sherwood, Wis.; Fran of Boca Raton, Fla.; Mark C. of Encinitas, Calif.; and Ray C. of Merrick, N.Y., all expressed their fondness for the collectible.

"This inspired my Little League friends and me to have [bubble gum blowing] contests. I was 10 years old when this card came out," Ray wrote.

Jeff had some quality time bonding with his brother over this card.

"My brother and I have always found this card amusing because of both the player -- who would later become an infamous participant in the 1984 brawl between the Braves and Padres -- and the silly content displayed on the card," Jeff wrote. "There has never before or since been another card like this one!"

The silliness of the card was one of three elements Jon found fun when asking the all-important question: "A 'bubble gum' card featuring the bubble blowing champ...serendipity or amazing clarity?"

Jon also took note of the hazardous nature of the contest, particularly for Bevacqua.

"Not to mention the risk Kurt is taking with the mustache he sported," he added. "Plus, 'Bevacqua' is just a great name."

"The Brewers were not all that good and it was exciting as a young Brewers fan to see one of the role players on that team involved with the bubble gum contest," wrote Jack. "I was always excited to open a wax pack and see that card pop up!"

Bevacqua went on to play for the Rangers, Padres and Pirates after spending the 1975 and '76 seasons with Milwaukee. As a member of the Padres, he launched a memorable three-run homer in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series against the Tigers.

The homer only added to Bevacqua's fame -- he was, of course, already the Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Big League Bubble Gum Blowing champ.

Hank Aaron, 1976 Hostess

Chris Mehring of Appleton, Wisc., sends in this fun card of the late baseball legend, from the final season of Aaron's career, that he pulled out of a box of Hostess snack cakes.

"This 1976 Hank Aaron card is from Hostess and it is my favorite," he explains. "My grandmother gave me the empty box of Hostess snacks and this card was on the bottom of the box. I'm pretty sure this was his last card as an active player. The card is as special to me as Henry Aaron was as a player and a person."

Prince Fielder, 2010 Topps

This is just a cool card. It was card No. 1 in Topps’ 2010 set, and it depicts the Brewers’ unique celebration at home plate after Fielder’s walk-off homer against the Giants in September 2009.

The walk-off homer and subsequent celebration was a legendary moment in a spectacular season for Fielder, who finished 2009 with 46 dingers and an MLB-leading 141 RBIs while posting a .299/.412/.602 slash line. -- Thomas Harrigan

Robin Yount, 2020 Panini All-Time Diamond Kings

Donruss/Panini Diamond Kings cards are some of the most beautiful ever issued, and when they issued an "All-Time Diamond Kings" set, they truly outdid themselves.

Here we have a painting of one of the greatest Brewers of them all in his batting stance, surrounded by the majestic and artistic flair Diamond Kings has always been known for. Truly a classic player on a card with classic style. -- Manny Randhawa

Ben Sheets, 2004 Topps

Do you remember how good Sheets was in 2004? Think back as you look at this card of him staring down off the mound at an unlucky hitter.

The ace right-hander had a career-best 2.70 ERA in '04, his second All-Star season. But most impressive was that he racked up 264 strikeouts … with only 32 walks, giving him an MLB-best 8.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Robin Yount, 1983 Topps

Yount broke into the Majors as an 18-year-old in 1974, but he took some time to develop into an elite star.

The 1982 campaign, his ninth MLB season, proved to be Yount’s true breakout, as he led the Majors in hits, doubles, slugging and OPS, posted career bests in batting average and homers and won the first of two AL MVP Awards. Yount led the Brewers all the way to the World Series, where they’d lose to the Cardinals.

His 1983 Topps card was submitted by’s own Todd Zolecki, who wrote:

“The Brewers made the World Series in 1982, which is when baseball became my favorite sport. Yount was my favorite player and he won the AL MVP in 1982, so this card reflected that season. I can still recite his stat line from that year and I still know that he lost the batting title by .001 points to Willie Wilson.”

From an aesthetic standpoint, Topps’ 1983 design really pops. Plus, you get an action shot of Yount taking a cut in the Brewers’ classic powder-blue road uniforms and a headshot that showcases the shortstop’s lustrous mane of hair and Milwaukee’s iconic ball-in-glove logo. -- Thomas Harrigan

Bill Hall, 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings

Sometimes your favorite baseball card isn’t the card of an All-Star or Hall of Famer. Sometimes it’s the guy that came before your favorite team’s All-Stars and Hall of Famers. Case-in-point: Andrew in Milwaukee submitted this Bill Hall card in response to our survey.

“Growing up in Milwaukee, Bill Hall was the one bright spot in the Brewers’ lineup for a stretch until the arrival of Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy and ultimately, Ryan Braun,” Andrew wrote. 

“When I got this card, I knew it may not be worth the most money, but the nostalgia of watching him play is priceless to me. He was a guy that was a superhero to young Brewers fans because we didn’t have many examples to look to at the time. All in all, I love this card and truly appreciate Bill Hall for his time in Milwaukee.”

That’s just awesome. As are Diamond King cards no matter what era they’re from. -- Manny Randhawa

'90s throwback: Greg Vaughn, 1990 Donruss

The Donruss Rated Rookie cards are a vintage staple, from the red index card-esque backgrounds to the blue Rated Rookie logos splayed across the bottom-right corners of the cards.

This one is Vaughn's rookie card. The slugging outfielder would go on to be an All-Star for the Brewers in 1993 and '96, belting 30 homers the first of those seasons and 41 in the second.

Hank Aaron, 1976 Topps

It’s likely that most of the classic highlights and photos you’ve seen of Aaron show him in a Braves uniform, but the legendary slugger spent the last two seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Brewers.

For Aaron, it marked a return to Milwaukee, where he played from 1954-65 until the Braves relocated to Atlanta.

Aaron’s final Topps card as an active player came in the 1976 set. It was submitted by Brandon Chilson of Chamberlain, S.D., who wrote:

“Growing up in the 1980s when the baseball card boom was really taking off, card shows were the greatest event in the world to me. My dad took me to one in 1987 when I was 12 and to my surprise bought this card for me. You would have thought I had just won the lottery. I can remember telling my friends it is a ‘real’ Hank Aaron card and not just a reprint. I was as excited as a kid could be over an $8 card in poor condition. It’s hard to believe that summer was almost 34 years ago. I have thousands of cards and some are quite valuable, but this is the most valuable card I own. I wouldn’t trade it for any other. Thanks Dad.” -- Thomas Harrigan

Gary Sheffield, 1989 Topps

We remember him with the Padres, with whom he won the 1992 NL batting title. We remember him with the Marlins, with whom he won a World Series ring in 1997. We remember him with the Dodgers, for whom he posted a .998 OPS and launched 129 homers over four seasons. We even remember him with the Braves and Yankees.

But do you remember Sheffield began his MLB career with the Brewers way back in 1989? He only played in 294 games for the Crew over four seasons, and he would rise to stardom right afterwards, so it’s easy to forget it was in Milwaukee where it all started for Sheffield.

Our own Jesse Sanchez submitted this beauty.

“My favorite Topps card is the 1989 Gary Sheffield ‘Future Stars,’” Sanchez wrote. “He was so young and so full of promise.” -- Manny Randhawa

Rob Deer, 1986 Topps Traded

How cool is it that our own Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy grew up a fan of the Crew and submitted this Deer card in our survey?

“I was eight or nine when I somehow saved up to buy the whole 1986 Topps set and no matter what anyone else thinks, I loved the simplicity of it with those big, bold, colorful team names at the top,” McCalvy wrote. “Of course the set included famous cards like Bo Jackson, Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco, but my favorites were Will Clark, my favorite player at the time because I played first base, and Rob Deer -- The Rooster -- for his shock of red hair, because I was obsessed with everything Brewers.

“When I grew up to cover the Brewers, Deer became one of my favorite topics thanks to his epic, three-run, ninth-inning home run in the Brewers' come-from-behind win over the Rangers on Easter Sunday 1987. After the Brewers held a bobblehead day in Deer's honor, I went to my garage to find that old set of cards. It took a little work, because nine-year-old Adam had thought it was a good idea to thumb through the cards, then put them back in the box and seal it with packing tape. Good news is, I still have all of those cards in mint condition. Including 'The Rooster.'”

Little did little Adam know when sealing the box with the trading cards in it that he’d be going through them as an adult who was actually covering the team. And Deer was a great pick for favorite player -- though he struck out a lot, he also hit some monster home runs in his day, finishing with 230 homers over an 11-year MLB career. -- Manny Randhawa

Charlie Moore, 1986 Topps

Moore spent 15 seasons in the Majors, 14 with the Brewers. Although he didn’t have much offensive success in his career, Moore went 15-for-39 (.385) in 12 postseason games for the Milwaukee club that reached the World Series in ‘82. While he was primarily a right fielder that year, Moore made 894 career appearances as a catcher, and his ‘86 Topps card, which was submitted by Pittsburgh’s Andy Coulter, depicts him as such.

The card features a great action shot of Moore in the midst of throwing from behind the plate. Looking at the card makes Coulter nostalgic for the game of his youth.

“As a kid in the mid ‘80s when I started collecting cards, one has always stood out to me -- the 1986 Topps card of Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher Charlie Moore,” Coulter wrote. “It is a beauty. Everything about that card reminds me of the game of baseball in my childhood: the powder blue uniform, the dust flying, nothing but a backwards cap under his mask -- ‘80s baseball in a nutshell! It’s awesome and so is that card!” -- Thomas Harrigan