Best Crew player to wear each uni number

December 30th, 2020

From Franklin Stubbs to Takahito Nomura -- with Paul Molitor and Robin Yount along the way -- here are the best players to wear each uniform number used by the Brewers:

0: Franklin Stubbs
Stubbs had seasons of 20-plus homers for the Dodgers and Astros and signed a big free-agent deal with the Brewers for 1991. He’s the only player in Brewers history to wear No. 0.

“No need to panic, we've got Leskanic.” That was the line when Leskanic was pitching late in games for the Brewers from 2000-01. (Leskanic wore No. 33 with the Crew in ’03.) Outfielder Jeffrey Leonard is the only other Brewers player to wear double zero.

The lanky outfielder from Kentucky hit 154 home runs for Milwaukee, made a pair of All-Star teams and was at the front of the wave of hitting prospects who lifted the Brewers back into contender status in the late-2000s. The Brewers retired No. 1 before the '15 season to honor their founder, Bud Selig.
Also: Fernando Vina, Gary Sheffield

Valentin was part of the return when the Brewers sent Sheffield to the Padres in 1992. Valentin topped out with a 24-homer season in ’96.
Also: Bill Hall

Arcia and Ryan Braun are the only position players to play in at least three different postseasons for the Brewers. Managers Phil Garner and Ned Yost each wore No. 3, so the digit went unused by players for most of the 1990s and 2000s.

A member of the Brewers’ Mount Rushmore, Molitor hit .303 over 15 seasons in a Milwaukee uniform. He made five All-Star teams with the Brewers (then two more with Toronto) and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2004 wearing a Brewers cap. The number was retired by the Brewers in 1999.

The Brewers’ first-round Draft pick in 1995, Jenkins homered off Orel Hershiser in his Major League debut and went on to smash 212 Brewers homers, fourth most in franchise history, behind Braun, Yount and Prince Fielder.
Also: George Scott, B.J. Surhoff

Selig all but camped on Bando’s front porch to convince the longtime Oakland A’s captain to come to Milwaukee in the winter of 1976 via a fledgling process called free agency. Bando delivered back-to-back seasons of 17 home runs in ’77 and ’78 while helping transform an expansion team into a contender.
Also: Lorenzo Cain, Bill Spiers

7: Don Money
Money represented Milwaukee at four All-Star Games and in 1978 was the first Brewers player to start a Midsummer Classic.
Also: J.J. Hardy, Eric Thames

The Brewers’ all-time home run leader and the 2011 National League MVP Award winner, Braun was part of five of the franchise’s first seven appearances in the postseason.
Also: Mark Loretta

Signed to a big free-agent deal in November 1977, Hisle became the Brewers’ first MVP Award candidate in ’78 by batting .290 with 34 home runs and 115 RBIs. But he injured his shoulder the following April and never topped 100 at-bats again.
Also: Greg Brock, Marquis Grissom, Jean Segura

The left-hander pitched in every imaginable role for the Brewers over 10 seasons from 1977-86 and ranks fifth in club history with 279 relief appearances and third with 352 appearances overall.

With a tip of the cap to Dave May, the nod goes to Sexson, who made a pair of All-Star Games for the Brewers and twice tied what was then the franchise record by hitting 45 home runs in a season (in 2001 and ’03) before being traded to Arizona in a blockbuster that fueled the Brewers’ mid-2000s rebuild.
Also: Dave May, Lyle Overbay, Hideo Nomo

12: John Briggs
The underrated outfielder hit 21 home runs in 1971 and again in ‘72 after coming over from Philadelphia in a trade. In ‘73, he collected six hits in a win at Cleveland for a franchise record that was matched four times but never eclipsed in the Brewers’ first 50 years.

The right-hander went 16-6 to help the Brewers to a division crown in 2011 after arriving from the Royals in a blockbuster trade the previous winter. He was having another strong season in ’12 when he was shipped to the Angels in a Trade Deadline deal.

14: Dave Nilsson
The Brewers’ first Australian-born player, Nilsson in 1999 became the first player from Down Under to make the Major League All-Star Game.

Cooper was one of the best hitters in Brewers history, batting better than .300 in each of his first seven years in a Milwaukee uniform while making five All-Star teams.
Also: Ben Sheets, Darrell Porter

16: Sixto Lezcano
Lezcano compiled an .805 OPS over seven years with the Brewers and became the first player to hit a grand slam on multiple Opening Days. The outfielder was dealt to St. Louis at the center of the December 1980 trade that brought Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons and Pete Vuckovich to Milwaukee for the finishing touches on the Brewers’ only World Series team.
Also: Aramis Ramirez

17: Jim Gantner
No. 17 isn’t formally retired, but no Brewers player has worn it since the Wisconsin native Gantner. The scrappy infielder eventually settled at second base and played his entire career with his home-state team.

18: José Hernández
Hernández is the only Brewers player to make an All-Star Game (2002) wearing No. 18.
Also: Jason Kendall, Khris Davis, Mike Moustakas

The greatest player in franchise history, Yount was a two-time American League MVP Award winner and played all 20 of his big league seasons in Milwaukee on the way to becoming the first player with a Brewers cap on his plaque in Cooperstown. His number was retired in 1994.

A slew of All-Stars and one Hall of Famer (Don Sutton) wore No. 20 for the Brewers, but the most accomplished during his time in a Milwaukee uniform was Thomas, selected in the first round by the Seattle Pilots in 1969. He developed into a power-hitting, wall-banging center fielder who smashed 208 Brewers home runs, twice leading the AL in long balls.
Also: Jonathan Lucroy, Scott Podsednik, Jeromy Burnitz, Kevin Seitzer, Juan Nieves, Don Sutton (1983-84), Ken Sanders

The Brewers’ first All-Star in 1970, when he hit 31 home runs and had 38 stolen bases to join Henry Aaron, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays and Ken Williams (1922 St. Louis Browns) as the only members of the 30/30 club to that point.
Also: Don Sutton (1982-83), Cal Eldred

Yelich blossomed from a very good player to a superstar upon arriving in Milwaukee in 2018, when he became the fourth Brewers player to win his league’s MVP Award. A year later, Yelich finished as the runner-up. And a year after that, in 2020, he inked a new, nine-year contract to remain in Milwaukee.
Also: Charlie Moore

23: Greg Vaughn
Some solid choices here, but no player delivered more value to the Brewers while wearing No. 23 than Vaughn, the power hitter who made a pair of All-Star teams during his tenure.
Also: Ted Simmons, Rickie Weeks

24: Ben Oglivie
Oglivie earned the nickname “Spiderman” for his outfield play, but he also developed into a .300 hitter and tied Reggie Jackson for the AL lead with 41 home runs in 1980. Oglivie was a three-time All-Star for the Brewers.
Also: Darryl Hamilton

25: Bill Travers
The left-hander was a mainstay of the rotation in the late 1970s, when the team rose to prominence. He was an All-Star in ’76, when Travers registered a 2.81 ERA over 240 innings and pitched 15 complete games.
Also: Mike Cameron

Cirillo wore No. 6 for a later stint with the team but did most of his hitting as No. 26 in the late 1990s. He is the Brewers’ all-time leader with a .307 batting average (minimum 2,500 plate appearances).
Also: Glenn Braggs, Damian Miller, Kyle Lohse

Gómez blossomed after manager Ron Roenicke let him start swinging away midway through the 2012 season, turning the outfielder into an All-Star in ’13 and ’14, when he topped 20 home runs each year.
Also: Bob Wickman, Zach Davies

Because of his large frame and his booming home runs, perhaps Fielder does not get enough credit for being a good hitter, but his .282/.390/.540 slash line in a Brewers uniform is evidence of his all-around game. More than that, Fielder holds a symbolic place in franchise history, first as the leader of the core of Draft picks that lifted the Brewers back to competitiveness in the mid-2000s, then as the leader of Milwaukee’s playoff entries in '08 and ’11.

Bosio pitched as a swingman in his early years with the Brewers but was a mainstay of the rotation by 1989, going 49-35 with a 3.39 ERA in 118 starts over his final four years before departing for free agency following the ’92 season.

30: Moose Haas
Bryan Edmund Haas -- “Moose” was a nickname bestowed by his father at birth -- logged the second-most starts, third-most complete games, third-most innings and fifth-most strikeouts in the Brewers’ first 50 years.
Also: Craig Counsell, Willie Randolph

George Bamberger managed the Brewers while wearing No. 31, so it didn’t see much action in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Navarro, a right-hander, wore it from '89-94 and topped 200 innings in three seasons during that period.

The slugger posted five seasons of double-digit homers for the Brewers, peaking in 1996 with 34 homers and 118 RBIs.
Also: Manager Harvey Kuenn, Chuck Crim, Jeremy Jeffress

33: Marty Pattin
The only player to make an All-Star team for the Brewers while wearing No. 33 was Pattin, the righty who posted a 3.13 ERA in 264 2/3 innings in 1971. For whatever reason, Chris Carter, the NL home run champ in 2016, is the only other Brewers player who can boast a notable accomplishment while wearing this number.

The Hall of Famer won both the AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP Award in the strike-shortened 1981 season, when he posted a ridiculous 1.04 ERA in 78 innings and led the Majors with 28 saves. Fingers was on the way to another stellar season in ’82 when he sustained a career-altering shoulder injury. The number was retired in ’92.

The reliever signed with the Brewers in 1970 and was part of the organization for four decades, including seven seasons pitching in Milwaukee and 18 more on the big league coaching staff.

The Brewers traded Crim to the Angels in December 1991 for Fetters, who became the Brewers’ setup man. His 4.7 fWAR is fourth best in Brewers history for a reliever.

37: Dan Plesac
The left-hander is the Brewers’ all-time leader in appearances, saves and ERA. (The Brewers use 500 innings as their minimum threshold.) In 1987, Plesac saved five games during the Brewers' record-tying 13-0 start, including a 5-4 win over the White Sox for victory No. 13, setting the AL record and matching the Braves’ MLB mark.
Also: Jeff Suppan

A high-dollar international signee out of the Dominican Republic, Peralta went 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA in 2014, the best of his six years with the Brewers.

The lefty came to Milwaukee as part of the 2003 blockbuster trade that sent Sexson to Arizona. Capuano pitched six seasons for the Brewers, winning 18 games in ’05 and making the NL All-Star team in ’06.
Also: Lary Sorensen, Dave Parker

40: Ben McDonald
McDonald finished his career with two years in Milwaukee, starting with a strong 1996 season in which he posted a 3.90 ERA in 221 1/3 innings.

No one pitched more in a Brewers uniform in the first 50 years of the franchise than Slaton, who worked 2,025 1/3 innings from 1971-83 and is the franchise leader in wins, losses and innings.

Before it was retired across baseball in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier, No. 42 was last worn in Milwaukee by the left-hander Karl, who had the same ERA+ as Mike Caldwell (103) while wearing a Brewers uniform and made at least 32 starts in all four of his full seasons in Milwaukee.

The affable lefty twice topped 30 starts for the Brewers and was part of a solid starting rotation in 2011 that produced the team’s first division title in 29 years.

Aaron finished his Hall of Fame career where it began, in Milwaukee, with two seasons for the Brewers. He hit 12 home runs with 60 RBIs in 1975, passing Babe Ruth to become baseball’s RBI king and then added 10 more homers in ’76 to finish with 755 for his career. The Brewers retired No. 44 after the ’76 season.

“Rooster,” as he was known because of his shock of red hair, averaged 27 home runs during his five years with the Brewers.
Also: Carlos Lee

46: Bill Wegman
He ranks in the franchise’s top five in starts and innings, and ranks third in Brewers history in bWAR.
Also: Jerry Augustine

Even though he pitched just 112 2/3 regular-season innings for the Brewers, González gets the nod over reliever Al Reyes by WAR.

48: Mike Caldwell
Caldwell holds the Brewers’ record with 81 complete games and ranks second in club history in victories (102), innings (1,604 2/3) and shutouts (18).
Also: Jim Colborn

49: Teddy Higuera
No pitcher in Brewers history delivered a string of seasons as good as Higuera’s from 1985-88, before he was derailed by arm injuries. His finest year may have been ’86, when Higuera was 20-11 with a 2.79 ERA, became the first pitcher in Crew history to top 200 strikeouts, made the AL All-Star team and finished second to Roger Clemens in AL Cy Young Award balloting.
Also: Yovani Gallardo

50: Pete Vuckovich
Vuckovich tied for the Major League lead with 14 victories during the strike-shortened 1981 season and finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award balloting. He then won the honor in ’82 after going 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA in the regular season.

He finished his Hall of Fame career in a Brewers uniform, saving 37 games and making the NL All-Star team in 2009 before a difficult '10 in which he became the first player to reach 600 saves.

He spent only a half-season in Milwaukee in 2008, but it was special. Sabathia was 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 regular-season starts following a trade from Cleveland. He logged seven complete games in that span, including three shutouts, and worked on short rest down the stretch to carry the Brewers to their first postseason appearance in 26 years.

The right-hander broke through in 2019, when he was 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts and made the NL All-Star team.

Of the three players who wore No. 54 for the Brewers in multiple seasons (David Riske, Blazek and Taylor Williams), none were better than replacement level during their tenure. But Blazek delivered the best individual season, posting a 2.43 ERA in 45 games in 2015.

55: Teddy Higuera
Higuera briefly wore No. 55 as a rookie in 1985, when he went 15-8 with a 3.90 ERA in 30 starts, plus two relief appearances, and finished second in AL Rookie of the Year Award balloting. That earns him the nod over Tomo Ohka and Brooks Kieschnick.

Bouton never pitched for the Brewers, but he spent 1969 with their predecessors, the Seattle Pilots. Bouton, a former 21-game winner for the Yankees, chronicled that ’69 season in the classic book “Ball Four.”

First acquired in 2011 to complete a killer bullpen that helped the Brewers make it all the way to the NL Championship Series, K-Rod had 95 saves in five seasons with the Crew.

The lefty made 183 appearances for the Brewers over six seasons from 1998-2003.

Axford took over as closer from Hoffman in 2010 and blossomed into one of the NL’s best for a period into ’12. Axford led the NL with 46 saves in ’11. He converted 49 straight save opportunities in one stretch, the fourth-longest streak in history at the time, and famously left a note for reporters on the night that streak came to an end apologizing for being absent. He had a good excuse: His pregnant wife was having contractions.
Also: Derrick Turnbow

Known for his mad dashes from the bullpen to the mound, the big righty pitched 156 times for the Brewers from 2008-10 and led the ’09 team with 78 appearances.

Never mind his stats for the Brewers in 2012. Hernandez was a good pitcher who finished a memorable 17-year career with 26 relief outings for Milwaukee.

62: Dave LaPoint
LaPoint or Grant Balfour? Neither pitched much for Milwaukee but went on to have long careers, with Balfour making an All-Star team for Oakland. In terms of both overall longevity and what he meant to the Brewers, it’s LaPoint, who was part of the package of players traded to St. Louis at the 1980 Winter Meetings for Fingers, Simmons and Vuckovich.

He wore No. 30 for his best work, but Thornburg broke into the big leagues as No. 63 and was good enough for the Brewers to land Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubón and another prospect in a 2016 trade with the Red Sox.

The only Brewers player to wear this number, Fiers pitched for the Crew from 2011-15 before he was dealt with Gómez to the Astros in the big trade that brought Josh Hader & Co. to Milwaukee.

67: Jim Slaton
Slaton appeared as No. 67 as a rookie in 1971, when he was 10-8 with a 3.78 ERA.

A strikeout machine since he broke into the big leagues, Hader was the NL Reliever of the Year in 2018 and again in ‘19 before another Brewers reliever, Devin Williams, nudged Hader out in ’20.

The journeyman catcher appeared in 51 games for the 106-loss Brewers in 2002.

The Brewers' cult hero helped keep the club competitive enough in 2008 to convince then-general manager Doug Melvin to push the chips all-in with a trade for Sabathia. Later that year, McClung came out of the bullpen to help finish a huge win over the Cubs as the Brewers closed on the NL Wild Card.

75: Francisco Rodríguez
Mitch Stetter wore No. 57 earlier in the 2011 season, so Rodriguez briefly took No. 75. Longtime Brewers equipment manager Jason Shawger suggested appending an asterisk to this entry, since while Rodriguez appears in the Brewers' media guide as having worn No. 75, he never left the bullpen wearing the number. That means no one has ever played a game for the Brewers in those digits.

Diggins wore Nos. 53 and 81 for the Brewers while pitching in his only five games in the Majors in 2002.

88: Jim Bruske
The right-hander finished his big league career with 15 relief appearances for the Brewers in 2000. He can boast that he pitched for both of the 1998 World Series teams. He was traded from the Padres to the Yankees in the middle of that season but didn’t pitch for New York in the postseason.

95: Takahito Nomura
A star in Japan, Nomura signed with the Brewers for 2002 but didn’t fare all that well in 21 pitching appearances. Until the Marlins’ Trevor Rogers in '20, Nomura was the only player to appear in a Major League game wearing No. 95.