A 'Win Wall,' you say? Brewers start winning tradition

June 6th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

What started as interior decorating turned into a clubhouse tradition: The Win Wall. And it has special significance this week as Craig Counsell inches closer to becoming the winningest manager in Brewers history.

The Win Wall started in 2020, but it made a rare public appearance on Thursday night, after Andrew McCutchen’s walk-off single against the Padres. It was rookie right-hander Peter Strzelecki’s honor to affix a sticker embossed with the date and the opponent onto the wall that runs from the locker room, past Counsell’s office and the coaches’ room, toward the dugout. Strzelecki pitched two innings that night and was rewarded with his first Major League win.

Brick by brick, win by win, the Brewers are constructing their season.

"It puts everything in perspective," first baseman Rowdy Tellez said. "Winning is hard."

And wins are worth celebrating, as senior director of team travel and clubhouse operations Dan Larrea well knows. After all, his Brewers tenure began back in the 1990s. Larrea’s idea started in November 2019, when the Brewers unveiled an updated logo and a new set of uniforms. The kit included a new alternate logo in the shape of the state of Wisconsin with a baseball marking the home of the Brewers and bricks in the background, meant to conjure the cream city bricks used to build the city of Milwaukee.

Larrea liked the look and wanted to bring some more color into the clubhouse. Since the construction of Miller Park in 2001, the hallways to the dugout were a simple off-white, with jerseys mounted here and there, and every team photo lining that hall from the locker room to the dugout. Larrea had murals installed depicting each decade in Brewers history, plus floor-to-ceiling photographs from each of the team’s “splash wins” -- the clinching victories that spark champagne celebrations.

Larrea had the team photos moved to the other end of the clubhouse by the weight room, and he replaced that bland space with painted bricks in blue and yellow.

That was supposed to be the extent of it.

“But it needed something more,” Larrea said.

It was the spring of 2020, pre-pandemic. Larrea happened to show a photo of the hallway to Ryan Braun. One thing about Braun: He always had an opinion.

"He goes, 'What if we had some designation for each of our wins in the middle of each brick?'" Larrea recalled.

Larrea loved the idea. He had one of the local companies that produces helmet decals and other adhesive items for the Brewers make a mockup of a brick. It worked.

So a tradition was born. The Brewers have a decal for each game on their schedule, and every time they win a game, the corresponding brick goes on the wall. Often, the player of the game has the honor.

"It was a design piece for the hallway to spruce up the clubhouse, and it turned into something else," Larrea said. "It’s good to celebrate wins. You know what? We’re in the golden age of Milwaukee Brewers baseball right now, and we had better appreciate it."