Former Brewer Sheffield back on HOF ballot 

November 18th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- , whose power-packed career began with parts of four seasons in Milwaukee, is the only former Brewers player on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, which was unveiled Monday.

Sheffield is in his sixth year of eligibility after making the cut on 13.6 percent of ballots last year, his best result to date. It takes 75 percent to gain induction to Cooperstown.

In a Major League career that spanned 22 seasons for eight teams, Sheffield logged a .907 OPS with 509 home runs, five Silver Slugger Awards and nine All-Star Game appearances.

The Brewers drafted Sheffield sixth overall in 1986, and he was in the Majors two years later as a September callup after punishing pitchers in the Minor Leagues. But in '89, he began to clash with Milwaukee officials over his position; Sheffield wanted to play shortstop, but the Crew liked Bill Spiers, its '97 first-round pick, who was a superior defender. Sheffield reluctantly was the Brewers’ primary third baseman in '90, then struggled through injuries in ’91. By '92 Spring Training, the relationship had soured to the point that Milwaukee traded Sheffield to San Diego with a Minor League pitcher for Ricky Bones, Matt Mieske and Jose Valentin.

Sheffield won the 1992 National League batting title for the Padres, hitting .330 with 33 homers and 100 RBIs.

“He was a talented player and I didn’t want to trade him,” said then-Brewers general manager Sal Bando, who had just taken over the job five months earlier. “I was hoping that the players would ignore Gary Sheffield and let him play ball, but they couldn’t, and eventually we had to trade him. I really regretted having to do that.

“He wasn’t happy, you know? And the players didn’t make it any better for him. I could see the guy had a lot of talent, and deep down, he was fine. He just had this facade about him that a lot of guys couldn’t breach.”

The Brewers intended to have Spiers play shortstop after the Sheffield trade, but Spiers hurt his back on the final day of Spring Training and the team was forced to hastily recall a relatively unknown infielder named Pat Listach. He hit .290 with 54 stolen bases in 1992, and he was the first player in Brewers history to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.