PHOENIX -- Geoff Jenkins, the Brewers' first-round Draft pick who bridged eras between County Stadium and Miller Park while becoming one of the most productive power hitters in franchise history, will be the 20th player inducted into the team's Walk of Fame.That was not the only accolade announced Thursday. The
PHOENIX -- Geoff Jenkins, the Brewers' first-round Draft pick who bridged eras between County Stadium and Miller Park while becoming one of the most productive power hitters in franchise history, will be the 20th player inducted into the team's Walk of Fame.
That was not the only accolade announced Thursday. The Brewers also plan to add slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and former general managers Doug Melvin and Harry Dalton to the Brewers Wall of Honor, and the Brewers and Milwaukee Braves Historical Society announced they will add former All-Star pitcher Bob Buhl to the Braves Wall of Honor.
"It's a really, really cool honor when you get that phone call and they tell you you're the 20th person inducted to their Walk of Fame," Jenkins said. "It's one of those things where it makes you think about all the things you've done and all the people you've met and the journey you took."
Jenkins was the ninth-overall pick in the 1995 Draft and spent 10 of his 11 Major League seasons with the Brewers, including an All-Star appearance in 2003. When he finished his career, Jenkins was second in Brewers history in home runs (212) and slugging percentage (.496), fourth in RBIs (704) and fifth in hits (1,221) and runs (661).
These days, Jenkins is busy coaching baseball and softball games for his two kids, aged 9 and 11. It has been a natural transition, said Jenkins, who was already in place when the wave of Brewers prospects including Fielder came along and lifted the club to contention, just as Jenkins' tenure with the team was ending.
"That's something I've definitely always thought about -- [what] if I was born five years later?" Jenkins said. "But you don't know. The story might be different."
Jenkins' story turned out OK. He won the World Series with the Phillies in 2008, his final big league season.
Jenkins garnered votes from 27 of the 37 reporters and club executives who cast ballots for the Walk of Fame, the Brewers' highest honor short of number retirement. Former American League Cy Young Award winner Pete Vuckovich was next with 20 votes, five shy of the 65 percent required for induction. Ben Oglivie and Ben Sheets appeared on 19 ballots apiece.
A granite plaque in the shape of home plate bearing Jenkins' name will be installed on the plaza outside Miller Park on July 24, three days after Fielder, Melvin and Dalton are recognized in a ceremony of their own. Buhl will he posthumously honored on May 24.
The Wall of Honor is an installation outside Miller Park that honors players, coaches and executives based on a set of criteria for service to the organization. Melvin, the Brewers' general manager from the end of 2002 through '15, was thrilled to be inducted alongside a predecessor in Dalton, the architect of the great Brewers teams of the late 1970s and early '80s, and Fielder, one of the players who helped Melvin's own club rise to contention.
"I think our team had toughness [with Fielder] that it probably lacked prior to him," Melvin said. "I think that toughness brought us to a team that people feared at that point."
Melvin's favorite Fielder statistic is not the 50-homer season in 2007, but the fact Fielder played all but 13 of the Brewers' games during his six full seasons in Milwaukee.
"That's unheard of," Melvin said.
As for his own Brewers tenure, which included postseason appearances in 2008 and '11, Melvin said: "In 1972 I signed a contract out of a small town in Canada. I had a choice to sign a contract and play baseball for $1,000, and if I didn't I probably would have tried to make a curling team or something. I chose baseball, and how many years later, I feel honored."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.