Thirty years ago, Yount made history with 3,000th hit

September 8th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Thirty years ago, The Kid cemented his place in Cooperstown.

On Sept. 9, 1992, Hall of Famer collected his 3,000th hit, an opposite-field single off Cleveland reliever at Milwaukee County Stadium. In an interview with in 2011, just before Yankees captain joined the 3,000-hit club, Yount recalled the uncomfortable run-up to his milestone.

"It almost feels like you're out there alone. It's kind of a weird feeling," he said. "At least it was for me. I remember that we were in a pennant race the year I got mine and it was late in the year. I felt very uncomfortable because it seemed like the focus was on me, and I felt that it should have been on the team because we had a legitimate chance to win that division that year.

"I found myself getting caught up in it because everyone else was caught up in it. I'll be honest -- for me, it was a bit of a distraction. I can remember when I got within one or two hits, I got real angry at myself because I was distracted. I had a long talk with myself after one of those games, I don't remember which one."

It was somewhere from Sept. 7-9, 1992. The Brewers were hosting the Indians for a quick, three-game homestand, and Yount felt pressure to reach his milestone at County Stadium before heading out for a seven-game road trip to Baltimore and Boston.

Yount got a hit in each of the first two games of the series, then went hitless in his first three at-bats in the finale before knocking a seventh-inning single against Mesa.

"I can remember saying, 'Hey, snap out of it. This isn't about one hit,'" Yount said. "I was trying to get back to the guy who had played 19 years at that point on a daily basis instead of focusing on this one silly hit. I guess it's human nature. So many people are making such a big deal out of this one hit out of 3,000, and it's amazing what happens when there's something in your mind that hasn't been there before."

Up on County Stadium's mezzanine, Brewers founder Allan H. "Bud" Selig was a bundle of nerves all night. Earlier that same day in St. Louis, Selig's fellow owners had voted him interim Commissioner of MLB in the wake of Fay Vincent's resignation two days earlier. It was a life-altering event for Selig, who would run MLB for the next three decades.

But his mind was in two places.

“It was all happening fast,” Selig said. “Wednesday night game at County Stadium, last game of that series, and I’m going to fly back. The Cardinals’ owner, Gussie Busch, was having a big party, but I wasn’t going to stay for Gussie’s party, as much as I liked him. Bobby Brown, who was the president of the American League, said I should be there in Milwaukee, and of course he was right. Tom Werner, who owned the Padres at the time, asked to come with. And all of a sudden I walk out, and George W. Bush is there and he said, ‘Buddy, I don’t want to go to this party. You going up to see Yount? Mind if I come along?’”

About eight years later, Rangers owner George W. Bush would be elected President of the United States, but on this day he was looking for a ride to watch baseball history.

“We had a great time,” Selig said. “We played trivia on the plane both ways. George W. remembers that to this day. And, of course, Robin got his hit.”

Yount got his hit in the bottom of the seventh inning against Mesa, a single to right field that prompted a break in the game so the Brewers could celebrate. Longtime teammates and Jim Gantner were the first to embrace Yount at first base before the rest of the team converged.

“I’ll tell you what I remember about that: It was exciting, but what took away from it for me was that we lost the game,” said then-GM Sal Bando, “and it was an important game for us because we were in a pennant race with Toronto.”

Yount has long said the same, that the loss dulled the moment. Still, it was a relief to have that chapter written. He was the 17th player in history, and the third-youngest, to reach 3,000 hits.

“It was the only milestone that got Robin excited,” said then-Brewers closer Dan Plesac. “We all ran on the field, I ran from the bullpen, to see him put his arms up in the air. It was the only time he showed emotion like he had accomplished something. It was like, ‘Wow, he sleeps and breathes like everybody else.’ He was a machine.”

Said Yount: “You get 3,000 hits because of longevity, and I guess what I’m most proud of.”