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Hoffman, Hardy, Weeks go on Wall of Honor

@AdamMcCalvy
August 9, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- A Hall of Famer and two born-and-bred Brewers were honored on Friday with induction to the Miller Park Wall of Honor, an installation meant to inspire memories of the players who wrote the history of the franchise. Trevor Hoffman, J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks were the latest men

MILWAUKEE -- A Hall of Famer and two born-and-bred Brewers were honored on Friday with induction to the Miller Park Wall of Honor, an installation meant to inspire memories of the players who wrote the history of the franchise.

Trevor Hoffman, J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks were the latest men to get plaques on the wall.

“It’s a great night, personally, for me to see those guys,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who played with all three inductees and was behind the creation of the Wall of Honor in 2014. “These guys were three great Brewers, they really are.”

Hardy and Weeks were among the wave of hitting prospects who lifted the Brewers to contention in the mid-2000s and helped win the 2008 National League Wild Card for Milwaukee’s first postseason entry in 26 years. Hoffman signed as a free agent the following season and made the All-Star team, then became the first player in Major League history to reach 600 saves in 2010.

The installation is located outside Miller Park’s “Hot Corner” entrance and is accessible to fans year-round.

“When you finish playing and go home ... you don't think of being asked to come back to Milwaukee and get honored with a plaque,” Weeks said. “I'm 36 years old, I've got a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old, and now I've got a plaque on the side of a stadium!”

Here’s a look at the three inductees:

Trevor Hoffman
Years with Brewers: 2009-10 (’09 All-Star)
Memorable moment: No. 600

Hoffman as 41 when he signed with the Brewers, but he still had it, logging 37 saves in 2009 to leave him nine shy of 600 for his career, a mark no man had reached before. But Hoffman struggled mightily while quietly battling a bad shoulder in 2010, converting only five of his first 10 save chances and necessitating a change to new closer John Axford that delayed Hoffman’s march to history. He finally got there on Sept. 7, 2010, when Counsell converted the final out of a 4-2 win over the Cardinals at Miller Park. Hoffman delivered a speech in the clubhouse after the game that became legendary for how little it was about him. Instead, Hoffman talked about the franchise and his teammates, and what it had meant to wear a Brewers uniform.

“On many levels, it was an opportunity to finish my career off the right way,” Hoffman said. “To experience another organization, to have success and failure on different levels, and to have the opportunity to still lead and do so the right way -- for me, it epitomized meeting a personal milestone, but I never played for those accolades. It was always about trying to get to the postseason and always trying to empower my teammates. To have the opportunity to take the podium, per se, and thank my teammates, it didn't seem right to say something personal so it was more about being something that hopefully [my teammates] could take away something and empower people you'll encounter along the way.”

J.J. Hardy
Years with Brewers: 2005-09 (’07 All-Star)
Memorable moment: Five homers in one inning

On April 22, 2006, against the Reds at Miller Park, the Brewers became the first team in 40 years -- since the 1966 Twins -- to belt five home runs in one inning. They went Bill Hall, Damian Miller, Brady Clark, Hardy and Prince Fielder in a seven-run fourth inning, an achievement commemorated with a poster. It was one of only five home runs for Hardy in what was an injury-shortened season, but it was a glimpse of things to come; he hit 26 homers in 2007 and 24 more in ’08, making him the third player in franchise history with multiple 20-homer season as a shortstop. Robin Yount (1980, ‘82) and José Hernández (2001-‘02) were the others.

“I remember really struggling at the time. I felt like I hadn’t had a hit in a couple of weeks,” Hardy said. “Then that just all kind of came together. Everyone was hitting homers that inning. I got up there, I think I blacked out and hit a homer. I have no idea what was going on. But the poster is up at my parents’ house in my bedroom, so I remember it from that.”

Rickie Weeks
Years with Brewers: 2003, 2005-14 (’11 All-Star)
Memorable moment: Home run No. 1

June 25, 2005, was a beautiful summer Saturday at Miller Park. It was also a preview of things to come. Weeks, the second overall pick in the 2002 Draft, hit his first Major League home run in the bottom of the first inning off Twins ace Johan Santana after Minnesota jumped to a 3-0 lead. Prince Fielder, the seventh overall pick in the 2003 Draft, hit his first Major League home run in the sixth off reliever Jesse Crain, a go-ahead, three-run shot to the concourse in left-center field. The crowd roared -- including a 21-year-old Ryan Braun, who had just been drafted in the first round just 2 1/2 weeks earlier and was making his first visit to Milwaukee.

“Forget everything else, I was just in that moment,” Weeks said. “I believe we won that game? That was topping on the cake. Just knowing that moment happened -- we got the win and my buddy got a homer, as well, you couldn't ask for too much more than that.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.