The Milwaukee Brewers will have a different starting second baseman this season. Kolten Wong manned the position for the past two years, but was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro.
#5- Ronnie Belliard
Ronnie Belliard manned second base for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1999-2002. While he played 13 years in Major League Baseball, the first five of them were spent with Crew. In five seasons with the Brewers, Belliard hit .263/.341/.396 with 30 home runs and 178 RBI. His best season, by far, was his rookie year in 1999. That season, he hit .295/.379/.429 with eight home runs and 58 RBI. Unfortunately, his hitting declined each year that he played in Milwaukee, bottoming out a .211/.257/.287 in 2002.
Belliard went on to play eight more seasons in the Majors. His best season, arguably, was in 2004 with the Cleveland Guardians. That year, he hit .282/.348/.426 with 12 home runs and 70 RBI. Belliard was named to the All-Star team that season, his lone appearance in his career.
Overall, Belliard spent stints of his career with the Brewers, Rockies, Guardians, Cardinals, Nationals, and Dodgers. He won a World Series with the Cardinals in 2006.
#4- Willie Randolph
Willie Randolph’s presence on this list is a testament to how few good second basemen the Brewers have had in their history. Randolph only played one year for the Brewers, but what a year he had!
Prior to joining the Brewers, Randolph had earned six All-Star selections. Five of those came as a member of the Yankees, for whom he played for 13 seasons. The other came as a member of the Dodgers, with whom he played in 1989-1990. Willie joined the Brewers for the 1991 season and had the last great season of his long career. He hit .327/.424/.374 with no home runs and 54 RBI’s. He had an amazing walk-to-strikeout ratio, walking 75 times compared to only 38 strikeouts. His 20 errors in the field, though, were fourth most among AL second basemen that season.
Randolph only played on more season in baseball, joining the Mets for the 1992 season. He did return to Milwaukee, though, as Ken Macha’s bench coach in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
#3- Rickie Weeks
Rickie Weeks was drafted with with number two overall pick by the Brewers in the 2003 amateur draft. He made Along with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and JJ Hardy, he helped provide Brewers’ fans with the hope of a bright future that they had not had for many years.
Weeks spent ten seasons in Milwaukee, mostly hitting from the lead-off spot. During that time, he hit .249/.347/.424 with 148 home runs and 430 RBI’s. His best season came in 2010 when he hit .269/.366/.464 with 29 home runs and 83 RBI’s. He also scored 112 runs that year, the only season in his career in which he surpassed 100 runs. Weeks was named to his only All-Star team in 2011 when he hit .269/.355/.468 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI’s. He would hit over 20 home runs in 2012, but his batting average and on-base percentage fell significantly.
Weeks was not a good defensive second baseman, consistently finishing seasons with a negative runs saved rating. In addition, he dealt with lingering injuries, only playing in over 150 games twice in his career. He spent three more seasons in baseball after leaving Milwaukee in 2014, spending time with Seattle, Arizona, and Tampa Bay.
#2- Fernando Vina
Fernando Vina had spent time with the Mariners and Mets before being traded to the Brewers before the 1995 season. Vina would spend five seasons with the Brewers, accumulating a stat line of .286/.349/.389 with 22 home runs and 164 RBI’s. His best season came in 1998 when he hit .311/.386/.427 with seven home runs and 45 RBI’s. Vina also scored 101 runs that season to go with 22 stolen bases. He would be named to his first and only career All-Star team in ’98.
Though he struggled to stay healthy, Vina was an above-average defensive player, unlike others on this list. After his time in Milwaukee was over, he won two Gold Gloves as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Vina finished is career in 2004 with the Detroit Tigers.
#1- Jim Gantner
Who else would be #1 on this list except the man who spent 17 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers? “Gumby” first broke into the majors with the Brewers as a third baseman. However, he would spend 15 seasons playing second base for the Crew. The Brewers’ infield of the early 80’s included Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, and Jim Ganter. Talk about keeping good company!
For his career, Gantner hit .274/.319/.351 with 47 home runs and 568 RBI’s. His best season came in 1982 as he hit .295/.335/.369 with four home runs and 43 RBI’s. Gantner did not make any All-Star teams in his career, but he provided stability at the position for the better part of a decade, something the Brewers have not had since. He still holds the Brewers record for games at second base with 1,449 games played there.
For more in our series on the five best players at each position, follow the links below:
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @theotherRobin19 and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!