Ryan Braun is undoubtedly one of the most important players in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers. After electing not to sign a contract to begin the 2021 season, he officially announced his retirement from the game on September 14th, 2021. While it is clear he is not returning to the ball diamond as a player, the next biggest question is if his number will be retired and end up in the rafters.
Today, more than 14 years after I first took the field as a Milwaukee Brewer, I’ve decided to retire. While it’s impossible to summarize my emotions, what I feel most is one, simple thing – gratitude.
I just wanted to take a moment to say ‘thank you’.
– Ryan Braun pic.twitter.com/pQxuW9qk1z
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 14, 2021
Ryan Braun was drafted fifth overall in 2005 and was Mark Attanasio’s first ever selection. He made his MLB debut in 2007 and was the rookie of the year. He received MVP votes each of his first six season in the league and won the award in 2011. Additionally, he ended his career with five silver slugger awards and six all-star appearances.
However, not everything was smooth sailing. He ended up testing positive for PEDs in 2011 despite denying acquisitions multiple times. He initially won an appeal but then the Biogenesis scandal proved that he indeed was guilty and his name was ruined across baseball. A 65 game suspension was served in 2013 due to this which ended his season.
When it comes to retiring Ryan Braun and the number eight, let’s first take a look at the Brewer players who are currently in the rafters.
The six players/numbers are No. 1 for owner Bud Selig, No. 4 for Paul Molitor, No. 19 for Robin Yount, No. 34 for Rollie Fingers, No. 44 for Hank Aaron, and No. 42 for Jackie Robinson. All of these players are in the hall of fame. This is essentially a requirement in order for your number to be retired.
Jim Gantner is name that often times gets tossed around amongst Brewer fans as the next number to be retired. Gantner did not have the statistical numbers worthy of a hall of fame entrance, but he was a local Wisconsin kid who played with the Brewers for an extended period of time. While not officially retired, no Brewer has worn the No.17 since he retired.
Now lets take a look at if Ryan Braun stands a chance at being a hall of famer.
With the positive history of PEDs, Braun essentially stands no chance of entering the baseball hall of fame. Cheating in baseball is a big no no and the repercussions often follow you throughout your lifetime. Barry Bonds, the home run king, is a great example of this.
If you set PEDs aside, according to baseball reference, Ryan Braun is statistically just over the bubble as a likely hall of famer. He has a Hall of Fame Monitor score of 107 and a score of 100 represents a likely hall of famer. From a WAR standpoint, the average left fielder in the hall of fame possesses a 65.7 career WAR with and 41.7 seven year peak WAR. Braun has a 47.1 career WAR and 38.6 seven year peak WAR. Essentially, despite his brilliant ability to remain clutch late in games during the latter half of his career, from a WAR standpoint he really slowed down when compared to earlier in his career.
The statistical case for Braun to enter the hall of fame is certainly an interesting one. Unfortunately, I do not see him entering the hall of fame nor his number being retired. Even with being one of the most important players in franchise history, putting his name and number up in the rafters given his history of PED use might send the wrong message.
That being said, Ryan Braun may be looking at the same fate as Gantner which is a unanimous decision to never wear the number eight again despite never being officially retired.