The Milwaukee Brewers are celebrating their 50th year of baseball in Milwaukee this year. Even though it is unknown as to when the season will start, this is something worth highlighting and celebrating. Over the next few weeks, OTH Wisconsin will highlight the top players at each position throughout the Brewers’ 50 year history. Here, we take a look at the best players to play right field for the Milwaukee Brewers.
#5- Rob Deer
Rob Deer started his career with the San Francisco Giants, but it was in Milwaukee that he first was able to play every day. In five seasons with the Brewers, Deer hit .229/.329/.450 with 137 home runs and 385 RBI’s. He also led the league in strikeouts twice in those five seasons. In fact, Deer never struck out less than 147 times in a season as a Brewer. He made up for it, though, with his above-average power.
Deer’s best season with the Brewers was arguably his first season with them in 1986. The right fielder hit .232/.336/.494 with 33 home runs and 86 RBI’s that season. A durable player, Deer never played less than 130 games in a season with the Brewers, never hitting fewer than 23 home runs in a season either.
#4- Corey Hart
Corey Hart was drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2000 amateur draft. He quickly became one of Milwaukee’s top prospects, making his Major League debut in 2004. He became an everyday player in 2007, forming a young core that included Ryan Braun, JJ Hardy, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks. Along with these other Brewers greats, Hart helped lead the Brewers back to the postseason for the first time in 26 years in 2008.
Hart spent parts of nine seasons with the Brewers, making two All-Star teams and competing in a Home Run Derby. His best season came in 2010, which was his second All-Star season. During that campaign, Hart hit .283/.340/.525 with 31 home runs and 102 RBI’s. He also finished 25th in the MVP voting that season. He moved to first base in 2012 and had another 30-home run season. However, a torn meniscus in his knee forced him to miss the entire 2013 season. He signed with Seattle as a free agent ahead of the 2014 season, but never returned to his previous form with the Brewers. He finished his career with the Pirates in 2015.
In his career as a Brewer, Hart hit .276/.334/.491 with 154 home runs and 508 RBI’s. He is currently sixth all-time in on-base percentage and seventh in on-base plus slugging percentage for the Brewers. He is also sixth in doubles and ninth in triples.
#3- Jeromy Burnitz
Jeromy Burnitz was first drafted by the Brewers in 24th round of 1987 amateur draft. However, Burnitz never signed with the Crew and was drafted in the first round of the 1991 amateur draft by the New York Mets. He eventually was traded to Milwaukee at the end of 1996 by the Cleveland Indians for Kevin Seitzer.
Prior to playing in Milwaukee, Burnitz had a rather pedestrian career. Once in Milwaukee, though, his career took off. In five full seasons with the Brewers, Burnitz never hit fewer than 27 home runs in a season. He also drove in over 100 runs three times. Due to a right fielder named Sammy Sosa breaking home run records in Chicago, Burnitz did not get the national attention he probably deserved. In 1998, Burnitz had arguably his best season with the Brewers, hitting .263/339/.499 with 38 home runs and 125 RBI’s. The following season, Burnitz was named to the All-Star game and hit .270/.402/.561 with 33 home runs and 103 RBI’s.
Overall, Burnitz hit .258/.362/.508 with 165 home runs and 525 RBI’s during his time in Milwaukee. He currently ranks seventh all-time in Brewers’ OPB, fourth in slugging percentage, and fourth in OPS. In addition, his 165 home runs are ninth most in team history.
#2- Sixto Lezcano
Sixto Lezcano is one of the most popular players in Brewers’ history. Lezcano was not drafted into the Major Leagues. Instead, he signed with the Brewers as an amateur free agent in 1970. He still remains the only Brewers’ right fielder to win a Gold Glove (1979).
In seven years with the Brewers, Lezcano hit .275/.354/.452 with 102 home runs and 374 RBI’s. His best season came in 1979, the year he won his Gold Glove. That season, he hit .321/.414/.573 with 28 home runs and 101 RBI’s. Lezcano was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of the 1981 season in the deal that brought Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich, and Ted Simmons to Milwaukee.
There is a Sixto Lezcano legacy in Wisconsin that is not known by many people. At Concordia University Wisconsin, part of the old resident halls are said to be haunted by the ghost of nun named Sister Six Toes. However, the legend began in the mid 1970s when a group of students were helping convert the former convent into classrooms. The nuns, still living there during the transition, used a P.A. system to announce when Sister So and So had a phone call. As a prank, one of the students snuck in and announced that Sister Sixto had a phone call. The nuns and professional workers misheard it and began talking about a mysterious nun named Sister Six Toes. Many stories have been invented about the mysterious nun in the 45 years since.
#1- Christian Yelich
In what may turn out to be the greatest trade in Brewers’ history, Christian Yelich was traded to Milwaukee by the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2018 season. Yelich, who had won a Gold Glove as a left fielder, shifted to right field and has already become the best right fielder in Brewers’ history. Once baseball resumes, it is expected that Yelich will return to left field, but in just two season in right, Yelich has accomplished more than any other Brewer to play the position.
Yelich won the 2018 MVP Award after hitting .326/.402/.598 with 36 home runs and 110 RBI’s. He became the first Brewers’ player ever to win a batting title, was named an All-Star, and won a Silver Slugger Award. 2019 was looking to be an even better season before a fractured knee cap forced Yelich to miss the final month. Yelich ended 2019 hitting .329/.429/.671 with 44 home runs and 97 RBI’s. He finished second in the MVP vote to Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers. He did however, win his second batting title in a row.
Yelich recently signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Brewers until 2028 at the earliest. Currently, Yelich has a slashline of .327/.415/.631 with 80 home runs and 207 RBI’s with the Brewers. Undoubtedly, these numbers will grow exponentially as he enters the prime of his career. Perhaps Yelich will one day become the most beloved Brewer of all time. Only time will tell.
More Brewers’ Greats
For more in our series on the five best players at each position, follow the links below:
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