The Milwaukee Brewers will enter the 2023 season with the shortstop position solidified. Over the course of their history, this is a position that has seen numerous fantastic fan favorites succeed. Which ones, though, stand out as the very best? We take a look in this edition of our series.
Honorable Mention: Pat Listach, Orlando Arcia, Craig Counsell, Jean Segura
#5- Dale Sveum
Whenever the discussion of classic Brewers players is had by fans, Dale Sveum’s name is almost always mentioned. Sveum, unfortunately, did not have many great seasons with the Brewers and injuries were always a concern. However, it would be difficult to have a list of the all-time best short stops in Brewers history and not include him on the list.
Sveum was drafted by the Brewers in the first round of the 1982 amateur draft. He made his major league debut in 1986 and spent five seasons with the Brewers. Sveum’s best season came in 1987 when he hit .252/.303/.454 with 25 home runs and 95 RBI’s. In 1987, the Brewers famously started the season with a 13-game winning streak. Sveum played a huge role in that start, hitting an iconic walk-off home run on Easter Sunday.
Dale Sveum hit .243/.299/382 with 46 home runs and 236 RBI’s in his five seasons as a Brewer. He may have had many more productive seasons had he not battled injuries, including a severe leg break that kept him out of the entire 1989 season. Sveum returned to Milwaukee as a coach after his playing career was over. He was the team’s third base coach in 2006 and 2008, bench coach in 2007, and hitting coach from 2009-2011. He also served as interim manager after Ned Yost was fired in 2008, leading the team to a 7-5 record and their first playoff appearance since 1982.
#4- Jose Valentin
Jose Valentin was acquired by the Brewers in the trade that sent Gary Sheffield to the San Diego Padres. Valentin appeared with the Brewers in eight seasons to start his career. During his time in Milwaukee, Valentin hit .240/.323/.448 with 90 home runs and 343 RBI’s. The Brewers, unfortunately, were not very good during Valentin’s time in Milwaukee. However, he provided the team with consistency and, along with Fernando Vina, was a member of a popular middle infield.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, and their fans, Valentin’s best career seasons came after they traded him to the White Sox. In five seasons with Chicago, Valentin hit over 25 home runs in each season, and hit a career-high 30 in 2004. He finished his career with the New York Mets in 2007.
#3- Willy Adames
Personally, I am not quite ready to put Willy Adames over JJ Hardy, who is number two on this list. While Adames has become a serious fan favorite and broke the single-season record for home runs by a short stop, he has only been in Milwaukee for a year and a half.
But what a year and a half it has been! Adames was traded to Milwaukee early during the 2021 season. In 99 games with the Crew that year, he hit .285/.366/.481 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI. Despite playing less than a full season in Milwaukee, Adames finished 16th in NL MVP voting.
Last season, Adames hit .238/.298/.458 with 31 home runs and 98 RBI. His 31 home runs broke Robin Yount’s record for most home runs by a short stop in team history.
Currently there is uncertainty regarding Adames’ future in Milwaukee. While the star short stop has repeatedly stated his desire to stay in Milwaukee, the front office has not engaged him in any kind of extension talks.
#2- JJ Hardy
JJ Hardy was drafted by the Brewers in the second round of the 2001 amateur draft. Along with Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun, Hardy made up a list of great homegrown talent that helped lead the Brewers back to the postseason in 2008.
Hardy hit .262/.323/.428 with 75 home runs and 265 RBI’s in five seasons wit the Brewers. Even though his bat had some pop, he was best known for his defense. The fact that he did not win any Gold Gloves in the NL is widely regarded by Brewers fans to be nothing short of a travesty. Hardy made the NL All-Star team in 2007, but his best year was actually in 2008. During that season, Hardy hit .283/343/.478 with 24 home runs and 74 RBI’s.
Even though he was snubbed for postseason awards in Milwaukee, Hardy would win some Gold Gloves after leaving Milwaukee. He actually won three straight as a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 2012-2014. He also made a second All-Star team and won the Silver Slugger Award in the 2013 season. Hardy last appeared in the Majors in 2017.
#1- Robin Yount
Who else would occupy this spot than the greatest player to ever put on a Brewers uniform? Yount, a three-time All-Star and two-time MVP, holds more Brewers offensive records than any other player. Yount ranks first in team history in:
- WAR Position Players (77.3)
- Offensive WAR (83.1)
- Games Played (2,856)
- Runs Scored (1,632)
- Hits (3,142)
- Doubles (583)
- Triples (126)
- RBI’s (1,406)
- Walks (966)
Yount had many great seasons as a Brewer, but his best was arguably his 1982 season. During that magical run to the World Series, Yount hit .331/.379/.578 with 29 home runs and 114 RBI’s. His 46 doubles and 210 total hits led the league that year, and he won his first MVP award as well as a Gold Glove. Yount remains the only Brewers short stop to win a Gold Glove.
After a serious injury, Yount moved to center field where he would win another MVP in 1989. He is currently one of only four players in baseball history to win the MVP at multiple positions. The other three: Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, and Alex Rodriguez.
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