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 second base for the Milwaukee Brewers.
#5- Keston Hiura
The Brewers have not had many good second basemen in their history, allowing Hiura to make this list with less than one year of MLB service time. During his first stint with the Brewers, Hiura established himself as the second-best hitter on the team, only behind 2018 MVP Christian Yelich. His slash line of .303/.368/.570 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI’s in just 314 at bats have given the Brewers hope that they will have a decent-hitting second baseman for years to come. His defense, however, is suspect at best, and he he committed 16 errors. Oftentimes, Hiura found himself replaced in the later innings of games by a better defensive player. He is, though, only 22 years old and has time and room to improve. It will be no surprise if he finds himself higher on this list in just a year or so.
#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:
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