COMMENTARY | 66 years ago, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to suit up for a Major League Baseball team. On April 15, we will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, the end of baseball segregation and all of No. 42's accolades. In fact, the movie 42 was released on April 12, a biographical film that depicts the life of Robinson.
What Robinson meant to the game of baseball is immeasurable, but regardless of what team you root for, there is a player that embodies that franchise, who is celebrated to this very day for all they accomplished. For the Milwaukee Brewers, there is no question who that player is -- Robin Yount.
Yount made his debut with the Brewers in 1974 as a teenager at the age of 18. To this day, he remains the last 18-year-old to hit a home run in the Major Leagues, but Rockin' Robin was just getting started. He was the centerpiece that Milwaukee built around as the team finally became a contender in the early 1980s, winning the American League pennant and reaching the World Series in 1982.
Early on in his career, the lifelong Brewer made plenty of noise off the field when he threatened to retire and pick up the game of golf because he was underpaid, but his demands were met during spring training in 1978. It would have been a groundbreaking moment in baseball, and Yount must be applauded for taking a stand.
Although Yount will be remembered for being a three-time All-Star and two-time MVP during his distinguished 20-year career, fans will never forget two moments from The Kid's career -- when he made a diving catch in center field to notch the 27th out of Juan Nieves' no-hitter, and of course, his 3,000th career hit.
He is one of 28 players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and one of 44 first-ballot Hall of Famers. The Brewers honored Yount with a statue in front of Miller Park, and wasted no time by retiring his No. 19 the year following his retirement.
Now residing in Arizona, Yount helps the Brewers during spring training every year, and also served as the Brewers' bench coach for in 2005 and in 2008 during the final month of the season under Dale Sveum. In 2011, he threw out the honorary first pitch before Game 2 of the NLDS.
In 1982, it was Yount who famously rode into County Stadium on his Harley-Davidson during a post-World Series celebration. Since retiring, Yount has increased his involvement in professional motorcycle racing, one of his great passions.
He has also remained involved in the Milwaukee community, becoming a minority owner in 2012 of the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwest Woods League. Yount even created his own all-natural lemonade drink called Robinade in 2008.
As the player who helped lead Milwaukee to its lone World Series appearance, Robin Yount will never be forgotten in Milwaukee, just as Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten by baseball.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who contains an unhealthy amount of knowledge about Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline and as a featured columnist among other sites and publications.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jackie Robinson
- Robin Yount
- Milwaukee Brewers