MILWAUKEE — The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers are a team fans will never forget, and recently at Miller Park, fans had the chance to share in a reunion of an unforgettable group of “Wallbangers.”
“If you put a winner on the field, people are going to fall in love with you and that’s what happened,” Rollie Fingers said.
They shared plenty of laughs and no shortage of stories.
“There’s a kid out there and I said ‘open that gate!’ Next thing I know I’m out on the field riding this thing,” Robin Yount said.
The 1982 Brewers reunited to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their American League Championship — a season now well in the past, but certainly not forgotten.
“We all got along, but we had great players here. As a pitcher, I would’ve hated to face that lineup. There was no holes in the lineup. It was fun for the four, five years I was here,” Fingers said.
“’82 is a year in my career I’ll never forget. Looking at everybody who is here and Molitor of course, who would be here if he wasn’t managing. Yeah — Rollie getting hurt cost us the World Series and yeah I’m still mad about it. It was 35 years ago, but it was a great year,” Bud Selig said.
With larger than life personalities, Harvey’s Wallbangers found a special place in the hearts of Brewers fans, even after falling short of a World Series victory.
“It was great getting there. That was probably the highlight of most of our careers, but the saddest thing was losing that night too, so we went from one extreme to the next. We went from the high point, getting to the World Series, to the low point of losing the World Series,” Jim Gantner said.
Welcomed back by their adoring fans, player after player took their spot on the field to the sound of applause, accompanied by life-long memories.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on three teams that went to the World Series and each one was exactly the same. It’s uncanny how it was. Everybody was loose. There was one or two guys that created all the craziness and it pulled us all together and we had a lot of fun, not only on the field but off the field. I mean, we were together all the time,” Cecil Cooper said.
And together, they had the chance to catch the Brewers of today, a team leading the division, and maybe sharing some traits of that 1982 squad.
“They’re just playing great. They seem like a fun team to watch day in and day out with the power and the speed,” Yount said.
“I think they have great chemistry. Like we had good, balanced lineup, they got power and speed and some average hitters. They get along good, like we did too. You can see them in the dugout — how loose they are and that’s what it takes to win. Play loose, play hard and go out and win,” Gantner said.
To wrap up the celebration, fans received a replica 1982 AL Championship ring on Sunday, July 16th, and both the Brewers and Phillies wore special throwback uniforms during the series to remember the ’82 team as well.