The golf swing, the home run, the untucking of the jersey. Prince Fielder spent seven years with the Milwaukee Brewers. Seven years of dingers, seven years of walk-offs – but the biggest thing Fielder did in Milwaukee was make Brewer baseball fun again.
As of Tuesday though, Fielder’s bat has stopped swinging as he is hanging up the cleats and his career is over due to medical issues and a neck injury he sustained this past season with the Texas Rangers. In his 12-year career, seven of those years were played in a Brewer jersey.
With the Brewers, Fielder was a three-time All-Star, won two Silver Slugger awards, and finished in the top five of MVP voting three times. Fielder is also the Brewers current record holder in career On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. He is also third in home runs with 230.
But statistics do not do Fielder justice.
If he is remembered for only one thing, it will be for bringing a good time to Milwaukee. The years of Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount are long gone. As a franchise, the Brewers hadn’t had much to cheer for since the 80’s. That is, until Fielder and a crew of young players (Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks) took stage at Miller Park. Led by Fielder, they put on a show.
Fielder came into the league in 2005 and only played in 39 games and only had two home runs that season. But improvement came quickly, hitting 28 in 2006 and an astounding 50 in 2007. In 2008 though, Fielder did a lot more than hit home runs. The Brewers made the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and Fielder was a huge reason why and started what became a magical run to October.
Celebrations after his numerous walk-off home runs also became more and more eccentric. First, the untucking of the jersey as he rounded the bases and then…this.
Fielder was more than the home runs. He was the “Beast Mode” as they raced to the Brewers raced to their first playoff series win since 1982, he was the giant vegetarian, he was a must see at-bat.
Prince Fielder was fun.
Image courtesy of Associated Press.