I grew up watching Robin Yount play for mostly mediocre and sometimes bad Milwaukee Brewers teams, but I always loved watching him play. I got to see his MVP season in 1989 and know him only as a center fielder as my baseball conscious didn’t start until after he injured his shoulder. I had only heard stories of the 1982 season.
I’ve never been a huge Brewers fan, but I always rooted for them when they had a chance for the playoffs because they always seemed to be on the outside looking in during my childhood. I admit to having my issues. I didn’t like their move to the NL. I’m not a huge fan of their former owner turned commissioner, but I have always been curious about the team I always heard about, Harvey’s Wallbangers.
I finally got the chance to view the video on the Milwaukee Brewers 1982 season, Harvey’s Wallbangers. It was a treat even for a non-Brewers fan.
I think the best description for the 1982 team was a softball team playing baseball. The pounded the ball with 5 guys hitting 20+ home runs (Molitor hit 19), 4 guys with 100+ RBI (Simmons with 97), and 3 guys with 200+ hits. It was a stout lineup that captured the imagination of a hard working city, and it made for a great story.
I learned a lot about the 1982 Brewers. I was glad the film talked about the previous seasons and how a lot of the players came to be Brewers. It was interesting to see how the team was built, and what brought Harvey Kuenn to manage the team.
The cast of characters on this team was amazing. It included four future Hall of Famers in Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and Don Sutton. Throw in a good helping of colorful guys like “Stormin” Gorman Thomas, Pete Vuckovich, Jim Gantner, Ben Olgivie, and Cecil Cooper and you have not only a great lineup, but a fun group of guys.
The team started off slow, then they fired their manager and handed over the reigns to Harvey Kuenn. That’s when it all turned around. They stared pounding the ball in a fashion that would lead them to an eventual spot in the World Series.
What a great season 1982 had to have been. Unfortunately I was too young to watch any of it having been only 6 at the time. But the American League East came down to the final day of the season in a game that pitted two future Hall of Fame pitchers in Jim Palmer and Don Sutton.
The Brewers won that game, then defeated the California Angels in 5 games after trailing 0-2 to reach the World Series.
The World Series would go 7 games with Milwaukee leading 3-1 late in the game only to see it slip away.
It was a great film that had a lot of character and an interesting story. After all, can you think of another team that lost their major championship and the city still threw them a parade? That’s capturing the fans of a city.
I learned a lot about the Brewers of the early 1980’s, and it was nice to see some of the guys I grew up watching on TV.
If you’re a Brewers fan, I think you’ll love this. If you’re not, you’ll still love it. You can pick up a copy on Amazon.
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.