STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Some of my favorite memories of my father and I are from sitting on our stained red couch in our family room, watching the Milwaukee Brewers battle it out at Miller Park or County Stadium. Battle as they might, through most of my childhood those were usually losing fights, but the memories remain.
My dad’s favorite baseball player for as long as I can remember is Craig Counsel. He would walk modestly into the batter’s box, bat held high over his head in a stance that could only be described as strange, and my dad would yell “Craig Counsel!” for pretty much no reason whatsoever.
A career batting average of .255 with 42 home runs, he seemed to be nothing special as a hitter, but that didn’t prevent him from being loved by fans and teammates alike.
The highlight of his 16-year career would be scoring the walk-off run in game seven of the 1997 World Series as a rookie for the Florida Marlins. He won a second World Series in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He may not have scored the run, but was on-base when his team again won it all on a walk-off.
I may have been only 6-years-old at the time, but I remember watching that game. “Fireballer” Randy Johnson was a spectacle on the mound for the Diamondbacks and Counsel looking simply goofy in the batters box, even if his abnormal stance helped him get the hits his team needed.
In 2004 Counsel came back to Milwaukee as a Brewer, growing up not far away from Brewtown, and has been a continual part of the organization since 2007 as a player for five years and part of the coaching staff ever since.
The highlight of his Brewers career, although a little melancholy, would probably be the 45-at-bat hitting streak he had in 2011, his final season as a player. No, not 46 consecutive hits, 45 consecutive outs. He got out 45 times in a row. However, when he snapped that streak on August 5 on the road against Houston, a floating fly ball to right field that nearly fell into the glove of the outfielder, but didn’t. The Brewers’ dugout stood and cheered to honor the end of the rut, which had tied the record for longest hitless streak ever.
They didn’t cheer as loud as my dad did though, yelling for me to “Get over here!” as he rewound the DVR to show me that glorious single.
After the Brewers’ horrific start to the 2015 baseball season, 8-17 as the worst team in Major League Baseball, manager Ron Roenicke was fired. They called upon Counsel to step up, as he did many times in his career. He accepted, and the Brew Crew won their first game with him as a manager on May 4.
1-0. Craig is off to a good start.
He won the World Series in his first season as a player, now let’s see what happens with him as a manager.