So long, Boomer
Rick Auerbach wasn't going to sell many tickets. Nor would Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, or Ron Theobald. Same for Johnny Briggs, Dave May and Darrell Porter.
George Scott? Yeah, fans dug the long ball even in 1972 and "The Boomer" was more than proficient when it came time to deliver what he deemed "taters."
Scott died this week at the age of 69, giving recent fans a chance to learn about the team's early exploits and older followers of those early aggregations a chance to remember.
The Brewers came to Milwaukee from Seattle at the start of the 1970 season, a star-crossed team lacking both talent and personality. They had to struggle to win back fans scorned by the Braves departure for Atlanta five years before, plus they played in the AMERICAN League, not the National. There were still folks who swore they'd never go to another MLB game again, having been burned by Bill Bartholomay and the rest of the Braves ownership who broke their hearts.
George Scott was the Brewers first, honest to goodness star: a tremendous Gold Glove first baseman who piled up homers and gave Reggie Jackson all he could handle when it came time to see who could lead the league in round trippers.
And, Scott was fun. He was larger than life, literally, with mutton chop sideburns that didn't quit and a necklace he claimed was made of second basemen's teeth. The Boomer wasn't blessed by the diction gods, and Lord knows how much of his best stuff passed us by, indecipherable but no doubt golden. The stuff we could understand certainly was.
Milwaukee would go 65-91 in '72, Scott's first season in Milwaukee which played out in from of a mere 600,400 County Stadium fans. They'd win nine more games in '73 and bust the million mark at the turnstiles for the first time in franchise history. The Crew won 76 the next season but back-slid the next two, Scott's final ones in Brewers blue and gold. By then they'd added Don Money (in 1973),Robin Yount (1974) and Hank Aaron (1975). Scott swatted 36 homers in '75 and with 109 RBI's, but his production fell off the following season and he was dealt to the Red Sox for Cecil Cooper who'd continue The Boomer's legacy at first with a big stick and awesome glove. Scott would get a taste of playoff baseball in Boston before retiring in 1979, his final "tater" swatted as a Yankee in Texas on August 28th.
George Scott was an original Brewer star, a player who helped spark interest in a team struggling for notoriety, credibility and, most importantly, local interest. His big numbers and his larger persona made going to County Stadium fun, even if you knew the Crew was likely to loose. The Boomer hit "taters" and wore infielder's snags around his neck. He looked cool, was cool. He made Milwaukee baseball legit.
Thanks for the memories, George Scott.