Back in early March we announced that former Milwaukee Brewer-great Paul Molitor had agreed to headline the fourth-annual Mallards/MLB 2009 Alumni Game presented by West Bend Insurance to be played on Friday, August 21 at 7:35 p.m. at the “Duck Pond.”
Molitor, who was inducted into the Major League Hall of Fame in 2004, played for the Brewers for 15 seasons (1978 to 1992) and was a 5-time All-Star selection during that span. Although the Brewers magical 1982 run at a franchise-first World Series title came a few outs short in a runner-up finish to the St. Louis Cardinals, Molitor didn’t disappoint, batting .355 (11-for-31) that included a five-hit performance in game one of the seven-game series. In August of 1987 he was in the national media spotlight for his pursuit of Joe DiMaggio’s coveted 56-game hitting streak. Molitor’s run ended at 39 games but raised his batting average a staggering 47 points to .370 that included eight 3-hit performances.
He will be available for autographs when gates open at 4:30 p.m. The Great Dane Duck Blind & other hospitality areas will open at 5:30 p.m.
Molitor signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in 1992 and helped lead the team to a World Series title the following year. After that final six-game series he was named MVP for batting .500 (12-for-24) and becoming the first individual to hit 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs in a World Series.
Molitor concluded his career by playing for the Minnesota Twins for three seasons (1996-1998), where he acquired his 3,000th hit on September 6, 1996. He remains the only player in major league history to reach that milestone with a triple.
Molitor joins an impressive list of previous Alumni Game headliners including Harmon Killebrew (2006), Rollie Fingers (2007), and Ferguson Jenkins last year. Like Molitor all three were first-ballot Major League Baseball Hall of Famers.
Mallards General Manager Vern Stenman believes Molitor’s appearance will help connect the event to a younger generation of baseball fans in southern Wisconsin.
“Molitor fits the mold of exactly the type of player and person we looked for in headlining this year’s event,” said Stenman. “He’s a former Big Ten collegiate athlete (Minnesota); had an outstanding big league career; and continues to be a contributing member to many charitable organizations throughout the Midwest and Toronto.
Tickets for the event will be priced the same as a Mallards regular season game can be purchased by visiting Mallardsbaseball.com or by calling the box office at 608.246.4277.
Other major league participants include:
Jay Johnstone – Johnstone played for eight different major league clubs, most notably the Chicago Cubs from 1982 to 1984, and accumulated a .267 batting average with 102 home runs and 531 RBI over his 20-year career. As a Los Angeles Dodger in 1981 he hit a pinch-two run home run in game four of the World Series against the New York Yankees to help win the game 8-7. Johnstone was known for keeping clubhouses loose with random pranks and gimmicks.
Jerry Augustine – The former Milwaukee Brewer joins the event for the first time after posting a career pitching record of 55-59 with a 4.23 ERA over 10 seasons (1975 to 1984). A native of Kewaunee, Wisconsin, Augustine most recently coached the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers baseball team.
Bill “Spaceman” Lee – Lee played from 1969 to 1982 for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. In 1973, he went 17-11 with a 2.95 ERA for the Red Sox and was selected to the American League All-Star team. Lee started two games in the 1975 World Series for the Sox, including the pivotal game seven against the Cincinnati Reds. He was an effective finesse pitcher, throwing an eephus pitch dubbed the “Spaceball.”
Ryne Duren – Duren was a relief pitcher for seven major league organizations from 1954 to 1965 including the New York Yankees during which he helped them win a World Series in 1958 and American League Pennant in 1960. For his career Duren accumulated a 27-44 record and 3.83 ERA with 57 saves. He was a three-time All-Star and is a Wisconsin-native, having been born in Cazenovia in 1929. Duren will serve as an honorary manager in the Alumni Game.
Vern Geishert –Geishert pitched for one season in the big leagues in 1969 with the California Angels and posted a 1-1 record and 4.65 ERA over 31 innings that included 3 starts. He was traded twice thereafter to the Cincinnati Reds later in ’69 and again to the San Francisco Giants in 1971 but never saw major league action with either club. Geishert will serve as an honorary manager in the Alumni Game.
Ken Sanders – Sanders was a right-handed pitcher over parts of 10 seasons (1964, 1966, 1968, 1970-1976) with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, New York Mets, and Kansas City Royals in posting a 29-45 career record and 2.97 ERA.
Paul Wagner – Wagner, a Milwaukee-native, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1992 to 1997), Milwaukee Brewers (1997 to 1998), and the Cleveland Indians (1999).
Willie Wilson – Wilson retired from baseball in 1994 with a rather impressive resume that includes a career batting average of .285, 2,207 hits, and 668 stolen bases. He played for three different organizations in the Kansas City Royals (1976-1990), Oakland Athletics (1991-1992), and the Chicago Cubs (1993-1994). He also won a number of awards including a Gold Glove in 1980, the Silver Slugger Award in 1980 and 1982, and a World Series Championship in 1985 with the Royals. Wilson also was a back-to-back All-Star in 1982 and 1983.
Brad Woodall –An alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Woodall played for three organizations; the Atlanta Braves (1994-1996), Milwaukee Brewers (1998), and the Chicago Cubs (1999). He still resides in the Madison area and is part owner of Hitters SportsPlex in Middleton, a 50,000 square ft indoor golf driving range and regulation sized baseball and softball field.
Former Mallards to participate include: (in alphabetical order)
Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee, 2008), Jason Immekus (Asst. Coach, 2008-present), Lucas Koenig (MATC, 2002), Chris Maliszewski (Iowa, 2003), Craig Meier (UW-Milwaukee, 2006-08), Randy Molina (Stanford, 2005-07), Kyle Murphy (Kansas, 2004-05), Craig Nyborg (MATC, 2005), Jon Olson (Butler, 2003-04), DJ Roshone (Missouri State, 2003-04), Andy Sigerich (UIC, 2003-04), Brian Smith (Northern Illinois, 2006-08), Jason Smith (Asst. Coach, 2008), Mike Springsteen (Marshalltown CC, 2001-02), CJ Thieleke (Manager, 2005-present), Ryan Tinkoff (Georgia Tech, 2007), Jeff Zielke (UW-Stevens Point, 2006-07).