MLB Memory Lane: April 17, 1987

I went to a lot of baseball games before I started working in baseball.  MLB Memory Lane is a look back at some of those games.

This week, Team Streak and Teddy Higuera!

Date: April 17, 1987
Opponent: Texas Rangers
Stadium: Milwaukee County Stadium
Seat Location: Third Base Upper Deck
With: High School Friends

1987 Teddy Higuera is awesome!

If you were a Brewers fan at the time of this game, you know what the start of this homestand was like.

They were less than 48 hours removed from Juan Nieves tossing the first no-hitter in franchise history.

They were 9-0!

Traffic to get into Milwaukee County Stadium was backed up for miles…on Good Friday!

It seemed everyone wanted to see this team make it to 10-0.  Teddy Higuera would make it so.

Teddy Higuera is one of those triumph and tragedy guys in Milwaukee Brewers history.

He started his career with four straight seasons of 15 or more wins.  He was second in the 1985 Rookie of the Year voting (Behind Ozzie Guillen).  Dude pitched three scoreless innings (4th, 5th, & 6th) in the 1986 All-Star game and struck out both Tony Gwynn AND Ryne Sandberg. He won 20 games and was second in the 1986 AL Cy Young Award voting (behind Roger Clemens).   

Then, around 1990 to 1991 he got hurt.  He missed all of 1992 after rotator cuff surgery.  Damn. It’s not right that he would get hurt.

But, the injuries were off in the distance on an special April evening against the Texas Rangers in 1987 at County Stadium in front of over 41,000.

So Larry Parrish hit a leadoff homer in the second inning and the Brewers fell behind 1-0.  Big deal.  Teddy would hold the Rangers right where they were and the Brewers would come back.

It took until the sixth inning, but Milwaukee broke through against Mike Mason.

Paul Molitor (who else?) started the rally with a walk and a stolen base.  Robin Yount doubled Molitor home and the Brewers were tied.  Later in the inning, Cecil Cooper drove in Yount with a grounder and Dale Sveum sent Rob Deer home with a double for a 3-1 lead.

Don Slaught hit a leadoff homer in the top of the seventh and the lead was 3-2.

Then, Pete O’Brien reached on an error.  He was on second with one out and the dangerous Ruben Sierra at the plate.  O’Brien took off for third on a two-strike count against Sierra.  Higuera got the strikeout and Bill Schroeder threw out O’Brien at third for the double play.

Did I mention that Sierra was a pinch-hitter for Oddibe McDowell?  Did I mention that Bobby Valentine was the manager of the Rangers in this game?

The game didn’t stay close for long.  The Brewers scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off three Rangers pitchers (Mitch Williams, Dale Mohorcic, Scott Anderson).  Just look at it:

BREWERS 7TH: BROWER CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING CF); SIERRA STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING RF); Schroeder singled to left; On a bunt Gantner forced Schroeder (pitcher to shortstop) [Gantner to first]; MOHORCIC REPLACED WILLIAMS (PITCHING); Molitor doubled to left [Gantner scored]; Yount singled to center [Molitor scored]; Yount stole second [Yount to third (error by Slaught)]; Braggs walked; ANDERSON REPLACED MOHORCIC (PITCHING); Deer singled to left [Yount scored, Braggs to third]; Cooper doubled to right [Braggs scored, Deer to third]; Sveum was walked intentionally; Brock was hit by a pitch [Deer scored, Cooper to third, Sveum to second]; Schroeder struck out; Gantner singled to center [Cooper scored, Sveum scored, Brock to third]; CASTILLO BATTED FOR MOLITOR; Castillo was called out on strikes; 7 R, 6 H, 1 E, 2 LOB. Rangers 2, Brewers 10.

The Castillo pinch hitting for Molitor would be Juan Castillo.  I wonder how many times someone pinch hit for Paul Molitor.

From there it was smooth sailing to 10-0.

Higuera struck out O’Brien looking – the 12th K of the game for Higuera – for the final out and the crowd went crazy.  They continued to cheer after the team left the field and kept cheering  until Higuera came out for a post-game curtain call.

He did and it was awesome.

Brewer of the Game:
Teddy Higuera!  Complete Game five-hitter with two walks and 12 strikeouts.  It was so much fun to watch him pitch… Especially against a team that struck out as much as the 1987 Texas Rangers.

The Brewers Batting Order for that game:
Paul Molitor, 3b
Robin Yount, cf
Glen Braggs, rf
Rob Deer, lf
Cecil Cooper, dh
Dale Sveum, ss
Greg Brock, 1b
Bill Schroeder, c
Jim Gantner, 2b

Molitor was 1-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI
Yount was 2-for-5, with a double, two runs, and two RBI

Retrosheet Boxscore & Play-by-play

Baseball Reference WPA Graph

Teddy Higuera Baseball Reference

Teddy Higuera Baseball Reference Bullpen

Past MLB Memory Lane entries:
Rally against The Eck & Walkoff the A’s (1989)

Dennis Lamp near no-hitter (1981)

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