Results tagged ‘ Brewers Alumni ’


If you grew up in Wisconsin during the 70s and 80s and followed the Milwaukee Brewers, Benji means something to you that it does not mean to others.

Benji = Ben Oglivie, who is now the hitting coach for the West Michigan Whitecaps.  This Grand Rapids Press article catches up with the Brewers star.

Despite turning 62 in February, the former major league player and first-year West Michigan Whitecaps hitting coach shows no signs of winding down.

“The one thing I have found out is you stay with something you are passionate about,” Oglivie said. “When the passion goes, I will go home. When it becomes work, I’m going home. What has sustained me is the passion, and I don’t think I’ve lost that.

“I know, realistically, that I can’t play, so that’s gone, but there is a light that still allows me to come out here and not feel that this is labor.”

A-freaking-MEN!!  Click through and read it all.

Alumni Newsletter

All from Seattle and Not just Timber Rattlers…There is a Brewers Alumni you may recognize in there:

Michael Pineda continues his bid to make the Mariners’ starting rotation

One day after his worst statistical outing of the spring, Michael Pineda saw his path to the big leagues grow a little more clear.

The Mariners on Thursday officially eliminated another would-be Pineda competitor from contention for the final rotation spot by reassigning knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to minor-league camp. Unofficially, Haeger was eliminated a while ago because injuries have limited his innings this spring, but still, the number of actual bodies standing between Pineda and his big-league dream is dwindling rapidly.

Mariners officials have privately suggested the job is Pineda’s to lose and that left-hander Luke French is the only pitcher with a shot at taking it away from him. The one way Pineda can blow this thing is by failing to establish secondary pitches beyond his fastball, something his manager insists the pitcher did even in taking somewhat of a pounding the other night.
Michael Saunders looked up at the approaching media, and smiled.
“I knew you guys would be coming,” he said sitting in front of his locker before a recent workout. “I knew it.”

It’s not every day during spring training that a player fighting to make the 25-man roster walks into a game and uses a different batting stance.

Over the weekend, that’s just what Saunders did. And it wasn’t a one-time thing. The Seattle Mariners outfielder and Victoria native used the modified stance in all three trips to the plate during a game against the Cleveland Indians, going 1-for-3 with a single. He followed that up with a 2-for-2 performance on Sunday.

But what brought about such a change? What is it supposed to remedy? And why do it halfway into spring training?

The first hints of Saunders, a graduate of the Vic-toria Mariners of the B.C. Premier League, doing something different at the plate came before he took batting practice Friday.

He stepped into the area where pitchers throw bullpen sessions and stood in the batter’s box timing pitches. Instead of his customary stance with his hands high, circling the bat before the pitch, Saunders stood in a wide stance, bat on his shoulder, completely still. As the pitcher delivered, he raised his hands and bat up slightly -cocking them.

With several members of the media standing around to watch pitcher James Paxton, what Saunders was doing piqued curiosity.
On June 8, 1993, while working in his office at Three Rivers Stadium, Ted Simmons suffered a heart attack. He would tell reporters he thought he was going to die.

Less than three weeks later, Simmons resigned his pressure-packed job as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and reassessed his life. Simmons was 43 years old, barely five seasons removed from a 21-year playing career many still believe should land him in the Hall of Fame.

For starters, he quit his 2 -pack-a-day (“three or 3 packs on a bad day,” he admitted) cigarette habit.

“All the vices a person could have at age 40, still perceiving themselves as bulletproof, I had,” Simmons says now. “And I realized if I wanted to be around for grandchildren and that sort of stuff, I had to change my life, and I did. At my pace back then, with my lifestyle, I wouldn’t have made it.”

That abrupt lifestyle change propelled Simmons to a multifaceted career in the front office and dugout that will make him an invaluable counselor to Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik … the same Jack Zduriencik who was Simmons’ scouting director with the Pirates.

Simmons, hired in November as a senior adviser to Zduriencik, has done it all. As a player, he was in eight All-Star Games and played in Game 7 of a World Series. As GM, he had the Pirates within one inning of a World Series berth before the Braves rallied in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS.

Following his resignation as GM, Simmons had a stint as an adviser to Cleveland GM John Hart (and watched the Indians make it to — and lose — two World Series during his tenure). He was director of player development for the Cardinals, ran the minor leagues for the Padres as well as taking a turn advising San Diego GM Kevin Towers. And for the past three seasons, he put the uniform back on and was bench coach for the Brewers and Padres.

I used to think it was funny when the NBC cameras cut away from Simba dragging on a cigarette in the dugout during the World Series in 1982…But…DUDE 3-1/2 packs?

Dave Nilsson in Brisbane

David Nilsson was a catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Now, he is managing his hometown team of Brisbane in his home country of Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald has the story..although the story seems more focused on why Nilsson isn’t playing for the Bandits instead of on how he is as a manager.

AUSTRALIA’S greatest baseballer, David Nilsson, might have played in
the resurrected local professional competition if he had been asked.

Brisbane-born Nilsson played catcher for the Milwaukee
Brewers from 1992 until 1999, and became the first Australian selected
for the Major League Baseball All-Stars.

He is now 40, and hasn’t played high-level baseball since representing Australia at the World Baseball Classic in 2006.

Nilsson is instead managing the Brisbane Bandits, who
lost to the Sydney Blue Sox yesterday in a rain-shortened game at
Blacktown Olympic Park.

The new Australian Baseball League is largely funded by
America’s rich MLB competition, and when it was launched last month, ABL
chairman Mark Peters said of Nilsson: ”We’d love for him to strip off
and play, but, as he says, he’s probably not quite in that shape at the

Nilsson told the Herald: ”If they were serious
they would have approached me [but] they never approached me. I think
it’s just good banter. If they were serious about it they would have
approached me 12 months ago and given me an opportunity to [get into
shape] but they weren’t serious.”


If you grew up in the late-70’s and early-80’s in Wisconsin, the name Benji does not make you think a movie dog.  The name Benji brings to mind a slugging outfielder who had an awkward slide.


That’s Ben Oglivie rocking the sleeves under the uniform.  I like to think that the inventors of Under Armor saw this baseball card and thought, “There’s GOT to be a better way.”

Okay, so why bring this up today?  My google alert for the Whitecaps, um, alerted me to this blog post.

A former Detroit Tigers slugger may be joining the West Michigan Whitecaps’ coaching staff. reported today that Ben Oglivie is expected to be the Whitecaps’ hitting coach next season.

The post at – which is linked above – includes this information.

Oglivie was a 16-year major league veteran, spending four seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers. He finished his Tigers career with a .275/.326/.444 line in 439 games. Oglivie was named an All-Star three times in his big league career, while also earning a Silver Slugger award in 1980.

If this report is true, make your plans for July 13-15, 2011. Those are the three dates on which the West Michigan Whitecaps visit Time Warner Cable Field.

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