Flashback: The Kid, Cobra sign on
By Mario Ziino / Special to MilwaukeeBrewers.com
The last time the winter meetings were in Nashville, Tenn., the Brewers gave fans plenty to look forward to in 1990 by signing a pair of big free agents -- reining American League MVP Robin Yount and veteran slugger Dave Parker. This year's winter meetings are back in Nashville, beginning Thursday. The following excepts were published in the 1990 Diamond Dinner issue of What's Brewing Magazine, the official publication of the Brewers.
'The Kid' is here to stay
Christmas was still a week away, but the Milwaukee Brewers and Robin Yount gave local fans an early gift.
Perhaps the nicest greetings Brewers fans received this holiday season came in mid-December, when club president Allan H. (Bud) Selig and Yount announced that the American League's Most Valuable Player for 1989 had agreed to a new three-year contract for the 1990-1992 seasons.
Yount, 34, who filed for free agency on Nov. 10, reached an agreement with the club following extended negotiations between Selig and Larry Yount, Robin's brother and agent.
"I'm delighted to sign with a team I've played for throughout my entire career," Yount said from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. son after the agreement was reached. "And I'm especially grateful for all the Milwaukee and Wisconsin fan support the past two months, as well as during my 16 years in Milwaukee. I'm looking forward to being with the Brewers for the next three years in our effort to win a world championship."
At a press gathering at County Stadium, Selig echoed the same sentiments.
"Robin has been a very important member of this team for many years and we are extremely happy he will continue his outstanding career with us," Selig said. "He shares our great desire to win a World Series for Brewers fans everywhere.
"The reaction of people, quite frankly, has made me feel very, very good. It's remarkable and it reminds me once again what baseball really means to a lot of people." ...
Selig stressed the importance of a Yount, not only for a club like the Brewers, but for a community like Milwaukee.
"There is a whole generation of people who grew up watching Robin Yount play for the Brewers," Selig said. "That fact was not lost upon me or a lot of other people. I received a wonderful letter from a teacher in Madison who said the same thing to me. She said that she had grown up watching Robin Yount. She couldn't imagine the Brewers or herself not having that privilege as long as he played. In my mind and my heart, this is what it's all about." ...
With good health and continued success, Yount should find his way to Cooperstown.
"Think of (Joe) DiMaggio of the Yankees, (Ted) Williams of the Red Sox, (Stan) Musial of the Cardinals, and you can go on and on. That's a special privilege that most players and people would give their right arm for," Selig said. "There's something so special and unique about having a relationship between state, city and yourself.
"So when this young man goes into the Hall of Fame, he'll go there as Yount of the Brewers. That will mean a lot to a lot of people."
Dave Parker should add needed punch
Sorely in need of additional offensive punch, the Milwaukee Brewers signed free agent slugger Dave Parker to a multi-year pact before the winter meetings began in Nashville, Tenn. Last month.
Parker, 38, a key member of the World Champion Oakland Athletics the past two seasons, and voted the Designated Hitter of the Year, signbed a two-year, guaranteed contract with an option on a third year with the Brewers, marking the first free agent signing by Milwaukee in nine years.
"Dave Parker is a solid player," said Brewers Executive Vice President-General Manager Harry Dalton. "He had the things I thought we needed. We haven't done what we want to do."
The signing of Parker may accomplish more than a needed power-hitting left-hander.
"It's a perfect fit for our club," said Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn following the signing. "We really haven't had a DH since I've been managing. It makes us a better ballclub."
Parker should also help the team in the clubhouse.
"He had won everywhere and he is coming off two years with a championship team," Trebelhorn added, referring to Parker's potential leadership role. "He knows what it takes.
"We have some younger guys who don't have that perspective yet. We have some veterans who have that perspective, but just can't give it to the younger players. That's where Dave will help."
Last season, Milwaukee's left-handed batters collectively hit .252 with 28 home runs and 217 RBIs while the Brewers designated hitters combined for a .238 average, 10 homers and 67 RBIs.
"Milwaukee is as good a team as there is in the Eastern Division," Parker said when asked why he decided to sign with the Brewers. "They have the personnel to compete in the American League. I'm at the stage in my career where I could be that one player who can make a good club into a better club."
Yount's average dipped to .247 in 1990, but he still scored 98 runs and contributed 17 home runs and 77 RBIs. He played with the Brewers until 1993 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, the first player to go in wearing a Brewers cap.
Parker played only one season in Milwaukee and proved to be the offensive spark the team was seeking. He hit .289, slugged 21 homers and collected his 2,500th hit as a Brewer in 1990, and was traded to the California Angels for outfielder Dante Bichette just before the start if the 1991 season. Parker retired after the season, and is on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.