Burdette joins Miller Park Walk of Fame
Daughters help honor Braves' 1957 World Series MVP
MILWAUKEE -- As the Brewers honored the late Lew Burdette on Friday, the former Milwaukee Braves pitcher became the newest member of the Miller Park Walk of Fame.
Burdette, who pitched for the Braves from 1953-63, was a key member of the 1957 World Series champion team, and he becomes the fourth former Braves player inducted since they were added to the ballot in 2007.
He joins fellow Braves greats Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn and John Quinn as inductees in the Walk of Fame. As Burdette's daughters reminisced about him, Spahn's name came up quite a bit, as the two were close friends.
Of course, there weren't many people with whom Burdette was not friendly.
"We grew up just so honored to have him because not only was he a wonderful ballplayer, he taught me a lot about how to be a great friend. Dad never knew a stranger," Mary Lou Burdette-Wieloszynski said. "He also was very gracious to his fans and gave autographs out freely.
"Whenever he talked about Milwaukee, he talked about how wonderful the fans were in Milwaukee, and he liked them so much and said that they were good people. ... He and Warren, he said they loved it because they were treated like a real person."
Brewers members of the Walk of Fame are Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Commissioner Bud Selig, Cecil Cooper, Bob Uecker, Harry Dalton, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas, Don Money and Harvey Kuenn.
With Burdette being honored by the Brewers, his daughters -- Burdette-Wieloszynski, Elaina Fontana and Madge Burdette -- were in attendance Friday for the club's series opener against the Rangers.
At a pregame news conference, they were excited for their father's honor.
During the 1957 World Series, Burdette went 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA, allowing just two earned runs over 27 innings pitched, en route to earning MVP honors.
"We're just really proud of our dad and very honored to be here," Fontana said. "We've just had a wonderful experience growing up with our dad."
Overall, Burdette went 173-109 with Milwaukee with a 3.53 ERA in 420 games. In 1959, he led the National League with 21 wins, and in 1956 his 2.70 ERA also led the league.
Burdette's oldest daughter hoped to make her father proud as she threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"I hope I can throw that ball, and it's not in the dirt," Madge Burdette said, "and make him smile from heaven. I know he's watching us. I'm just proud to be here."
Patience helped Gomez score winning run
MILWAUKEE -- Center fielder Carlos Gomez used his speed to the win the game for the Brewers, 5-4 in the 10th inning, on Thursday afternoon, but it was patience at the plate that gave him the chance.
Gomez drew just his seventh walk of the season as he watched four straight balls from Cubs reliever Bob Howry. Manager Ken Macha said patience is something that could greatly benefit the speedy Gomez -- who has 27 strikeouts -- and in turn, the team.
"You've got to get on to do that," said Macha, referring to Gomez scoring the winning run. "I think his on-base is around .290 right now, so it's not like he's leading the team in stolen bases -- it's not like I've had the red light on him, either.
"Every time he gets on, he's got the green light. Yesterday on that particular pitch, I gave him, I'm encouraging him to go on that pitch. So I don't think he needs much more encouragement. Once he saw that, he was going."
Gomez, who has eight steals in 10 attempts on the season, ranks second on the club behind left fielder Ryan Braun, who has 11 steals in as many attempts.
When asked about Gomez and his approach, Macha said the key for him could be determining just what kind of hitter he's going to be.
"If you watch his BP, he can hit the ball up in the seats pretty deep," Macha said. "You've got to learn what you are, what type of hitter is going to make you successful, OK?
"He's a big strong kid. He may turn into being a power hitter. In order to do that, you've got to make -- I've said this all along -- it's not go up there and look for a walk. It's get the ball in the strike zone."
Macha has praise for opposing manager
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers pitchers and hitters had little experience against their opponents entering the game, but there was one face in the visiting dugout, Rangers manager Ron Washington, that was very familiar for Brewers manager Ken Macha.
Washington, who is in his fourth year as manager for the Rangers, coached with Macha for eight years in Oakland, where he served as first-base coach in 1996 before becoming the A's infield and third-base coach from 1997-2006.
During that time, Washington developed a number of great infielders for Oakland.
"As far as I'm concerned, Wash is the best guy out there, and I think the proof is in the product that he put out there in Oakland," Macha said. "He took a catcher in Scott Hatteberg and made him a pretty good first baseman. Mark Ellis, I think, holds the record in the American League for fewest errors at second base for an entire season, and Eric Chavez has got four or five Gold Gloves, not to mention the shortstops, [Miguel] Tejada and then Bobby Crosby, that he had.
"So the product is out there, and the reason that it's out there is his work ethic. And I bet you if you go to Michael Young or Ian Kinsler and asked them, they're going to tell you the same thing."
With the Rangers in town for a three-game set over the weekend, Macha was happy to see Washington, though he hoped to take the series from his old friend.
"I consider him a dear friend," Macha said. "It's just a relationship that's built over those years that we were together. So I wish him well, except for these next three days."
Friday's game marks the first visit by the Rangers to Miller Park since it opened in 2001. Texas has not played in Milwaukee since 1997, when both clubs were members of the American League. The Rangers won, 7-1, that day. ... The winning pitcher in that game was Darren Oliver, who was in uniform for the Rangers on Friday. Oliver, 39, began his career with Texas and played with seven other teams before rejoining the club for a third time this season. ... Since beginning the season 4-14 at home, the Brewers have gone 6-3 over their last nine games at Miller Park and have won three consecutive home series, going 2-1 against the Astros, Mets and Cubs. ... With his 246th straight game played on Friday, first baseman Prince Fielder tied Robin Yount for the second longest streak in franchise history. Yount also owns the longest streak, at 274 games, which spanned from 1987-89. ... The Brewers will host the first Brewers Block Party of 2010 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday at McCarty Park in West Allis, Wis. With the weather a bit of a concern, check brewers.com/blockparty Saturday morning for an update on the status.
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.