CHICAGO — For those who don’t like nostalgia, you can click through to other sites because I’m going to indulge.
Exactly 30 years ago, the Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees 4-3 to bring the World Series title to Cream City and much joy to a nine-year-old boy on Milwaukee’s North Side. As high as he’d been in ’57, the World Series loss in ’58 crushed him. The Braves had a 3-1 lead in the Series and blew it, the first team ever to lose three in a row in the Fall Classic. They would be back in ’59, he thought. They had Aaron, Mathews, Spahn and Burdette. That would be good enough to get back to the Series, no doubt. But, as the Braves were wont to do, they fell in a playoff to the — ugh! — Los Angeles Dodgers.
Despite the emotional roller coaster, that boy stuck with the Braves. He was at County Stadium when Willie Mays smashed four homers in a game. He celebrated Warren Spahn night. He listed to Harvey Haddix‘ 12-inning perfect game. But before the 1966 season, those Braves, led by Bad Bill Bartholomay, sprinted south to Atlanta, leaving a city, and a senior in high school.
While still a Hank Aaron fan (and who isn’t?), my dad vowed never to root for the Braves. Like a family heirloom, he passed that enmity down to his son. The Braves can go to hell.
That’s what makes this Brewers victory No. 13, a 5-4 win over the White Sox, so special. Not only does it keep their amazing win streak to start the season alive, it also ties them with the hated Braves for the best-ever start to a Major League season.
As they had in the previous three wins, including that delirious win on Easter, the Crew had to come from behind. Juan Nieves, who wasn’t as close to being as sharp as he was in his no-hitter against the Orioles, saw the White Sox took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
But, in front of more than 125 media members and 24,19 fans, many of whom had bused down from Milwaukee to cheer the Crew, the Brewers scored twice in the seventh when Paul Molitor doubled home pinch-runner B.J. Surhoff and then Brandon Henderson followed with a run-scoring single. Rookie Chuck Crim pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball and Dan Plesac pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch his fifth save of the season.
For the Crew, the toughest part of their game against the White Sox was dealing with all the extra attention their streak has brought them.
“It’s a pain in the butt,” Bill Schroeder told the Milwaukee Sentinel. “People have lost all perspective. We’re just here to play, but everybody wants to know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
They’re winning at a record clip. That’s all anyone needs to know.