I Was Part Of One Of Baseball’s Most Famous Trades


Harvey Kuenn

This article was written by Dale Voiss

Picture this: You are standing in a dugout in St Louis. It is the seventh game of the World Series. The team you have managed for most of the year is nursing a 3-2 lead over the home Cardinals as you enter the bottom half of the sixth inning. Your ace pitcher, the eventual Cy Young Award winner, Pete Vuckovich is on the mound.

This is the position Harvey Kuenn found himself in one October night in 1982. While his team went on to lose that game, and the Series, that night did not reflect poorly on Kuenn in the eyes of his team’s fans. In their eyes Harvey was a hero, the man who had pulled their team out of a funk in mid-June and led them to this grand stage. This power-hitting team had taken on the freewheeling personality of its manager. Because of their power and Kuenn’s name, the team was nicknamed “Harvey’s Wallbangers.”

This was not just any team. These were the Milwaukee Brewers. This team represented the town where Kuenn grew up. He was an All-American shortstop for his home-state University of Wisconsin Badgers. He married a former Miss Wisconsin. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1953 and the American League batting title in 1959. Oh, and he had a leg amputated below the knee.

Harvey Edward Kuenn Jr. was born on December 12, 1930, in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, Wisconsin. He was the only child born to Harvey and Dorothy (Wrensch) Kuenn. The Kuenns were the typical German-American blue-collar family that so heavily populated Milwaukee. Both of Harvey’s parents worked for a paper and packaging processing firm in Milwaukee. Harvey Sr. worked on the dock as a shipping clerk while Dorothy ran the company’s credit union.

Kuenn grew up on Milwaukee’s south side, where his father would work with him almost daily on his baseball skills. Harvey Sr. had been a talented third baseman on some of the top area teams in Milwaukee. He once got a tryout with the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers but did not make the club. He began teaching his son how to hit at a very early age and vowed that one day Harvey Jr. would be a major league-hitter.

Eventually, Kuenn developed into a baseball-obsessed child. He played baseball from sunup to sundown. When it rained, he would take a ball to the basement and throw it around down there.

Among Harvey Jr.’s early influences were some people who had major-league experience themselves. At the age of 12, he played for Jack Kloza’s team. Kloza had a cup of coffee with the St. Louis Browns in the early 1930s. He appeared in 25 games as an outfielder for the Browns in 1931 and 1932. Kloza ended his career as a member of the minor-league Brewers and settled in Milwaukee.

Harvey also attended a baseball camp run by Bunny Brief. Brief had been a major league outfielder with the Browns, Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1912 to 1917. Like Kloza, he ended his career with the Brewers and settled in Milwaukee. During Harvey’s childhood, Brief had run a baseball camp on the city’s south side.

Kuenn attended Milwaukee Lutheran High School, where he was a standout three-sport athlete who became the first athlete in school history to earn 10 letters. He earned four letters in baseball and three each in basketball and football.

Among his accomplishments at Lutheran was a 52-yard dropkick field goal in October 1948 while playing for the Lutheran football team. He was named all-conference at quarterback his junior and senior years and received honorable mention all-state as a quarterback his senior year.

In basketball, he led his team to three straight Wisconsin Prep Conference titles. He led the conference in scoring in basketball in both his junior and senior seasons and was named all conference at forward all three years.

It was in high school where Kuenn first began to attract the attention of major-league scouts. His .425 batting average over his three-year career there was the highest in school history. Several scouts wanted to sign him right out of high school but Kuenn decided to continue his education.

While in high school, Kuenn spent his summers playing baseball for the Highway Beer Depot team, sponsored by a Milwaukee-area liquor store. A teammate of his with the Depot team, Ron Unke, was also a teammate of his at Milwaukee Lutheran.

Because both Kuenn and Unke, a right-handed pitcher, were believed to be asking for $50,000 from major league scouts, the Highway Depot team became known as "the $100,000 team." Unke and Kuenn were also teammates at Wisconsin. Unke eventually signed with the Cardinals and spent four years in their minor league system.

“Tex” Belich ran the Highway Beer Depot team. Tex and his brother Emil, who was a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves, were very influential in Harvey’s further development as a player. Kuenn developed a brother-like relationship with Emil, who had a brief minor-league career in the early 1940s, never rising above Class D Ball. Harvey often sought the advice of the Belich brothers not only on baseball matters but on life matters as well.

After graduating from high school in 1949, he opted to go to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, to play football and baseball. After a week at Luther, he decided he did not like it there so he hitchhiked home. After returning to Milwaukee, he decided to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin to play baseball for the Badgers.

Kuenn enrolled at Wisconsin for the second semester in January 1950. Kuenn, who stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 190 pounds, played junior varsity basketball for the Badgers in the 1950-51 season. He made the varsity team as a forward in the fall of 1951 but left the team in February to focus on baseball. While attending school in Madison he was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.

As a member of the Badgers' baseball team, Kuenn quickly established himself as a top hitter. He captained the freshman team in 1950. He moved to varsity his sophomore year and became the starting shortstop. In his junior year, he served as team captain and led the Badgers to a third-place finish in the Big Ten. After leading the conference in six offensive categories, he was named the first team All-Big Ten shortstop. He also became the first Badger in the program's history to be named first team All-American. His .436 batting average was the highest of any member of the All-American team. His career average of .382 ranks as the second highest in the program’s history.

His coach at Wisconsin was Arthur "Dynie" Mansfield, who had played collegiate baseball for the Badgers and minor league ball in the New York Giants organization in the 1930s. He coached the Badgers' baseball team from 1940 to 1970 and Kuenn developed a great deal of respect for him during his time in Madison. After signing his first pro contract, Harvey gave Mansfield a lot of credit for his success.

While attending school in Madison, Harvey met Dixie Sarchet, who won the Miss Wisconsin-USA beauty pageant in 1954. She and Harvey married in October 1955. Together they had two children. A daughter, Robin, was born in the summer of 1956 and a son, Harvey III, was born in December 1958.

As an amateur, the right-handed-hitting Kuenn had developed a reputation as a solid line drive hitter. He did not have much power. Kuenn, most thought, could have hit for power, but that was not his strong suit. He could hit about any pitch to any part of the field that he wanted. That is what made him so valuable. He once said that he did not like to hit home runs because they tended to throw off his hitting rhythm.

After completing his junior year there was a lot of speculation that Kuenn would opt to give up his final year of college eligibility to sign a pro contract. Teams were offering $50,000 and more for him to sign. After the season, he sat around a table with the Belich brothers and Mansfield and opened up the 12 sealed bids that he received. From there Kuenn narrowed his choices down to the Detroit Tigers and another team. After discussing it with his parents, he chose the $55,000 bonus offered by the Tigers. Kuenn signed the contract on June 9, 1952. While it was called a bonus, the $55,000 served as his first three years’ salary. Kuenn used some of the money to buy a new home for his parents in Milwaukee.

Tiger assistant farm director John McHale had, at the urging of scout George Moriarity, watched Kuenn play in his final college game. After that game, the Tigers decided to make the $55,000 offer. There had been some concern from some organizations that a knee injury from his prep football days would prevent Kuenn from realizing his potential. Word of the knee injury had caused the Boston Red Sox to drop out of the bidding. This injury had caused the military give him 4-F status and kept him out of the service.

McHale, who became the Tigers’ general manager in 1957, said he hoped Kuenn is “half as good as the last guy who came into this league with a bad knee -- Joe DiMaggio. ”

Upon signing Kuenn, the Tigers sent him to Davenport (Iowa), their Class B team in the old Three-I League. In the summer of 1952, Kuenn hit .340 in 63 games with Davenport. One of the highlights of his time there came on July 29 against Burlington. That day he broke up a no-hitter with two out in the ninth. That single allowed Kuenn to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Because of his success, Kuenn finished second in the MVP balloting for the Three-I League that year and earned a call-up to the Tigers on September 6.

When Kuenn made his major-league debut in September of 1952, the shortstop position was manned by veteran Johnny Pesky. Pesky, a Boston legend, had come over to Detroit in a nine-player deal between the Red Sox and the Tigers that June. When Kuenn arrived, Pesky took him under his wing and assisted him in his transition to the majors.

When Kuenn arrived in Detroit Fred Hutchinson managed the Tigers. “Hutch,” as he was known, was an All-Star pitcher with the Tigers in the 1940s and ’50s. The Tigers named him player-manager in the middle of the 1952 season, replacing Red Rolfe.

Hutchinson was a big Kuenn supporter from the start. In 85 plate appearances in September 1952 Kuenn hit .325. Maybe the most amazing stat to come out of that month was the fact that he only struck out once in those 85 plate appearances. That was to the Indians’ Bob Lemon, a future Hall of Famer. For the next nine years, Kuenn never finished worse than fifth in the AL in number of at bats per strikeout.

After the 1952 season, Kuenn returned to Madison to continue to work on his degree. Even so, he never did graduate from college.

Kuenn arrived in Florida for spring training in 1953 as the starting shortstop. Kuenn did not disappoint. As a 22-year-old rookie batting out of the leadoff spot most of the season, he led the league in plate appearances, at-bats, and hits. His 679 at bats were a new American League record. He made the AL All-Star team and won the Rookie of the Year Award. In the rookie voting, he received 23 of 24 votes.

Kuenn had established himself, at the age of 22, as one of the game’s best hitters. However, Kuenn was not the only young Tiger making noise. In June of 1953, an 18-year-old kid from Baltimore by the name of Al Kaline made his big-league debut in a Tiger uniform. For the remainder of the decade, the “K & K Boys,” gave the Tigers one of the best one two punches in baseball.

While they got along and clicked well as teammates Kaline and Kuenn were quite different. Kaline, who never played a single inning of minor-league ball, was quiet and shy. He was the son of a Baltimore preacher. Kuenn, meanwhile, was rarely seen on the field without a mouth full of chewing tobacco and was known to like his beer. He claimed the tobacco made him drink less water during the game.

The next three seasons saw Kuenn continue to build his reputation as one of the game’s best hitters. He finished no lower than seventh in the AL batting race in any of those years. Over his career Kuenn led the league in doubles three times (’55, ’58, ’59) and in hits four times (’53, ’54, ’56, ’59).

In the off-seasons, Kuenn returned to Milwaukee. He spent his winters staying in shape by bowling. Kuenn maintained good winter conditioning by bowling three times a week. His league averages ranged from 181 to 195. He posted one 671 series. His father, Harvey Sr., was the captain of one of the teams.

In one offseason Kuenn went to work at the West Allis Bank in his hometown of West Allis, Wisconsin. He later opened a pro shop in Milwaukee that sold sporting equipment of all types. It was while spending time in Milwaukee that Kuenn developed a close friendship with Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Matthews.

During spring training 1957, Kuenn flew to Washington State to be the best man at the wedding of teammate, pitcher Billy Hoeft. Hoeft was another Wisconsin native from Oshkosh who married a woman from Lakeland, Washington, on February 25. Both Hoeft and Kuenn had been signed by scout George Moriarity, the former Tigers third baseman and manager and AL umpire. Hoeft returned the favor by serving as Harvey III's godfather.

In 1957, suffering through defensive problems, Kuenn slipped to a .277 batting average. Kuenn had become too big to play shortstop and had lost a step. The Tigers decided to move him to third base for the 1958 season. The Tigers later changed their mind and moved Kuenn to center field. There he would join Kaline in right and Charley Maxwell in left. Because Kuenn was the Tigers’ team captain, the poor season was even more disappointing.

Coming off a poor year in 1957, Kuenn was forced to take a $3,000 pay cut for the 1958 season. In 1958, Kuenn returned to his old self. He hit .319 to finish third in the league behind Boston Red Sox teammates Ted Williams and Pete Runnels. He also led the league with 39 doubles. Kuenn also received heavy praise from several for his play in center field. None other than Leo Durocher, who had said Kuenn would never make it in the outfield, said Kuenn had adapted well to his new position. After watching Kuenn on television make a great play at Comiskey Park, Durocher said that only Willie Mays could make a play like that. In his first year in center, he led the league’s outfielders with 358 putouts.

In 1958, Kuenn and Jim Smilgoff collaborated to write a book, Big League Batting Secrets. Kuenn’s teammate Kaline wrote the book’s introduction. Smilgoff was a minor-league catcher from 1933 to 1936 who had befriended Kuenn. He was also a legendary high school coach at Taft High School in Chicago. Two years earlier Smilgoff had written his own book, Winning High School Baseball.

The 1959 season came with much optimism for Kuenn. His hitting had returned to its pre-1957 level and he had become comfortable in a new position. His performance in 1958 proved that the 1957 season was an aberration. Kuenn ran away with the 1959 AL batting championship. His .353 batting average was 27 points higher than that of teammate Kaline, the second-place finisher. The .353 batting average included a career-high 22-game hitting streak in midsummer.

As the 1960 season approached, trade rumors swirled around Kuenn. It was rumored that Kuenn would be traded to the Cleveland Indians for reigning AL home run king Rocky Colavito. Cleveland GM Frank Lane had been trying to pry Kuenn from the Tigers since before the 1957 season.

In January 1958, Lane went on NBC’s Today show and announced that he had offered pitcher Hank Aguirre, catcher Jim Hegan, first baseman Vic Wertz and outfielder Gene Woodling to Detroit for Kuenn. The Tigers rejected the offer; all but Woodling eventually made their way to Detroit later.

After winning the batting crown in 1959, Kuenn, who had developed a reputation as a tough negotiator, asked the Tigers for a $10,000 raise for 1960. This would bring his pay to near $50,000, making him one of the highest-paid Tigers ever. The Tigers merely laughed at the suggestion. Meanwhile, Colavito had asked the Tribe for a raise from $28,000 to $45,000. He got no better reaction than Kuenn did. This further fueled the trade rumors.

Kuenn, who did not want to leave Detroit, became nervous when the rumors surfaced and settled with the Tigers for $42,000. Colavito settled for $35,000 in the first week of March. After they signed, the two teams announced the trade was dead. On April 17, two days before Opening Day, the trade was made and Kuenn was now an Indian. This was the only time in baseball history that a league batting champion had been traded for a home run champion.

The reaction in Cleveland was swift and extremely negative. Calls to the Indians ran 7 to 1 against the trade. Colavito was a hero in Cleveland and the fans were not happy to see him go. Many threatened to boycott Indians games. Despite this, Lane said that in acquiring Kuenn he had traded “hamburger for steak.” The reaction in Detroit was surprisingly positive given how popular Kuenn was there. However, it was clear that the Tigers needed more power.

The Indians and Tigers opened the season against each other just two days after the trade. Colavito had what he called the worst day of his career, striking out four times in his Tigers debut.

During his eight years in Detroit, Kuenn had played six different positions. He had played everywhere except second base, catcher and pitcher. With the Indians he was an outfielder. He was placed in the second spot in the order after second baseman Johnny Temple. Kuenn hit .308 for the Indians in 1960 and made the All-Star team for the eighth straight year. This was his last appearance on an All-Star team. He played mostly in right field with an occasional game in left or at third base. In December of that year, the Tribe traded Kuenn to the San Francisco Giants for veteran pitcher Johnny Antonelli and outfielder Willie Kirkland.

Kuenn got off to a bad start in his first season in the National League. He hit .265 in 1961. At the time, that was a career low for him. Despite that, the Giants did not cut his pay. Entering spring training in 1962, he vowed to bat .300. He kept his word and hit .304 as the Giants won the NL pennant and Kuenn made his first postseason appearance. He went 1-for-12 in the 1962 World Series as the Giants lost to the New York Yankees in seven games. His son later said that Harvey played the series with a broken pinkie finger.

Harvey’s father died in May 1962, and Harvey missed four days with the team to attend the funeral in Milwaukee.

The Giants traded Kuenn to the Chicago Cubs in May 1965. The Cubs sold Kuenn to the Phillies in April 1966, three games into the season. As a result, Kuenn’s tenure under new Cubs manager Leo Durocher was cut short. He played the 1966 season with the Phillies under Gene Mauch.

On September 9, 1965, Kuenn struck out in the bottom of the ninth to become the final out in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. Kuenn had also been the final out in the Dodgers ace’s no-hit triumph over the Giants in May 1963.

The Phillies left Kuenn off the roster during the offseason leading up to the 1967 season. He did receive an invitation to spring training in the hopes he might be able to fill in for injured first baseman Bill White, who was expected to miss the start of the season with a torn Achilles tendon. However, just as spring training was about to begin, Kuenn suddenly announced his retirement from baseball. He had accepted a job at a Milwaukee television station.

Throughout his playing career Kuenn had been very active in the Players Association. As Tigers team representative, Harvey took an active role in the players' move to abolish the reserve clause. In 1959, he was elected head player rep for the American League. He, along with Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts and Los Angeles Angels third baseman Ed Yost, were the driving force behind the union’s growth in the early 1960s. Kuenn was a member of the four-man committee that hired Marvin Miller as head of the union in 1965.

He served as the ten o’clock sports anchor at WVTV in Milwaukee for a couple of years. Eventually WVTV dropped its sports programming and Harvey took a job as a sales representative with a local printing company.

In 1969, when the expansion Montreal Expos named Mauch their manager, Mauch offered Kuenn a job on his coaching staff. Kuenn, after discovering that his children did not want to move to Montreal, turned down the offer.

In 1971 the Milwaukee Brewers, who had moved from Seattle for the 1970 season, named Kuenn as their new batting coach. In this role, Kuenn mentored some of the game’s top young hitters. Among them were future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. Ironically, the Brewers general manager who hired Kuenn was none other than “Trader” Frank Lane, who as Indians GM in 1960, made the trade that brought Kuenn to Cleveland.

During the 1971 season, the Brewers put Kuenn on the active roster for the last month of the season. The Brewers did this so he would be able to add service time in order to improve his players’ pension. Kuenn never got into a game. In fact, on September 17 he left Milwaukee to help coach the Brewers Instructional League team in Arizona.

Harvey and Dixie divorced in 1971. In October 1974 he married Audrey Cesar, a native of the Milwaukee area. Audrey’s parents owned a bar near County Stadium. Several baseball people patronized the bar. Harvey met Audrey at the bar. Brewers announcer Bob Uecker served as best man at the wedding.

Audrey eventually took over the bar from her parents, and she and Harvey moved into a place behind the bar. The Kuenns would spend their summers in Milwaukee but wintered in Arizona.

Kuenn served as interim manager of the Brewers following the firing of Del Crandall with two games remaining in the 1975 season. Kuenn was hopeful that the Brewers would offer him the job for the 1976 season. The Brewers decided to give the job to Alex Grammas, a longtime protégé of Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson who had served for years as Sparky’s third base coach in Cincinnati. Other than his brief stint as interim manager, Kuenn served as Brewers hitting coach from 1971 to 1982.

In 1976, Kuenn underwent open-heart surgery and had a quadruple bypass. The bypass was the result of poor circulation, a condition that would plague him the rest of his life. In 1977, Crohn’s disease, a stomach ailment, kept him hospitalized for four months during the season.

The Expos took Kuenn’s son, 18-year-old Harvey III, in the 20th round of the June 1977 amateur draft as a first baseman. Kuenn the younger had played high school ball for Milwaukee Central High School. He hit .215 for the Expos’ Rookie League team in 1977. Following that season the Expos released him, and he was signed by the Brewers. He hit .214 in 23 games for Newark of the New York-Penn League in 1978. That ended his professional baseball career as a player. In January 1990, he took a scouting job with the Brewers and remains with that organization to this day, currently as a Midwest area scout for the Brewers.

In 1978, the Brewers hired Harry Dalton as their new general manager. Dalton, who had built the Angels and the Baltimore Orioles into contenders, was named to replace Jim Baumer, who had been fired by team president Bud Selig.

Dalton immediately began turning things around in Milwaukee. He hired Orioles pitching coach George Bamberger as the team’s new manager. In spring training, he released outfielder Von Joshua. Joshua had been the team’s best hitter a season earlier but Dalton thought he did not hustle enough. Because of these and other moves and others, the Brewers had the first winning season in franchise history in 1978, much to Selig's delight.

Over the years, Kuenn had developed a good relationship with Selig. Both had grown up in Milwaukee around the same time and thus had a lot in common. Kuenn always felt a lot of gratitude to Selig for sticking with him through all his health problems.

In 1980, Kuenn faced the toughest health battle of his life. He had been complaining about a foot problem that had been bothering him. He told his son that whenever he put the foot on the ground it would turn white. The problem resulted from the poor circulation that had led to his quadruple bypass four years earlier.

After four operations to repair the leg, one day the doctor walked in and told him he would have to take the leg off below the knee. The operation took place on February 16, 1980. He was just 49 years old. Three days after the operation he began therapy. According to Audrey, the doctors “couldn’t believe the strength of this guy.”

In 1981, the Brewers, under manager Bob “Buck” Rodgers, made their first postseason appearance. Spurred on by the hitting of Yount, Molitor and Cecil Cooper and the pitching of newly acquired relief ace Rollie Fingers, the Brewers captured the second-half title in the American League East Division. (The major leagues played a split season in 1981 because a bitter players’ strike interrupted the season.) They lost to the first-half champion New York Yankees three games to two in the AL Championship Series.

The 1982 season started with much optimism in Milwaukee. After four straight winning seasons, the Brewers were in a position to make a run for the AL East flag. However, that optimism quickly turned sour.

On June 2, with the team struggling to a 23-24 record to start the season, Dalton fired Rodgers and named Kuenn to replace him. Kuenn would finally get the opportunity he had dreamed of since the 1958 Tigers considered him as a possible player-manager.

After the firing, Rodgers was quoted as saying his firing was the result of some cancers on the team. Several players on the club did not like Rodgers’ managerial style. Some of his biggest critics were thought to be Fingers, catcher Ted Simmons, and center fielder Gorman Thomas.

Immediately after his hiring, Kuenn held a team meeting and told the players just to go out and have fun. The team seemed to loosen up. He set the batting order and rarely changed it. He seemed to trust his pitchers more than Rodgers did. As a result, the team began to play better baseball.

After going 23-24 under Rodgers, the team suddenly took off and went 20-7 in June, hitting an unbelievable .294 as a team. They also hit 47 home runs in those 27 games and averaged over six and a half runs a game.

Some believed the respect Kuenn had built up among the players over his years as the hitting coach made the players want to play well for him. It is known that Yount had a deep respect for Kuenn. Yount had come to the majors at age 18 and Kuenn was the only major league batting coach he had ever known. In 1982, Yount was named AL MVP after batting .332 and hitting 29 homers.

Whatever the reason, the players responded to Kuenn the way Dalton had hoped they would when he hired him. The Brewers went 72-43 under Kuenn to finish with 95 wins.

However, even with that, the season’s outcome came down to the final series of the season. The Brewers were three games up on the Orioles for the AL East lead with four games to play. Those four games consisted of a four-game weekend series in Baltimore. There was a doubleheader scheduled for Friday and single games on Saturday and Sunday.

Baltimore swept Friday’s doubleheader to move within one game of Milwaukee with two to play. They also won Saturday’s game to move into a tie for first. Therefore, the season came down to one game on Sunday to win the division title. The game featured two future Hall of Fame pitchers going against each other.

Jim Palmer, Baltimore’s perennial Cy Young contender, faced Don Sutton, whom the Brewers had acquired from the Houston Astros in a trade barely a month earlier. On Sunday, Yount hit a pair of homers, and Sutton allowed just two runs over eight innings as the Brewers won the game, and the division, by a score of 10-2.

Kuenn had taken his team to the postseason. Along the way, his team hit 216 home runs. That was the most that any major league team had hit since the Minnesota Twins hit 225 in 1963.

There was power throughout this lineup. Led by Thomas’ league-leading 39 home runs, the Brewers had five players finish with 20 or more home runs. The team also featured four future Hall of Famers: Yount, Molitor, Sutton, and Fingers.

In the ALCS, the Brewers faced the California Angels for the right to advance to the World Series. Kuenn’s former manager, Gene Mauch, managed California. The Brewers got a big base hit from Cooper in the bottom of the seventh in Game Five to take the series 3 games to 2 when the ALCS was a best-of-five playoff. Milwaukee became the first team ever to come back from a two-games-to-none deficit to win a five-game series. They advanced to the World Series but lost to the Cardinals in seven games.

According to Kuenn’s wife Audrey, the Brewers were like a family while Kuenn was managing. In spring training the players would often eat at the Kuenn house in Arizona. During the summer they would go to the bar that the Kuenns owned.

Kuenn returned to manage the team in 1983. This time, however, he would have to do it without two big arms. Starting pitcher Pete Vuckovich was out with an injury until late August. Rollie Fingers missed the entire season due to injury. The two of them had combined to win the last two AL Cy Young Awards, Fingers in 1981 and Vuckovich in 1982 thanks to an 18-win campaign.

In addition to this, at midseason, Dalton traded local hero Gorman Thomas to the Indians for veteran centerfielder Rick Manning and pitcher Rick Waits. This ripped a big power producer out of the middle of the Brewers lineup.

Despite that, the team managed to keep the division lead in their sights nearly all year. However, a 10-game losing streak in mid-September sealed their fate. The streak, brought on by a horrendous hitting slump, was part of a stretch that saw them lose 18 of 24 games. The Brewers limped home with an 87-75 record to finish 11 games behind the eventual world champion Orioles.

On October 3, the day after Harvey Kuenn finished his only full season as a major league manager, Dalton fired him. The Brewers notified Kuenn of the move on October 1, the day before the team’s final game. Bud Selig offered Kuenn a job as a scout and minor-league hitting instructor with the Brewers.

Kuenn was replaced by Rene Lachemann. In 1984, under Lachemann, the Brewers went 67-94 to finish last in the AL’s Eastern Division. Following the season Dalton fired Lachemann.

Kuenn spent the remainder of his life in his new role as scout and minor-league hitting instructor for the Brewers. He and his wife continued to winter in Arizona. During the summer months, Harvey would travel from Wisconsin, mostly to Chicago, as an advance scout for the Brewers.

On February 28, 1988, Harvey and Audrey were preparing to play golf when Harvey went to use the restroom. When he did not come out for a while, Audrey went to check on him and found him dead. He died of a heart problem that resulted from the poor circulation that had caused him so much trouble over the last twelve years of his life. He was two months past his 57th birthday.

Bob Uecker read the eulogy at Kuenn’s funeral. Six players from the 1982 Brewers served as his pallbearers.

The University of Wisconsin inducted Kuenn into their Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. He also had his name placed on the Brewer Walk of Fame at Miller Park in 2005.

Kuenn was eligible to have his name placed on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1972. However, when the Brewers activated him in 1971, his appearance on the ballot was delayed by five years. In the 15 years that his name appeared on the ballot, Kuenn never received the necessary 75 percent of the vote needed for enshrinement.


Ernie Broglio

This article was written by Russell Lake


Some athletes earn disapproval for their failures on the field. Ernie Broglio became the object of scorn of media and fans alike for being the pivotal piece of a one-sided trade during the 1964 season. The 6-foot-2-inch right-handed pitcher had been a solid part of a strong starting rotation formed in the early 1960s under the direction of St. Louis Cardinals general manager Bing Devine, but was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a then-unknown outfielder, Lou Brock. Brock went on to be instrumental in two Cardinals World Series championships and eventually was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the unfortunate Broglio won only seven more games in his career.

Ernest “Ernie” Gilbert Broglio was born in Berkeley, California, on August 27, 1935, the second child of Anna and Joseph Broglio, and in 1945 moved with his family five miles north to El Cerrito. “I had played a lot of ‘street ball’ while growing up in Berkeley,” he recalled.1 “I never had anybody influential push me. My dad carried two jobs seven days a week. He was a painter (sprayer) for American Standard (bathroom fixtures), and he did gardening work so he did not have much time to see me play.” As a middle-school eighth-grader Broglio played on the varsity high-school teams, mainly baseball and basketball. He also played one season of football.

“When I was 13, I played American Legion baseball,” Broglio said. “Besides pitching, I played first base, shortstop, and the outfield. In high school, my catcher was Elijah ‘Pumpsie’ Green who later played in the majors.”

During the spring of 1953, Broglio recalled, “All 16 major-league teams and three Pacific Coast League teams were interested in me. I signed right out of high school with the Oakland Oaks. He won two games and lost four for the Pacific Coast League team. The next season the Oaks farmed him to Modesto of the California League, where he won nine games in a month and a half before being recalled by the Oaks and going 5-8.

Broglio also enrolled at West Contra Costa Junior College, where he met Barbara Ann Bertellotti of Oakland. They were married on November 20, 1954.

In 1955 Broglio was assigned to Stockton (California League) and won 20 games. He started 29 games with 25 complete games in a 20-10 season. He had 230 strikeouts and 137 walks.

Team locations changed dramatically for Broglio after the 1955 season as his contract was bought by the New York Giants organization. In 1956 he had a 6-12 record in 31 games at Johnstown, Pennsylvania of the Class A Eastern League. Broglio was with the Dallas Eagles (Texas League) in 1957 and was 17-6 in 34 games with a 2.51 ERA. He had 29 starts and 14 complete games in 222 innings. He was voted to the Texas League all-star team, the third time he had earned that distinction. (The others were in 1954 and 1955 in the California League.) Broglio started the 1958 season with the Phoenix Giants (Pacific Coast League) before he was transferred to the Toronto Maple Leafs (International League). He was 8-1 for Phoenix and 9-4 for Toronto in 212 innings.

On October 8, 1958, Broglio was part of a five-player swap between the Giants (by then relocated to San Francisco) and the St. Louis Cardinals. He and pitcher Marv Grissom went to the Cardinals for reliever Billy Muffett, catcher Hobie Landrith, and infielder Benny Valenzuela. Broglio said the Giants told him there had been a “paperwork problem, and they had to trade me or lose me to another organization.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor Bob Broeg was not very complimentary with his initial assessment of the trade. Broeg wrote, “The general feeling was that the Giants got the edge.” However, Broeg included an observation from a reporter who watched Ernie pitch in Toronto. “Broglio should be of great help to the Cardinals,” said Neil MacCarl of the Toronto Star. “He’s quite a workhorse with a good curve and fastball which he throws with the same overhand motion. He won five games down the stretch with just two days’ rest, never allowing more than two runs a game. He also broke the Toronto club strikeout record the first night with the team, fanning 15 in 11 innings.”

After the trade, Broglio joined the Cardinals for an exhibition tour of the Orient. “The Japan trip was a lot of fun and good baseball,” he recalled. “It gave me a chance to pitch in front of large crowds, and I was not used to that. We also made stops in Hawaii, the Philippines, and Korea to play all-star teams.”

Broglio made his major-league debut on April 11, 1959, against his former organization, the Giants. He struggled through a four-walk first inning and took the loss, but he stayed in until the sixth. Broglio’s next start, on April 16, in Los Angeles, was eventful. The Cardinals used a then-record 25 players in a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers. Broglio lasted an inning and gave up two homers that just got over the 42-foot screen at the 251-foot mark in left field of the Coliseum. In his St. Louis Post-Dispatch column, Neal Russo dubbed the round-trippers as ‘Chinese’, but also labeled Broglio as “one inning Ernie.”

After four appearances Broglio was 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00 when he got a call from Bing Devine to come talk with him and manager Solly Hemus. He recalled, “I knew I was supposed to start again, but after they contacted me I started packing my stuff because I thought I was being sent to Rochester (International League). When I got to the meeting though, they both said that I was pressing too much and to get more relaxed. That worked because I pitched into the seventh inning with nine strikeouts the next game.”

However, Broglio was 0-5 by the middle of June. His first win came in St. Louis against Philadelphia on June 16. He scattered 10 hits through seven innings and won a 5-2 decision. On June 27 he had his best major-league game so far. At Crosley Field in Cincinati he pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout, winning 5-0. He had six strikeouts and walked no one. (He had come into the game having walked 33 batters in 54 innings.) Broglio appeared in 35 games and started 25 during the 1959 season and ended with a 7-12 record in 181 innings. His ERA was 4.72 with six complete games and three shutouts (which tied for the team lead). He was second on the team with 133 strikeouts.

Broglio was not projected as a part of the regular rotation in 1960. He came into the second game of season on April 13 in relief and pitched six strong innings against the Giants in San Francisco. His first start came four days later in Los Angeles. He did not get through the fourth inning, walking six and giving up five runs. Broglio’s next start came on May 30 and he was matched against the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale at the Coliseum. The Cardinals jumped on Drysdale for five runs in less than two innings. Broglio struck out eight, scattering four hits and three walks in his first complete game of the season as the Redbirds romped to a 15-3 victory. He even chipped in with two hits, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. Manager Hemus said he was thinking of putting Broglio into the regular rotation.

After a bad start and loss to the Giants, however, Broglio was back in relief for two games. Two starts and a relief appearance netted him three victories between June 12 and 19. At the halfway mark of the season Broglio was 9-4 with an ERA of 2.86. He was in the starting rotation for 18 of his final 21 appearances as the Cardinals climbed into the pennant race. In Pittsburgh on August 11, facing the league-leading Pirates, who had won seven in a row, Broglio outdueled Bob Friend in an extra-inning thriller. Both pitchers went 12 innings and each struck out nine, with Friend walking one and Broglio none. Broglio retired 20 consecutive Pirates from the fifth inning through the 11th. Stan Musial hit a two-run homer in the 12th to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the inning the Pirates got a run and had the tying run on second when Broglio struck out Dick Stuart for his 14th win. The victory was the 13th out of 15 for the Cardinals and moved them into second place, four games behind Pittsburgh. Broglio recalled, “After the game, I wanted to take Musial out for a brew, but Stan insisted that he would take me out!”

Broglio won seven of his next nine decisions to move his record to 21-7, with an ERA of 2.52. But the Cardinals faded after mid-August to end the season in third place behind Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Broglio was 4-0 against the Pirates and 5-2 against the Braves, and finished the season with a 21-9 mark. His ERA of 2.74 was second in the league. He tied Warren Spahn for the league lead in wins and led the league in winning percentage (.700). After the season he was offered a $5,000 raise by the Cardinals.

In 1961 Broglio was the Opening Day starter but he pitched with a sore right shoulder most of the season and received close to 20 cortisone shots. He ended 1961 with a 9-12 mark. He had 26 starts, seven complete games, and two shutouts. He hoped the offseason would give his shoulder time to heal.

In 1962 Broglio finished with a 12-9 record and 3.00 ERA. He boasted a career-high 11 complete games in 30 starts. His four shutouts were part of a staff that led the NL (17).

Broglio was the Cardinals’ Opening Day starter on April 9, 1963, against the Mets in the Polo Grounds, and pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out eight. He two-hit the Mets in New York again on June 8, this time striking out 10.

From August 30 through September 15, the Cardinals won 19 of 20 games and pulled to within a game of the league-leading Dodgers. Broglio had four quality starts during this streak with two victories, improving his season mark to16-8. Then on September 16 he started the first game of a big three-game series in St. Louis and went eight strong innings. A stiff right elbow, however, led him to be removed for a pinch-hitter with the game tied. The Dodgers scored twice in the ninth against two Cardinal relievers to win, 3-1. Broglio won two more games to finish with an 18-8 record. In a career-high 35 starts, he had 11 complete games to go with five shutouts and an ERA of 2.99. He had four two-hit shutouts.

On April 14, 1964, Broglio was again the Opening Day starter, at Los Angeles, and lost to Sandy Koufax. On April 18 he defeated the Giants in San Francisco; on the 28th he shut out the Mets. But Broglio lost three straight starts from May 14 through May 24 to drop to 2-4, and manager Johnny Keane’s confidence in him started to fade. Keane kept juggling the rotation and now had six starters. On May 30 in St. Louis Broglio beat the Reds, 7-1, in a complete-game effort. But from then through June 14 the Cardinals lost 11 of 15 games and dropped to eighth place. The bats of several Cardinals went silent and the outfield platoon to replace the retired Musial was not working. It was alarm time within the front office with rumors that something would happen before the trade deadline.

Broglio started on June 12 in Los Angeles, but Koufax blanked the Cardinals again. Broglio’s record was now 3-5. In 11 starts his strikeouts were noticeably down to three per game. On June 14, after the Dodgers swept the series, the Cardinals boarded their plane for Houston.

General manager Bing Devine had been busy on the phone right up to departure and later he sat by Keane during the flight. Devine said, “I can make the deal with Chicago.” Keane’s response was either “Make it!” or “What are we waiting for?” depending on what account the St. Louis fans read. As soon as they landed in Houston, Devine called Cubs general manager John Holland. Three other trades in the major leagues were announced on June 15, but none proved larger than the one between the Cardinals and the Cubs.

Broglio, pitcher Bobby Shantz, and outfielder Doug Clemens were sent to Chicago for outfielder Lou Brock, pitcher Jack Spring, and pitcher Paul Toth. Keane summoned Ernie to his hotel room to tell him about the trade, and Broglio was shocked. Several veteran Cardinals were very negative about the deal and declared that the Cubs got the better of the trade. Keane called a team meeting before their game to tell the players to cease their grumbling. Meanwhile, Chicago Daily News columnist Bob Smith was jubilant as he wrote about acquiring Ernie, “Thank you, thank you, oh, you lovely St. Louis Cardinals. Nice doing business with you. Please call again anytime.”

Broglio reflected, “I do not know what caused the disagreement I had with Johnny Keane. I had just won 18 games and thought I was pretty stable with the ballclub. The trade was a big surprise and I guess I never really got over it. I was hoping to finish my career with the Cardinals.”

Broglio joined a Cubs team that included eight of his former St. Louis teammates. Most notable was Larry Jackson, who was on his way to a 24-win season. The Cubs got the better of that deal before the 1963 season, so they figured they would try again. Chicago had no field manager as they were in the third season of the College of Coaches instituted by owner Philip K. Wrigley. Broglio commented, “Bob Kennedy was the best one, but playing for several head coaches was a joke. One problem was that each coach had a different set of signs that you had to learn.”

Broglio added, “When I was traded, my right arm was not in fine tune. My elbow was really bothering me, and pitching in so many day games was not my piece of cake. In my opinion, the hitters see the pitches better than they do at night.” For the Cubs, Broglio started 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA before he won against the Mets on July 16. He started against the Cardinals and Bob Gibson on July 28 in Chicago. He held his own for three innings before being touched for six earned runs and was lifted in the seventh ending with a no-decision. Broglio rebounded to win his next three starts, improving his combined record to 7-9 and lowering his ERA to 4.42.

On August 23 Ernie woke up in his New York hotel room with a problem. His right elbow had swelled to the size of a cantaloupe and was in a locked position. Broglio was to start one of the games of a doubleheader that day at Shea Stadium. He knew that was not going to happen, so he called Bob Kennedy to tell him about the issue. Kennedy had Broglio return to Chicago to get treatment.

After two more losses, Broglio took the mound on September 6 to start the series finale against the Cardinals in St. Louis. While the Cubs had dropped to eighth, the Cardinals were now in third place. Broglio allowed six hits, but St. Louis could not break through against him. In the bottom of the seventh he held a 3-1 lead and was lifted in favor of Lindy McDaniel. Chicago was still leading 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth. A run scored when Brock grounded out as Flood took second. One more out and Broglio would have a satisfying victory over his former team. But Bill White singled to tie the game, and in the 11th Brock’s bad-hop single drove in the winning run.

Broglio started again against St. Louis on September 11 at Wrigley Field before a small afternoon crowd, and lost, 5-0. He was now a combined 7-12 and was shut down for the rest of the season due to his elbow problem. His record with the Cubs ended at 4-7.

“It hurt when the Cardinals won the World Series,” Broglio said. “A lot of the players called me from their party at Stan Musial’s restaurant after the last game. They passed the phone around and I really appreciated it. I popped open my own bottle of champagne and drank along with them. I looked at it like they won the pennant by one game and I won three games for the Cardinals before I was traded, so I thought I had helped them win it.” 2 Broglio received neither a championship ring nor a share of the postseason money as the eligibility was different then. “It would have been nice to have a ring,” Broglio said, “but I didn’t get one, so I didn’t worry about it.” 3

In November Broglio had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips and a damaged ulnar nerve. He recalled, “I was back for spring training in February, which gave me a total of three months rest. Nowadays, for the same operation, they give you a year or more. That (decision by the Cubs) made my career shorter than I wanted it to be.”

Broglio made his first 1965 appearance on April 27 at Cincinnati, a one-third inning relief stint. He appeared in 26 games and had six starts during the season. On June 27 in St Louis, he lasted 3 innings and left trailing 4-0. It was apparent that he had not been given the time needed to recuperate. His season record ended at 1-6 with a 6.93 ERA, with his last appearance on September 19.

Leo Durocher was named the Cubs’ manager for 1966. Broglio had several outstanding spring-training performances at Long Beach, California. Durocher noted that Ernie had become a pitcher again by mixing a slider and a fast curve, before using his fastball. Broglio was put into the rotation, but things did not go well. He started the second game of the season, on April 13 at San Francisco. He was wild but went seven innings. He gave up four runs and took the loss as the Cubs were shut out. Broglio made his last start for the Cubs on June 22 in Chicago in the second game of a doubleheader with the Giants. It was dismal as he allowed seven runs and was booed by the Wrigley Field fans. After two relief appearances, on July 5 he was sent to Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. Broglio started 13 games for Tacoma and had a 5-4 record with a 2.86 ERA.

Broglio gave pitching one more shot in 1967 with the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of Cincinnati. He was 12-13 in 28 starts with a 3.69 ERA, but no call came from the Reds. During this season, one of his catchers was 19-year-old Johnny Bench, who was 5 years old in 1953 when Broglio started playing baseball for a living.

Broglio was 32, and he went home to San Jose, California, and took a full-time position with the liquor warehouse where he worked in the off season.

Ernie and Barbara Broglio raised four children, Stephen, Nancy, Donna, and Vince, and had three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. (Their son Stephen died in October 2007 at the age of 52.) As of 2011 the Broglios still lived in the San Jose home they bought in 1959. Broglio invested in an award-winning winery run by his son-in-law, Jack Salerno, in Healdsburg, California. In April 2009 Broglio was inducted into the El Cerrito High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

Broglio kept active with his family and still took time for sports, especially golf, about which he said, “I’m not all that good, but it gives me exercise.” He said he was also busy providing instruction as a high-school pitching coach, and gave private lessons too. “I enjoy working with the kids to prevent arm trouble,” Broglio said. “I work on pitching mechanics for all ages. But for the older ones, I try to get into their heads about what pitches to throw at what time of the game.”