Fielder's Little League lesson
News flash: Prince Fielder doesn’t like to sit on the bench. On Thursday, he explained why.
Fielder hasn’t missed a single game this season, making him the Major League leader with 153 games played, and leaving him as the only player in baseball with a chance to appear in all of his team’s regular-season contests. Fielder, in fact, has started all 153, batting cleanup and playing first base.
It’s no accident. Fielder recalled coming out of a Little League game when he was 12 years old, after fouling a pitch off his foot.
“I came out of the game, and I remember someone being [upset]. They were like, ‘I think you’re all right,’” Fielder said. “That made me feel bad. I didn’t like the way I felt. So from then on, I wanted to play every day.
“I just felt soft. I didn’t like it. If I’m hurt, it’s one thing, but if I can play I want to play.”
Fielder wouldn’t say who that “someone” was.
He has fought through aches and pains this season, but never came close to asking for a day off. Manager Ken Macha never considered giving him one.
“Not even close,” Macha said.
Three Brewers have started all 162 games in the franchise’s 41-season history: Richie Sexson (2003), Robin Yount (1988) and Gorman Thomas (1980). Only Sexson, a first baseman, didn’t make at least one of those starts as the designated hitter. Sexson’s season was especially impressive, considering that he hit 45 homers, drove in 124 runs and played every inning of every game. Fielder was on pace to match that feat until Aug. 12, when he was replaced by a pinch-runner in a loss to the Padres.
Carlos Lee also played in all 162 games for the Brewers in 2005, but he came off the bench one time. Yount started every Brewers game in 1976, but the Brewers lost one game to a rainout that wasn’t rescheduled, and he played only 161 games.