Happy anniversary, Robin
Nineteenth anniversaries are not usually cause for celebration. In Robin Yount’s case, it just feels fitting.
Yount, whose No. 19 hangs in retirement high above Miller Park, cemented his place in the Hall of Fame on this date 19 years ago, when he dumped a seventh-inning single into right field against the Indians’ Jose Mesa at County Stadium. Yount became the 17th player in Major League history to reach 3,000 hits.
Yount was the third-youngest member at the time of that exclusive club, behind Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. He collected his final 10 hits in a seven-game hitting streak that culminated with No. 3,000 on Sept. 9, 1992.
“It almost feels like you’re out there alone. It’s kind of a weird feeling,” Yount told MLB.com earlier this summer. “At least it was for me. I remember that we were in a pennant race the year I got mine and it was late in the year. I felt very uncomfortable because it seemed like the focus was on me, and I felt that it should have been on the team because we had a legitimate chance to win that division last year.
“I found myself getting caught up in it because everyone else was caught up in it. I’ll be honest — for me, it was a bit of a distraction. I can remember when I got within one or two hits, I got real angry at myself because I was distracted. I had a long talk with myself after one of those games, I don’t remember which one.”
When he got his milestone hit, longtime teammates Paul Molitor and Jim Gantner were the first to embrace Yount at first base.
“Robin, he was my closest friend on the Brewers. He was the most unselfish player that I ever played with,” said Molitor, who would join the club 13 years later. “So, to watch him be humbled by the attention of reaching that milestone, and to do it in Milwaukee, where he’s the most popular Brewer in history, it was emotional for me to see that.”
Molitor remembered Yount’s chase when he engaged in his own during the ’96 season.
“To see how he handled it helped me in understanding that it’s a moment to be enjoyed and not fought,” Molitor said.
“You get 3,000 hits because of longevity,” Yount said, “and I guess what I’m most proud of,”
My MLB.com colleague Todd Zolecki, a fellow New Berliner, told me last night that he was at Yount’s milestone game. I would love to hear your own memories of that night in the comments.
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