Despite the recent struggles of the Milwaukee Brewers, the recent news of Prince Fielder’s forced retirement has sent this Brewer fan on a trip down memory lane. As he embarks on the next journey in his life, the memories still remain, and the historic feats that he helped to accomplish in Milwaukee will never be forgotten. It is important to appreciate what Prince Fielder meant to the city of Milwaukee in a time that many Brewer fans could never have imagined.
In seven seasons with the Brewers, Fielder helped to make the franchise relevant again. The first baseman was drafted in the first round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft and became one of the Brewers’ top prospects. A young kid drafted out of high school, Fielder slugged his way through the minor league system and became a member of the big league team late in 2005.
His stats show just how big of a contributor that he was with the Brewers. In 3,527 at bats with Milwaukee, Fielder had a .282/.390/.540 slash line with 230 home runs and 656 runs batted in. Prince was the clean up hitter that the Brewers’ organization needed, and he also manned first to a level that has not been equaled since. He also put up some fantastic season numbers including a 50 home run campaign in 2007 and a 141 rbi campaign in 2009.
Fielder was a cornerstone of the Brewers rebuild that also included Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Corey Hart. He helped the franchise to reach the postseason in 2008, the first postseason appearance in 26 years at that time. Despite losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the NLDS, the trip to the postseason made Brewers baseball relevant again, and created a buzz around the city of Milwaukee. As long as that team stayed together there was optimism surrounding Milwaukee baseball, and rightfully so.
Then came 2011, another year Brewers fans will never forget. That season, the team cruised to a 96-66 record, finishing with the fourth best record in all of Major League Baseball. Fielder batted .299 in that season with 38 home runs and 120 runs batted in. The Crew defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games in the NLDS that year before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in the NLCS. Although they did not make the World Series as many had hoped, the opinion of baseball in Milwaukee had forever changed, and Prince Fielder was a major piece of that shift in attitude.
Prince Fielder will be remembered in the city of Milwaukee for helping the Milwaukee Brewers become a playoff team once again. He was missed when he left Milwaukee for Detroit after the 2011 season, but he will never be forgotten as one of the cornerstones of two very successful teams. With that being said, thank you Prince. The city of Milwaukee is forever grateful for your accomplishments with the Brewers franchise, and the game of baseball will truly miss you. Unfortunately you were not able to go out on your own terms, but on behalf of Brewers fans everywhere, thank you and best of luck in your future endeavors.