Jim Walton Mined Gold For Team USA in 2000

While manager Tommy Lasorda was taking bows for America’s Olympic gold medal in baseball, the 2000 team depended on advance scout Jim Walton for some seasoned opinions on the competition. I asked the former Brewers coach what that felt like. He replied —
“Tom:
Thanks for your interest in baseball and the Brewers.
Advance scouting is always a very interesting area of scouting. You’re not only charged with evaluation of player skills, but also concerned with team strengths and weaknesses. What kind of game do they play? Of course, the overall depth in the team roster and potential match-ups against who’s hot and who’s not, team defense, pick-offs, alignments both offensive and defensive.
A lot of little baseball items — starts, release times, pitchers and catchers. 
The turnaround time of the information is critical in the Olympics — due to fact you see a team in a late evening game and Team USA plays that team the next morning, requires a lot of burning the midnight oil to have information ready and in the coaches hands early the next morning. 
It was a very interesting scouting experience. And great to have had the opportunity to be with a Gold Medal Winner, Team USA!
Thanks for your being a baseball fan.
Jim Walton”

Milwaukee Brewers Coach Jim Walton Remembers Young Robin Yount, Paul Molitor

Good news: you’re on a card.
Bad news: you have a
shrunken head!

Jim Walton coached first base for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1973-75.

He witnessed the launch of two superstar careers.
Did he see Hall of Fame futures for Paul Molitor and Robin Yount from the beginning? Walton replied:
“They not only were gifted players, but they were dedicated to the game with high character. The stats answer their ability to play the game.”
Coming Thursday: Helping Team USA win a gold medal!

Where Are the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers?

Is the ex-hurler’s sig still
so swell? I hope to find out!

In this installment of “Tom’s 10 Most Wanted,” I thought of those near-miss Milwaukee Brewers of 2011.

Do they answer fan mail? I’m not hopeful…I struck out trying to get their bullpen catcher!

Instead, I decided to revisit the past. I thought of another mystical Milwaukee team: The Blue Crew of ’82.

Here’s the “10 From Then” getting letters from me:

Jerry Augustine
Dwight Bernard
Jamie Easterly
Pete Ladd
Don Money
Rob Picciolo
Chuck Porter
Ed Romero
Harry Warner
Ned Yost

Stay tuned…

Coming Thursday: Seeking other ways to correspond with baseball’s past.

1970 Brewer Pitcher Ray Peters Amazes

Just two starts in the bigs,
then selling for 99 cents
on ebay? Ray Peters
deserves better!

To be honest, I groaned when I opened the envelope.

I cherish hand-written replies to my questions. A former Milwaukee Brave (whose reply will be shared in the next week) seemed to use a manual typewriter to send a flawless, hand-crafted reply. Look at his page and you’d time-travel back to the 1950s.

But this one? I saw that “Tom” was hand-written atop a preprinted page. Was this an autograph price list?

Hardly!

Ray Peters, a 1970 Milwaukee Brewers pitcher for two games, condensed his baseball life into a one-page narrative. He added details about his minor league adventures, and a note about he ALMOST appeared on two Topps cards. Peters holds the distinction of being a first-round draft pick for the 1969 Seattle Pilots. Teams had tried to draft the Harvard product four times without signing him.

I marveled at seeing his two major league starts summed up in one sparkling paragraph:

“Though my major league career was a matter of days, I was fortunate to pitch against my batting heroes when I was growing up — Al Kaline was my favorite right-handed batter and Vada Pinson was my favorite left-handed hitter. I walked Kaline and got Pinson (who should be in the Hall of Fame) to fly out, after he singled in his first at bat. LUCK plays a great part in sports. In my two innings, I gave up only singles, four of which were broken-bat bloops. Against Detroit I walked two and one batter got a single; I was taken out and the reliever gave up a grand slam home run and I’m sent back to the minors!!! That’s life.”

By hand, the grateful pitcher wrote with perfect penmanship:

Ray Peters #41 Milwaukee Brewers 1970
#60 Seattle Pilots 1969
— spring training Tempe, AZ”

Remember to look for more Ray Peters-like names as you collect in 2011. Look beyond the statistics and awards.  Everyone gets the all-stars. For me, I’d choose prefer the all-star storytellers.

Tomorrow: Remember that all-star train wreck between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse? Cub eyewitness Jim Hickman did, sharing his insight.

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