This article was written by Stew Thornley
Throughout the three World Series games in Milwaukee in 1982, the fans chanted “MVP!” for the Brewers’ shortstop, Robin Yount, who was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player after the season. The chants increased in intensity in Game Five and became even more robust each time Yount came to the plate.
Yount had four hits in the Series opener, a 10-0 win at St. Louis, although he was overshadowed by teammate Paul Molitor’s five hits.
The winning pitcher in Game One was Mike Caldwell, who shut down the Cardinals with a three-hitter. Caldwell was back on the mound in Game Five, and he came out on top again although it was more the result of Yount’s performance with the bat and his fielders’ work with their gloves.
Yount singled in the first inning and came around to score the first run of the game. St. Louis tied the game in the third, but in the bottom of the inning Yount doubled to move Molitor to third. Molitor came home on an infield out to put the Brewers on top again. In the fifth Milwaukee added another run, and Yount came up with another hit.
St. Louis scored to close to within a run in the seventh, but Yount soon got the cushion back with his fourth hit, this one a home run to right off St. Louis starter Bob Forsch. As he rounded the bases the “MVP!” chants reached a crescendo. Yount became the first player to get four hits in a game twice in the same World Series.
Milwaukee held the lead through most of the game, and Caldwell got his second win of the Series despite allowing 14 hits in 8⅓ innings. He was able to space the hits enough to keep mostly goose eggs on the scoreboard, but he needed some slick fielding to help him out:
- With one out in the top of the first, Lonnie Smith tried stealing third, but Ted Simmons’s throw was in a perfect spot for Molitor to put the tag on Smith.
- With two out in the top of the third and Keith Hernandez on second with the potential go-ahead run, second baseman Jim Gantner dove to his right to prevent George Hendrick’s sharp grounder from getting through. Although Hendrick reached first with a single on the play, Gantner’s effort kept Hernandez from scoring.
- With the Cardinals down 2-1 in the fourth, they had Ken Oberkfell on second and Tom Herr on first. On a chopper hit by Ozzie Smith, Molitor leapt, corralled the ball, stepped on third to force Oberkfell, and threw to a stretched-out Cecil Cooper at first to complete the inning-ending double play.
- Charlie Moore dove and made a diving backhanded catch in right-center to rob Lonnie Smith of an extra-base hit to start the fifth.
- In the seventh the Cardinals already had a run across, cutting the Brewers’ lead to 3-2, and had runners on first and second with two out. Darrell Porter hit a bouncer toward the hole on the right side. Cooper sprawled to snag the ball and, from the ground, threw to Caldwell covering first to end the inning.
After giving Bruce Sutter a day off for a much-needed rest, St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog brought in his fireman in the bottom of the eighth even though the Cardinals were down 4-2. Sutter was even less effective than in his last outing — when he gave up two runs in 2⅓ innings in Game Three — and the Brewers pushed their lead to 6-2. They needed the insurance runs because Caldwell gave up three hits, bringing his total for the game to 14, in the ninth. With one out, Bob McClure came in to protect the lead for the second day in a row. He gave up a single to put the tying run on base but got the final two batters to finish a 6-4 win and put Milwaukee ahead three games to two as the World Series shifted back to St. Louis.
As had happened after the Brewers’ win the day before, people took to the street in downtown Milwaukee to celebrate — or just to drink and be rowdy. The Milwaukee Sentinel estimated the crowd after Game Five at 20,000 and reported, “As the night wore on, the crowd grew more intoxicated and police reported 10 fist fights and a [sic] unspecified number of arrests. Besides the fistfights, some in the crowd broke beer bottles and limbs from saplings along Wisconsin Ave.”1
Back at the ballpark, fans swarmed the field, despite a scoreboard message reminding them that left fielder Ben Oglivie had been injured because of fans storming the field in the postgame celebration a week before when the Brewers won the American League Championship Series.
The fans got all they could in this celebration — a good thing because it was the final postseason game ever played at County Stadium and, through 2016, the last game won by the Brewers in the World Series.
This article appears in “From the Braves to the Brewers: Great Games and Exciting History at Milwaukee’s County Stadium” (SABR, 2016), edited by Gregory H. Wolf. To read more stories from this book at the SABR Games Project, click here.
1 “Some Incidents Mar Downtown Victory Parade,” Milwaukee Sentinel, October 18, 1982.