Look no further than Jonathan Lucroy if you’re looking for the perfect Brewer. For seven years Lucroy represented the Brewers and the city of Milwaukee in the best way possible. Lucroy was never linked to any performance enhancing drugs, he never lied to the fans or the media, he never left town when the Brewers were still good and contending for a playoff spot. No, Lucroy was the prototypical Brewer, the kind of player I would want my kids to be. He showed up to work every day and emphasized the smaller parts of the game that rarely get any attention while also being one of the best hitting catchers in the league.
Lucroy never gathered the following or elicited the fanfare of Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder, but he was just as vital to the team during the glory years. He played through injuries, he was consistently a force at the plate, and he was always one of the best behind it. Pitcher after pitcher who came through Milwaukee raved about the pitch calling and pitch framing abilities of Lucroy, but those aren’t stats that are thrown around by the mainstream media. You’d never know that he was one of the best in the business at getting borderline pitches called strikes.
Often overshadowed by louder, more brash catchers such as Yadier Molina, Lucroy was a consistent presence behind the plate for the Brewers. He batted fifth for much of his time in Milwaukee, but also batted third and fourth enough times that it wasn’t an oddity. Being a catcher and locking down a main spot in the batting order isn’t unheard of, but being a defensive catcher who can swing a baseball bat is. It is that quality that made Molina and Buster Posey so sought after, and they made their millions and were universally loved by their fan base. Yet Lucroy never got the recognition or adoration that he deserved. It was only after all the other stars left or burned out did fans truly start to embrace Lucroy. I just hope it wasn’t too little, too late.
Unlike Braun and Fielder, Lucroy never got his payday, he still makes less than 5 million a year. He never held out for more money or demanding a bigger paycheck because that wasn’t his style. Only after he entered his 30’s and the Brewers had entered the rebuilding age did he finally make it known that he would prefer to play for a contender. He has made it clear he wishes to play in the World Series at least once in his career, but he never demanded a trade. He earned one, though, by showing up to work day after day and never once complained about his job.
I hope Jonathan knows how much many fans and media alike respected him and loved him. He personified what it meant to be from Milwaukee.
Thank you, Jonathan. Good luck in Texas.