Major League Baseball’s 2020 season has been postponed indefinitely and, as a result, we’re not quite sure when the Milwaukee Brewers will be taking the field again. As we wait for Opening Day to come (whenever that may be), we decided it would be a great time to look back at the past 50 seasons of Brewers baseball.

After much thought, ample research, and some spirited debates, Milwaukee Record co-founder/editor Tyler Maas and contributors Jared Blohm and Kyle Lobner have assembled a list of the 50 best Milwaukee Brewers players—we repeat: PLAYERS, not managers, owners, or broadcasters—of all time, along with rankings. Here’s our rundown of numbers 50-31. Check back on Tuesday, March 24 for the list of 30-11 and Thursday, March 26 for the rundown of numbers 10-1.

50. Hank Aaron
In my opinion, there are few players in MLB history who can hold a candle to the man that Hank Aaron is, and there are even fewer who were better pure hitters. But he is clearly not one of the “best” Brewers of all time purely based on statistics. Aaron’s 22 home runs and 95 RBI in two seasons would be nothing more than a footnote in baseball history if he hadn’t started his legendary career in Milwaukee as a Brave. The two seasons that Hammerin’ Hank spent as a Brewer in 1975 and 1976 were extremely important to the Brewers franchise though. He helped bridge over a huge part of the fanbase that still cheered for the Braves or swore off MLB altogether after the Braves left for Atlanta. It’s a shame that most people associate Aaron’s greatness with Atlanta and not Milwaukee. After all, he played five more seasons in Milwaukee than he did in Atlanta (14 to nine) and he hit almost a hundred more home runs while sporting Milwaukee uniforms than in Atlanta duds (420 to 335). [Jared Blohm]

49. Darrell Porter

He’s likely better remembered for his time elsewhere, but Porter spent the first six of his 17 MLB seasons in Milwaukee, including cups of coffee at the end of the 1971 and 1972 season when he was 19 and 20 years old, respectively. He’s largely remembered for his defense behind the plate, but he also demonstrated underrated plate discipline, drawing a walk in 13% of his plate appearances as a Brewer. Among Brewers with at least 2,000 plate appearances, only Prince Fielder and John Briggs walked more often. [Kyle Lobner]

48. Pete Vuckovich
There are starting pitchers we left off this list who had longer Brewers careers. There were hurlers whose stats were comparable. However, Vuckovich earns a spot because of how remarkable and significant he was during the best season in Brewers history. In 1982 (one of just two full seasons during Vuck’s five-season, six-year stint with the Brew Crew), he went 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA over 223 2/3 inning. His performance in ’82 was crucial in getting Milwaukee to the World Series and was dominant enough to earn Vuckovich the Cy Young Award that season. While injuries got in the way of the pitcher repeating his play in 1981 and 1982 in the remainder of his career, Vuckovich is regarded as a major component of an unforgettable season in team history. A few years after calling it a career in 1986, the mustachioed starter would return to Milwaukee to be a Brewers TV announcer and to shoot scenes for Major League, where he played Yankees slugger Clu Haywood. [TM]

47. Tommy Harper

Harper is the only alum of the 1969 Seattle Pilots on this list, and his brief run in the Pacific Northwest was historically notable: His 73 stolen bases that season still stand as the franchise record. Harper followed the organization to Milwaukee and had another historically notable season in 1970 when he led the team in hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, stolen bases and walks. He posted the first 30-30 season in franchise history that year and was alone in that club for 41 years until Ryan Braun joined him in 2011. [KL]

46. José Valentín
One of three players acquired in the March 1992 trade that sent Gary Sheffield to San Diego, Valentín made his MLB debut for the Brewers later that same season and was a mainstay at shortstop for most of the decade. His 716 games played at the position are the second most in franchise history, trailing only Robin Yount. He’s also tied for the most career plate appearances as a Brewers switch hitter. Both he and Ted Simmons finished their time in Milwaukee with exactly 2,768 plate appearances. [KL]

45. Ted Simmons
Speaking of Simba, Simmons is still revered in Milwaukee despite being a Cardinal for almost two-thirds of his now-Hall Of Fame career. This is because he was traded to the Brewers before the 1981 season along with starter Vuckovich and closer Rollie Fingers, and all three played pivotal roles on the most celebrated team in franchise history—the 1982 World Series team that lost to Simmons’ former franchise in seven games. Known as one of the best-hitting catchers in MLB history, Simmons was the primary receiver for the Wallbangers’ pitching staff. He registered 97 RBI that season and a career-high 108 the next. [JB]

44. Bill Hall
Bill! [clap, clap, clap] Hall! [clap, clap, clap]. Okay, now that’s out of our system, we can talk about a multi-faceted Brewer who never really got his due. Before Hardy, Weeks, Fielder, and the other “Baby Brewers” arrived in Milwaukee, Hall was the first real promise of better days ahead following some of the worst seasons in team history. He played eight of his 11 seasons in Milwaukee, where he clubbed 102 of his 125 career home runs and flashed above-average defense as he was cycled between third base, shortstop, second base, and all around the outfield. His 35-homer campaign in 2006 was never even close to repeated, but we’ll always have Hall’s Mother’s Day walkoff home run, the infectious chant based on his name, and some sneakily solid seasons both at the dish and in the field. [TM]

43. Lary Sorensen

The Brewers’ franchise history contains more than a few young pitchers with seemingly promising futures who burned out early, but Sorensen was one of the first: In 1978, when he was 22 years old and in his first full MLB season, he pitched 280 2/3 innings and threw a complete game in nearly half of his 36 starts. After four seasons in Milwaukee, he had accumulated 854 major league innings before his 25th birthday. Sorensen was included in the seven-player trade that brought Fingers, Simmons, and Vuckovich from St. Louis to Milwaukee. He went on to post a 4.56 ERA across seven seasons with six teams to finish his career. [KL]

42. Doug Davis
Doug Davis is perhaps most well-known among Brewers fans for being the most methodical starter the team has ever had. In fact, the soft-tossing lefty was downright slow. Davis was a steady performer on some very bad Brewers teams though. His best season came in 2004. With the team flirting with 100 losses (they’d finish 67-94), Davis posted a 3.39 ERA over 207 1/3 innings in 34 starts. Davis topped 200 strikeouts in 2005, but his career turned south after that. A late-career reunion with Milwaukee in 2010 was short-lived (eight starts) and forgettable (7.51 ERA). [JB]

41. Charlie Moore
Charlie Moore’s greatest accomplishment as a Brewer was longevity. He spent 14 seasons in Milwaukee, a mark only eclipsed in franchise history by Robin Yount, Jim Gantner, and Paul Molitor. Moore split time between catcher and the outfield for the Brewers from 1973 to 1986 and appeared in almost 1,300 games, but he never hit more than six home runs, never registered more than 49 RBI, and never topped 65 runs in a season. He was the definition of a steady performer, though, and he played a key role on some very good teams, including the 1982 World Series club. [JB]

40. Jim Colborn

A workhorse starting pitcher, Colborn logged at least 200 innings in four consecutive seasons from 1973-76. He’s one of three pitchers in franchise history to do that, along with Jim Slaton and Teddy Higuera. Colborn was an All-Star in 1973 when he had one of the single greatest pitching seasons in franchise history, appearing in 43 games (36 starts and seven relief appearances) and logging 314 1/3 innings with a 3.18 ERA. He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young Award voting that year, with future Hall Of Famers Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, and Catfish Hunter taking the top three spots. [KL]

39. CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia was not a Brewer for long enough to be on this list due to statistical achievements alone, but his 17 starts for the team following a July 7, 2008, trade were, in a word, legendary. In those starts, he pitched seven complete games, including three shutouts, and was robbed of a no-hitter in Pittsburgh due to an appalling decision by the Pirates official scorer. Despite pitching on short rest repeatedly down the stretch that season, Sabathia put up a 1.65 ERA as a Brewer and all-but-single-handedly carried the team to its first playoff berth since 1982. Given the playoff drought and everything that was at stake in the 2008 regular season finale, his complete-game four-hitter has to go down as one of the greatest performances in team history. [JB]

38. Kevin Seitzer
Kevin Seitzer was one of the bright spots in some dark, forgotten times. After earning an All-Star spot with the Royals during his rookie season in 1987, the promising corner infielder and DH cooled in subsequent seasons. He signed with the Brewers in 1992, where—save for a partial-season stint with the Athletics in ’93—he remained until being traded to Cleveland in a deal that brought slugger Jeromy Burnitz to Milwaukee. Before that transaction, though, Seitzer served as Milwaukee’s requisite All-Star in 1995 and proved to be a more-than-capable hitter that finished his largely-overlooked Brewers run with a .300 batting average. [TM]

37. Dave Nilsson
Like Seitzer, Dave Nilsson was a default mainstay on some unspectacular post-Yount Brewers squads of the ’90s. The Brisbane-born catcher cracked the 25-man roster in 1992 and remained a trusted contributor behind the plate (as well as at first base, the outfield, and in the designated hitter slot) and with his bat until his premature retirement in 1999. During his eight seasons with the Brewers, Nilsson hit a total of 105 home runs—a mark that still stands as the most for any Australian-born player by far—and he became the first Aussie athlete to appear in an All-Star Game when he started for the National League team in 1999. [TM]

36. Lorenzo Cain
For several years, it looked like Lo Cain would be remembered by Brewers fans mostly as part of the cost for one and a half seasons of Zack Greinke. The centerfielder played in only 43 games as a Brewer, all in 2010, before he was traded to the Royals. Over seven seasons in Kansas City, Cain became known as one of the elite outfielders in the game, a top-of-the-order hitter, and a speedster on the bases. He was a surprise free agent signing by the Brewers prior to the 2018 season, famously within hours of the team also acquiring outfielder Christian Yelich. Cain earned his first NL All-Star appearance in 2018 and finished seventh in MVP voting, six spots behind the man to his left in the Brewers outfield. In 2019, he earned his first Gold Glove award, a long overdue honor. [JB]

35. J.J. Hardy
Before players like Prince, Weeks, Hart, Braun, and Gallardo were regular contributors in Milwaukee, a dependable J.J. Hardy was preparing fans for better things to come by holding down the shortstop position. With indisputable fielding prowess (a lifetime .983 fielding percentage, by the way) and some surprising pop at the plate, Hardy managed an impressive five-year run with the team that included a pair of 20-plus-home run seasons, an All-Star appearance, and countless defensive highlights. After the 2009 season, the marvelous middle infielder was traded to Minnesota. While that deal surely upset a large faction of “Hardy’s Hotties,” Milwaukee got Carlos Gomez back in the trade, which set the team up for even bigger and better things. [TM]

34. John Briggs

Briggs spent the prime of his career with some otherwise-forgettable early ’70s Brewers teams and slugged a bit in an era where it wasn’t common: His 21 home runs in 1971 were the 10th most in the American League. Briggs’ most notable skill, however, might have gone underappreciated at the time. He drew 303 walks in five seasons in Milwaukee en route to a .358 on-base percentage across 584 games. That’s the 10th best mark ever for a Brewer who played in at least 500 games and only two points behind Braun. [KL]

33. Richie Sexson
Believe it or not, Richie Sexson’s impact in Milwaukee can still be felt today. After putting up some bonkers power numbers (including two seasons with 45 homers) between late 2000 and 2003, the lanky first baseman was the centerpiece of a franchise-changing Brewers trade that sent Sexson and two minor leaguers to Arizona in exchange for a haul consisting of Chris Capuano, Lyle Overbay, Jorge De La Rosa, Doug Davis, Chad Moeller, Junior Spivey, and utility player-turned-eventual manager Craig Counsell. Sure, Sexson deserves to be recognized for his work as a Brewer alongside fellows sluggers like Jeromy Burnitz and Geoff Jenkins, but his name will live on in Milwaukee because of what the D-Backs were willing to give up to get him. [TM]

32. Cal Eldred
Eldred is one of many “what if?” pitchers in Brewers franchise history. The Iowa pitcher was the team’s first round pick in the 1989 draft and charged through the minors to make his debut at the tail end of the 1991 season. When he finally got called back to the big leagues in mid-July of ’92, he posted a 1.79 ERA over 14 starts and 100 1/3 innings. Despite the short season, he finished fourth in AL Rookie Of The Year voting and appeared destined to be the Brewers new ace. But he never found that success again and was later hampered by injuries, including an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery in 1995. In early 2000, he was dealt along with shortstop José Valentín to the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Jaime Navarro and John Snyder. [JB]

31. Dan Plesac
Rollie Fingers may be the one that won an MVP Award, a Cy Young and made the Hall Of Fame, but Dan Plesac is the Brewers’ all-time saves leader and had arguably the organization’s best sustained run as a dominant reliever. From his debut in 1986 through the 1989 season, he pitched 284 innings with a 2.63 ERA, earning three consecutive All-Star appearances. He’s also the Brewers’ all-time leader in games pitched, and his 3.21 ERA is the franchise’s best ever for a pitcher who logged at least 500 innings. [KL]

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