Brewers legend Yount returns for first pitch

Brewers legend Yount returns for first pitch

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount promised weeks ago that he would be at Miller Park if the Brewers hosted a Division Series game, and he followed through on Sunday, when he was back in Milwaukee to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Yount still follows the Brewers closely.

"Let's face it," he said. "I can't get the Brewers out of my blood, and I don't ever want to."

Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, who handled first-pitch duties prior to Saturday's Game 1, can vouch for that.

"You know what he does? He sits out there in his driveway every night and listens to the game," Uecker said. "I know because he calls me all the time during the game if they're going bad and asks, 'What's going on?' He wants to know everything about the club.

"He's never changed. The 'winning' part of him, that's never gone away. Rob was a winner. All the really great players -- the Hall of Fame players -- are all pretty much the same that way."

Yount now channels his competitiveness to golf, where he is a terrific long-drive specialist, Uecker said. Over the past three years, he has spent time building Robinade, a soft drink that raises funds for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer.

With apologies to current Brewers like Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun -- and even to Uecker, the team's radio voice for 40 years -- Yount remains the most popular figure in franchise history.

"It will always be that way," Uecker said. "He's the Brewers' [Mickey] Mantle or [Joe] DiMaggio. And he should be. I can still see his swing, the way he throws, his diving catch to end the Brewers' only no-hitter, his 3,000th hit off Jose Mesa. He is the Brewers and I think he always will be."

Part of that stems from Yount's sensational talent, and part from his longevity. Yount played 1,000 more games for the Brewers than the team's runner-up, fellow Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. Yount is the franchise's all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, extra-base hits, total bases, walks and, yes, strikeouts.

When Braun signed a contract extension earlier this year that runs through at least 2020, he cited Yount as an inspiration. The two have had chats over the years, Braun said, about the benefits of playing in one place for so long.

"He's still immensely popular, and an incredible figure of success for the organization," Braun said. "Everybody in the city seems to take pride in calling him a Brewer."

The Brewers could see a lot of Yount in this series. He still lives in the Phoenix-area home he bought in 1983, when he was the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner.