MILWAUKEE -- One Brewers fan was treated to the experience of a lifetime Tuesday as the winner of the team's "Welcome to the Big Leagues" promotion, a part of the Brewers' "Fan-Tastic Forty" offseason program that rewards renewing season-ticket holders.
Sandy Rusch of Milwaukee was this year's lucky winner. Rusch received the full Major League experience first by signing a one-day contract and then receiving a personalized jersey adorned with the No. 44 of one of her all-time favorite Brewers, Hank Aaron. Rusch has been a season-ticket holder since 1988 and is one of nine partners holding a season-ticket package.
Rusch received a check for $2,732.24 -- one day's pay at the MLB minimum salary -- and threw out the first pitch at Tuesday's game against the Phillies. Along with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, Rusch held a pregame press conference for her friends and family, who questioned the choice of her other favorite Brewer, Rob Deer.
"If you're a female, you already know the answer to that," Rusch said, smiling. "But also, I just remember Easter Sunday 1987. Rob Deer hits a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie up the game, and Dale Sveum goes on to win it for us. If it hadn't been for Rob Deer's major swing, we wouldn't have had a 12-game winning streak that day."
That was Game 12 of the Brewers' 13-game win streak to start that 1987 season. Rusch clearly had a sharp memory of favorite ballpark moments, and when asked about her favorite Miller Park memory, Rusch didn't hesitate.
Melvin chimed in: "I couldn't either."
The die-hard fan, who has been attending games in Milwaukee since the Braves were in town, and purposely moved to Milwaukee's Story Hill neighborhood in order to be closer to Milwaukee County Stadium, said the day had been an unforgettable experience.
"What's important to the Brewers is not only our players and our performance but our fan base, and with Sandy's friends and family following the Brewers, we appreciate that," Melvin said. "It's an opportunity to give some pleasure to reward a fan for their following of the Brewers over the years."
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less