Recollections: Robin Yount vs. Election Night
By Thom Gerretsen
In my 24 years of covering news in Marshfield, election nights were my favorites. But on Sept. 9, 1992, broadcasting the results of that day’s primaries for federal, state, and county offices were almost the last things on my mind.
As the polls closed at 8 p.m., Robin Yount was getting his 2,999th career hit for the Brewers; a single to right field against the Cleveland Indians at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. It put him one hit away from reaching 3,000 – which normally punches a player’s ticket to baseball’s Hall of Fame. WDLB carried the Brewers’ games back then, and on that Tuesday night, my task was to broadcast quick election bulletins between innings, with full reports after the game.
I did that, even though my biggest concern was whether Yount would get his 3,000th hit that night. And if he didn’t, could I watch him do it the next night? Every time Yount batted, I stopped what I was doing and listened. He flied out twice, grounded out, and walked after his first inning single. So as I was airing the postgame election coverage, my real thoughts and plans were getting into County Stadium the following night to see “Rockin’ Robin” get his 3,000th hit against Cleveland.
I arranged to have one of my neighbors, Denny Radue, and my then 11-year-old son Bryan go with me. I asked my boss Jack Hackman if he could get me free tickets that the Brewers would often give its radio affiliates. It was too late for that, but the team still set aside three seats that we could buy. So our vantage point to history was in the lower level, deep in the outfield in left.
Amazingly, there was not a full house that night. It rained for most of the day – obviously discouraging people from turning out. Despite more than 8,000 empty seats, the crowd of 47,589 still made it a magic night. Every time Yount batted, people came in from the restrooms and concession stands and crowded the aisles. Flashbulbs popped throughout the ballpark. And, Yount grounded out and struck out twice before he finally singled past second base off Indians’ reliever Jose Mesa in the bottom of the seventh inning. Teammates and coaches hugged Yount at first base, and I almost knocked my youngest son over while hugging him.
Afterward, those in attendance received commemorative certificates, which I still proudly display in our home. On the drive back to Marshfield, we heard Yount’s live remarks to reporters, and he sounded more concerned that the Brewers lost the game, 5-4. His modesty was what you’d expect from a Wisconsin favorite who started his big league career as a shortstop at age 18, and made the Brewers his only team through two decades of stardom.
Five years later, Yount was indeed elected to the Hall of Fame and it left me with one of my greatest Election Night memories.