With the MLB Draft starting today, I decided to look at one of the Brewers’ first round picks. The Brewers selected Dan Plesac with the 26th overall pick in the 1983 draft, the first one after the Brewers made their only trip to the World Series. Plesac was a hard throwing starting pitcher that the Brewers converted to a closer.
Plesac made his debut on April 11, 1986. He pitched the final 2.1 innings, giving up just 1 hit and struck out 1 in a 3-2 loss to the Yankees. Plesac did his job and kept the Brewers in the game, but they could not get the tying run in.
Plesac spent 7 seasons in Milwaukee and racked up some of the best numbers for a closer in Brewer history. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in appearances (365) and saves (133) and he has finished 90 more games (269) than the second most in franchise history (John Axford, 179). Plesac’s 3.21 ERA is the best for a Brewer that has logged 500 or more innings with the team.
When Plesac left the team after the 1992 season, he had 4 of the top 10 saves totals in club history, including 2 of the top 3 (33 in 1989 and 30 in 1988). He was a 3-time All-Star for the Brewers from 1987-1989.
Plesac had some shoulder issues early in the 1991 season and gave way to Doug Henry as the Brewer Closer. He finished the year with a 2-7 record, 8 saves, and a 4.29 ERA. He would not regain his role as a closer.
Plesac played another 11 seasons with 5 teams after he left the Brewers. He finished his career with 158 saves and a 3.64 ERA. He was a left-handed specialist for most of his career, only getting to double digit saves once in the last 13 seasons (11 in 1996 with the Pirates).
I do not collect autographs, but Plesac’s is one of the two that I do have. He signed my ticket stub on Opening Day in 1987. Plesac pitched in the 9th inning, giving up an unearned run in the Brewers’ 5-1 win over the Red Sox.