I have grown up a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers. I went to countless games as a kid, but the first game that I can remember vividly happens to be one of the most legendary Brewers games of all time. There have been games with bigger stakes on the line in Milwaukee Brewers history than a seemingly inconsequential regular-season match-up in mid-April.This is a franchise, after all, that has made the playoffs four times and once stood a single victory away from a World Series championship.
But few would argue there is a Brewers game more memorable or important to a city's identity than what took place on April 19, 1987, otherwise known simply as the "Easter Sunday Game."
The story of the Brewers' miraculous 6-4 ninth-inning comeback against the Texas Rangers that day has taken on an almost mythical status in the 25 years since its completion. Rob Deer is still hailed as a hero for his game-tying three-run home run, and so is Dale Sveum for his game-winning two-run shot minutes later.
Milwaukee, of course, would win its 12th consecutive game thanks to those ninth-inning heroics and would go on to tie a major league record one day later with 13 straight victories to start a season.
For members of that Brewers team, the improbable nature of the Easter Sunday victory was one that came to define them as a young group of ballplayers with a never-say-quit attitude. And none of them has forgotten the impact that game had on a team and a city.
It was insanely hot for a game so early in the season, but nobody cared about their impending sunburn and long term risk of skin cancer. It was all worth it.
Milwaukee entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing, 4-1, and appeared on the verge of having their 11 game winning streak snapped.
County Stadium erupted as Rob Deer jacked a three run home run to tie the game. The battle was not yet over. Extra innings seemed inevitable.
Three batters later, the Brewers became an even bigger national story when Sveum belted a two-run homer off Harris that cleared the right-field fence. Sveum, much like Deer only minutes earlier, was greeted at home plate by a sea of giddy teammates — and thousands of adoring fans basking in the glow of an astounding comeback.
The celebration in the clubhouse mirrored the excitement and enthusiasm from fans across Wisconsin.
The victory also sent fans of local George Webb Restaurants into hamburger heaven. When the Brewers won their 12th straight game, the chain announced it would give away free hamburgers and, from April 22-26, handed out 168,194 free burgers — further adding to the lore of one of the most memorable games in Brewers history.
"I still to this day think about that game every Easter Sunday," Plesac said. "Not an Easter has gone by since 1987 that when I get up on Easter Sunday, I don't think of Peter Cottontail or an Easter egg hunt — I think of Dale Sveum and Rob Deer."