StaTuesday: Walk-off winners at Miller Park

The Milwaukee Brewers‘ first game at Miller Park was April 6, 2001.

Just over a month later, on May 12, the Brewers’ got their first walk-off hit in their new park when Jeromy Burnitz’s single in the 12th inning scored Tyler Houston from second place to give Milwaukee a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh.

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There have been 107 more walk-off winners at Miller Park since, including two last week — both in 5-4 victories.

Ryan Braun capped a comeback win on April 3 over St. Louis with a two-out home run, while Orlando Arcia beat the Cubs with a one-out RBI single, both hits coming in the bottom of the ninth inning.

That last fact is rare, but it isn’t that common either. Of the 108 walk-offs in Miller Park history, nearly half — 47 — have occurred in extra innings, including four last season. Milwaukee had a Miller Park record six game-winners in extras in 2008, including two via a home run.

Braun’s winner on April 3 was the 33rd walk-off home run for the Brewers at Miller Park and Braun’s fourth (but first since 2011), tying him with Prince Fielder for the most in the Miller Park era.

Richie Sexson had the first walk-off home run at the park. Bill Hall’s Mother Day homer with a pink bat might be the most memorable. Although Caleb Gindl certainly remembers his — his 13th-inning winner was the first home run of his career.

Here’s the complete list of walk-off HRs at Miller Park (note: no pitcher has allowed more than one):

Richie Sexson 9/1/2001 Astros Michael Jackson 4-3
Eddie Perez 5/17/2003 Reds Scott Williamson 8-6
John Vander Wal 5/20/2003 Padres Matt Herges 8-7
Bill Hall 4/27/2004 Reds Danny Graves 9-8
Wes Helms 5/11/2004 Expos T.J. Tucker 8-5
Prince Fielder 8/31/2005 Pirates Jose Mesa 6-5
Bill Hall 5/14/2006 Mets Chad Bradford 5-4
Bill Hall 6/8/2006 Padres Scott Cassidy 4-3
Carlos Lee 6/18/2006 Indians Rafael Betancourt 6-3
Geoff Jenkins 9/20/2006 Cardinals Tyler Johnson 1-0
Damian Miller 6/27/2007 Astros Dave Borkowski 6-3
Geoff Jenkins 7/31/2007 Mets Aaron Sele 4-2
Gabe Kapler 8/10/2008 Nationals Luis Ayala 5-4
Prince Fielder 9/23/2008 Pirates T.J. Beam 7-5
Corey Hart 9/25/2008 Pirates Octavio Dotel 6-5
Ryan Braun 9/25/2008 Pirates Jesse Chavez 5-1
Prince Fielder 9/6/2009 Giants Merkin Valdez 2-1
Ryan Braun 9/26/2009 Phillies Tyler Walker 7-5
Casey McGehee 4/11/2010 Cardinals Kyle McClellan 8-7
Corey Hart 5/28/2010 Mets Ryota Igarashi 2-0
Prince Fielder 5/20/2011 Rockies Felipe Paulino 7-6
Ryan Braun 9/13/2011 Rockies Matt Lindstrom 2-1
Nori Aoki 6/7/2012 Cubs Casey Coleman 4-3
Aramis Ramirez 7/3/2012 Marlins Heath Bell 13-12
Corey Hart 9/1/2012 Pirates Joel Hanrahan 3-2
Caleb Gindl 7/21/2013 Marlins Ryan Webb 1-0
Jonathan Lucroy 8/16/2013 Reds Aroldis Chapman 7-6
Sean Halton 9/15/2013 Reds Zach Duke 6-5
Jonathan Lucroy 7/22/2014 Reds Sam LeCure 4-3
Martin Maldonado 5/31/2015 Dbacks Vidal Nuno 7-6
Eric Thames 6/16/2017 Padres Ryan Butcher 6-5
Travis Shaw 9/23/2017 Cubs Wade Davis 4-3
Ryan Braun 4/3/2018 Cardinals Dominic Leone 5-4

The Brewers’ two walk-offs in April are already more than the team had in all of 2016. However, this year’s group has a ways to go to catch the Miller Park record for walk-offs — 12 in 2006.

2001 5
2002 2
2003 7
2004 6
2005 8
2006 12
2007 4
2008 11
2009 5
2010 10
2011 8
2012 7
2013 8
2014 6
2015 2
2016 1
2017 4
2018 2

In case you’re wondering, the Brewers never reached double-digits in walk-off winners at County Stadium. The most was nine in the final year of the park, in 2000 (the 1982 team had all of one — a Sept. 20 4-3 win over Boston via a Gorman Thomas sacrifice fly).

There were 20 walk-off homers at County Stadium, from Ted Savage’s on July 7, 1970 to Jose Hernandez on May 22, 2000. The other thing these two bookend homers had in common? They both occurred in the first game of a doubleheader.

Perhaps to no surprise, Robin Yount had the most game-winning homers — three — while Hank Aaron hit his penultimate home run, No. 754, in the 10th inning to beat Texas on July 11, 1976.

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns