Paul Molitor

A largely unheralded performer, Paul Molitor received due recognition by challenging baseball’s great hitting streaks in 1987. A solidly built righthander with especially strong legs but weak hamstrings, Molitor overcame two trips to the disabled list in 1987 to lead the American League in runs scored (114) and doubles (41) while finishing second in the batting race (.353). His hit streak was the talk of baseball when it ended at 39 games. The Brewers were 76-41 with him in the lineup, 22-23 without.

Molitor was TSN AL Rookie of the Year in 1978, playing shortstop (while Robin Yount was injured) and second base. Voted into the 1980 All-Star Game at second base, Molitor moved to centerfield in 1981, then to right after surgery repaired torn left ankle ligaments. He moved to third base in 1982 and played brilliantly in the regular season, with a league-high and club-record 136 runs scored, and in the postseason, including a World Series-record five hits in one game. Another severe setback was a 1984 elbow injury that required surgery. He was Milwaukee’s Comeback Player of the Year in 1985. The leadoff batter’s prime position since 1982 was third base, but he was also used extensively as a designated hitter, not because of any fielding deficiency but to protect him from injury.