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Jim Gantner

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James Elmer Gantner

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Jim Gantner had a 17-year career in the major leagues, primarily as a second baseman, with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was part of the Brew Crew that went to the 1982 World Series. He hit .333 in the Series, batting eighth in the order.

Gantner is the most prominent major league player to come out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which also has sent Jarrod Washburn and Gary Varsho to the majors.

Gantner, nicknamed "Gumby" for his running style, was drafted in the 12th round in the 1974 amateur draft by the Brewers and went to the Newark Co-Pilots of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .305/~.469/.446. The next season, with the AA Thetford Mines Miners of the Eastern League, he posted .257/~.333/.373 batting line. Staying in the Eastern League in 1976, this time with Berkshire, he hit .293/~.405/.395. He came up with the Brewers for 26 games that season. In 1977, he spent most of the season with the AAA Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League, putting up numbers of .281/~.359/.447.

As a rookie, Gantner's teammates included 42-year-old Hank Aaron and 20-year-old Robin Yount. Yount would play with Gantner on the same team from 1976 to 1992. In Gantner's last year, among the youngest players getting a cup of coffee on the team that year was 22-year-old Jose Valentin.

In 1979, Gantner made an appearance as a pitcher. He replaced third baseman Sal Bando in a blowout loss to the Kansas City Royals. On June 23, 1980, he hit his first major league grand slam. In 1987, he had four game-winning RBI.

Although he never hit .300, Gantner hit over .280 seven times. As a player in his mid-30's, he twice stole 20 bases in a year, although he had previously stolen no more than 13. Never much of a power hitter, his peak year was in 1983, when he had 11 home runs and 8 triples.

Based on the similarity scores method, the most similar players to Gantner are Cookie Rojas and Manny Trillo.

After his career, Gantner ran the River Coffee House, and Hale Park Automotive Services, both in the Milwaukee area, and worked with the Brewers as a coach; he was the team's first-base coach in 1996-1997. In October 2006, the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the college-age Northwoods League announced Gantner would be their field manager for 2007, his first managerial job.

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