Vinny Rottino, a 27-year-old Brewers utilityman and a fan favorite, despite only one hit in seven at bats through Sunday after a Sept. 1 call-up.
This is an article from the Oct. 1, 2007 issue
WHY THEY LOVE HIM
He's from nearby Racine, Wis. "I used to take him to County Stadium when he was two years old," says Rottino's father, Tony, a high school psychologist. "He'd just roll around in the bleachers."
HOW THEY LOVE HIM
At his first game Rottino attracted scores of fans who waved banners, screamed wildly and spelled out his first name, letter by letter on T-shirts. Says Rottino, "It gave me goose bumps."
HIS FIRST 15 MINUTES
In 1997 Rottino landed on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports section. He and a friend were in the nearly deserted leftfield bleachers at County Stadium when Rottino scrambled to grab a controversial Mo Vaughn home run ball. "It was questionable fair or foul," says Rottino, who thought it was foul. "I grabbed the ball and threw it back. The next day there's a picture of me holding the ball, and Gerald Williams, the leftfielder, is pointing at me." A blown-up print of the photo hangs in his parents' den.
The 6-foot 195-pounder was a Division III All-America at Wisconsin--La Crosse, where he holds five school records, including hits (80) and home runs (15) in a season. Rottino went undrafted but latched on as a free agent with the Brewers and was their 2004 minor league player of the year. A career .303 hitter in the minors, he helped beat the Astros on Sept. 5 with a two-run double.
Though he's versatile—he has played catcher, all infield positions and the outfield—don't expect to see him on the roster should the Brewers get to the playoffs. Not that Rottino's complaining. After all, he says, "I'm living the dream."
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