Looking at the composition of the 1976 A & P Brewers set, you might get the idea that the grocery chain had some sort of inside information on the future of the team … or maybe they just had trouble deciding.

After all …

As the Brew Crew rolled into a new season, they were faced with a few realities:

  • Their top draw was a legend, but one who was at the end of the line and who had made almost all his hay with another franchise (Hank Aaron).
  • The Brewers had a 20-year-old holding down shortstop, a scary proposition considering nobody really knew who Robin Yount was yet.
  • None of their rotation members had been above league average in 1975.
  • They were once the Seattle Pilots, and not all that long ago.
  • Add it all up, and the Brewers were a bad team (68-94 in 1975).

They proved that last point again in 1976, going 66-95.

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As Hank Aaron’s final season unfolded, though, Brewers fans could at least look forward to a few more home runs from one from one of the greats of the game, and, thanks to A & P, they could also look forward to some cardboard commemoration of the whole thing.

In particular, A & P whipped together a 16-card set of Brewers and issued them in four-player swaths during the summer to customers to bought weekly specials.

Actually, only 15 Brewers made the cut, because one of those cards was reserved for County Stadium itself. (A parallel Royals set used all 16 spots for players.)

Among the luminaries in the Brewers set of oversize paper-stock “cards” were Aaron, Yount, slugger George Scott, pitcher Pete Broberg, and catcher Darrell Porter.

Oh … and Porter’s backup, Charlie Moore, who had hit .290 in 1975 but would fall off to .191 in 1976.

So, why would A & P include a backup backstop in a set with a limited checklist?

Well, for one thing, Moore was sort of a utility dude, also seeing time in left field.

But maybe more significant is what happened after the season — the Brewers traded Porter to the Royals, opening up the starting job for Moore. He grabbed the opportunity and held on for most of four seasons, eventually logging 14 campaigns with Milwaukee and picking up more than 1000 hits.

So, did A & P know what was coming?

Hard to say, but the now-defunct chain at least left behind a tangible reminder of a time when the Brewers were still figuring out what they had in Yount and how to draw fans once Hammer retired.