By Kris Leonhardt
KEWAUNEE COUNTY – Jerry Augustine is on a limited list of athletes who played with one Major League Baseball (MLB) their entire career — a list that includes fellow Milwaukee Brewers, Robin Yount, Jim Gantner and Ryan Braun, among others.
The left-hand pitcher spent 10 seasons on the Brewers roster from 1975 to 1984 before taking his seat in Brewers folklore.
His staying power — deep Wisconsin roots.
Jerry “Auggie” was born in Kewaunee in 1952 and spent the majority of his time with his maternal grandparents during the early years of his youth.
“My grandma and grandpa owned a bar downtown called the Harbor Inn, and I probably spent the first five years of my life there. I lived with grandpa and grandma because we had other kids in the family and my mom and dad, bought a duplex-type home up on 701 First Street,” Augustine recalled.
“I was with my grandpa or grandma almost all the time. The town of Kewaunee was 1,900 people, and my grandpa actually had a taxi service. So, I would go out with him, and he would let me do the money and the change and all that stuff. So, I grew up and it was kind of an interesting way to be raised, but my grandma and grandpa were lovely, lovely people, awesome people, and my mom helped them out. And then after a few years went by, as I grew older I went up and I lived at home on First Street where we lived in Kewaunee.”
Jerry was one of nine kids belonging to the Donald and Elerene Augustine household, which included five younger brothers and a younger sister — Dale, David, Susan, Joe, Mark and Randy.
“I actually have two older half-brothers Donny and Orvy, they are special, special people. I mean, if it wouldn’t be for Donny and Orvy, I don’t know if I’d ever played baseball; because my dad had hurt his shoulder and he couldn’t play catch with me, but he bought me a glove to throw right-handed and I would throw with him. He’d play catch with me a little and he would go, ‘Oh, boy, what did I get myself into here?’ But, one day Orvy and Donny, my two older half-brothers, showed up, and they watched me throw, and Orvy went into his car and got his glove — which he was left-handed — and gave it to me. And then, I remember playing catch with my dad and he said, after about a week of playing catch with me when I threw left-handed and he said, ‘I can’t even handle you.’
“So, it was Donny and Orvy who really got me started.”
Next week: Taking it to college