Captain Earnell Lucas to Run for Milwaukee
Following Fate to Service to the
Office and recommended Earnell as a replacement. MLB liked his background and contracted with him. So he went to spring training with the
team and began attending 30-35 games each season. He met with the players, spent time in the dugout and locker room before games, and got
to know Bud Selig who was by then Commissioner of all of MLB, but still a fervent Brewers fan. Capt. Lucas still had his full-time job and as
fate would have it he headed up the Third District which included Miller Park where the Brewers play, Jake’s Deli where Bud Selig occasionally
takes lunch (and has a part ownership), and the neighborhood where Selig grew up. This gave him additional opportunities to impress his future
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, MLB decided to provide full-time security for its commissioner. Capt. Lucas was selected by
MLB after a national search. And this is where more fate came along. The police union had just settled extensive litigation against the city of
Milwaukee in a way that allowed Lucas to retire after 25 years on the job, a point he reached on October 11, 2001. So a national tragedy and a
lawsuit settlement allowed Lucas to give up the title of captain in January 2002, and take over security for the commissioner of MLB.
First day on the new job. Earnell enters the Commissioner’s suite of offices on the 30th floor of the US Bank Building overlooking Lake
Michigan. He’s got a large, wood-paneled office overlooking the lake and city. Before he can fully take it in, he hears Selig yell out to his
assistant, “Tell that new guy we’re going to New York.” New York is where all the rest of MLB’s offices are. Earnell says to the assistant, “But I
don’t have a ticket.” She says back, “Kid, you’ve got a lot to learn about this job.” They get in a car and drive to Mitchell Field where a private
jet is waiting. A couple of hours later he’s in an office building looking out at the Empire State Building. He calls his wife to tell her he’s in New
York. “But you don’t have a ticket,” she tells him. Thus began six years of travels with Bud Selig to cities all over the United States and other
countries as well. Fortunately for Earnell, one of Selig’s mottos was “There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed at night,” so many of the
trips had same-day returns.
Lucas had to employ his security skills in his hometown a bit later in 2002. In July of that year, the All-Star Game was played in two-year old
Miller Park. All the dignitaries in the commissioner’s party visiting town were kept safe under Earnell’s watch and things proceeded
seamlessly until the game went into extra innings. When the teams ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning, an announcement was made that if no
runs were scored that inning, the game would end in a tie — a total no-no for baseball. Debris was thrown on the field and fans yelled stuff like
“Let them play” and “refund.” Sure enough the game ended in a tie which led to more debris and yelling. Selig wanted to exit along with the
crowd but Earnell would have nothing of it and guided him into the shelter of the dugout. The next morning Selig held court in his office with a
number of national sports reporters and shrugged off the result of the game. “Calling the game last night was nothing compared to calling off the
1994 World Series [when the players were on strike].”
In 2006, the vice-president of security and facility management of MLB wanted Lucas to move to New York and take over a new position
overseeing emergency operations. But Selig could not part with his security man, at least not at that time. Then in 2008, another promotion
loomed, to become vice-president of security and facility management. This time Selig had to say yes and Lucas and his wife, Linda, moved to
the Big Apple. One of his proudest moments in that position was handling security, along with the Secret Service, for the All-Star Game in St.
Louis in 2009. He had to make sure things went smoothly for Fan Number 1, President Obama. It required a great deal of advance preparation
and coordination of nearly 50 different units of law enforcement. In 2011, another opportunity came along. Living in New York had separated him
from family and he was looking for a way to stay with MLB while living in Milwaukee. MLB combined a couple of functions and made Lucas
vice-president of educational programing and special investigations, a title later changed to chief liaison of security and investigation. This
gave him responsibility for security issues and sensitive investigations for 160 minor league baseball clubs as well as educational programs
for the major league clubs.
Lucas learned a lot from watching Bud Selig, who entered the baseball Hall of Fame on July 30th. “He doesn’t put on airs, doesn’t need a limo.
He is a very disciplined, consistent person, a man of integrity, someone we all can learn from. He responds to every phone call and every letter
he receives. And he is very passionate about baseball.”
Early in life, it looked for a while that Lucas would become a cook, not a cop.
He was raised in a single-parent household, first in the Hillside housing development in Milwaukee (home once also to Downtown Freddy
Brown of the NBA and singer Al Jarreau) and later at a number of addresses on the North Side. His mother worked at a nursing home to support
Lucas and his two older brothers. He remembers walking her to and from the bus stop where she caught the bus to work. His life took quite a
turn, though, in 1969, when his mother passed away unexpectedly. Three boys faced homelessness. From Jasper, Alabama came salvation.
His grandmother — Miss Mandy to most, Granny to him — sold her house there and moved to Milwaukee to care for the boys. “She figured it
was easier for her to come to the city than to take us to the country.” Out of negative came positive.
Next Issue: Experience in law enforcement and running for sheriff
Part 1 of 2
By James A. Gramling Jr.
I call Earnell Lucas “Captain.” It’s a title he earned on the Milwaukee Police Department when I knew him last. I’
d likely call Barack Obama “Mr. President” if I ever met him and Jim Doyle “Governor.” Titles endure. But
Earnell earned some new ones after he retired in 2002, and he’d like to add one more: “Sheriff.” But more about
Earnell Lucas has asked himself this question many times: “How on earth could a young kid from Milwaukee
who worked in the trenches in the Milwaukee Police Department get a chance to work for the commissioner of
Major League Baseball?” He asked it again when we talked. The answer is familiar to most readers. A lot of
wonderful things happen because of hard work and good luck. It turns out that each one of the 30 Major League
teams has contracts with an active local law enforcement person as a liaison. That officer provides advice and
assistance on a number of levels: helping when a player is stalked or players or umpires are harassed,
advising when a player gets into trouble, keeping the team’s ownership informed about trends in the city related
to gambling, drugs, and cyber crimes — things that could affect a player’s career, on and off the field.
Earnell became Major League Baseball’s liaison to the Brewers in April 1999. He had just been promoted to
police captain the month before. The Brewers’ liaison at that time worked with him in the Public Information