His combination of athleticism and competitiveness serves him in other pursuits. Skiing? Says Sam Suplizio, a Brewers scout who lives in Grand Junction, Colo., "Watching Robin ski is like watching the pro slalom on television." Golf? Last summer Yount played Pebble Beach in two over par—no great surprise considering that his friends say he would be a scratch golfer if he played regularly.
Before he hits a golf shot, Yount stands back and, out loud, weighs the factors that could affect it—the wind, the club, the lie. However, once he has synthesized all the information, he walks up to the ball and whacks it without hesitation. "I believe in reducing everything to its simplest state," he says. "In baseball, I spend my time figuring out what I want to do at the plate before I come out of the dugout. When I get into the box, I want to concentrate on one thing: see the ball, hit the ball. I don't want anything else in there. You can't be up there thinking, I've got to get a hit. Being prepared frees your mind from all outside thoughts. If I'm blessed in any way, it's with concentration. I can blot things out and tunnel my focus. To me, concentration is the one skill that ties together every sport—golf, baseball, racing. You know how people get hurt on motorcycles or in race cars or in baseball? They don't concentrate."
In September 1982, the Brewers were fighting for their first division championship—or, more accurately, were staggering to the finish line. With ace reliever Rollie Fingers disabled and ace starter Pete Vuckovich bothered by a shoulder injury, Milwaukee's lead in the American League East had dwindled to three games over the Baltimore Orioles entering the final series of the regular season—a four-game set in Baltimore. The Birds won the first three games to tie for the division lead, and on the final day, Jim Palmer was their starting pitcher. In the top of the first, Yount hit a home run to right center to give the Brewers the lead. He hit another homer in the third, and Milwaukee won the division. In the World Series, which the St. Louis Cardinals won in seven games, Yount batted .414.
"That race, the playoffs and the World Series were all that makes playing fun," says Yount. The '82 Brewers were a small-town, closely knit team that had risen together in the standings. "It was a 'we' experience, the way it should be," says Yount. "Nineteen eighty-two was the best time I've ever had in baseball."
The last couple of seasons have not been fun for Yount. "At the end of the  season I was disappointed in the way we'd handled the last three years," he says. "It was an emotional thing—this wasn't the type of team I've been used to playing for my whole career."
Whereas the Brewers were once like a bunch of old high school buddies—Vuckovich, Gantner, Stormin' Gorman Thomas, Jim Slaton, Charlie Moore, all pedal-to-the-metal characters—the Brewers of 1988 and '89 were an enigmatic mixture of pitchers who blamed catchers, relievers who computed their earned run averages in the clubhouse, rookies who criticized the manager, and youngsters who demanded trades. "It drove Robin crazy that guys didn't care about winning, first and foremost," says Gantner.
Says Yount, "I've tried to be more of a vocal leader. But I find it hard to tell someone else how to live his life. I tried talking to some kids, but who am I to presume that I know better. If they want help, fine. Maybe I'm not helping the club enough that way."
"Baloney," says Surhoff. "The game is doing, not talking. Robin's the greatest leader there is. Someday some of the guys will wake up and realize that they played with the perfect baseball player—the ultimate warrior—and didn't appreciate it."
Unhappy with the state of the Brewers, Yount did some hard thinking in the off-season. "I had the chance to be a free agent," .he says, "and I weighed several questions, like: How many changes need to be made [for Milwaukee to win the pennant], and can we make them while I can still play? I'm forever asked about goals. Like Rose's hit record—I don't even know what it is. I have only one goal: a World Series ring. I really want to get back to the World Series and experience at least one more season the way baseball should be experienced."
Yount declared his free agency last November. His first choice was the California Angels—because his good friend McClure plays for them, because he liked what he had heard about Doug Rader as a manager and because he likes California. The Kansas City Royals were also high on his list. "When I was 21 or 22, there were rumors that I'd be traded to Kansas City," he says, "and I always liked the city and the atmosphere around the club." He talked with the Toronto Blue Jays. Says a friend, "If it had been Robin's decision, he'd have gone to the Angels." The decision, however, was not entirely Robin's; it was something of a family affair.