Brewers Fever has captivated much of the state as the team continues its remarkable season tonight in the National League Championship Series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This is just the Brewers’ fifth trip to the postseason since they moved to Milwaukee in 1970. Even fringe Brewers fans know the names of the team’s legends: Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Ganter and Gorman Thomas, to name a few.

But I’m willing to bet most Brewers fans have never heard of Tim Johnson.

For the record, Johnson was a light-hitting utility infielder who played in the 1970s. He’s a career .233 hitter and he never hit a home run in the big leagues. He’s best known for losing his starting shortstop position to a young phenom named Yount.

The reason I bring up Tim Johnson is because he was my mom’s favorite player. Don’t ask me why, because even she could never provide an answer. I’m thinking it’s because the late Catherine “Kay” Kitkowski had a soft spot for the underdog.

My father, the late Leo Kitkowski, also was a Brewers fan, but it was my mother who had every Brewers game on the kitchen radio. It’s probably one reason I became a diehard fan. Back in the ‘70s only a handful of games were televised — and the Brewers weren’t good enough to get on the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek calling the action.

I grew up listening to the great Bob Uecker. It amazes me that nearly 50 years after I listened to my first Brewers game, Uecker is still on the radio. It sure was fun to watch him dancing and getting soaked with beer and champagne during the celebrations in the clubhouse these past couple of weeks.

One national radio host asked him how he felt about the celebrations. Uecker, 84 years old and still a quick thinker, replied, “That’s nothing, that kind of stuff happens every night at ‘the home’”

The highlight of being a Brewers fan obviously came in 1982 when the team made it to its only World Series. Milwaukee lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3. The Brewers led in five of the seven games, but Fingers, the star closer, was sidelined with a muscle tear in his pitching arm.

The loss still stings and has led me to despise the Cardinals ever since.

It sure was a thrilling time to be a Brewers fan back in 1982. I was in college and watched most of the games in an Eau Claire, Wis., watering hole. Some of us jammed leafy chewing tobacco into our cheeks, just like Milwaukee manager Harvey Kuehn, who seemed to be spitting every time he was on camera.

Sure it was disgusting. But we were in our early 20s and our team was playing in the World Series.

Now, more than 35 years later, it again is a thrilling time to be a Brewers fan. Can Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun and that great bullpen carry Milwaukee to the World Series? Only time will tell.

I know Catherine Kitkowski wouldn’t bet against them — even if they don’t have a shortstop named Tim Johnson.