The Milwaukee Braves represent an interesting chapter in MLB history. They existed for only 13 seasons before the team moved to Atlanta, but they won two National League pennants and one World Series title in that time. Their departure was a huge blow to Milwaukee, but the city couldn’t really complain since the team had come to Milwaukee from Boston to begin with. Their influence remained, however: When the Brewers volunteered to switch leagues in 1998, one reason was that Milwaukee still had a lot of old N.L. fans.
William Povletich’s new book, Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak, does a great job of telling the team’s story and capturing the interrelationship between the club, the city, and the fans. Seriously, it’s one of the better baseball books I’ve read, and it’s full of great visuals. Here’s a sampling:
• This is supposedly the first team portrait ever taken of the Milwaukee Braves. As the caption notes, some of the players were still wearing their Boston caps.
• Before the Braves arrived, Milwaukee had a minor league team called the Brewers, which had cool ushers’ uniforms.
• Awesome spring training shot here. Note that one of the helmet logos is peeling off.
• Nowadays, reporters spot bottles of andro in players’ lockers. But in 1950s Milwaukee, the lockers were stocked with provisions of another sort.
• Looks like Miller was sponsoring (or at least inspiring) the locker nameplates, too.
• Speaking of beer, I was surprised to learn that Milwaukee fans were allowed to bring their own beer into the stadium. Or at least they were until 1961, when the local county board decided to ban carry-ins. After attendance dropped, the ban was lifted in June of ’62.
• The guy on the left has an interesting glove. Kinda looks like a Rawlings Trap-Eze model with an added strap across the top of the webbing. Never seen that before.
• Until I read this book, I hadn’t been aware that the Braves offered stock to the public (much like the Packers) in 1963.
• The book has a lot of great cartoons and illustrations (that last one shows the fight for the N.L. pennant, natch), many of them by Milwaukee Journal artist Al Rainovic, whose papers are archived at UW-Milwaukee — something for me to investigate on my next trip to the Cream City.
• The Packers played some of their home games in County Stadium, which led to September blackboard messages like this one.
• The book has lots of references to the Braves Booster Club. There’s something about that “in the bag” illo that I like.
• Wish I could’ve had a beer here.
Have I mentioned that I adore Milwaukee?
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