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Relocated MLB Teams: The Milwaukee Brewers (1902)

The Milwaukee Brewers were a minor league baseball team who were part of the American Association from 1902 to 1952. The Brewers came into existence in 1902 following the relocation of the Brewers of the American League to St. Louis to become the St. Louis Browns. The ‘Brewers’ nickname was a mainstay of teams in the Milwaukee, with the first dating back to the 1880s. The Brewers were based at the Borchert Field (known until 1928 as the Athletic Park). The team wore a red and navy blue home strip with a logo of a beer barrel man to celebrate Milwaukee’s heritage as a beer producing city.

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The Brewers were one of the most successful teams in the American Association. During their 50-year stint, they won the American Association pennant eight times. They had to wait till 1913 for their first triumph but they repeated the win in 1914. They would then wait over 20 years before lifting the 1936 pennant. Their best period came between 1943 and 1945 when they lifted three consecutive pennants. After that they won two more pennants in 1951 and 1952. They also won the Junior World Series in 1936, 1947 and 1951.

in 1941, Bill Veeck and Charlie Grimm acquired the Brewers and immediately set out on a campaign to make the team more successful and popular. Veeck, ever the showman came up with creative promotional gimmicks that were as much a part of the team’s attraction as the play. Veeck would give away live pets to fans, stage weddings on home plate and schedule morning games for night shift workers in the war. In 1943, Charlie Grimm, who had taken up the role of team coach kept asking Veeck to purchase a left handed pitcher as there was a shortness of supply at the Brewers. During Grimm’s birthday, Veeck organized for a surprise in form of a left handed pitcher to be introduced to the crowd. Julio Acosta had been secretly signed from the Piedmont League’s Richmond and was wheeled onto home plate inside a large cardboard cake before popping out to the delight of coaching staff and fans alike. Being Cuban, Acosta was not required to draft for the military. Acosta, who had been nicknamed the “Cuban Showboat”, went 3-1 in the rest of 1943 and 13-10 in 1944, pitching in the pennant-clinching games in both seasons. Veeck also had a movable fence erected at the Borchert Field so that the field of play could be adjusted depending on the quality of opposing hitters they were facing in each game. When playing against lively opponents he would instruct the groundskeepers to flood the infield so as to give his team an advantage. The Brewers enjoyed immense success during Veeck’s ownership stint, winning three pennants in five years. In 1945 he sold his shares in the team, making $275,000 in profit.

Why Were The Milwaukee Brewers Relocated?

Although the brewers were very successful, the city had long desired to host a major league team and many major league teams looked on Milwaukee as a promising home. Veeck even tried to return the St. Louis Browns to Milwaukee in 1952, but the league owners denied his request. That same year, the city of Milwaukee completed the construction of a new ballpark, the Milwaukee County Stadium, hoping to land a major league club. In the meantime, the Brewers were to move in but the Boston Braves, owned by Lou Perini moved to Milwaukee and occupied the new stadium. Aware that competition for fans would only intensify following this move, the Brewers packed up and left for Toledo, Ohio, becoming the next version of the Toledo Mud Hens. They carried on with their impressive form, winning the American Association pennant during their very first season in Ohio. The Braves would then move to Atlanta in 1966 prompting local businessman Bud Selig who partly owned the Braves to lobby the league for a new major league team. In 1970, he bought the Seattle Pilots and relocated them to Milwaukee, where they became the next incarnation of the Milwaukee Brewers. They took up the Brewers’ history and continued with the Beer Barrel Man logo until 1978.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Notable Players

Ed Walsh P

Bill Bruton OF

Johnny Logan SS

Eddie Mathews 3B

Bill Herring P

Joe Hauser 1B

Stoney McGlynn RHP

Gene Conley RHP

Claude Elliott RHP

Jack Dittmer 2B

Newt Randall OF

Don Liddle LHP

Floyd Speer P

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