I wanted to share a little memory my dad told me before he passed away. He lived on 10th and Locust, just a block or two from Borchert Field. This was from around the early 1930s or so.
He used to watch the game through the knot holes, but when fans came to park their cars there, as a little kid, he would say "Hey mister, I'll watch your car for a nickel." They would say sure and give him a nickel. He kept doing this to car after car until he came up with enough money to buy himself a ticket to the game.
On a side note, my grandmother (dad's mom) was an entertainer at a roadhouse in Milwaukee during the 1920s. It was a well known roadhouse where celebrities, sports figures and various well-known people of the time went. Grandma became friends with many "regulars" there including Babe Ruth.I'm so glad you did, Sue. Thank you.
She became good friends with Babe, enough to call him by his name "Herman", which he preferred as he did not like his first name. When Babe was in the area for a game, he would golf at Bluemound Country Club during the day, and at night he would come into the roadhouse with his golfing attire on. I asked grandma if she got his autograph and she indignantly said "Friends don't ask friends for autographs."
Grandma had many nice things to say about Babe, including that he was "a real big tipper" and a really happy, personable guy who enjoyed to eat and drink. And "when Al Capone came in there with his people, if he asks you to dance, you dance."
I know it's short, but it's a memory that I wanted to contribute.
Personal stories like these bring real human life to a field of study quick to sink into sepia-toned photographs and dry statistics. In our detail obsession, it's easy to lose sight of the men who actually played the game, and the men, women, and especially children who loved it.
Inspired by Sue's contribution, I've started a new tag – "PERSONAL REMEMBRANCES" – to catalog stories like hers. If you have a memory surrounding Borchert Field that you'd like to share, drop me a line. We'd love to hear from you.