Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do the Wave

This photo, part of a 1936 pennant-winning season retrospective, is of Milwaukee catcher Bill Brenzel, bought from the Cleveland Indians for $6,000 before the 1936 season. It's notable for the logo on his cap - neither the squat athletic block "M" the team wore for decades, nor the slender sans-serif version from the 1940s nor the bold monogram later adopted by the Milwaukee Braves and major league Brewers, this cap logo is different. It's fancier, more stylized. Paul Tenpenny calls it the "wavy M".

The photo was most likely taken in Spring Training, as the cap was not worn during the 1936 season proper. It had been worn in rotation with an outlined block M in 1935 (alternate jerseys and caps are often thought of as a modern invention, but the Brewers occasionally wore two sets going in the 1930s and 1940s), but by 1936 both caps were replaced by a simple red block M on a navy cap.

It was not uncommon for Brewers players to wear the past season's uniform in spring - in this example from April 1935, the Brews didn't even get their new home uniforms until after the season had started (but before their home opener, fortunately):

On the left of the Journal photo we see Ted Gullic, Brewers mainstay from 1931 through 1942, modelling the same distinct cap. The wavy M never caught on, on the jerseys or the caps, and was soon replaced with the block "M" that would continue to define the Brews (not to mention their successors).

The cap bears a distinct resemblance to this 1946 Montréal Royals cap from Ebbets Field Flannels:

I can't quite tell what color the button is on the Brewers version. I'll keep looking for photos, and post an update when I find out.

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