Sunday, July 25, 2010

People Who Made Borchert Field a Special Place, Part III

by Dennis Pajot

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles about the behind-the-scenes people at Borchert Field, the people essential to the team's operations but whose contributions have gone largely unsung. Earlier installments are here and here.

Andrew L. Lehrbaummer wrote a story of his remembrances of Borchert Field for the 1981 Milwaukee Sentinel. Andrew lived up the street at 8th and Locust, and as people parked in front of his house he would ask if he could watch the person's car while that he was in the ball park. After the game little Andrew would get a nickel or a dime. The Borchert Field workers usually allowed the neighborhood kids to came into the park around the 7th or 8th inning, and one Sunday when Andrew went in to watch the last innings, guess who he sat next to? The man recognized him and asked "Aren't you the boy who is supposed to be watching my car?"

Lehrbaummer remembered picking up cushions after games and receiving a handful of peanuts for the service. When a little older he helped in the Refreshment Division, bagging Virginia Goobers in the morning and occasionally hawking them during the game. As a senior in high school, Andrew only had morning classes and could make some money at the ball park in the afternoons. Selling Cherry Blossom, Orange Crush, Green River, cream and white soda (and remember these wooden cases contained glass bottles!) for a dime each, the young man would make 30 cents on each case. However, he supplemented his income by selling the empty cases for 50 or 75 cents to the outfield standees.

Lehrbaummer remembered the other types of vendors at Borchert. The scorecard and cushion sellers made the gbest sales prior to the game. Of course, the beer vendors were popular, beer selling for 20 cents a bottle. But the peanut vendors were the envy of the other sellers. Two of these vendors, Lefty Hummer and Jake Backes, carried 115 bags in the large wicker arm baskets. Some items that disappeared to future generations were Angelus marshmallows and One Eleven or Fatima cigarettes. Borchert Field had refreshment stands where 10-cent hot dogs were sold. Andrew told one hot dog story about Otto Borchert. The Brewer owner would come down from the press box, start to talk, and reach around the counter to take a hot dog from the aluminum container just below the counter. Otto would than dunk the hot dog in the community mustard bowl before enjoying it. (From the Milwaukee Sentinel, April 16, 1981)

Lehrbaummer was another of the unsung heroes of Borchert Field. Hopefully, just like the park itself, we will not forget the people who helped make it an unforgettable place.

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