Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh! You Brewers!

This stunning pennant, made in 1913 to commemorate the Brewers' first pennant-winning season, comes to us from a recent MEARS auction. Those 1913 Brewers were a powerhouse club, winning 100 games in a particularly strong American Association.

They were led by skipper/third baseman Harry "Pep" Clark (right). Clark had been a fixture with the Brews as a third-sacker since 1904 (following his only major league appearance, a cup of coffee with the '03 White Sox). In 1913, team owner Agnes Havenor added "field general" to his duties, elevating him to the managerial spot vacated by her firing of skipper and local favorite Hugh Duffy.

Clark proved equally capably in both roles, hitting .286 with 159 hits, placing him at among the club's top batsmen, and guiding his club to a 100-67 mark.

The Brewers would cap off their 1913 campaign by beating the Denver Grizzlies in a post-season series to become the champions of Minor League ball.

The pennant itself has faded somewhat, as they often do. The reverse side gives us a better sense of its original navy-and-gold color scheme.

"Oh, You Brewers!" was a phrase associated with the 1913 club, as seen in this picture of the post-championship parade, which met the victorious players at the train station and wound its way across the Cream City.

Milwaukee welcomes home their champion Brewers
(Collection of Paul Tenpenny)

The sign on the far left, held aloft to the players as the parade streams by, shows us the signature phrase:

The New York Times reported on the festivities:
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Sept 30.—Milwaukee still is baseball mad, despite the fact that the American Association season closed yesterday. Several thousand "fans" crowded about the Union Station here to-day, and with brass bands and other noise-producing instruments welcomed home the Milwaukee team, winners of the association pennant, and incidentally the first pennant ever won by a Milwaukee team.

The players were escorted to automobiles which led a parade about the downtown districts. A big banquet in honor of the team will be held Thursday night, and seats for the function are selling at a premium. Theatre parties and receptions have been planned, and record-breaking crowds are expected to attend exhibition games to-morrow and Thursday with the Chicago Americans and Pittsburgh Nationals.
It's possible that this very pennant was proudly waved along the parade route, one more link between "baseball-mad" Milwaukee fans and the Brewers they loved.

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