Sunday, January 29, 2012

1914 Score Card

From the archives comes this score card, sold at Athletic Park during the 1914 season (only 5¢ — some things never change).

The Brewers didn't miss an opportunity to sell ad space, beginning with the cover.

The inside front cover features a photo of an unidentified Brewer in his team cardigan (and just look at that little glove!):

There's a great deal more of interest on these pages, from the dentist's ad offering gold crowns for three bucks to the veterinarian's horse-drawn "canine ambulance".

Next up, a photo of the 1914 Brewers in their best suits, and stats from the 1913 World Series, starting with the victorious Philadelphia Athletics.

Next up, the Fall Classic stats from the National League representative, the New York Giants, as well as a look ahead to the Brews' Sunday and Holiday games:

The following page holds the entire 1914 home schedule and a guide to calculating batting average, fielding average, standing of clubs and the base running record.

Of course, a score card needs a place to keep score, and here is the line for the visiting Indianapolis Indians.

The center of the score card holds the hometown Brewers lineup:

Harry "Pep" Clark was the Brewers' player/manager. He started in Milwaukee as a third baseman in 1904, adding the managerial duties in 1913. He led the Brewers to their first two pennants, managing the club through the 1916 season. Clark returned for two additional seasons as manager and pinch-hitter in 1922 and 1923, making him a fixture at Athletic Park.

On the other hand, we have left-fielder Happy Felsch, batting fifth. Felsch's stop in the minors was a very brief one. He came to Milwaukee already known for his home runs. Signed near the end of the 1913 season from a local semi-pro team, Felsch played for the Brews in 1914 before being sent to the White Sox. He was an integral part of the South Siders' powerful battery until he got caught up in the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal and found himself out of organized baseball for good.

The following page lists the team's road games under the rather whimsical heading "Milwaukee Abroad". This was long before radio broadcasts of games, so Brewer fans wanting to follow their team's progress on these road trips would have to rely chiefly on newspapers and that uniquely Milwaukee institution, the tavern card.

Almost every page has stats of some kind, including these top American Association batting and fielding averages from 1913.

The score card's publisher, Henry Sperber, is an important (if largely forgotten) figure in the ballpark's history. He worked at Athletic Park year-round. In the winter, the field was flooded and frozen into an ice skating rink, which he managed. During baseball and football seasons, Sperber ran the concessions.

Sperber also ran the Athletic Field bar located under the grandstand behind home plate, dispensing weiss beer and hard liquor to thirsty baseball fans. The bar had two rows of stools and a view of the field so fans could watch all the action without getting up from their whisky.

The inside back cover has a full season schedule for all eight American Association franchises.

And on the back, a pair of beer ads ("Call for Schlitz in brown bottles", "Drink Miller's High Life, sold on the grounds") and our only political ad.

William J. Cary was a longtime public servant in and for Milwaukee. He was an alderman from 1900 through 1904 before becoming Milwaukee County Sheriff for two years. He was elected to Congress in 1906, and served for six terms before losing his final re-election campaign in 1918. Returning to Milwaukee, he served as county clerk of Milwaukee County from 1921 through 1933, passing away two years after leaving that job.

And there you have it, a cover-to-cover look at the 1914 Milwaukee Brewers. They were the reigning American Association champions, having won their first pennant in 1913, and were on their way to repeating. They finished the season 98-68, a solid four games ahead of the Louisville Colonels.

I'd like to spotlight the two Brewer photos, beginning with the complete team:

Sadly, the Brewers' goat mascot Fatima didn't make the studio photo.

The second photo is our unidentified sweater-wearer from the inside front cover.

I think this is Pep Clark himself.

If so, that might explain why the publisher didn't feel the need to identify him, as Clark (then in his eleventh season wearing a Brewer uniform) was well-known to the Athletic Park faithful. Compare that photo with this 1909 photo of Clark at right, in an equally snazzy team sweater. Pity we can't see if the 1914 light-colored version also bears a Brewer logo.

When compared side-by-side, these photos seem to confirm my suspicion that our mystery player is the Brews' skipper.

Pointed chin and nose, strong cheekbones. Looks like the same guy to me.


  1. Fabulous job on this. Imagine that, a page by page treatment of an old baseball scorecard. Doesn't get much better than that, esp. when it comes from the good ol' Milwaukee Brewers, the fightenist clan of base ballers ever known to pitch nine in the Cream City, I'd say!

  2. Glad you like it, Rex.

    Have you seen the other score cards I've scanned?

    I eventually hope to get one from every year up on the blog.