Friday, October 26, 2012

More on Fatima, Athletic Park’s Most Famous Goat

by Dennis Pajot

As a follow-up to the articles on the Brewers' mascot goat, Fatima, I would like to supply some information on her last(?) season with the Brewers. And some details on a competitor.

(For the original stories on Fatima at, please see: "The Heroes and Their Goat" August 23, 2011; "The Brewers' Goat Had a Name" November 4, 2001; and "All Heroes, No Goats", March 6, 2011)

After the 1914 season Brewer pitcher Ralph Cutting decided to retire. The little lefty spitballer, who had been with the Brewers since 1910, winning 64 games in that span, including 21 in 1913, said he would go into the diary business with a brother at his home in Concord, New Hampshire. Cutting had been sick during the 1914 season, and did not feel up to playing baseball any more. He was quoted in the Milwaukee Sentinel: "My salary whip can work twelve months out of twelve milking cows and it has baseball beaten by a mile. There is nothing to worry about except the milk inspector, and the water supply is plentiful."

One early question after Cutting's retirement was what would become of Fatima, Cutting's pet goat and Brewer mascot. Fatima had been purchased in 1913 by Larry Chappell and Ralph Cutting and immediately became the Brewer mascot. After Chappell left the Brewers in July 1913 she became sole property of Cutting. It was now decided the goat would be allowed to roam Athletic Park under the supervision of the groundskeeper. When the 1915 season opened it was reported Fatima, "fatter and sleeker than ever, was on the job, eating beer labels and peanuts with as much gusto as ever".

Eight thousand Milwaukeeans attended a game at Athletic Park against the Cleveland Spiders on May 23, 1915, not so much to see Brewer pitcher Cy Slapnicka on the mound, but to see Mlle. Bridget Pumpernickel, auditioning for the job of the Brewers new mascot. The bear cub had been captured in the wilds near Rhinelander and Brewer president A. F. Timme purchased the animal from Dave Bell "Toodles" Perk, the "Farwell avenue Hagenbeck". Pitcher Tom Dougherty assumed the right to act as nurse to the newcomer and the big right hander showed his bear training ability by teaching the cub how to execute an artistic somersault. It was reported Mlle. Pumpernickel's debut was a huge success. However, manager Harry Clark, a superstitious man, believed that Fatima was the cause of the team's success. So for the time being, at least, Pumpernickel would have to warm the bench.

It was not exactly clear who (what) was the Brewer mascot at this point in the season. But on occasion the bear was still referred to, so she was at least at the park, as was Fatima. During the first game of the Brewers/Saints double header on June 20, 1915, Fatima made her presence known. The Sentinel reported the game had to be halted for a minute or two as Brewer pitcher Red Shackelford chased the "browser" off the base lines. However, only the day before the Sentinel referred to the bear cub as the mascot. The city had undergone another rainstorm that day and Athletic Park was very soggy. The morning newspaper wrote: "At the suggestion of Tom Dougherty, Mme. Pumpernickel the latest Brewer mascot, is to be canned and a finnan haddie installed in her place. There will be plenty of room in Athletic Park for the fish to enjoy himself." We also find that Mille. Pumpernickel was still with the team on the Fourth of July. The Sentinel told it readers she was out in the center garden, and "grows bigger each week."

Pumpernickel was officially released as the Brewer co-mascot on July 30. Brewer President Timme said he had turned the bear cub to Milwaukee's Washington Park Zoo (the current Zoo wouldn't open until 1958). The Sentinel later reported the bear cub—now called Tim by the newspaper—had started to show evidences of an artistic temperament, and President Timme believed there was enough temperament among his regular baseball players.

There was no record of how Fatima felt about this. We only know that Fatima was still living at the ballpark. Earlier in the month it had been reported she was in the stands with one of the ballplayers' wives while the bear cub paraded in front of the stands for the fans between games of a doubleheader.

The last we hear of Fatima this season was on August 24, when it was said she had a seat in the bleachers during the game with Columbus, a win by the way.

In my research of the 1916 season I do not come across Fatima at all, so I assume she was gone from Athletic Park.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1944 Score Card

Today's Brewer score card is this near-mint gem from 1944:

The cover image is a wonderfully dynamic shot of Owgust climbing the ladder to make a spectacular catch. Pitching, catching, running the bases and playing the field; is there anything our barrel-chested friend can't do?

If the cover graphic looks familiar, it should; it's the same as the pocket schedule we looked at earlier. It would appear that the Brewers adopted a unified design for the 1944 season.

The inside front cover features a full-page ad for Mickey Heath's daily Brewer radio broadcasts.

The Brewers didn't have a contract to broadcast their games live in 1944, but the Brewers found many ways for their fans to follow the club:
  • "Radio flashes" on WEMP announcing the game score every fifteen minutes or between radio programs;
  • A 15-minute highlight program on WISN, Mondays through Saturdays at 5:30;
  • Resconstructed play-by-play of each day's game at 10:00pm that night on WEMP; and
  • Live broadcasts of selected games, or parts of selected games.
Note also the example of Brewers letterhead in the corner, with the running Owgust.

The next page starts to fill in our picture of game day at Borchert Field. Now we know that in 1944, Armour and Company's "Star Frankfurters" were the only hot dogs sold at the Orchard.

And on the right, under a delightful masthead of Owgusts pitching and catching, a message from the club: "Shorty" Mendelson is happy to assist you with season tickets; a pitch for baseball as an integral part of the war effort; and an announcement that morning games, introduced the previous year by team president Bill Veeck to accomodate swing shift factory workers, would come back for another season.

The ads are as fun as always.

Here we come to the real baseball content; ground rules, ballpark measurements and ticket information.

The Orchard had unusual fences, caused by the limitations of its single-block lot: 262 down the left-field fence, 424 to deep left, 395 to straightaway center, 426 to deep right, and 265 to right down the line.

Box seats were $1.40, grandstand tickets .95 and bleachers .50. Kids under 12 (those interested in a better view than the knothole gang provided) could pick up box seats or bleachers for .75 and .30, respectively.

Dick Culler and Tommy Nelson, seen above, were the Brewers' shortstop and second baseman, respectively, and two-thirds of a dynamic double-play combination.

The center page gives us the day's lineups. Note the ad for "Hal Peck Night" on August 9. In a pregame ceremony, Veeck's "good luck charm" was honored with presents (including a baby bath and high chair for his expectant wife) and $330 in war bonds.

There's longtime coach Red Smith, wearing his customary #31. And manager Casey Stengel is wearing former skipper Charlie Grimm's #30. It would appear that Casey did more than merely step into Jolly Cholly's shoes when he took over the club partway through the season, The Perfessor also slid into his jersey.

It's also interesting to see the concession prices; popcorn or Gold Bond coffee for a dime, Snirkles caramel bars for a nickel, cigars for $.11 and .15, and cigarettes for 20 cents.

The next page introduces us to the Steller's Inc. Jewelers "Player of the Week", pitcher Charlie Sproull: young Brewer right hander who has compliled a record of 11 wins against 3 losses, wins this week's award by the Steller's Jewelers as the PLAYER OF THE WEEK. Charlie really "arrived" this year and his great pitching will no doubt be attracting the attention of Major league scouts.
Indeed, Sproull was picked up by the Phillies following the season for a cup of coffee in the majors.

Next up we have two action shots from the basepaths, with Herschel Martin sliding safely into home and big Bill Nagel getting back to first on a pickoff attempt.

The photo of Nagel is a rare look at the number style the Brewers were wearing in 1944. Most of the photos from the period are posed shots or team photos, shot from the front. We don't often get a good look at the back of a uniform.

As we continue, we're greeted with another game shot and another look at the numbers—catcher Jimmy Pruett tagging out a Miller at home plate—and an ad for streamlining ice delivery.

What would a program be without a Lucky Number contest?

Mickey Heath has a strong presence in these programs; here we have a quarter-page ad for his 15-minute game highlight programs over the Brewers' home schedule.

Of the 76 home games, I count seven doubleheaders (all Sunday and holiday games) and six morning games.

The inside back cover is a full-page ad for the Moor Mud Baths of Waukesha, where the Brewers held their Spring Training during the travel-restricted war years. That's Charlie Grimm and Mickey Heath enjoying a quick dip.

Which brings us to the back page, an ad for Miller High Life:

Ah, arguing with the umps. A touchstone of baseball iconography.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"A Bunged and Maimed Ward", 1903

Rex Hamann, editor of The American Association Almanac, sent me this amazing sports page from the St. Paul Globe, published on Sunday, September 13, 1903:

The previous day's game had been rained out, and in the absence of a game report the reporter decided to amuse his readers (and likely himself) with a rather colorful report on the Brewers' mounting injuries.


Game with Brewers Postponed
on Account of Wet


   Played.      Won.     Lost.      P.C. 
St. Paul127 86 41.678
Louisville131 79 52.603
Milwaukee129 73 56.579
Indianapolis131 71 60.541
Kansas City127 63 64.496
Columbus132 56 76.424
Minneapolis129 46 83.357
Toledo132 45 87.341


Indianapolis, 4; Louisville, 2.
Toledo, 7; Columbus, 5.
St. Paul-Milwaukee, rain.
Minneapolis-Kansas City, rain.


     As several of the water-logged clouds implicated in the Friday night flood blew up while floating over our new ball yard, yesterday's battle was called off.

     About two feet of sky juice splashed in over the fence during the night, and, as the strike of the gents who earn an honest living by wiping joints and packing oakum has delayed the carrying out of the architect's original plans, Mr. Donovan bailed all afternoon in an attempt to locate the newly planted sod. Late last night second base was located, and if the sky has been thoroughly wrung out the yard will be open for business again Monday afternoon.

     During the intermission J. Cantillon busied himself oiling up the creaky hinges of his players, and if the sun will only smile today the Havenor remnants will come forth to get it again. Having escaped the daily jolt for twenty-four hours, Mr. Cantillon doesn't care what happens next.

     The Brewers have certainly drawn a run of hard luck. When visiting in these parts some time ago, Mr. Cantillon, in a reckless moment, carelessly displayed the spikes that were to be used in tackling the championship banner to the pole in Mr. Havenor's park. At that time Joseph did not anticipate his position as head nurse in a bunged and maimed ward, and it's hardly fair to rub it in.

     To prove that Mr. Cantillon has been double-crossed by Fate, we print the following few notes from his ward record:

     Jiggs Donahue, Frenchman, age twenty-one, occupation, first disher. Complaint, bum ankle and weak slats, but also a slumping batting average. Improving and batting eye much more keen.

     Larry Schafley, Irishman, aged twenty-two, occupation, infielder. Complaint, hinge of left leg badly bent.

     Roney Viox, German, age forty-five, occupation infielder, when not working in the outield. Complaint, one bunged meat hand and a floating knee that refuses to be anchored. Condition serious.

     Patrick Unglaub, nationality, not given, occupation third sacker, with big league prospects. Complaint, busted hope of finishing with the pennant winners. Still able to play.

     Kid Speer, Dane, age fifty-two, occupation, backstop and chicken farmer. Complaint, unable to bat 450 in the short time left. Patient cheerful.

     Aside from these more serious cases Mr. Cantillon has several other unfortunates in his ward, but space forbids mention. If worst comes to worst in the short time left Joseph stands ready to throw himself into the game and C. Havenor, as a last resort, can be called upon to take care of the outfield.

Not much to add to that, except perhaps to identify some of the participants. "Joseph" and "Mr. Cantillon" is "Pongo Joe" Cantillon, the Brewers' new manager. He had acquired his unusual nickname during his playing career, when a fanciful West Coast sportswriter wrote that the Janesville native was "the son of an Italian nobleman" and his real name was "Pongo Lagazinio Cantillon". The nickname stuck with him through the rest of his baseball career.

John Augustus "Jiggs" Donahue had been a catcher for the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, and moved to St. Louis with the rest of the club. He returned to Milwaukee, in the minors this time, for one season before being sold to the Chicago White Sox in 1904, where he would contribute to their World Championship two years later.

Second baseman Larry Schafley came to the Brewers after a cup of coffee with the Chicago Orphans (now known as the Cubs) in 1902. He played only the single season in Milwaukee before heading out to Oakland to join the Pacific Coast League club.

George "Kid" Speer was a living link to Milwaukee's baseball past. He had been a catcher on the old Western League Brewer club from 1896 through 1899 (the last three years were managed by Connie Mack). Speer spent two years in Buffalo, but when the new Brewer club was formed in 1902, the Kid came back to Milwaukee.

Speer's contemporary, Henry Roney Viox, had also been part of Mack's Brewers. He had played in Milwaukee in 1899 before moving to the Cleveland Lake Shores (now Indians) in 1900. He spent 1902 and the beginning of 1903 bouncing around the American Association's clubs in Toledo, Columbus and Louisville before returning to the Cream City to wind up his six-year career.

Finally we get to the mysterious man without a country. The Globe might have called him "Patrick", but it was Bob Unglaub who had major-league prospects. And did he ever; after a crackerjack 1903 season, plenty of big league clubs showed an interest. The Brewers settled on Boston and had a deal in principle to send him to the American League, but the terms kept shifting—the Brewers were first reportedly to receive $1,000, then two players in a trade, then money again—so much so that the Milwaukee Journal called Unglaub "the human checker" for being pushed across the board so much.

The man doing all that wheeling and dealing was Mister Charles Havenor, the Brewers' founding owner.

Havenor was a former Milwaukee Alderman, representing the 4th Ward. In 1904, he was indicted for soliciting an $200 bribe, part of a wave of anti-corruption that snared over seventy politicians and businessmen. He was convicted, and in March of 1905 sentenced to two years in the Milwaukee House of Correction. Havenor appealed the sentence, and while I haven't been able to conclusively determine the result of that appeal Havenor remained free and continued to own the Brewers until his death on the eve of the 1912 season, when his widow took over the club.

For their own part, these sophomore Brewers managed to put together a very respectable 77-60 record in the 1903 season. Respectable, but still no better than third place, as the American Association clubs finished in the same order as the standings published on that soggy Sunday morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another Beer Here!

Google has posted eight new pictures of Borchert Field in its LIFE Magazine photo archive series on "Beer Drinking". Like the earlier photos, they were taken by Frank Scherschel and are dated July 7, 1949.

Most of the new shots are just slightly different looks, taken a second before or after photos we have seen before (if you haven't seen the earlier photos, you may wish to check them out first), but there are some new gems in this batch. This is the single best resource I've found to date for appreciating what attending a game at Borchert Field was really like in the late 1940s.

First up, we have two more shots of this jolly vendor, selling Miller High Life to thirsty fans sitting along the first baseline.

And two more of his colleagues, joining him in the same section:

You can practically hear the vendors' call.

Then we see this couple again, taking in the ballgame with a pair of cold brews:

Interestingly, based on the High Life label on that bottle, the earlier photo of them was flipped.

Next up are the entirely new views of Borchert Field. From what we can tell, the uncovered stands had metal folding chairs, but patrons in some of the covered sections sat on long benches:

And there were also sections with proper stadium seats.

I love the baseball/bat/glove design on the cast-iron row ends.

I've never seen a shot of those before. Wonder if any of the seats survived the 1952/1953 demolition, and where they might be today?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Sports Highlights with Mickey Heath", 1944

This cardboard poster, measuring 11 x 12¾ inches, advertised the Brewer highlight show hosted by Mickey Heath:

Heath had come to Milwaukee as a first baseman in 1937. In November of 1938, club president Henry Bendinger fired club skipper Alan Sothoron and made Heath a player/manager. Heath wore both caps for a year and a half until he too was relieved of his managerial duties partway through the 1940 season in favor of former Brewer Ray Schalk. Faced with the loss of his managerial cap, Heath chose to hang up his other one, leaving the team altogether on July 27th.

Heath continued to earn a living off the Brews, trading the Orchard's dugout for the broadcast booth as WISN's play-by-play man for the station's game broadcasts.

Heath had a real knack for radio, and continued his broadcasting even after new team president Bill Veeck hired him back as a part-time coach in 1942. When Veeck joined the Marine Corps in late November of 1943, Heath ascended to vice president and added team pitchman to his resume, keeping up his radio work all the while.

Before the 1944 opener, the Brewers announced that for the first time in eighteen seasons, live games would not be carried on the radio. Fans of the Brews would have to content themselves with a 15-minute review of game reviews and highlights Mondays through Saturdays at 5:30 on WISN (courtesy of the Miller Brewing Company), and a half-hour review every night at ten thirty on WEMP (this time by Gimbels).

In 1945, the late-afternoon review was cancelled and the evening review moved up to 10:00pm. On game days, Heath would join games already in progress and provide play-by-play through the last out. For all other games, WEMP provided score updates (sponsored again by Gimbels) every fifteen minutes.

That dates this poster to the 1944 season. And what a season it was – Casey Stengel at the helm, a great team of players and the Brewers' fifth Association pennant (the middle season of a three-peat). Lots of highlights to fit into fifteen minutes, six times weekly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

1933 Score Card

Today's artifact is a scorecard from 1933.

This is one bi-fold sheet, creating four pages each 9½ inches wide by 7 inches tall when folded. The cover features a charming hand-drawn graphic in red and black:

These "lucky number" contests continued at least into the late 1940s. The interior of the card features lineups for both clubs. On the left, your Milwaukee Brewers.

Frank O'Rourke, the Brewers skipper-slash-third baseman, doesn't appear in the regular lineup.

On this day, the Brewers were facing off against the Minneapolis Millers:

On the back, a full-page ad for Milwaukee's most famous product.

Order your case to-day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Have You Seen Our Pages?

Recently, we introduced a new feature to our online museum: Pages. You might have noticed this under the "Welcome" message:

These links take you to picture archives of some material compiled within this blog. Currently, we have a Page for: Within the Brewer News, tavern card and score card archives, you can find links to longer articles on each entry. New items will be added to these archives as featured articles are published to the blog.

I hope this will allow you to access some of this information a little easier.