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:
...star 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment