Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1932 Score Card

This score card was sold at Borchert Field during the 1932 season. Like the 1933 card we've already looked at, this one is printed on heavy cardstock, bi-folded to create four pages, 7 inches tall by 9½ inches wide.

The cover is striking for its large ad for mineral water, "on sale at the ball park."

I'm also intrigued by the decorative detailing. In each corner of the cover, the border is marked by a small swastika.

The swastika, which dates back as far as ten thousand years, was a common good luck symbol in the early part of the 20th century. As such, it was not uncommon to find it in a sporting context, although that would soon come to an end. The Nazis were on the rise in Germany in 1932, winning a plurality of seats in the Reichstag that July. In January of 1933 the Third Reich was formed with the swastika as its emblem, and the ancient symbol would forever be tied to tyranny and horror.

But that was still in the future. On the inside of the program, your Milwaukee Brewers:

Wearing lucky number 7 is player/manager Frank O'Rourke. Note that he's listed as sharing hot corner duties with "Pip" Koehler. Other Brewers of note include diamond clown "Cuckoo" Christensen, pitchers Garland Braxton, Earl "Teach" Caldwell and Rollie Stiles (you may remember we examined his jersey earlier), catcher Russ Young, and Ted Gullic, who was in his first full season at Borchert Field. Gullic would go on to become one of the most popular Brewers ever, playing eleven seasons in Milwaukee.

And what a sign of the times that was, with two different cigarette ads proudly proclaiming their product is gentle on the throat.

The Indianapolis Indians were visiting the Orchard that day.

So the Brewers sourced their hot dog buns from a local bakery. Interesting. Between that and the mineral water, we're getting a better sense of Borchert Field's concessions.

The Milwaukee Herold, in the bottom right corner, was a German-language newspaper that had been publishing since 1861. At one time Milwaukee had several German papers, with circulation exceeding that of their English competitors. Those days were past, and the Herold closed its doors at the end of September 1932.

The back cover brings us another "lucky number" contests, and an ad buying tickets from a local vendor. Hugo "Sluggy" Walters' tavern was a longtime fixture around the corner from the Orchard. Walters opened his doors in 1902, the same year the Brewers took up residence in his neighborhood's ballpark, and Sluggy never missed a home opener.

The scorecard is probably most notable for what it doesn't include.

No beer ads.

Although today it seems impossible to separate baseball from beer, Milwaukee's most famous product, and the inspiration for the club's nickname, was not legal at the time this card was sold to fans. 1933 saw Prohibition in its dying throes; President Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture of low-alcohol beer, in March, and Prohibition was repealed by the end of the year. The Brewers' score cards in 1933 would prominently carry ads for Miller High Life on its back cover.

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