Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Week in 1913: On Deck

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of "This Week in 1913" posts chronicling the Brewers' first pennant-winning season on a week-by-week basis. Every week, we will check in with the Brews to see where they were a hundred years ago, as they strove to bring the flag home to Milwaukee.

The 1913 Milwaukee Brewers

Baseball is a game with long stories, not only the rigors of a single season but the way teams change and evolve from year to year.

In order to begin our review of 1913, we need to understand the previous season. 1912 had been a deeply disappointing year for the men from Milwaukee; they ended the season in fifth place with a 78-85 record, 26 games behind the pennant-winning Minneapolis Millers. In response, team owner Agnes Havenor—who had taken over the club upon the death of her husband right before the start of the season—fired rookie skipper Hugh Duffy with three games left to play.

Pep Clark in 1909
To fill Duffy's shoes, Havenor turned to the Brews' popular third baseman, Harry "Pep" Clark. Clark was the Brewers' fourth manager in as many seasons, but he had been the club'd third baseman since 1904, and his hiring was intended to bring a sense of stability to the club. For his own part, Clark also brought a strong sense of baseball fundamentals, telling the Milwaukee Journal:
"We lost many games last year because we couldn't bunt. We'll, that's not going to happen this year, because we are going to know how to bunt if we don't know another thing."
The Journal's columnist William Wallace Rowland, who wrote under the name "Brownie", was covering the Brews in their Old Kentucky Home. His writing would inform much of the way Milwaukee fans viewed their club in 1913, and how we view it now in 2013.

As the calendar turned from March into April of 1913, the Brewers were finishing up spring training in Owensboro, Kentucky. Next week, we begin our story as the Brewers, and their fans, await Opening Day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

1951 Souvenir Visor

This cardboard souvenir visor dates to 1951, as the American Association and the Brewers were both celebrating their golden anniversaries.

The graphics are fun; the American Association's Golden Anniversary logo, Owgusts pitching and catching (taken from the masthead of Brewer News, the team's newsletter) and facsimile autographs.

A lot of facsimile autographs.

The whole team, in fact. Plus three coaches. From left to right (more or less):
  • Jim Basso
  • Paul Burris
  • Mark Christman
  • Buzz Clarkson
  • George Crowe
  • Art Fowler
  • Charlie Gorin
  • Joe Just
  • Dick Hoover
  • Robert Jaderlund
  • Virgil Jester
  • Ernie Johnson
  • Billy Klaus
  • Emil Kush
  • Charlie Grimm
  • Johnny Logan
  • Robert Montag
  • Billy Reed
  • Ted Sepkowski
  • Bert Thiel
  • Bob Thorpe
  • Al Unser
  • Murray Wall
There are many notable names on this list. Charlie Grimm was, of course, a towering figure in Milwaukee baseball history. In 1951 Jolly Cholly was in his second stint as Milwaukee skipper, and would be promoted to lead the Boston Braves partway through the following season.

Buzz Clarkson and George Crowe, respectively, were the second and third African-American players to wear Brewer uniforms. The first, Leonard Pearson, had come to the club in July of 1950 but was sent down to the Braves' farm club in Hartford, Connecticut on May 1st of '51. Clarkson had a brief callup with the Braves in early 1952 but returned to the Brewers in time to play the bulk of the team's final season in Milwaukee. Crowe had the best career of the three, earning the American Association's Rookie of the Year in 1951. He went up to the Boston Braves in 1952 and came back to Milwaukee as a major-leaguer with the rest of the club in 1953.

Johnny Logan, who later became a household name with those same Milwaukee Braves, also has his autograph here. He was considered an important prospect as he began his fourth season with the Brewers, and the scrappy shortstop was called up to Boston on July 5.

The presence of outfielder Ted Sepkowski can help us date the visor. His contract was purchased from the Chicago Cubs and he came from their farm team in Springfield, Massachusetts on May 28. According to, Sepkowski only played in seven games for the Brews before being sent to the Braves' Southern Association club in Atlanta on June 23rd.

One name from the 1951 roster is notable for its absence. Third baseman Eddie Mathews played part of the season in Milwaukee after securing his discharge from the Navy on July 8. The popular third baseman saw action in a Brewer uniform for only 12 games before being optioned in early August, also to the Atlanta Crackers. Mathews, who had played for the Crackers before entering the service, was sent south by the Braves largely to boost that club's sluggish ticket sales, another brief stop on his way to the majors.

The visor itself, labeled "Fibo-Vizor", was made by the Badger Carton Company of Milwaukee. It's a fairly simple but ingenious design; the scored tab curves when folded over, and an elastic band holds it in place.

I don't know if this item was given out to fans, or sold at the concession stands, but it remains a unique artifact of Milwaukee's baseball history.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tip Your Cap to the Beer Barrel Man

Major League Baseball has started selling the YOUniform caps in its online shop.

This is your opportunity to support the Beer Barrel Man, who is of course descended from our very own Owgust, the barrel-chested mascot of the Brewers. Owgust was the face of the Brews from 1942 through the bitter end, and when local car dealer Bud Selig founded a group to bring Major League Baseball back to Milwaukee following the Braves' move to Atlanta, the BBM was the symbol he chose.

After decades of neglect, the BBM has undergone a renaissance in recent years. He's seen on merchandise, stadium giveaways and now, thanks to the YOUniform contest, even on caps for a game or two this Spring Training.

Reader Johnny O had an opportunity to pick one of these up from the Brewers' store and sends along these photos.

This one is my favorite, for the way it shows the Brewers' beautiful color scheme:

I don't think it could ever displace the cap I wear most often, this BBM beauty from 2011:

But it's close.

When this "spring training" cap is worn during a regular season game, and you know it eventually will be, it will be only the second time that the Beer Barrel Man has appeared on a Milwaukee Brewer field uniform. The first was 1999's "Turn Ahead the Clock" event, and this cap bears a distinct resemblance to that one.

Buy yours today - the Brewers will never give us more Beer Barrel Man unless we give them a reason!

Monday, March 18, 2013

1937 Henrich Wire Photo

This young man with the big swing and determined face is Brewers outfielder Tommy Henrich.

At least, he was a Brewer ourfielder when the picture was taken, in March of 1937. But he wouldn't be a Brewer for long.

We recounted Henrich's story upon his passing in December 2009, but it's a fascinating one and having recently acquired this photo gives me an excellent excuse to repeat it.

He came to the Brewers in October of 1936 from the New Orleans Pelicans, then a farm club of the Cleveland Indians. Henrich, who had been widely expected to move up to the big-league club, believed that the Indians were trying to keep hold of his contract by "hiding" him in Milwaukee (outside their regular farm system) and away from other major league clubs.

Both clubs would benefit from such an arrangement; the Brewers would get the services of a major-league-ready star and the Indians could hang on to a player they wanted but had no immediate roster spot for. Everybody wins, except the player in question.

Henrich wasn't about to let this scheme unfold without a challenge. In January, Henrich wrote to Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner of organized baseball, asking for intervention. Landis voided Henrich's contract with Milwaukee and made him a free agent, able to set his own price on the open market. By the time the 1937 season started, Tommy Henrich was out of that Brewer uniform and in Yankee pinstripes.

Newspapers around the country followed the developing story closely, given its importance to baseball as a whole. Their reports were often accompanied by this same picture of Henrich's big swing and the steely gaze under his Brewer cap (reproductions of which are still available as a custom order from Ebbets Field Flannels).

I've seen this wire photo many times, always reproduced in scans of old newspapers, but this first-generation copy is a valued addition to the collection.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

1913 Home Jersey

In 1913, Harry Clark's Brews brought Milwaukee their first baseball pennant. One hundred years later, we share a rare artifact from that championship season.

American Association Champions
"The 1913 Home Jersey"

by Paul Tenpenny
Copyright 2013 Tencentzports
Printed with permission of the Author

Dateline: September 30, 1913.

30,000 excited fans welcome home their conquering heroes; the Milwaukee Brewers arrive at the Chicago Northwestern railway station in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Cheering fans and signs declare "Oh You Brewers" as the team, led by player/manager Harry Clark, had just brought home their first pennant for Milwaukee since joining the American Association in 1902.

The Brews completed the season with a exemplary record of 100 wins vs. only 67 defeats, finishing 3 games ahead of their closest rival, the Minneapolis Millers.

While it is exciting to see images such as this from 1913, it is such a limited view of our past. It is hard to imagine what it was really like with just the black and white images of those bygone days.

That world like today, was not black and white and thanks to those who have saved memorabilia from the past, we can add a touch of color to this history.

1913 Oh You Brewers Pennant
(collection of Chance Michaels)

As can be seen in this rare pennant, which sports that same popular phrase used back then, "Oh You Brewers," the usual lack of hue is replaced by brilliant yellow and navy blue.

Unlike today, cameras in 1913 were bulky and primitive, so the photographs and coverage of sports from that period lacks the focus we are used to 100 years later. As disappointing and limited as they may be, the images we do have are important.

The most commonly seen photograph from 1913 is this one, showing the Brewers at Athletic Park ( as it was known before being named Borchert Field) in their brand new home uniforms. This image has been reused many times in local newspapers when discussing the 1913 season over the years.

1913 Milwaukee Brewers
Reclining:   Ralph Cutting, Larry Chappell, Joe Hovlik
Seated: Larry Gilbert,Buster Braun, Cy Slapnika, Tom Jones, Harry Clark, Tom Dougherty, Joe Berg, Doc Marshall
Standing: Jimmy Block, Rube Nicholson, Newt Randall, Johnny Hughes, Phil Lewis, Doc Watson

Recent research by author Dennis Pajot shows that this team photograph dates between late May and June 26, 1913 based on the time Ralph Cutting and Larry Chappell purchased their goat and the timing of Jimmy Block's suspension from the team.

This author has also confirmed that this uniform was used throughout the year for home games during the 1913 season. Here are some rarely seen images I have gathered from some "very fragile" newspapers in the Milwaukee Public Library collection.

All of these photos were published from May through September of 1913.

As for the before mentioned 1913 team photograph, several original prints are known to exist. The Milwaukee Public Library has one in their collection and I have had access to another, thanks to a fellow collector who has allowed me to take a high resolution scan of it for my research.

This photo has provided me with exacting detail so as to be able to compare it with an actual jersey from the 1913 Milwaukee Brewers, seen here for the first time.

1913 Milwaukee Brewers Jersey
(Author's collection)


The jersey is a professional style jersey manufactured by P. Goldsmith and Sons of Cincinnati, Ohio.

A somewhat hard to read label, but this photograph from their 1914 catalog shows this logo rather clearly. This unique logo helps us to place the age of this jersey as being from this time period.

"M" Style

An important detail in dating this uniform jersey is the design of the "M" on the front left chest area. While this "M" may look typical, it is very unique in structure and was used for only a short period of time by Milwaukee.

A close examination of the structure of this "M" reveals that it is made up of 3 parts. An outer and inner "I" beam with a "V" in the center. What makes this style so distinctive is the "V"'s placement and the resulting sword shaped gap where it meets the tops of the "I" beams.

This is a critical detail, because there was a design change in the "M" styling for the 1914 season.

1914 Photo courtesy of Rex Hamann
(Hand written names of Berg and Barbeau are reversed)

A new "V" shape can be seen in the "M" on Harry Clark's home jersey. (seated in the middle in this photograph) The sword shaped gap is replaced with a smoother looking "V". Note how the tops of the inner "I" beams have changed by the positioning of the "V".

Here they are in comparison:

While the older "M" style was used previously in 1911 and 1912, the other jersey style details are so distinctive in the 1913 home jersey, that there is no confusion with these earlier seasons. (of note also is that the jersey of 1913 is now sporting a "sun collar" where they had full collars in previous years)

Blue Piping

Clearly, the game changer in this jersey is this detailing in light blue ... from the collar...

To the placket where it buttons, and even the sleeves have the this piping.

Even the stitching details of the sleeve are distinctive and unique to this jersey. All of these details show up under high resolution in the 1913 Team photograph.

My only speculation would be that the Brewers plain style home cap would more than likely, match the navy blue color of the "M" on this jersey.

Examples of minor league uniforms from this period seem to be few and far between. Photography from this era shows that it was commonplace for uniforms to be used and reused in practice sessions and especially during spring training. It is no wonder so few survive.

To find a hundred-year-old uniform like this is like uncovering buried treasure from Milwaukee's historical past. Hopefully this is just the starting place that will inspire others to search for more examples from other years.

1913 American Association Champions Pennant
(Author's Collection)

February in Wisconsin is a challenging time of year. Surrounded by the stark reminders of our longest of seasons, winter, with it's blacks, whites, grays and freezing temperatures. It is no wonder that we always are looking forward to the spring, where this monochromatic reality changes to visions and dreams of blue skies and green fields. How fitting it is, that as the modern day Milwaukee Brewers head to warmer climes and spring training, we have this sense of renewal and anticipation.

It is with this hope of the approaching season that I can look back to 100 years ago when Milwaukee captured its first championship and dream that a century hence, the major league Brewers are overdue for winning their first Championship for Milwaukee.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Review - "Bushville Wins!"

Today's Book Club discussion is Bushville Wins!.

Subtitled "The Wild Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the Screwballs, Sluggers, and Beer Swiggers Who Canned the New York Yankees and Changed Baseball", John Klima's book is a look at the Braves from their move to Milwaukee through the 1957 World Series.

The book's title comes from a wonderfully-homemade cardboard sign carried by a group of fans in the downtown Milwaukee victory party, which was itself referencing an earlier jibe. Someone in the Yankees organization, possibly former Brewer skipper Casey Stengel himself, had reportedly referred to Milwaukee as "Bushville" upon arriving on the train from New York. The papers were all too happy to print it, playing into the David v. Goliath storyline they had for the Fall Classic.

Cream City fans had the last laugh on the Perfessor, and the Milwaukee Journal's camera was there to record it. The resulting photograph was featured on the cover of its World Series retrospective supplement, and to this day ranks as one of the most iconic images from that Series.

As you might expect, our Brews make a few cameo appearances. The first comes, naturally enough, at the beginning of the story as the Brewers' success lays the groundwork for a major-league move to Milwaukee. One of the previously-unsung heroes of that story gets full due in Klima's retelling; Fred Miller.

Plaque of Fred Miller
Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(courtesy of Paul Tenpenny)

Frederick C. Miller was the president of Miller Brewing, and the grandson of its founder. A lifelong sportsman who played football at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne, Miller was instrumental in bringing the Braves to Milwaukee. He was one of the driving forces behind the construction of Milwaukee County Stadium, and once that was underway he devoted himself to finding a major league team to occupy it. That determination is Klima's jumping-off point for the story.

Miller's first preference was for the Boston Braves. They had owned the Brewers since 1946, and were well aware of Milwaukee's potential. When Braves owner Lou Perini dragged his feet on a relocation, preferring to move no earlier than 1954, Miller forced his hand by turning to another man with a struggling team and love of the Cream City: former Brewers owner Bill Veeck. Veeck was desperate to move his Browns out of St. Louis, and knew that Milwaukee would fill all 36,000 seats of the new steel-and-concrete ballpark. Perini had no choice but to block Veeck's move, all but announcing his own intentions to the world (and Boston), so might as well get it over with and move as soon as the stadium was ready. The Braves were Milwaukee-bound, and the Brewers, victims of their own success, were bumped to Toledo.

Miller died in a plane crash in 1954, before the Braves made Milwaukee a world champion, and so his contribution goes largely unsung today. Former Brewer manager Charlie Grimm, who took over the Braves during the 1952 season and moved with them to Milwaukee the following spring, would later say that had Miller not died in that crash, the Braves would never have left Milwaukee, and it's gratifying to see him well-remembered in the pages of this book.

Miller's most famous product, High Life Beer, serves as a repeating motif throughout the book. The players grab on to the High Life in both senses of the word, as the hard-drinking men embraced, and were embraced by, their new hard-drinking city.

On the surface, Grimm would have been the perfect man to lead this rag-tag crew. "Jolly Cholly" worked hard to earn his nickname, and was even known to drink with his boys. But as the Braves settled into their new home, Perini came to wonder if he could ever control his players, could teach them the discipline they would need. The Milwaukee fans, as glad as they were to be big-league, were starting to grow restless. Klima quotes Warren Spahn as saying "We were in Milwaukee over three years before we heard our first boo."

Perini was determined to give them something to cheer about. He brought Fred Haney over from the Pacific Coast League's Hollywood Stars to serve as third base coach (and watch over Grimm's shoulder). When the club sputtered out of the gate in 1956, Grimm was gone to be replaced with the actually-grim Haney. The most significant link between the Brewers and Braves was gone.

Haney wasted no time in establishing himself as a taskmaster, and the Braves responded. They responded well enough to win 95 games and the National League pennant, eight games clear of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals.

This is where Klima's story really kicks into high gear. In the World Series, the Braves would face the New York Yankees, led by Casey Stengel. The Braves had broken up New York's stranglehold on the Fall Classic, which had been dominated by the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants since 1949, with one of the three taking home the world championship (often over one of the others). The interlopers from Milwaukee couldn't have seemed in that class, provoking the "Bushville" jibe.

Whatever the source of the insult, Milwaukee fans were happy to take it out on the Perfessor. His stint with the Brewers had been brief, less than a single season. The circumstances under Stengel's departure from the club were kept largely out of the press, but bad blood between Stengel and team officals certainly contributed. Milwaukee fans might have remembered that his stint with the Brewers, however fleeting, resurrected Stengel's managing career and indirectly led to the pinstripes on his back. Now they were bushers? The fans let him hear it at County Stadium and Casey, in his own inimitable fashion, returned their boos. As Klima describes it:
The Milwaukee fans gave him hell. When he brought in [a new pitcher] in the eighth [inning of Game 4], thousands of fans mocked him by counting his crooked steps to the mound. A fan in left field belted through a bullhorn, "Hey, bush leaguers! Hey, You bush league Yankees!" When Casey walked off the field, they counted louder. Casey had enough. He decided to respond to the fans. "I think Casey, as only Casey could do, lit the fire," Frank Torre said.
When Casey reached the dugout, he blew the fans a kiss. That was part showmanship and part flipping Milwaukee the bird.
The fans only jeered all the harder, especially when the Braves won the game in extra innings.

(There's the High Life again.)

The bad blood between Stengel and the Milwaukee fans extended to many of the Braves, particularly Spahn and Lew Burdette. The Perfessor had managed the Braves from 1938 through 1943 in Boston, during which time Spahn came up through the farm system. Stengel promptly sent him back down after four starts, when Spahn refused to throw at Pee Wee Reese in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Stengel tarred Spahn as having "no guts" and sent him back to the minors. Burdette had been a Yankee briefly in 1950 before Stengel traded him to Boston.

It must have been all the more satisfying when the Braves took the Series in seven games, celebrating on the Yankee Stadium mound.

The victorious Braves were treated to a royal parade when they returned to Milwaukee. Fans lined the streets, including one mystery man who attended the festivities in a 1942 Brewer uniform, and some creative types brought a cardboard sign that lives on in baseball legend.

Klima's book is engaging. His prose is florid, appropriate enough for a baseball tome, but occasionally becoming as gaudy as the awful color-tint job on the book's cover. He dips into the "High Life" metaphor one time too many for my taste. Sometimes it's hard to tell what is an error and what's creative license; the Yankees and Cardinals are both described as wearing black, appropriate for his story's twin villans if not terribly accurate. Slightly less attributable to style is his description of a Ryan Braun homer in September of 2011 that inspired a Bob Uecker radio call reminiscent of the Braves' Earl Gillespie. Any Brewer fan could tell you that particular game was to clinch the division, not the pennant. Sadly.

Still, I don't want to diminish the joy of Klima's work. It's an extremely well-researched and entertaining book documenting an important chapter in Milwaukee's baseball history. I would urge you all to check it out today in either hardback or digital form.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Turning Back the Clock to the 1920s. Ish.

Dressed in old-style uniforms, Texas' Julio Franco slides home safely as Milwaukee's Dave Nilsson waits for the throw in Milwaukee.
As ubiquitous as Turn Back the Clock events have become, it's hard to remember a time when they weren't a fixture in the baseball season.

The Brewers have held throwback games honoring the 1970 Brewers (twice), the 1975 Brewers, the 1978 Brewers, the 1989 Brewers, generic "1970s", "1980s" and "1990s" Brewer teams, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves (three times), the 1958 Milwaukee Braves, the 1923 Milwaukee Bears (annually since 2006), the 1969 Seattle Pilots and the 1982 Brewers (more times than I can count).

They've also had throwback games in which they wore American Association Brewer uniforms. Three times, in fact, although the first two were part of a single set.

The team's association with Turning Back the Clock starts slightly early than that, twenty-three years ago, when the notion of one team dressing up like another was novel, the American League Brewers own the distinction of having taking part in the very first TBTC game.

It was July 11, 1990, on the South Side of Chicago.

The White Sox, no strangers to innovation, had come up with an entirely new kind of promotional gimmick. They turned off Comiskey Park's electronic scoreboards, announced lineups through a large megaphone, and hired a barbershop quartet to prowl the grandstand. The players themselves gussied themselves up in their 1917 finest, with short-brimmed baseball caps and baggy pinstriped uniforms.

Their opponents that day, however, were firmly planted in the 1990s. The Chicago team's quest for period authenticity apparently didn't extend to buying uniforms for the visiting club, so the Brewers wore their regular road grays trimmed in royal and gold while beating the South Siders 12-9.

It wasn't long before other teams, including the Brewers, decided they wanted in on the fun. Or perhaps it was seeing the Sox draw 40,000 fans to a mid-week game that would have normally seen less than 10,000. Whatever the motivation, the Brew Crew scheduled a pair of Turn Back the Clock games for the 1993 season, in the form of a home-and-home series with the Texas Rangers. And for these games, they decided to honor their namesake, the Brewers of the American Association.

The first game of the series was in Arlington Stadium on May 1st. The Brewers emerged victorious, 4-3 in ten innings.

The Brewers wore the same uniforms for both games: gray with black pinstripes, black block letters and numbers accented with a white outline and drop-shadow. The uniforms were sharp-looking but of dubious historical accuracy.

I think these uniforms were intended to be reminiscent of the Brewers' brief 1920s foray into pinstipes, the distinctive uniform feature which had worn by the big league club for fifteen years at this time. Pinstipes were never really identified with the Brews, representing only a minor digression in the team's half-century æthetic history, but I do like the longer sleeves and cadet collar.
The short-billed caps, with their white block "M", could easily have come right off the head of a player in the early days (as seen here on manager Harry Clark in 1914), but the jersey is more a fanciful projection than a reasonable replica of anything the Brews actually wore. In particular, the club never used the "Brewers" nickname on its jerseys until Bill Veeck added it in 1942, preferring to wear an "M" at home and matching "M" or the name "Milwaukee" on the roads. And while black was indeed a Brewer color in the first decade of the 20th century, the Brewers had adopted blue by 1913 and continued to wear it through the team's final season in 1952.

I'm not aware of either the caps or jerseys being produced for retail, a consideration which would eventually become a driving force in these events.

The Rangers also created an old-timey-style uniform for the two games, inspired by the æsthetic of the 1920s if no one Texas-based team in particular. It consisted of simple white jerseys trimmed in red piping and garnished with an red Old English "T" on the chest.

The second game of this unique series was held at Milwaukee County Stadium on July 6, 1993, likely the only time in Milwaukee County Stadium's history where the home team wore gray and the visitors white.

The theme of the day was "1920s" everywhere you looked. General Admission seats were $3, bleachers were $2, and hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and soda were all $1 each. The club also hired a big band and a barbershop quartet to entertain the fans.

To complete the old-timey feel, the Brewers lined County Stadium's outfield wall with advertisements.

All the old-style trappings couldn't help the Brewers, who were embarrassed that day, losing 11-1.

Julio Franco (left) scores as Brewers catcher Dave Nilsson fumbles for the ball in the second inning Tuesday.
Columnist Michael Bauman of the Milwaukee Journal called it "an enjoyable promotional concept that unfortunately had to be followed by the Brewers playing another bad game." The promotional concept did its job, drawing a pretty good mid-week crowd of 26,854, but the 1993 Brewers just couldn't deliver on the field.

Aside from sparking fan interest and setting the stage for an untold number of Turn Back the Clock events in Milwaukee, there was one other lasting impact from that game in July. In the following off-season, the struggling Brewers announced that they would start selling permanent ad space on the County Stadium outfield wall.

The team's vice president of communications, Laurel Prieb, specifically cited the fans' reaction to the July event:
"On turn-back-the-clock day, we asked people how they felt about it and how it looked. It was positive on both accounts.

"There was fence signing practically across the board in a different era. We believe this ballpark is a throwback stadium and the look will be appropriate. It's an additional revenue stream for us and enhances the look of the ballpark."
Vice president of marketing John Cordova took it even further:
"One thing that was missing in Texas was the outfield wall signs. We debated [about having them here] over the course of the summer and said 'Why not?' It's not going to make us look minor league. The interest from advertisers had been strong. They are intrigued by the concept."
Outfield ads as ballpark improvement? I'm sure advertisers were intrigued. We don't often think of that as a retro look, so it's interesting to see it literally being sold that way.

And that was the Brewers' first tribute to their American Association namesake. The second, three years later, would reflect a growing awareness of the city's rich baseball history.

(updated 1/5/2018 to add new color photo of outfield wall ads)