Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1952 Spring Training Roster Card

This 1952 Spring Training roster and information card gave Milwaukee Brewer fans all the inside dope on the club going in to Spring Training in Kissimmee, Florida.

The booklet is printed on heavy 8¾ x 10¾ cardstock, folded in quarters. On the cover, the team's barrel-chested mascot Owgust fields a grounder above "Milwaukee County's new and magnificent Municipal Stadium", scheduled to open the following season as the "Future home of the Brewers".

As we all know, the parent club in Boston had other ideas for that brand-new ballpark.

Opening the first fold reveals a schedule for both the Spring Training games and the regular season, as well as ticket information.

Opening the gateway fold gives us this full-page spread:

On the right, we have an ad for game broadcasts on WEMP featuring Brewers radio announcer Earl Gillespie. Sponsored, of course, by Miller High Life. The remainder of the page is taken up with the Spring Training roster (under a gorgeous color pair of Owgusts pitching and catching, taken from the masthead of old issues of Brewer News. This graphic was in heavy use during the Brewers' last few seasons.

Beneath the Owgusts we have the team staff:

Manager Charlie Grimm and longtime coach turned GM Red Smith should need no introduction by now. Shorty Mendelson started working at Borchert Field when he was a kid, eventually working his way up to team secretary. He and assistant Betty Voss were frequently the only off-season employees to be found at Borchert Field once the Braves took over the Brews in 1947.

Below that is the player roster. There are some very notable names on it, first and foremost Edwin "Eddie" Mathews. The Braves' rising star had been with the Brews briefly in 1951 before being sent down to Atlanta (partly to bolster that franchise's sagging attendance). Mathews started 1952's Spring Training with the Brewers, but ended it with the Braves thanks to a lucky break. Specifically, the broken ankle of New York Giants slugger Monte Irvin. When Irvin went down on April 2, the Giants bought Bob Elliot from the Braves and promoted Mathews into the starting third baseman's role before the first pitch of the year.

Of the others, George Crowe and Buzz Clarkson were two of the first three African-American players to wear a Brewer uniform. Crowe went on to have a great career with the Braves in Boston and then in Milwaukee.

Other men on this list who played for the Milwaukee Braves include Gene Conley, Charlie Gorin, Frank Torre, Bill Bruton and Chuck Tanner. George Estock, Sid Schacht, Buddy Kerr and Luis Márquez all made it to the Braves, but were gone by the time the team relocated to "Milwaukee County's new and magnificent Municipal Stadium" in 1953.

The back of this booklet has a team photo of the 1951 Brewers, winners of both the American Association pennant and the Little World Series.
What a handsome group of men, in their uniforms so closely resembling the parent club's.

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