Monday, September 30, 2013

Today in 1913 - "Champion Brewers Return to Pennantville"

One hundred years ago today, your Milwaukee Brewers returned home from Kentucky with the American Association pennant in hand and several thousand baseball fans waiting to greet them at Union Station.

The Brewers' train was two hours late, and by the time it reached the city the route was lined by cheering fans trying to get a look at player/manager Harry "Pep" Clark and his boys.

The players noticed the gathering crowds along the track. Pitching ace Cy Slapnicka thought better of it, and snuck out a window while the train was stopped at Second Street. He missed a fantastic reception at the final destination, as crowds surrounded the train and cheered every man as he alighted from the train.

The players were relieved of their luggage and led to waiting cars. Clark tried to give a speech to the assemblage, but the crowd noise drowned out his words. The procession of automobiles carried the Brews down Grand Avenue towards downtown, the streets lined with an estimated thirty thousand cheering "bugs", "as though the president were paying a visit to Milwaukee". Word of the party spread far and wide. The New York Times reported on the festivities:
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Sept 30.—Milwaukee still is baseball mad, despite the fact that the American Association season closed yesterday. Several thousand "fans" crowded about the Union Station here to-day, and with brass bands and other noise-producing instruments welcomed home the Milwaukee team, winners of the association pennant, and incidentally the first pennant ever won by a Milwaukee team.

The players were escorted to automobiles which led a parade about the downtown districts. A big banquet in honor of the team will be held Thursday night, and seats for the function are selling at a premium. Theatre parties and receptions have been planned, and record-breaking crowds are expected to attend exhibition games to-morrow and Thursday with the Chicago Americans and Pittsburgh Nationals.
The Milwaukee Journal worked up a marvelous front-page cartoon in honor of the city's victorious heroes.

Look at the detail:

"Agnes of Arc" is team owner Agnes Havenor, who took over the team upon the passing of her husband Charles in April 1912. She's shown here in a full suit of armor on horseback, surrounded by Brewers and leaving a pile of defeated American Association opponents behind her. One of thevanquished exclaims "A woman may have RIGHTS but by George Agnes goes TOO FAR!" An interesting sentiment considering its time; just the previous year Wisconsin voters had rejected a referendum that would have given women full suffrage (the 19th Amendment was still six years in the future, although Wisconsin would later brag about being the first state to ratify it).

Havenor was herself a crucial figure in the team's success on the diamond, having elevated popular veteran third baseman Clark to his player/manager role at the end of the 1912 season. Clark took the fifth-place club and turned it around to a champion in his first season at the helm.

Never one to miss an opportunity, the Journal also presented its "baseball mad" readers with nearly two full pages of appropriately-themed ads:

I love the pitch for "Brownie"'s coverage of the Brews in the lower-left corner.

In the lower-right, that drawing of right-hander Tom Dougherty was originally published on July 23rd, when he blanked the Toledo Mud Hens 12-0.

Speaking of recycled graphics, the Sentinel pulled a doozy. They reprinted Cal Brand's "Py Golly" cartoon from the previous day with a slight change of caption: "The Brewer Team Will Return Home on Tuesday for Well Earned Rest" became "The Brewer Team Returned Home on Tuesday for Well Earned Rest":
The impromptu parade was the only event on the Brewers' schedule that day, but the following would start a series of formal celebrations for the team. Milwaukee was indeed "baseball mad" for her pennant-winning Brewers.

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