Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today in 1913 - "Well The Brewers Did It"!

One hundred years ago today, the Brewers were ready to put a bow on an amazing season. 1913 saw them bring Milwaukee their first pennant. Now they were on the cusp of another championship, this time a postseason series with the Denver Grizzlies for bragging rights over all the minor leagues.

The Brewers led the best-of-seven series 3-2, making October 19th's game a potentially decisive one.  If the Brewers prevailed that day, they would be on the next train back to Milwaukee as champions.

The Milwaukee Sentinel set the stage this way:
The day was cold and disagreeable, the stands wet and plied with snow and the tempers of the players and spectators were at boiling point much of the afternoon.
Mere snow can't keep the baseball "bugs" away, and four thousand Coloradans came out to see their team stop the Milwaukeeans' momentum. Those home fans were happy enough in the beginning, as it appeared as though the Grizzlies were going to drive the Brewers to a Game Seven. They jumped out to a 5-0 in the first inning (the home team, as was possible under early 20th century rules, chose to bat first). 

If Grizzly fans allowed themselves to breathe easily, they didn't know the visiting club.  The Brews, led by manager/third baseman Harry "Pep" Clark, hadn't won the American Association pennant by rolling over. As the snow fell, Brewer starter "Cy" Young calmed down and started putting zeroes up in order, and the Brewer sluggers started chipping away at Denver's lead, scoring a run in the first, and then another in each of the third and fourth.

The sixth inning saw the Grizzlies pad their lead with another pair of runs, but the Brewers still weren't done. Down 3-7 when they came up in the seventh, Milwaukee's bats came alive.

First-sacker Tom Jones started off the rally with a single, and left fielder John Beall followed with another. Clark himself drew a walk to load the bases. Second baseman Joe Burg came to bat next, squeezing out an infield hit to score Jones. Next up was backup backstop John Hughes, who swatted a clean single to score Gilbert and Berg. Three runs in, and the Brews had made it a one-run game.

Denver failed to have an answer for the Brewers at the top of the eighth inning, and when the Brewers came up in the bottom half of the frame they picked right up where they left off. Jones came up with two on and belted out a deep triple off the wall. Denver left fielder Rufus Gilbert misplayed the ball, allowing Jones to score, and the Brewers took the lead, 9-7. Denver plated a consolation run in the top of the ninth but couldn't manage another.  The Brewers won the game, 9-8, and the Series, 4 games to 2.

The Milwaukee Journal called it a "grand finish" to the postseason series, noting that
The last two games have been tough battles for the followers of Clark and they have been forced to come from behind, to gather in the two closing games. The determination that took the boys through a hard race and landed them on top in the league race was shown in these last two battles.
The series stats were relatively close in hits and errors (the Brewers had 56/16 to Denver's 52/13), but the difference was in runs. The Brewers drove 33 of their own over the plate, where the Grizzlies could only manage 26.

As the Brewers were on their way home to Wisconsin, Journal cartoonist Fred Bernau offered readers his perspective on the series:

"Well the Brewers Did It", indeed. Milwaukee's champions had a new flag to fly.

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