Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1952 Box Seat Ticket Stub

This blue cardstock ticket gave one lucky fan a seat to watch the Milwaukee Brewers on July 28, 1952, sixty-three years ago today. It wasn't any old game, though; the Brews were hosting the Chicago White Sox in an exhibition game.

Exhibition games against major league clubs were a staple with the Brews. In 1943, Bill Veeck and Charlie Grimm took their club down to Wrigley Field for an exhibition game, the first time a minor league club played in the Friendly Confines. Welcoming a big-league club to Borchert Field was much more common.

As might be expected, the Brews had a long relationship with Chicago. As the nearest big-league city, Milwaukeeans were often fans of one of the two Chicago teams.

The was "a ding dong exhibition for seven sessions," to quote the Milwaukee Sentinel. Going into the eighth inning, the Brewers were leading their guests 2-1 behind the solid pitching of right-handed hurler Dick Donovan. As the box score indicates, that's when it all went a bit sideways:

Donovan, who had exhibited so much control to those first "ding dong" seven innings, suddenly lost it. He walked the first batter and gave up a single to the second. He managed to retire the third but lest anyone think the hurler was regaining his form, he followed it up by hitting a batter and walking in a run with the next. Brewer manager Bucky Walters had seen enough this point, and brought out the hook, but by the time they closed out the top half, the damage was done and the ChiSox were on top 5-2. The Brewers started a comeback with two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Sox added five more in the ninth to finish it.

It must have been a disappointing evening, for the owner of this ticket and the other 9,574 who came to the Orchard that night. At least for those who weren't White Sox fans.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"The Brewers Take Home the Bacon", 1934

Eighty years ago today, a rather unusual promotion was held at Borchert Field. I can't do it justice, other than to let the Milwaukee Journal tell the story:

The Brewers Get Their Groceries—and Take Home the Bacon

The Milwaukee Retail Grocers' association gave every member of the Brewer baseball team a basket of groceries Wednesday as a feature of the association's "boost home ownership" day. The grocers, who turned out in some numbers to see the game, were rewarded by a 14-8 victory over the league leading Millers. The picture shows officers of the grocers' association handing out the baskets with the Brewers lined up. At the head of the line is manager Allan Sothoron; behind him Billy Sullivan, Eddie Marshall and George Rensa. At the left is Silver Lips Charlie Fichtner. On the truck are L. J. Scherrer and E. J. Mulloy, secretary of the Wisconsin Wholesale Grocers' association. John J. Backes, president of the Milwaukee Retail Grocers' association, is at the right. (Journal Staff Photo)
That looks like a parade float behind them, from which they're dispensing the groceries. Very nice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Brewer Sportraits: "Could It Be a Dud?"

Seventy years ago today, Milwaukee Sentinel cartoonist Lou Grant introduced us to the Brewers' would-be slugger:

Kobesky Major Investment

Edward Leonard Kobesky ... Stocky 200 pound Brewer outfielder ... A bit of a disappointment to Manager Cullup thus far but hot weather may bring him around ... Cost the Brewers $5,000 in April plus the $7,500 Woody Wheaton in a deal with Buffalo ... Bill Veeck had wanted him for a couple of years and finally landed him ... Ed Levy was part of the bait hung up to Manager Bucky Harris of the Bisons last December at the winter meeting ... no sale.

Kobesky didn't want to report to the Brewers after he learned of the deal ... "I had nothing against Milwaukee, in fact, it sounded good to me, but I didn't want to see the Buffalo club make a lot of money on me," he explains ... "Rudy Schaeffer finally sold me on the proposition" ... Started out as Cullop's cleanup hitter but has been in and out of the lineup because of his failure to bat anything like last summer.

Out of eight years in pro ball he has been in the .300 circle three times and one of those years he was at bat just 50 times ... Appeared on his way in 1942 with Buffalo when he clicked for .290 and drove in 75 runs ... The next campaign his average fell to .259 but still clubbed 18 homers and drove over 88 markers ... Last year he swung for .328 to finish second in the International and was also second in home runs with 26 ... Here's hoping he gets going like that at Borchert Field.

Kobesky has the odd nickname of Shovels ... acquired during his six years as a coal miner near his native Scranton, Pa. ... Likes to kid and rib a lot with his teammates and took his bench warming good naturedly ... When not playing he pitches batting practice and otherwise makes himself useful ... When he finally works himself into shape he will do the club a lot of good even if he is a little weak defensively.—THISTED.

(Clip this sportrait for your Brewer scrapbook.)
Wow. I don't think I've seen one of these Sportraits that wasn't effusive with praise for the hometown hero.

With all those glowing stats in his recent past, it's understandable that the Brewers had high hopes for their hefty new slugger. But it wasn't to be. He never found his footing at Borchert Field, and two days after this cartoon was published "Shovels" was sold back to the International League, this time the Jersey City Giants. "A Dud", indeed.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vintage Brew: 1951 Souvenir Visor Prototype

The Golden Anniversary Milwaukee Brewers souvenir visor is one of the more commonly seen artifacts of the 1951 League Champion Brews.

But honestly, did you ever really wonder …?Wouldn't it be so cool if those signature were real and not facsimiles?

C'mon … be honest !!!

“THE” 1951 Brewer Visor Prototype
by Paul Tenpenny
Copyright 2015 Tencentzports
Printed with permission of the Author

In March 2013, Borchert Field brought you the story of the 1951 Golden Anniversary visor. One of my favorite collectibles, as I am continuously collecting autographs of the American Association players who played at Borchert Field.

This 7 by 10 inch visor was fascinating to me as I could tell immediately that these were accurate signatures on this cardboard sun-visor.

To reprise who's who:
  • 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
  • Jim Basso
  • Johnny Logan
  • Robert Montag
  • Billy Reed
  • Ted Sepkowski
  • Bert Thiel
  • Bob Thorpe
  • Al Unser
  • Murray Wall
How did they get the team to sign the thing and make it all fit such a compact space?

I never expected an answer but with my "constant vigilance" on the internet and my moody "Mad Eye" on eBay "Brew Stuff," the unexpected landed in my lap.

Offered as a "collection of Brewer signatures" ... here it was, a spectacular "one of a kind," team signed piece of history.

One glance answered all my questions as it was simply designed by getting the team to sign their names on paper and "literally cutting and pasting" those signatures to the visor shaped prototype in an orderly fashion.

And thanks to the final product, I was able to return the wandering "Dick Hoover" signature to his rightful spot …underneath the Brewers script and our favorite catcher Owgust!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy 4th From the Barrelman!

These photos come from a reader who attended today's Fourth of July parade in Wauwatosa.

Bernie Brewer was in attendance, as usual, but this year he was joined by his new friend the Barrelman, who traces his roots back to Owgust, the American Association Brewers' mascot.

Always great to see Milwaukee's baseball history on display.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I'm pleased to announce that after nearly a year of sporadic posts, we are resuming a regular publishing schedule this upcoming week, beginning with an excellent piece from contributor Paul Tenpenny.