Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School with the Barrelman

Recently, there was a promotion at Miller Park: spend $150 at the Brewers Team Stores, and receive this back-to-school lunch tote.

Check out the graphic - that's a new version of the Barrelman.

Interesting that they didn't use the existing character logo. I wonder if this presages more Barrelman merchandise; there are already multiple Bernie Brewer graphics out there, throwing and batting and waving to the crowd.

These graphics are used for print applications of all types, from clothing to merchandise to stadium graphics to the website.

I'd love to believe this little promotional lunch tote is the vanguard of a whole legion of Barrelman merchandise. We'll see.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"Wasted Effort", 1944

Today, we have a unique view of Borchert Field; field level, behind third base where the coach might stand. This comes from the first game in a doubleheader with the St. Paul Saints on Sunday, July 9, 1944.

WASTED EFFORT — Dick Culler is shown here about to take off for a slide into third base on Hal Peck's pop fly double to left center in the first inning of the opener yesterday but the Brewer shortstop died there although there was none out at the time. Bud Kimball is the Saint third sacker, and the Umpire is Moon Mullen. (Sentinel photo)
Culler's hustle might not have paid off, but the Brewers wouldn't be denied. They took the game 5-1, clinching the best first-half record in the league, and with that earned the right to host the 1944 American Association All-Star Game.

Culler is wearing the classic Brewer uniform of the era, introduced in 1942. Beautiful. Behind him you can see the first-base grandstand and the wall facing 7th Street. This pic might come in handy if we're trying to date other photos by the outfield ads.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

1936 Home Jersey from Ebbets Field Flannels

Another day, another fantastic Brewers reproduction from Ebbets Field Flannels.

Along with the 1943 road jersey, and the re-introduced the Brewers' 1905 cap, the purveyor of throwback baseball jerseys and clothing has added another slice of Milwaukee baseball history into their catalog; the jersey our Brews wore in 1936, when they won the American Association pennant.

Milwaukee Brewers 1936 Home


American Association

History: One of the most interesting things about the original minor league Brewers was their ballpark. The oddly-configured Borchert Field was built in 1887 and featured left and right field corners of only 266 feet. But the rectangular shape of the outfield made center field home runs nearly impossible. When the legendary Bill Veeck owned the team he installed a motor on the right field fence to move it back when the visiting team was up to bat. A rule was quickly passed outlawing this stunt.


Product details
  • American Association 
  • Authentic reproduction of the home jersey worn in 1936 by the Milwaukee Brewers 
  • Authentic wool flannel 
  • Navy & Red Felt lettering and trim 
  • #24 on back 
All Ebbets Field Flannels are made-to-order and handcrafted in the USA. Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for production. We can make any authentic flannel from the Negro Leagues, Minor Leagues, Latin America and many more. Contact us for details.

I love it. The double-piping is a great look, as is the simple block "M".

A few years ago, we looked at a team photo showing off this gorgeous jersey.

Top row, left to right: trainer Doc Buckner, Allan Johnson (p), Ted Gulic (of), Rudy York (1b), Herman "Hi" Bell (p), Lin Storti (3b) and assistant secretary Rudy Shaffer.
Third row: Jack Kloza (of), Clyde Hatter (p), Luke Hamlin (p), Garland Braxton (p), coach Red Smith and Forrest Pressnell (p).
Second row: George Detore (c), Chet Laabs (if), team president Henry Beadinger, manager Al Sothoron, team secretary Lou Nahim, Chet Morgan (rf) and Salvadore Hernandez (utility).
Front row: Eddie Hope (2b), Bill Brenzel (c), Bernard "Frenchy" Uhalt (cf), Joe Heving (p) and Chet Wilburn (ss).
It's a great look.

Ebbets Field Flannels once offered the matching cap - perhaps if they sell enough jerseys we can get them to bring it back for a little while.

Next year is the 80th anniversary of that pennant-winning season, and we at have big plans to celebrate it. I hope you'll order your jersey today to celebrate with us.

Friday, August 21, 2015

1943 Road Jersey Now at Ebbets Field

Ebbets Field Flannels, purveyors of classic baseball clothing since... well, since as long as I can remember, has come through again with something special for Milwaukee baseball fans.

This time, they are remembering our Brews with a reproduction of the club's 1943 road jersey.

Milwaukee Brewers 1943 Road

$195.00 $156.00

American Association

History: One of the most interesting things about the original minor league Brewers was their ballpark. The oddly-configured Borchert Field was built in 1887 and featured left and right field corners of only 266 feet. But the rectangular shape of the outfield made center field home runs nearly impossible. When the legendary Bill Veeck owned the team he installed a motor on the right field fence to move it back when the visiting team was up to bat. A rule was quickly passed outlawing this stunt.


Product details
  • American Association
  • Authentic reproduction of the jersey worn in 1943 by the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Authentic gray wool flannel
  • Felt lettering
  • Number on back
All Ebbets Field Flannels are made-to-order and handcrafted in the USA. Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for production. We can make any authentic flannel from the Negro Leagues, Minor Leagues, Latin America and many more. Contact us for details.

This jersey is notable the color scheme, red and white on gray. Notable for a total lack of blue, which had been a signature color going back to the 1910s, making this jersey style something of an anomaly for the Brewers. Even more strangely, it was worn with blue caps, and the corresponding home jersey prominently featured red and blue. So where did this come from?

This particular jersey design was part of new owner Bill Veeck's redesign of the Brewers before the 1942 season. The road uniform he introduced was blue head to toe, with a red script "Brewers" outlined in white. This may have been a callback to the early days of the 20th century, when colored uniforms were standard on the road.

Veeck and his men took some ribbing from the baseball world (especially from the home dugouts) over their proto-throwback blue traveling suits, so starting in 1943 the Brewers reverted to a more traditional gray uniform. Those new gray togs didn't have any blue at all; retaining the red-and-white script and numbers of their predecessor. Personally, I suspect that's because the team removed the red-and-white details from the blue jerseys and transferred them to the gray, but we may never know for sure.

There is an original 1943 jersey in the collection of contributor Paul Tenpenny, who graciously allowed us to study it back in 2010.

Paul's jersey was originally worn by longtime Brewer catcher/coach/manager/general manager Red Smith.

This gives us a unique opportunity to compare the two side-by-side, original and reproduction.

From what I can tell from the promotional photos, this is good work by Ebbets Field. The numbers and letters have an appropriate weight, and the heavy-serifed number is spot-on. They also appear to have matched the soutache piping; thin at the neck, thick at the cuffs.

I see two issues, one major and one a nitpick. The major issue is that the originals had a zipper, where Ebbets Field has chosen to use a button-up front. That's something they started doing a couple years back on all their reproductions (and Majestic repeated this with their throwback uniforms in 2013), but I don't know what's motivating it. There can't be a shortage of zippers.

The nitpick is that the wordmark appears too large in these photos. As we can see on Paul's jersey, it should be thirteen inches across.

Considering these jerseys are made to order, perhaps that's something that Ebbets Field can correct before production. Don't know what they can do about the buttons.

Even with those two issues, the jersey is gorgeous, and will only be available for a limited time, and is currently available at a special introductory price. Free shipping, too. Buy yours now!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

1948 Semi-Pro Tournament Flyer

Today we think of Borchert Field as the home of professional baseball before County Stadium, but it was much more than that; athletes of all levels were known to take the field. Starting in 1939, the Orchard hosted a state-wide semi-professional baseball tournament.

This four-page flyer was sent to raise interest and participation in the tournament. On the cover, the triumphant champions of 1947, the Kenosha Red Sox.

The inside front cover has a great photo of Borchert Field's unusual angled grandstand.

It also tells us about the tournament's structure.
Because of the tremendous growth of the state semi-pro tournament, the commissioner's office has divided the state into ten districts. Last year more than 60 clubs desired to enter that state championship competition but this number of teams could not be accomodated. This year champions will be taken from the various districts and brought to Milwaukee to compete for the state title.
This was part of a larger tournament system sanctioned by the National Baseball Congress. Each state held its own championship, sending a representative to the national tournament, held this year in Wichita, Kansas.

The two action photos on the side were obviously taken elsewhere, but the rest were shot at the Orchard. In the middle, you can see the combination of stadium and folding chairs. On the bottom, one of the Orchard's dugouts. I'm intrigued by the "M" jacket hanging over the bench; although almost certainly belonging to one of the semi-pro teams, that would have looked good for the Brewers.

We can see the majority of these District Commissioners in a photo published in the Milwaukee Sentinel earlier in the year.

MAP SEMI-PRO PLANS—Wisconsin commissioners met yesterday at the Medford Hotel to draw up plans for the State semi-pro district baseball tournaments. District winners wll play in the state finals at Borchert Field July 31-Aug. 3, with the state champ goin to the national tourney at Wichita, Kan. The lower row shows, left to right, Ed Needham, Milwaukee; Jack Rulle, Racine; Dick Falk, state commissioner, and Les Goerlinger, Clintonville. In the top row are, left to right, Earle Kidd, Owen; Jack Voll, Sauk City, and Irv Heus, New Holstein. (Sentinel photo)
Hmm. Between May and July, Earle Kidd was out and Les Winger of Oconomowoc was in. Strange; Oconomowoc and Owen are seven counties apart, practically on opposite sides of the state. I would love to see those district lines, but perhaps residency wasn't the number one requirement.

Looking over the list of District Commissioners and staff members, two names stand out.

Dick Falk was an industrialist and businessman whose family owned the Falk Corporation. He was also a great lover of baseball, who had been Commissioner since 1939. He would go on to co-found and run the Global World Series, an international competition of semi-pro teams held in Milwaukee in its first two seasons, 1955 and 1956.

Elmer Klumpp was a longtime journeyman who, aside from a combined seventeen games with the Senators and Dodgers, spent his career in the minors. And what a career it was! In his fifteen seasons he played for twenty teams in eleven leagues. One of those teams was our very own Brewers; he spent thirteen games in the Borchert Field home dugout in 1930. I don't know how Klumpp ended up in Milwaukee after his career ended, but eight years after he hung up his glove we find him here as a staff member for the Wisconsin State Semi-Pro Baseball Commission. Klumpp passed away in 1996 in Menomonee Falls.

The tournament came down to a title game between the reigning champion Kenosha Red Sox and the New Holstein Baseball Club. New Holstein knocked out the defending champs to take the state flag.

The Wisconsin State Semi-Pro Baseball Championship Tournament would continue to be held at Borchert Field every year until the park was closed following the 1952 season, when it transferred to the shiny new County Stadium.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On the Wrong End of a Triple Steal, 1934

Eighty-one years ago today, the fans at Borchert Field were witness to a play as exciting as it is rare; a triple-steal. Unfortunately, it wasn't the Brewers but the visiting Indianapolis Indians who pulled it off.

One of the rarest of all plays, a triple steal, was unfolded yesterday for the 7,000 paid patrons at Borchert field yesterday when the Indians executed the feat in the seventh and final inning of the afternoon. The finish of the grand larceny is shown above, Fred Bedore getting up after sliding safely acros the plate. Phil Weinert is the batsman waiting his turn, with Catcher Rensa and Umpire Swanson nearby. Sprinz stole third and J. Sherlock nipped second on the play. It was the second time this year that Bedore had made a clean steal of home against the Brewers, having previously turned the trick at Indianapolis.
There hasn't been a triple-steal in the majors since 2008, when the Cleveland Indians managed it against the Chicago White Sox (the most recent before that was in 1987, when Atlanta nicked three at once from Houston).

Unfortunately for the Borchert Field faithful, that triple-steal was emblematic of their day. The Brews lost both games of a double-header, 5-4 and 5-1.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Straight Outta the Orchard

The new N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton opens today in 2,700 theaters across the country. To promote the film, Universal Pictures has introduced a viral marketing site called "Straight Outta Somewhere", in which people can upload their own photos and tag them with their own locations.

It's been a fantastic marketing campaign, shared by hundreds of thousands on social media and launching countless variations on a meme.

I thought we could have a little fun with it. Owgust isn't exactly Ice Cube, but hey. You gotta represent your hometown, wherever it may be:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brewers Uniform Concept - Peter Melling

This concept uniform set for our National League Brewers, heavily influenced by the American Association club, was designed by Peter Melling, who posts under the handle "SFGiants58" on the boards.

Here's how he describes his concept:
This identity for the Brewers takes elements from the history of the MLB club and the history of baseball in Milwaukee (the American Association Brewers and their affiliation with the future Milwaukee Braves), and incorporates them into a cohesive identity that balances both modernity and vintage charm. The throwbacks/fauxbacks also aid this goal, as they carry across a visual continuity of script and logo design with references to various points of Milwaukee's baseball history (i.e. the [Ball in Glove], pinstripes, the classic script, and the Braves affiliation).
So let's take a look.

First up, the logos. There are two obvious references to the American Association club; a throwback block "M" cap logo and Brews mascot Owgust as a secondary logo and sleeve patch (this update originally created by user "Ren69").

There's a third callback you might not recognize; Melling's wordmark borrows its "tail" from the 1940s Bill Veeck-era uniforms.

The uniforms themselves are straightforward and clean.

I'm not a big fan of the barley-stalk stripes. Simple blue piping would look better to me, but I tend to be something of a traditionalist. On the other hand, I love the Owgust sleeve patches. I've long thought it a shame that he never made it to the Brews' uniforms (although he was featured on dugout jackets in the 1940s). This version, chasing down the ball, is well-balanced for a sleeve patch.

Melling also created two alternate jerseys, one royal blue and one athletic gold.

Finally, and most interesting, are the two throwback uniforms to be included in the rotation. One is a throwback to the early 1990s, and the other an overt nod to our Brews.

Melling describes the "1948 Throwback" this way:
The other throwback is a recreation of the 1948 American Association Brewers' home uniform, which corrects some minor inaccuracies of the 2013 throwback. The cap logo now looks more like the actual cap logo, and the jersey now has raglan sleeves (which required me to adjust the template) and a zipper front. A navy/red version of Ren's Ogwust rendering has been added to the sleeve to help all of the uniforms tie in with a visual continuity, namely a script front with an Owgust/Beer Barrelman sleeve and an "M/MB" cap logo.

With the news that GM Doug Melvin was stepping aside, it's a new era for baseball in Milwaukee. The perfect time for the Brewers to freshen up their look, and they would do well to look at Melling's concept for inspiration.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Brewer News" August 1952, Vol. 1, No. 3

This is a recent acquisition for the archives, a Brewer News newsletter from August 1952, very near the end of the team's existence.

The layout is unlike the others we've looked at before; gone is the masthead emblazoned with mascots in favor of two pennants celebrating the team's twin accomplishments in 1951, the American Association pennant and their Little World Series win. The Brewers used the same graphic on their pocket schedules in '52.

Fantastic headline - our "Amazing, Blazing Brews Still in Thick of Flag Fight!"

The team was closing in on a second consecutive American Association pennant and about to start their final home stand of the season. Almost every game was a special promotion. Of particular note are the upcoming exhibition game against the "parents", the Boston Braves, and the "stunt-studded Radio Appreciation Night" honoring team broadcasters Tommy Shanahan and soon-to-be-legendary Earl Gillespie.

On the next page, we learn more about that exhibition game with the Braves. Of course, this meant the Borchert Field return of former Brewers skipper Charlie Grimm. Jolly Cholly wasn't coming alone, as the article promised fans will see popular former Brewers such as Eddie Mathews, first baseman George Crowe (who had been the second African-American player to play for the club), shortstop Johnny Logan, second baseman Jack Dittmer, catcher Paul Burris, outfielder Bob Thorpe and pitchers Virgil Jester and Ernie Johnson.

The next page is chock-a-block with interesting tidbits, including plans for the upcoming playoffs. Although the Brewers hadn't sealed their place yet, they entered August with a 5-game lead over second-place St. Paul and were expecting postseason play. Miller Brewing President Fred Miller was making sure Milwaukee baseball fans wouldn't miss a minute of that action, agreeing to sponsor broadcasts of all playoff games. Miller was a longtime supporter of Cream City sports, and no less than Charlie Grimm later suggested that had Miller not died in a plane crash in 1954 he would have prevented the Milwaukee Braves from leaving town.

The back page contains a report on the fourteenth annual Wisconsin State Semi-Pro baseball tournament, which had been recently held at Borchert Field. The Brewers had been a major contributor to this event since its inception. This year's competition was held at the Orchard from July 28th through August 1st. The championship game was held late on that final day (the Merrill Rangers defeated the Milwaukee Police, 9-4), and the lack of mention in this newsletter may indicate that it went to press before the game was over.

The bottom third of this page is also illuminating; unlike earlier versions of the newsletter, this one is intended to be folded in thirds and mailed. Team mascot Owgust makes his appearance here, again with the twin pennants.

How cool would it be to receive "your free copy of BREWER NEWS" in your afternoon mail?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1905 Brewers Cap Back in Stock at Ebbets Field Flannels

Ebbets Field Flannels has re-introduced their re-creation of the Brewers' unique 1905 cap, with the city initial on the brim.
Better yet, they've made it part of their "Classic Ballcap Collection", meaning it will remain in stock and not rotated out of their offerings.
Milwaukee Brewers (AA) 1905 Ballcap



This hat is indeed a rarity: The only time we have seen the lettering go on the visor instead of the crown. Are you listening, current MLB teams? A new trend awaits.
  • American Association 
  • Ebbets Classic Ballcap Collection- Always available;
  • Horse hair buckram crown 
  • Satin taping 
  • Felt emblem 
  • Cotton sweatband 
  • Pillbox 
All Ebbets Field Flannels authentic ballcaps are made in the USA.

The early days of the 20th Century saw a lot of uniform experimentation as the sport's aesthetic was developing. This particular innovation didn't catch on, but today it's a great callback to a lost era.

Milwaukee Public Library

You can order your cap here. Show your support for the Brews, and they'll make more.

Monday, August 3, 2015

1940 Schedule - Yellow Cab

This schedule from 1940 is common of the type printed up by businesses from the early days of baseball through today.

In addition to the Brewers' home and road games, the schedule lists the home dates for the Cubs and White Sox. The Chicago clubs had a special relationship with Milwaukee; as the two Major League clubs closest to Milwaukee, they were often adopted by Cream City fans as their "big league club". The White Sox almost moved to Milwaukee in 1970, but that's a story for another day.

On every page, you can call Yellow Cab at MArquette 1800.

Yellow Cab is still around, although they have since become a co-operative.

(Document Wisconsin, Flickr)

They even still have the same phone number, albeit updated for modern convention.