Monday, February 13, 2017

Bob Thorpe Wire Photo, 1951

This gorgeous photo shows outfielder Bob Thorpe in his Brewer uniform standing on the grass of Borchert Field.

He looks like he's waiting for a popup to come down, although the men in the background betray the staging.

Thorpe was a right-handed outfielder who had worked his way up through the Braves' organization. He was in his sixth year of organized baseball, starting with the Florida State League's Gainesville G-Men and ending with the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in the year before this photo was taken. Milwaukee was the last stop on the way to the majors, which is exactly where he was headed.

1951 was a good year for Thorpe. He led the Brews in runs and stolen bases, and was in the top four in hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBI. His batting average was just a point below .300. All of which earned him a spot on the Braves' roster in 1952, and when he next returned to Milwaukee it was with the rest of the Braves team in the spring of 1953.

The photo doesn't have any copyright, newspaper stamps or wire service information. It is simply stamped "FILED MAY 2, 1951".

It is particularly interesting for its look at the outfield ads, most notably WEMP radio up top (proudly boasting of its Brewer baseball broadcasts with Earl Gillespie) and Miller High Life down below.

I'm not familiar with the John Schroeder Lumber & Supply Company, but a quick Google search tells me that it was a Milwaukee-based lumber company, at one point among the largest lumber retailers in the United States. They owned logging forests upstate as well as Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

That's a gorgeous uniform Thorpe is wearing. It illustrates the Brewers' move from fully-independent club to minor-league affiliate, as the uniforms became more and more like the parent club's. The rich, cream-colored flannel stands out in this photo.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

1922 Oorang Indians vs. Milwaukee Badgers Government Postcard

This postcard is currently up for auction as part of Heritage Auctions' February 25 - 26 Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction.

It commemorates the Oorang Indians' visit to Borchert Field to take on the Cream City's resident NFL club, the Milwaukee Badgers on November 19, 1922.
1922 Oorang Indians (Jim Thorpe) vs. Milwaukee Badgers Government Postcard

1922 Oorang Indians (Jim Thorpe) vs. Milwaukee Badgers Government Postcard. Led by all-world sports legend Jim Thorpe, the Oorang Indians of the National Football League were put together by Walter Lingo to market his Oorang dog kennels in 1922. With a population of well under 1,000 people, the town of LaRue, Ohio remains the smallest city in NFL history.

Presented here is an original Government Postcard/ticket from the Indians' 1922 meeting with Milwaukee. Measuring at 3.25x5.5", it is part of an amazing find of Jim Thorpe memorabilia that originated in Indiana. Exhibiting moderate wear with one small tear, it is unused and not postmarked. Encapsulated SGC Authentic.

Athletic Park is, of course, the original name of Borchert Field. It wouldn't be renamed for Brewers owner Otto Borchert for another five years.

I like that terrier logo. The implied tenacity is perfect for any sports team, much less one named after a kennel company.

The card's reverse bears the name of the Oorang coach:

Jim Thorpe was a legend in American history. He was also known to Milwaukee sports fans, having played for the Brewers in 1916.

The hometown Badgers were victorious that day, as the men in orange defeated Thorpe's men 13-0. Both Milwaukee touchdowns were scored by Paul Robeson, who would soon become a world-famous singer, actor, and icon of the Civil Rights Movement.