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.

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