Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Holidays from Borchert Field!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thank you again for reading, and for bearing with us in this rather trying 2017. Now that the Journal Sentinel archive is back online, we're looking forward to a very productive New Year.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Archives are Back!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives on Google News, pulled from the Internet over a year ago, are back!

I haven't seen an announcement, but happened to click on an old saved Favorite and this popped up:

Christmas has come early this year!

The original plan announced by the Journal Sentinel last August was to put these archives behind a Newsbank paywall, but instead they have released them back to the public. The search function doesn't seem to be active, but even that can't diminish my mood. The loss of these archives has really stymied our research, and with their return there are so many articles I want to write.

Next year is going to be a big one. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go chortle in my joy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Jack Hallett, 1935's Cup of Coffee

This fellow with the slighly uneasy grin is Jack Hallett. He was a right-handed fastball pitcher who was just twenty-one when this picture was taken.

Hallett grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He got his start in the city's amateur leagues. He got a tryout with the Toledo Mud Hens immediately after graduating high school, and then-manager (and future Brewers skipper) Casey Stengel told him "You will be a real pitcher, some day. But forget about becoming a professional pitcher for four or five years." Hallet refined his craft in the low minors before jumping to the Brews for the shortest of careers with the club - coming to Milwaukee partway through the 1935 season, he pitched one inning as a Brewer, giving up one hit, one run, and one walk.

Hallet got picked up by the Cleveland Indians organization, and bopped around the Cleveland and Chicago Cub farm systems before making his major league debut for the Chicago White Sox in 1940. He never had a long tenure on any big-league roster, but kept fighting his way back to the majors. He doggedly carved out a twelve-year career with twenty different clubs, including stints with the White Sox, Pirates, and New York Giants. Not bad for a guy who spent two of his prime years serving in the Navy in the Pacific theater.

As short as his Brewers career was, Hallett is pictured here wearing a similarly short-lived version of the Brewers' uniform, with a fancy "M" on the chest. This was introduced right before the 1935 home opener and lasted just one year.

This uniform represents a transitional stage in baseball uniform evolution; it brings back the cadet collar common in the early decades of the twentieth century, set off with thick soutache piping. We might think that throwback touches are a recent invention, but here we can see a baseball club re-introducing a design element from past decades.

This version of the M, with its fancy geegaws, never caught on in Milwaukee. By 1936, it had been replaced with a block M.

I've wondered if the design might not have been too close to that worn by the Minneapolis Millers, an American Association rival. But whatever the reason, sometimes things just don't last in baseball, and a story doesn't have to be long to be good.