Thursday, March 1, 2018

Beaming Smiles "Under the Florida Sun", 1942

In early 1942, three very handsome fellows posed for the camera at Spring Training in Ocala, Florida:

UNDER THE FLORIDA SUN—If the beaming smiles flashed by the trio of Brewers baseball masterminds mean anything, Milwaukee fans can expect a lot of fireworks at Borchert field this summer. Left to right are Coach Mickey Heath, Manager Charlie Grimm, and Coach Red Smith. The Brews play their first exhibition Sunday against Tulsa.
Mickey Heath was starting his second stint with the Brewers. He had come to Milwaukee as a first baseman in 1937, was promoted to player/manager after the firing of Brewer skipper Al Sothoron two years later. Brewers skipper Charlie Grimm brought him back as a part-time coach, and Heath would work his way up to vice president, team pitchman, and radio voice of the Brewers.

The man in the middle needs no introduction. Charlie Grimm, baseball's own "Jolly Cholly", is a giant of the sport. He followed up a twenty-year career at first base with a legendary coaching career. He helmed the Chicago Cubs for fourteen seasons over three separate stints (including as part of their "College of Coaches"). He was also the skipper of the Brewers from 1941 into the first part of 1944, and then again in 1951 before being called up to the parent Boston Braves. Jolly Cholly was in charge of the Braves when they made their triumphant march to Milwaukee.

On the right, Red Smith was himself a Brewers icon, starting as a backup catcher and quickly winning the hearts of Brewer fans (not to mention management). After retiring, he became a coach, then manager, then finishing out as the last General Manager the Brews would have.

I love the uniforms they're wearing. This is the classic late 1930s/early 1940s Brewer look. Thick blue soutache piping, red "M" over the heart. Outstanding.

This photo was published on the Milwaukee Sentinel's sports pages on March 22, 1942.

It was later republished on June 17, 1956, the morning after Charlie Grimm stepped down as manager of the Milwaukee Braves, It was part of a retrospective of Jolly Cholly's baseball career in Milwaukee. But sadly, that edition isn't part of the online Sentinel archives.

We do have a partial caption, glued to the reverse of the wire photo:
in 1942 Jolly Cholly was in Milwaukee as manager of the Brewers having a rollicking time with Coaches Mickey Heath, left, and Red Smith.
Good to see that the Sentinel remembered the Brewers even after Milwaukee went to the big leagues.

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