Friday, April 6, 2018

Milwaukee Tavern Scorecard - June 2, 1924

This tavern card, that uniquely Milwaukee institution of the early 20th century, was published on June 2, 1924. It was distributed to watering holes all around the Cream City,

The card is credited to "B. F. Steinel" and "C. Leysenaar". We've seen that first before on other cards, but the second is new to me. A quick check of corporate records indicate that a Cornelius Leysenaar owned a printing company going back at least thirteen years before this time. I don't know why Mr. Steinel took on a new partner, but it didn't seem to take; by 1927 he was again the only person listed.

The box score tells a sad story for the hometown heroes:

They let the visiting St. Paul Saints off to a quick lead in the second, cut it in half in the bottom of the inning, then let the Saints double it again and add another before staging a mini-rally in the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the seventh the Brewers scored four runs to take the lead before surrendering it again in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Brewers plated a run to tie the game and send it into extra innings, finally surrendering two runs in the top of the 11th to seal the game for St. Paul.

That loss had to have been especially frustrating for a Brewers club in desperate need of a win; they were coming off a disastrous road trip, having lost 10 of their last 11 games. At the conclusion of this game they stood solidly in the American Association cellar with a .400 record, 16-24.


Looking around the majors, it's interesting to note that the two New York clubs were on top of the two leagues (with Brooklyn fairly close behind in the senior circuit), and the Philadelphia clubs were each in last place.

As always, the ads give us a wonderful glimpse into a section of Milwaukee life of the day. So far as I can tell, all the establishments are gone now, even the two printing companies, but there are some here more notable than others.

The Boynton Cab Company was one of the earliest cab companies in the city, having started with horse-drawn wagons in 1858. In 1903 the company purchased its first four motorized cabs and began the transition to automobiles. In 1923, just one year before this card was printed, the Boyntons purchased the Milwaukee Yellow Cab Company and the Black and White Yellow Cab Company, consolidating their hold on the marketplace. No wonder they could afford to undercut their competitors' rates. The Boynton Company was in business for 121 years, an amazing run. When it finally closed its doors in 1979, several of its drivers formed the Yellow Cab Cooperative, which still ferries passengers today.

Morgenroth, the "baseball and boxing headquarters", has an interesting story. Run by "Honest John" Morgenroth, it was the hub of the Cream City's illegal gambling industry, with everything from a roulette wheel to news tickers to track horse racing results. It flourished for years, until Honest John attracted the wrong kind of attention by investing in a business run by Mayor Daniel Hoan. The press (and police) could no longer turn a blind eye to "Milwaukee's sporting headquarters", and the joint was shut down in 1931 following a series of vice raids.

As always, these cards tell us as much about Milwaukee of the day as they told tavern patrons about the previous day's ball games.

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