Friday, April 27, 2018

Opening Day at the Orchard, 1948

It was a momentous day for the Brews, even by home-opener standards.

The 1948 Brewers opened with a road trip, as our 2018 Crew did. Those Brewers came home to Milwaukee after stints in Toledo, Indianapolis and Louisville with a 6-7 record.

Seventy years ago today, the Milwaukee faithful packed their old wooden ballpark to see the Brewers play their home opener. And thanks to a timely grand salami from the bat of third-sacker Damon Phillips, the many fans went home happy.

The Milwaukee Sentinel's box score headline was typically understated.

Result aside, this opener was an historic day for Milwaukee baseball fans; this was the first game to be broadcast on television.

The broadcast didn't harm attendance at Borchert Field, though; nearly 14,000 fans packed the old wooden ballpark (the Sentinel reported 13,758, the Journal a more modest 13,705). Either way, that was about four thousand above its standard seating capacity, so the Brews turned again to their customary solution.

Part of the overflow crowd of 13,705 fans who greeted the Milwaukee Brewers in their first appearance of the season at Borchert field Tuesday is shown watching the action from left center field. It was the largest opening day crowd in 10 years. —Journal staff
They packed the overflow fans into the spacious corners of the infield. As was their custom in such situations, any ball hit into the seated fans was a ground-rule double.

The Sentinel also had good coverage:

As was customary, the governor and mayor both put in an appearance. And, of course, both wanted in on the first pitch ceremony.

READY TO GO— GOV. (Catcher) Oscar Rennebohm, Coach Ray Berres, Manager Nick Cullop and Mayor (Pitcher) Frank Zeidler are snapped just before Zeidler goes out on the mound to officially open yesterday's first home game for the Brewers against the Mud Hens of Toledo.
In addition to the main sports page, the morning paper also devoted an entire page to photographs of the festivities:

Wow. Look at that crowd.

Fans jammed the stands and overflowed onto the field yesterday for Milwaukee's home opener against Toledo.
Everything appeared rosy the Toledo Mud Hens in the sixth inning of the home opener yesterday. In that inning they scored four runs, two of them on a double by Boris Woyt, center fielder. Here Boris slides safely into second base. Johnny Logan holds the relay from the outfield while Gene Markland stands by.
Boris Woyt did O.K. for himself in the sixth, but in the 5th it was a different story. That's Boris racing toward third base trying to beat the ball to the bag, which he failed to do. Waiting for the throw from the Brewer catcher, Paul Burris, is Damon Phillips. Toledo Manager George Detore is the coach.
The third-base photographer got quite a workout, also capturing Brewer runners making a beeline for the hot corner.

Brewer pitcher Glenn Elliott got a free pass to first base in the third inning and went to second on a single. But that's as far as he got. The next batter hit to the infield and Elliott (racing toward the camera) was forced out at third. Don Richmond made the put out. Brew Manager Nick Cullop got in on the play.
Love that view of the Brewers' simple, bold number font.

The "lucky 7th" was lucky for the Brews when Damon Phillips clouted the game winning home run with the bases loaded. Gene Markland moved in to shake Phillips' hand as he crossed the plate. No. 17 is Carden Gillenwater. Heinz Becker is at the left and Nanny Fernandez at the right behind Markland. Sentinel Photos by Elmer Richardson.
The font's "1" is even better, a single sans-serif vertical bar.

I love how Elmer Richardson snapped his photo just after the unnamed Journal staff photographer.

An enthusiastic welcome awaited Damon Phillips at home plate after the Brewer third baseman had hit a grand slam home run in the seventh inning to give Milwaukee a 7-5 victory over Toledo in the home opener Tuesday. The reception committee included Carden Gillenwater (shaking hands with Philips), Heinz Becker (behind Gillenwater), Gene Markland and Nanny Fernandez, all of whom had been on base at the time. The Brewer bat boy and Frank Mancuso, Toledo catcher, look on as the Brewers rejoice. —Journal staff
Bonus points to the Journal for actually catching Phillips with his foot on the plate.

Yes indeed, 1948 was off to a rip-roaring start. What a great time to be a Brewer fan.

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