Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"An Impromptu Game of Base Ball", 1859

The Wisconsin Historical Society posted this on Twitter today, featuring the site of what is believed to be the first baseball game in Milwaukee, one hundred and fifty-nine years ago today:

At the time, the Wisconsin State Fair was still located at the old Brockway Fair Grounds; it wouldn't move to its current site in West Allis until 1892. The grounds were at Twelfth Street and what was then Grand Avenue, renamed Wisconsin Avenue in 1926. Now part of Marquette University's campus, in 1859 it was the very edge of the city. Perfect spot for a large agricultural fair, or for a pickup game of "Base Ball".

It's nice to be reminded that not only does Milwaukee's baseball history extend past 1953, but it also goes deep into the 19th Century, to the earliest days of the game.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"A New Career - That of a Leatherneck", 1943

As we celebrate Veterans Day today, we look at this photo of the most famous veteran in the Brewers' organization: team owner Bill Veeck.

Marine Private William L. Veeck, 29, who started out selling pop in baseball parks and now owns the profitable Milwaukee Brewers ball club, starts a new career - that of a leatherneck. Veeck is reporting to his recruit tent at San Diego, following his initial equipment issue on Dec. 24, 1943. (Marine Corps photo)
Veeck came home from the war with an injury that would plague him for the rest of his life, but at least he came home. Many were not so fortunate.

You can read the full story of "Sport Shirt Bill's" time in the Marine Corps here.

Friday, November 2, 2018

"BASE BALL TO-DAY", c. 1915

Today, The Hop celebrates its "Grand Hop-ening", and Milwaukee has a streetcar again for the first time since 1958.

In honor of this momentous day, we present to you this postcard, circa 1915, showing two conductors posing on their streetcar.

On the streetcar's side, the letters "T. M. E. R. & L. CO." stands for The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company. Yes, that's right, the streetcars and electric power company were under one umbrella.

This particular style of car was introduced around 1906, and they remained in service until the 1940s. The conductors look very proud in their uniforms with heavy wool coats and brass buttons.

What's really interesting to us, though, is the sign on the front of the car.


8th & Chambers Sts.
This, of course, refers to our own beloved wooden ballpark, then known as "Athletic Park" and still over a decade away from being renamed for Otto Borchert.

The streetcar was a reliable mode of transit to the ballpark for the rest of its existence, as seen in this Milwaukee Journal ad from May, 1936:

Who knows? In future expansions, we could be able to jump The Hop on our way to a game at Miller Park, just as baseball "bugs" did back in 1915.

(Photo credit: Chuck Quirmbach)