Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year from Owgust and All of Us!

Happy New Year from!

We have big things coming in 2019, including celebrating our 10th Anniversary this February! Thanks for being part of our story so far.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Happy Holidays from Borchert Field

Here at Borchert Field, we have an annual tradition of re-publishing some of our favorite holiday-themed posts. Or, if you prefer, we drag out some old chestnuts.

This year, it's the wonderful Brewer News: Volume 3, Number 1, the December '44 issue.

It features a Santa-themed version of the Brews' mascot Owgust, the forerunner of the modern-day Barrelman, hawking Gift Certificates, Box Seats and Ticket Books. "Brewer fandom's most popular gift", after all.

Delightful. This is why mascot logos are the best.

The rest of that issue of Brewer News can be found here, originally published on in December of 2010.

As Owgust himself might exclaim, ere he drove out of sight:

"Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"The Stroboscope Light Stops Hal Peck", 1940

This gorgeous nighttime photo was published in the Milwaukee Journal on June 28, 1940.

The stroboscope light stops Hal Peck in midswing and shows the arm pull which gives the young Brewer outfielder all his power. After a miserable start in Class AA baseball, Peck has found himself and pushed his average up to .280. Manager Mike Heath predicts that the youngster will be in the .300 class before the season ends. —Journal Staff
We have a review of Peck's career as "Bill Veeck's Good Luck Charm", originally published way back in February of 2010, when this blog was just over a year old.

Although this particular photo is credited to "Journal Staff", I can't help but wonder if it was taken by their pioneering staff photographer Frank J. Scherschel. In the early 1940s, Scherschel was experimenting with stroboscopic equipment, "making possible exposures at 1/100,000 of a second". It allowed him to freeze the action at a nighttime game, although all the photos I've seen have been like this one, staged for the camera.

The paper published a series of Scherschel's results, and we've looked at his stroboscopic photos of second baseman Barney Walczak (aka "Barney Walls") at the plate and right-handed fastballer Robert George Kline, Jr caught in mid-pitch.

Could this have been another in the series? The uniforms certainly match. That's the late 1930s look that would eventually be replaced by new president Bill Veeck before the 1942 season. Classic red "M", thick blue piping. And all three were taken about the same time, in 1940, during the period when the three men were on the Brewers roster.

If Scherschel didn't take this third photo, he must have worked with the person who did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Milwaukee Magazine: "1944 Milwaukee Chicks Were the League of Our Own"

Milwaukee Magazine checks in with a piece about our beloved Chicks:

The 1944 Milwaukee Chicks Were the League of Our Own

The Milwaukee Chicks made the most of their only season in the Cream City, bashing their way to a women’s professional championship in 1944.


The All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was launched in 1943, the brainchild of gum magnate Phillip Wrigley and Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey. As seen in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, the idea was to supplement the loss of male talent in the professional ranks with women ballplayers. The film does a fairly accurate job of dramatizing the league’s first season, although it was not until the league’s final season in 1954 that a regulation-sized baseball was used and not until 1948 that overhand pitching was allowed.

For the league’s second season, a pair of expansion teams were added – the Minneapolis Millerettes and the Milwaukee Chicks. The league hired Max Carey, longtime star of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a future Hall of Famer, to manage the Milwaukee team. The initial reaction from the local papers was what one might have expected for the time. The Milwaukee Journal – which disregarded the “Chicks” moniker for “Schnitts,” a German word for a short class of beer – wrote that the women ballplayers “are not all the Amazons one might expect… they can play baseball, it’s just that the eternal feminine is prominent is all of them, even if they do wear shoes with spikes and caps that are continually falling off their pretty heads.”

But as the season wore on, it became obvious that the team was no gimmick. Playing nearly every day, with regular doubleheaders, the Chicks proved themselves as one of the league’s top clubs. By the middle of the summer, talk about the team was centered on their play more so than their appearances. Manager Carey was similarly impressed with his club, noting the reckless way the women would slide into bases, even with the league-mandated skirt uniforms. “Can you beat that?” Carey bragged. “Show me a big league ballplayer who’ll slide into home plate bare kneed and bare legged.”

After a third-place finish in the first half of the season, the Chicks dominated in the second half, running up a 40-19 record and clinching a spot in the championship series with a week to go in the season. But the Chicks had trouble finding a local audience. Most city fans opted to spend their money on the minor league Brewers, with some complaining that Chicks ticket prices were too high. There was little local objection raised when the league announced the entire seven-game title series would be played at Kenosha’s Lakefront Field.

The series would be a showcase for Chicks’ ace pitcher Connie Wisniewski. The winner of 23 games during the regular season, Wisniewski threw five complete games during the series, with a record of 4-1. With the Chicks down three games to two, Wisniewski threw 13 innings in game six – a walk-off win for the Chicks – and then came back the very next day to shutout the Comets once again and give Milwaukee the title.

Local reaction was subdued, but it was clear to those who were paying attention that this was a powerhouse team. The Chicks led the league in runs, batting average, steals, and homers and featured some of the league’s top pitchers. Unfortunately, the lack of support in the city doomed the team, and they quietly relocated to Grand Rapids for the 1945 season. The Grand Rapids Chicks would remain in business until the league folded in 1954, winning league titles in 1947 and 1953. Today, the Chicks and their championship season are memorialized in a display at Miller Park.
Always fantastic to see the Chicks get the coverage they were long denied. And Prigge always comes through. Maybe we can get the Brewers to honor these amazing women next year.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Milwaukee Schnitts Jersey from Ebbets Field Flannels

I recently had this jersey made by our friends at Ebbets Field Flannels. It's a reproduction of the jersey worn by Hall of Famer Max Carey as manager of the Milwaukee Chicks/Schnitts.

I chose "24" for the back not for Carey himself (I do not believe AAGPBL managers wore numbers, at least not in 1944) but because the All-American Girls professional Baseball League Players Association lists twenty-four members on the Schnitts' all-time roster. That seemed a fitting tribute to those pioneering women.

They re-created the jersey patch based on photos I took at the Milwaukee County Historical Society's recent exhibit "Back Yards to Big Leagues: Milwaukee’s Sports and Recreation History".

Ebbets Field did a marvelous job, very true to the original.

I'll be proud to wear this to Miller Park next year: maybe even for a Schnitts "Turn Back the Clock" game?