Sunday, April 28, 2019

Mayor Zeidler Shows a Little 'Zing' of his Own, 1949

Last month, on Opening Day 2019, we looked at the Milwaukee Sentinel's coverage of the 1949 home opener. Today, on the actual 70th Anniversary of the game, I'd like to take a closer look at one photo from that coverage via an extant wire copy.

Mayor Zeidler, displaying the form of a veteran baseballer, gets ready to fire the first ball of the season just before the start of the Milwaukee-Toledo game at Borchert Field yesterday afternoon. An overflow crowd of 13,666 fans saw the Brewers pound the bases for a 9 to 1 victory. Page of pictures and game details in the Sports Section.
—Sentinel photo
As part of the Opening Day festivities, the Brewers had a pair of local politicians throwing the first pitch. Not mentioned in the caption is Wisconsin Governor Oscar Rennebohm, who set up behind the plate to receive it.

That's pretty good form from Milwaukee Mayor Frank Zeidler. Interesting not only that he's throwing off the mound instead of from the stands, but also that he appears to have taken a full wind-up. Hizzoner certainly gives the appearance of a man who really didn't want to bounce it to the catcher, but that's exactly what he did, one-hopping it to the Gov.

The men were in good spirits after the game, quoted as saying "We made a mistake in our preliminary warmup. We practiced at 30 feet for a 60 foot pitch." The Brewers 9-1 win that day may have taken some of the sting out of the ribbing. Brewer hurlers had been every bit as dominant as the scoreline indicated, leading Sentinel columnist Lloyd Larson to quip that Ziedler looked "more like a Toledo pitcher" on the mound than the city's mayor.

And in any case, the Mayor's impressive form made the front page of the next morning's paper, with the story of his one-hop home safely buried in the sports pages.

Wearing a baseball cap with a suit is one thing, but the mayor didn't even unbutton his coat! That's very old-school. No wonder he bounced the throw home.

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