Friday, June 28, 2019

The Gang's All Here, 1944

From the digital collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown comes this beautiful team photo of your 1944 Milwaukee Chicks, taken at Borchert Field.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
A black-and-white photograph of 1944 Milwaukee Chicks team including the manager and chaperone. Lineup is as follows: Back, L-R: Max Carey (Manager), Thelma Eisen, Merle Keagle, Emily Stevenson, Gladys Davis, Clara Cook. Middle, L-R: Dorothy "Dottie" Hunter (Chaperone), Dorothy Maguire, Vivian Anderson, Sylvia Wronski, Alma Ziegler, Dolores Klosowski. Front, L-R: Josephine "Jo" Kabick, Betty Whiting, Viola Thompson. Olga Grant is absent from the photo.
The photo isn't perfect, a bit out of focus, but is still marvelous. And worlds better than the scanned copies we usually pull off of microfiche archives.

Let's take a look at some of the details:

You can see the difference between Max Carey's cream-colored uniform and the gray tunics worn by the players.

I love utility infielder Gladys Davis in her sunglasses. Looking like a boss.

Continuing around the picture, I don't know what's more delightful, the gloves casually tossed on the dugout roof or the little kid caught watching at the edge of the frame.

Just below our pint-sized photobomber, we have first baseman Dolores Klosowski, who had broken her leg during a game in June. She's wearing street clothes, her crutches leaning to the side.

Chaperone Dottie Hunter is also wearing street clothes, a casual change from her official military-like chaperone's uniform. The way she drapes her arm over the shoulder of pitcher Josephine Kabick gives the photo an air of casual familiarity.

This particular angle of the Orchard, looking past the dugout into the covered grandstands, was a favorite backdrop of photographers. The Brewers took a team photo on the very same spot that year and repeated it in 1948. The women had also previously posed for a photo in front of the same backdrop (with Dolores in uniform, before her injury), which was published in the June 25, 1944 Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal.

In each of the photos, you can see the wooden stanchion marked "B". The angle of the 1948 Brewers team photo gives us a great look at the rest room sign:


Not necessarily something I'd be eager to put in the background of my photo, unless they were going for that added touch of gritty realism. Today, it's a valuable artifact, telling us more about the layout of the long-lost wooden ballpark.

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