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Baseball history unpacked: Some of Milwaukee’s baseball past

yesterday’s news, today

Cincinnati Reds V Milwaukee Brewers
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Welcome to a new feature from the madman who makes Cub Tracks out of balsa wood, twine, and bear claws. On today, the T’ird day of the T’ird month, for all of you Pat Foley followers, the following events occurred*. We’ll get into detail about one or more** following the bullets.

  • 1953 - The Boston Braves, owners of the Milwaukee minor league franchise, block the Browns’ attempt to shift their franchise to Milwaukee. Lou Perini, Braves owner, invokes his territorial privilege, stating he has not been offered enough for the rights.**
  • 1959 - The winning entry in the Giants’ Name-the-Park contest is Candlestick Park, reflecting the shape of the rocks found in the area known as Candlestick Point. The ballpark, initially called Bay View Stadium, will be the first stadium to be built entirely of reinforced concrete.
  • 1967 - The White Sox are given permission to use a semi-designated hitter in training camp. With home club permission, clubs will be allowed to use a designated pinch hitter twice in the same game.
  • 1969 - The Washington Post reports the Global League has failed to reach an agreement with any television network. The lack of a TV deal appears to have derailed the reality of the proposed third major league coming into existence.
  • 1984 - Peter Ueberroth, the highly successful chairman of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the upcoming Summer Games, is elected to a five-year term as Commissioner of Baseball, succeeding Bowie Kuhn.
  • 1988 - Upset by a practical joke played by teammate Jesse Orosco, Dodger slugger Kirk Gibson walks out of camp for a day. The southpaw reliever had put eyeblack on Gibson’s cap.
  • 2015 - During five exhibition contests played in Arizona and Florida, baseball introduces its new pace of play initiatives designed to make the games shorter in duration. The new rules, which will be broken in slowly before players begin to be penalized, includes having batters keeping one foot in the batter’s box after taking a pitch, and the use of a clock to make innings start more punctually.
  • Happy birthday: Art Bues, Joe Jaeger.

**Milwaukee has a history of teams that just passed through for a while. The St. Louis Browns had originally been a Brewers franchise — they moved in 1902. They had only been the Brewers for a year, amassing a 48-89 record and drawing 139,034 home fans.

A Triple-A version of the Brewers played in Milwaukee for 50 years, while the Browns stayed in St. Louis for 52 years, until they moved to Baltimore in 1953, during the third year of Bill Veeck’s ownership. They’re now the Orioles.

That’s the same year the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, part of the first franchise shifts in almost half a century. They stayed there until 1965, and were quite successful, peaking in 1959 when they lost a three-game series with the Dodgers, who captured the pennant en route to a bout with the Go-Go White Sox.

The Milwaukee Braves never had a losing season. Bill Bartholomay and his syndicate moved them to Atlanta, where they had a few. The move was opposed by a group headed by one Allan Huber “Bud” Selig, a local car dealer with a lot of connections and a powerful desire to have baseball in Wisconsin.

Selig failed in that effort, as he did in his effort to buy the White Sox and move them north. But he succeeded in buying the woeful Seattle Pilots of Ball Four fame and bringing them to Milwaukee in 1970, where they’ve been since.

Bud Selig went on to bedevil the game of baseball as its Commissioner for a little more than a quarter-century, and the Brewers went on to a lot of losing seasons and a few notably good ones when the lumberjacks were in town.

*This feature is composed at least partially of information from the following sources: The National Pastime; Today in Baseball History; and Baseball Reference; Birthdays.