Milwaukee Brewers (American Association)
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||American Association (1902–1952)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|Class titles||1913, 1914, 1936, 1947, 1951|
|League titles||1913, 1914, 1936, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1951, 1952|
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 American Association championships
- 3 Minor League championships
- 4 Ballpark
- 5 Notable figures
- 6 External links
A Milwaukee Tradition
The nickname "Brewers" has been used by baseball teams since at least the 1880s, although none of the early clubs ever enjoyed a measure of success or stability. That would change with Milwaukee's entry into the American Association, which would last 50 years and provide the city's springboard into the major leagues.
The American Association
The Brewers won their first American Association championship in 1913 and repeated the next year. More than 20 years would pass before they claimed another with a 90-64 club in 1936 as an affiliate in the Detroit Tigers organization. In 1943-45, the team won three consecutive pennants, and after the following season the Brewers became a farm team of the Boston Braves. Although this move eventually paved the way for the team's demise, in the short run it led directly to Milwaukee's final two league championships—one in 1951 when they also won the Junior World Series, followed by an even better team the next year.
Bill Veeck and Jolly Cholly
In 1941 the club was purchased by Bill Veeck (son of former Chicago Cubs president William Veeck, Sr.) in a partnership with former Cubs star Charlie Grimm. Under Veeck's ownership, the Brewers would become one of the most colorful squads in baseball and Veeck would be become one of the game's premiere showmen. Constantly creating new promotional gimmicks, Veeck gave away live animals, scheduled morning games for wartime night shift workers, staged weddings at home plate, and even sent Grimm a birthday cake containing a much-needed left-handed pitcher.
When Grimm was hired as the manager of the Cubs, he recommended that Casey Stengel be hired to replace him. Veeck was opposed to the idea – Stengel had little success in his previous managerial stints with the Dodgers and Braves – but as Veeck was stationed overseas in the Marine Corps, Grimm won out. The club went on to win the 1944 American Association pennant, and Stengel's managerial career was resurrected.
In 1945, after winning three pennants in five years, Veeck sold his interest in the Brewers for a $275,000 profit.
The coming of the Braves
Milwaukee had long been coveted by major league teams looking for a new home. Bill Veeck himself tried to relocate the St. Louis Browns back to Milwaukee in 1952, but his move was vetoed by the other American League owners.
The city of Milwaukee, hoping to attract a major league club, constructed Milwaukee County Stadium for the 1953 season. The Brewers were set to move in, until Spring Training of 1953, when Lou Perini moved his Boston Braves to Milwaukee. The Brewers moved to Toledo, where they became the next incarnation of the Toledo Mud Hens. The new Mud Hens continued their winning ways, claiming an American Association pennant in their first season in Ohio.
Legacy – Return of the Brewers
After the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, local automobile dealer and Braves part-owner Bud Selig created a group to lobby for a new major league club in Milwaukee. As a name for his group, he chose "Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Inc.", after the American Association club he grew up watching. As a logo, he chose the Beer Barrel Man in navy and red – traditional Brewers colors.
When Bud Selig bought the one-year-old Seattle Pilots franchise in the spring of 1970, he moved them to Milwaukee and they officially became the "new" major-league Milwaukee Brewers. The club continued to use the Beer Barrel Man as the team's primary logo until 1978. Recently, it has seen a resurgence on throwback merchandise, and been featured on several stadium promotions.
American Association championships
The Milwaukee Brewers won eight pennants in their fifty-one seasons:
Minor League championships
Championship series appearances
Before the Junior World Series became an annual event, the American Association pennant winners scheduled postseason minor league championship series against the champions of other leagues. For the Brewers' first two championships, these were held against the Denver Grizzlies of the Western League and Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association.
- 1913 – defeated Denver, 4 games to 2
- 1914 – defeated Birmingham, 4 games to 2
Junior World Series appearances
After 1919, the Junior World Series was held regularly between the American Association and the International League. For the 1936 season, the American Association introduced a Shaughnessy playoff between the league champions and three runners-up to determine the league's representative.
- 1936 – defeated Buffalo, 4 games to 1
- 1947 – defeated Syracuse, 4 games to 3
- 1951 – defeated Montreal, 4 games to 2
During its 51-year tenure in the American Association, Milwaukee played in the same ballpark. Originally constructed in 1888, it was located in the North side of Milwaukee on a rectangular city block with the main entrance on Chambers St. between Eighth and Ninth Streets. It had abnormally short foul lines, 268 feet (82 m) to left and right. The fences then angled out sharply, making for deep "power alleys" and center field was 400 feet (122 m) from home plate. It was known as Athletic Park until 1928 when it was renamed Borchert Field in honor of Brewers owner Otto Borchert, who had died the previous year. The Polo Grounds had a similar, but larger, configuration.
Borchert Field was also the first Milwaukee home park for the Green Bay Packers, who played the New York Giants on Oct. 1, 1933. The following year, the Packers moved their Milwaukee games to the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds in West Allis.
Interstate 43 now runs through where Borchert Field once stood.