(1887, 1956 – 1958)
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||American Association (1956–1958)|
|Western League (1887)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Previous||Milwaukee Braves (1956–1958)|
|Wichita Braves (1887), (1956–1958)|
The Wichita Braves were an American Triple-A minor league baseball franchise based in Wichita, Kansas, that played in the American Association during the 1956, 1957 and 1958 seasons as a top affiliate of the then-dominant Milwaukee Braves of the National League.
In effect, the Wichita Braves were the successor of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Braves' predecessors in the Beer City. When the Major-League Braves shifted from Boston to Milwaukee in March of 1953, they displaced their highly successful Triple-A affiliate, the Brewers. With Toledo, Ohio, without baseball (the original Toledo Mud Hens had pulled up stakes for Charleston, West Virginia, on June 23, 1952), the Brewers moved to Toledo and played three seasons there as the Toledo Sox. But attendance fell by 50 percent — from 344,000 to 156,000 — during those three years, and the Braves moved the club to Wichita for the 1956 season. They displaced a Class A Western League franchise and affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, called the Wichita Indians.
While the parent Milwaukee club was setting attendance marks and winning two NL pennants in three years (missing the 1956 flag by only a single game), the Toledo-Wichita minor league transfer was a flop. Attendance for the Wichita Braves fell by another 50 percent over Toledo's gate, to 101,000, for 1956, as the team finished below .500. It climbed to 145,000 fans for a pennant-winning Wichita team in '57, led by legendary minor league manager Ben Geraghty. But when the Wichita Braves fell to second place the following year, attendance dropped to 1956 levels. The Braves then moved their Triple-A affiliation to the Louisville Colonels, and the Wichita franchise transferred to Fort Worth, Texas, for 1959 as the American Association reorganized.
- Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, editors. The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 1997 edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America.