The Milwaukee Braves: A Brief History
A brief history of the Milwaukee Braves. The city of Milwaukee gained a major league baseball team when the Boston Braves moved west in 1953. They were adored by fans but support waned and the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.
They were the undisputed kings of baseball fan support for several glorious years in the heyday of baseball. Milwaukee, Wisconsin greeted the arrival of their major league baseball franchise with more than just open arms in 1953.
Having built a stadium hoping they could convince a team to move there in the early 1950s, city leaders were hailed as heroes when the Boston Braves bailed out of a money-losing situation and made Milwaukee home just prior to the 1953 season.
Immediately, fans in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin showered the Braves were unconditional love. The Braves' players were adored on the field where attendance at the new County Stadium made Boston seem like a distant memory. Off the field, it was not uncommon for businessmen to provide free dry cleaning, free meals, free beer (of course), free cars and whatever they may have wanted besides. Led by young stars like Hank Aaron and Ed Mathews and by pitching veteran Warren Spahn (all three future Hall of Famers), the Braves slowly climbed into the National League's elite.
By 1956 they were a contender. By '57, they were playing in the World Series against the mighty New York Yankees. So rabid were Milwaukee fans, they even greeted the Yankees once the New Yorkers hit town. "Bush league" is how the city boys responded to the excitable Milwaukee fans. The series went seven games but Milwaukee prevailed and the headlines next day would read "Bushville Wins!".
In 1958, Milwaukee again reached the Series and built a three games to one lead on the Yankees, who again provided the American League opponent. But the Braves then lost three straight and the life was sucked out of Milwaukee's baseball balloon. The Braves narrowly missed another pennant in '59 but support at the gate mysteriously waned. Milwaukeeans stayed away from the park in increasing numbers. Why? No one knows for sure but most likely the novelty had simply worn off. Milwaukee had been to the summit and there was no place to go but down.
By 1963, rumors were rampant that the Braves would leave town and by the end of the '65 season, they signed the papers to go. The Atlanta Braves were born. The Milwaukee Braves put to rest. Milwaukee gained a new franchise in 1970 when Bud Selig helped bring the Seattle Pilots franchise to the city and the Brewers will move into a new park next season.