Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Braves, Brewers and Memory

With all of the sensational news lately -- Roger McDowell's tirade, fans cheering bin Laden's death -- I started thinking of happier topics. At the top of the list are my earliest memories of heading to the ballpark.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Milwaukee where big league baseball was part of the fabric of the city. The Braves are a fuzzy memory for me. I was only 6 when the Braves headed South, but I can remember going to a game. The only images in my mind's eye are walking in the concourse at County Stadium. It's a pleasant memory, if scant on details.

The next Braves memory I have is of my cousins, who lived in Atlanta, telling me my team was headed their way. I can still feel the shock of hearing that. Maybe it was city pride, but I was saddened when my Dad confirmed the bad news.

You might think my next memory would be of the Brewers coming. But there is a little known chapter of Cream City history. After the Braves left, Bud Selig was intent on getting the city a new team. He convinced the White Sox to play games at County Stadium in 1968 and 1969. I distinctly remember going to a game against the Oakland A's. I am not sure if the game was in '68 or '69. Retrosheet.com, which has box scores for nearly every major league game, shows the Sox did play the A's both years in Milwaukee.

Of course, my clearest recollection is of the Brewers bringing baseball back to my hometown. The nervous days waiting to find out if the Seattle Pilots would make the move. And then came opening day 1970. I didn't go to the game, but on the playground at recess a bunch of us kids huddled around a radio hanging on every pitch.

It didn't matter that the California Angels crushed the Brewers, 12-0. We had our baseball team. For a kid of 11 nothing could have been better. My biggest thrill at a game that year was seeing Mickey Mantle, who was announcing the game of the week on NBC, walk past me up the aisle before a game.

Over more than four decades, baseball has given me a lot of thrills, but I'll always have a special spot for those first glimpses of the big leagues.


  1. The Dodgers.

    The BROOKLYN Dodgers. The ecstasy and the heartbreak.

    No other baseball memory comes close.

    None ever will.

  2. This explains why you were so interested in the Pilots appearance on the Mets '69 World Series trophy. I forgot the Pilots became the Brewers.


ESPN.com - MLB