Farrell: Following in the footsteps of the Braves

From SABR member Steven G. Farrell at The Sport Digest on April 10, 2017:

On August 29, 1965, I made the journey from my home town of Kenosha to Milwaukee with my family to see the Braves host the Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee County Stadium. The game, which the Braves lost to the Cubs, 10-2, was historical in that it was the last time the teams would face-off in Wisconsin. It was also of the utmost importance in my life as it was my first major league game. The Cubs, led by Hall of Fame members Ron Santo (four hits, four RBIs and a home run) and Ernie Banks (two hits and four RBIs) had my support because the word had been long out that the lame duck Braves, with their stars Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews and Joe Torre, were pulling up stakes and relocating to Atlanta, Georgia after the last of their 162 game schedule after playing in Milwaukee since 1953. Warren Spahn, the first Braves hurler to win over 300 games, was no longer with the club, but Phil Niekro, the second 300 winner in their history, pitched in relief that day.

The Braves set a Major League Baseball attendance record with 1,826,297 pushing through the turnstiles in their first season in their new home; and they drew close to a million fans in their final season even when the writing was on the wall about their impending desertion of the Midwest for the South. The city had supported the team throughout their residency and the team, in turn, responded by posting winning records for every single season played inside of County Stadium, including two World Series against the New York Yankees. I was only three when the Milwaukee Braves were World Champions in 1957.

By the early Eighties, I was relocated in Boston and following the Red Sox. I was living close to Commonwealth Avenue, where two of my friends lured me to see the Boston University Terriers football team (now defunct) play another college at Nickerson Field. It was pointed out to me that in a previous life the stadium had been Braves Fields (1915 to 1952), and had hosted the 1948 World Series. The “Miracle Braves” of 1914, led by the double play combination of Rabbit Maranville and Johnny Evers, had shared Fenway Park with the American League’s Red Sox. The place had also been the stomping grounds for three professional football teams: the Bulldogs, the Redskins, (who relocated to Washington) and the AFL Patriots (1960 to 1962). The only relics of the reconfigured park were one entrance gate and a portion of the original grandstand.

Read the full article here: http://thesportdigest.com/2017/04/following-in-the-footsteps-of-the-braves/

Originally published: April 13, 2017. Last Updated: April 13, 2017.