This week in Wisconsin history: Baseball returns to Milwaukee

From Holly Nearman at Third Coast Digest on April 4, 2012, with SABR member Rick Schabowski:

On April 1, 1970, major league baseball returned to Milwaukee after Bud Selig purchased the bankrupt Seattle Pilots and renamed them the Milwaukee Brewers. With Opening Day quickly approaching, bitter Milwaukeeans had a week to convert to Brewers fans after losing the Braves to Atlanta five years earlier.

“People were kind of turned off by baseball after the Braves left,” says Rick Schabowski, President of the Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. “It was the first loss of innocence and the first time that fans saw baseball as a business rather than a sport.”

Despite the Braves never having a losing record in their 13 seasons in Milwaukee and boasting a World Series Championship, declining attendance at Milwaukee County Stadium led to the team’s downfall, says Schabowski. He points to a number of contributing factors including the Minnesota Twins moving into the region, not only drawing in western Wisconsin crowds, but also cutting into Wisconsin’s TV and radio markets. Additionally, a new city ordinance that took effect in 1961 that banned spectators from bringing their own beer to the stadium was undoubtedly unpopular among fans.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 5, 2012. Last Updated: April 5, 2012.