1953 Milwaukee Braves
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record92–62 (.597)
League place2nd
Other information
Owner(s)Louis R. Perini
General manager(s)John J. Quinn
Manager(s)Charlie Grimm
Local televisionnone
Local radioWEMP
WTMJ
(Earl Gillespie, Bob Kelly)
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The 1953 Milwaukee Braves season was the 83rd season of the franchise. It saw the return of Major League Baseball to Milwaukee for the first time since 1901 when Braves team owner Lou Perini, due to very low attendance, moved the team to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This move was approved by all seven fellow National League owners and occurred during spring training, just weeks prior to the start of the season.[1][2][3][4]

In their first season in the Badger State, the Braves finished in second place in the National League standings, with a 92–62 (.597) record, thirteen games behind the NL Champion Brooklyn Dodgers.

At the new County Stadium, the Braves drew a then-NL record 1.82 million fans.[5][6] The previous year in Boston, the home attendance for the season was under 282,000.[1]

Move of Braves from Boston to Milwaukee

Construction began on Milwaukee County Stadium in 1950 in hopes of both luring a Major League baseball team and also the Packers football team from Green Bay. The minor league Milwaukee Brewers were scheduled to begin play at the start of the 1953 season.[7]

However, in the first move of a Major League team in half a century, on March 18, 1953, the National League approved owner Lou Perini's move of the Braves to Milwaukee 8-0 because of his "fine standing" with the other owners and also because there was an open city for his minor league team then in Milwaukee. The minor league Brewers moved to Toledo, Ohio, and changed their name to the Mudhens.[1] [7]

Braves manager Charlie Grimm had won two minor league pennants while in Milwaukee [one with the Cubs farm team and the second with the Braves farm team in 1951]. In addition, the Braves organization promoted him from their Milwaukee farm team to the MLB Boston Braves the summer of 1952. Furthermore, 21 of 40 players on the Braves starting roster had played at least some of their minor league careers in Milwaukee.[1]

Milwaukee County gave the Braves a favorable stadium deal. For the first two years, the team would pay only $1,000 a year for the use of Milwaukee County Stadium. For the next three years, the team would pay 5% of ticket prices and concessions. After that, the rent would be negotiated afresh with the Braves being required open their books.[1]

At the time of the move, the Braves owner Lou Perini said, "A third major league is the only answer for the future."[1] This did not come to pass. In spite of the Mexican League attracting some MLB players in the 1940s, from 1953 to the present (2021) professional baseball in the United States continued to have only two major leagues: the National League and the American League.

Regular season

Season standings

National League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Brooklyn Dodgers 105 49 0.682 60–17 45–32
Milwaukee Braves 92 62 0.597 13 45–31 47–31
Philadelphia Phillies 83 71 0.539 22 48–29 35–42
St. Louis Cardinals 83 71 0.539 22 48–30 35–41
New York Giants 70 84 0.455 35 38–39 32–45
Cincinnati Redlegs 68 86 0.442 37 38–39 30–47
Chicago Cubs 65 89 0.422 40 43–34 22–55
Pittsburgh Pirates 50 104 0.325 55 26–51 24–53

Opening game

The Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee on March 18, 1953, less than four weeks before the start of the regular season, causing the National League to quickly realign its 1953 schedule. Before 1953, the NL was divided into four Eastern teams (Boston, Brooklyn, New York, Philadelphia) and four "Western" ones (Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St. Louis). With the Milwaukee Braves now a Western club, they exchanged 1953 schedules with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and opened their season on the road against the Cincinnati Redlegs in the traditional NL opener at Crosley Field on Monday, April 13. Braves' starting pitcher Max Surkont threw a three-hit shutout, however, and Sid Gordon and Jack Dittmer drove in the only runs of the day, as Milwaukee triumphed, 2–0.[8] The following day, April 14, they opened at home before 34,357 fans, and in ten innings they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee County Stadium, 3–2. Warren Spahn earned the complete game victory.[9]

Starting lineup, April 13, 1953

38 Bill Bruton CF
23 Johnny Logan SS
41 Eddie Mathews    3B
  4 Sid Gordon LF
48 Andy Pafko RF
  9 Joe Adcock 1B
  1 Del Crandall C
  6 Jack Dittmer 2B
36 Max Surkont P[8]

Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Team BR CHC CIN MIL NYG PHI PIT STL
Brooklyn 13–9–1 15–7 13–9 15–7 14–8 20–2 15–7
Chicago 9–13–1 12–10 8–14 9–13 5–17 11–11 11–11
Cincinnati 7–15 10–12 8–14 9–13 12–10 15–7 7–15–1
Milwaukee 9–13 14–8 14–8 14–8–1 13–9–1 15–7 13–9–1
New York 7–15 13–9 13–9 8–14–1 9–13 11–11 9–13
Philadelphia 8–14 17–5 10–12 9–13–1 13–9 15–7 11–11–1
Pittsburgh 2–20 11–11 7–15 7–15 11–11 7–15 5–17
St. Louis 7–15 11–11 15–7–1 9–13–1 13–9 11–11–1 17–5


Roster

1953 Milwaukee Braves
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Del Crandall 116 382 104 .272 15 51
1B Joe Adcock 157 590 168 .285 18 80
2B Jack Dittmer 138 504 134 .266 9 63
SS Johnny Logan 150 611 167 .273 11 73
3B Eddie Mathews 157 579 175 .302 47 135
OF Sid Gordon 140 464 127 .274 19 75
OF Andy Pafko 140 516 153 .297 17 72
OF Bill Bruton 151 613 153 .250 1 41

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Jim Pendleton 120 251 75 .299 7 27
Walker Cooper 53 137 30 .219 3 16
Harry Hanebrink 51 80 19 .238 1 8
Ebba St. Claire 33 80 16 .200 2 5
George Crowe 47 42 12 .286 2 6
Bob Thorpe 27 37 6 .162 0 5
Sibby Sisti 38 23 5 .217 0 4
Mel Roach 5 2 0 .000 0 0
Billy Klaus 2 2 0 .000 0 1
Paul Burris 2 1 0 .000 0 0

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Warren Spahn 35 265.2 23 7 2.10 148
Johnny Antonelli 31 175.1 12 12 3.18 131
Max Surkont 28 170.0 11 5 4.18 83
Jim Wilson 20 114.0 4 9 4.34 71

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Lew Burdette 46 175.0 15 5 3.24 58
Bob Buhl 30 154.1 13 9 2.97 83
Don Liddle 31 128.2 7 6 3.08 63
Vern Bickford 20 58.0 2 5 5.28 25
Joey Jay 3 10.0 1 0 0.00 4

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Ernie Johnson 36 4 3 0 2.67 36
Dave Jolly 24 0 1 0 3.52 23
Dave Cole 10 0 1 0 8.59 13
Virgil Jester 2 0 0 0 22.50 0

Farm system

See also: Minor League Baseball

Level Team League Manager
AAA Toledo Sox American Association Tommy Holmes and George Selkirk
AA Atlanta Crackers Southern Association Gene Mauch
A Jacksonville Braves Sally League Ben Geraghty
A Lincoln Chiefs Western League Lou Finney and Walt Linden
B Wichita Falls Spudders Big State League Whitey Wietelmann
B Evansville Braves Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League Bob Coleman
B Hagerstown Braves Piedmont League Dutch Dorman, Jimmy Zinn
and Billy Jurges
C Modesto Reds California League Guy Fletcher
C Eau Claire Bears Northern League Rex Carr
C Quebec Braves Provincial League George McQuinn
D Sandersville Wacos Georgia State League Gabby Grant, Parnell Ruark,
Lucius Morgan and Julian Morgan
D Wellsville Braves PONY League Ted Sepkowski
D Appleton Papermakers Wisconsin State League Travis Jackson

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Wichita Falls, Quebec

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hand, Jack (March 19, 1953). "Transfer of Braves to Milwaukee viewed as first in series of future changes". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. p. 38.
  2. ^ "Boston Braves go to Milwaukee". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. March 18, 1953. p. 1.
  3. ^ Thisted, Red (March 19, 1953). "We're home of the Braves!". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1.
  4. ^ "Approve Boston Braves' move". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. March 18, 1958. p. 1.
  5. ^ Chapman, Lou (September 21, 1953). "Braves fans set NL mark". p. 1, part 1.
  6. ^ Wolf, Bob (September 21, 1953). "Braves split final with reds as crowd smashes record". Milwaukee Journal. p. 9, part 2.
  7. ^ a b The Story Behind This 1953 Brewers Ticket, Milwaukee Magazine, Matthew Prigge, Nov. 1, 2017. This article includes a picture of a never-used 1953 Milwaukee Brewers ticket, the minor league team which would have opened at the new stadium.
  8. ^ a b Retrosheet box score: 1953-04-13
  9. ^ Retrosheet box score: 1953-04-14