|Team: Milwaukee (Atlanta) Braves, Milwaukee Brewers||Opening Day: April 6, 1953|
|Capacity: 36,011 (1953) 53,192 (2000)||Dimensions: LF 362 CF 402 RF 362|
|Surface: grass||Closing Day: September 28, 2000|
|Razed: February 21, 2001||Cost: $5.9 million|
|Broke Ground: October 19, 1950||Owner: Milwaukee County|
|Architects: Osborn Engineering (Cleveland)||Contractor: Hunzinger Construction|
Milwaukee County Stadium was built for the American Associations (minor league) Brewers, although they never played here. The City of Milwaukee hoped to attract a major league team with the new stadium. This park was built on the Story Quarry on Milwaukee's West Side, near the Story Hill neighborhood. This was the first publicly financed baseball stadium.
As soon as the park was being built, the St. Louis Browns, who once called Milwaukee home, applied to transfer back, but were blocked by the Boston Braves, who relocated there themselves in 1953. The Braves were quite pleased with the move, as they struggled for attendance in Boston, but broke the then attendance record with 1.8 million fans coming to see them play. This worked well as long as the Braves played well, which they did appearing in back to back World Series in 1957 and 1958. As the Braves stayed away from their winning ways, the fans stayed away from the park. In 1965, the owners wanted a larger television market, so they moved their team to Atlanta.
In 1967, Braves minority owner, and future Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, brought the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twin to County Stadium for an exhibition game. The game attracted 51,000 fans, so Selig was able to convince the White Sox to host nine games in Milwaukee in 1968. These games were so popular, Selig had the White Sox back for 1968 and 1969.
Baseball expanded in 1969, and despite the White Sox success in Milwaukee, Selig did not get an expansion team. So, in 1970, Selig bought the expansion Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy, and moved them to Wisconsin and renamed them the Brewers, after one season on the West Coast. Ironically, the minor league Brewers were the team the park was originally built for, and it took 17 years to finally get the Brewers home.
In the early 1990s, County Stadium was considered outdated. So, in 1992, Selig announced plans to have a new publicly funded stadium in place for the 1994 season. As with all construction projects, this was delayed and the Brewers played their last season at County Stadium in 1999. Pictured below are a marker where home plate stood, a little legue field, called Helfaer Park, that was built where the infield was, and a memorial to the Milwaukee Braves, all built on the site of County Stadium. There was also a marker of where Hank Aaron hit is final home run, number 755, but I couldn't find it.
A couple of unique things about County Stadium. There was a giant beer mug and keg, and the Brewers mascot, Bernie Brewer, would "dunk" himself down a slide when a home run for the local nine was hit. The keg is now stored at Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. Also, this is where the famous "sausage race" was started. Don't you want to know who will be the "Weiner" and who will be "Wurst"? This is also where my favorite baseball movie, Major League, was filmed.
Brewers retired numbers are (in numerical order and the years they were retired):
© 2016-17 Paul Healey. Picture of stadium © its owner.