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The Milwaukee Braves were a professional baseball team that played in the National League between 1953 and 1965. For that entire period, they played their home games at the Milwaukee County stadium. Their on-field performance was relatively impressive and to date remain the only team to play more than one season that has never had a losing season.
How did the Milwaukee Braves start up?
The franchise that became the Milwaukee braves had played in Boston under different names since 1876. The Milwaukee Braves were born when struggling franchise Boston Braves relocated to the city in March 1953. The Boston Braves had been a team on the decline since their 1948 World Series appearance. Following mediocre seasons during the early 50s, match attendance suffered drastically and on March 13, 1953 franchise owner Lou Perini announced that he would be moving to Milwaukee. The team was renamed the Milwaukee Braves and was received with wild excitement by fans in the city.
The Braves in Competition
The Braves hit the ground running in their first season, finishing the season in second place with an impressive 92-62 record. That season, the Braves drew a then National league record of, 1826,297 fans. They had another impressive in 1954 which saw them finish third with a record of 89-65. Two more winning seasons, 1955 and 1956 followed, but greater things were just around the corner. They pulled off a miracle to win the 1957 World Series. The team won a second straight National League Pennant in 1958 to earn a rematch with the New York Yankees in the World Series final.
They were unable to replicate the 1957 form however as they relinquished a 3-1 lead to hand the title to the Yankees. The impressive form continued as they narrowly missed out on the 1959 World Series appearance and finished second in the league in 1960 with an 88-66 record. From then on, their performances started to wane as they finished in fifth place for the next two seasons before dropping to sixth in 1963. In 1964, with talk of relocation rife, they posted an impressive 88-74 record but only finished in 4th place. In 1965, their final season in Milwaukee, following a blocked relocation bid, the Braves finished with another winning record which meant that they posted winning seasons in all 13 seasons.
Milwaukee Braves’ Most Notable Moments
The 1957 World Series win represents the peak of the Braves’ time in Milwaukee. Coming from their first National league Championship, the Braves were matched against the New York Yankees. The teams split the first two games. Milwaukee then found themselves trailing 2-1 heading into game 4. They found themselves in trouble having lost a 4-1 lead in game five to allow the Yankees to go ahead 5-4 heading into the tenth inning. However, an inspired performance from Eddie Mathews would see him hit two homeruns to hand the braves the victory and even the series. They won game 5 to lead the series 3-2, but the Yankees rebounded in game 6 in New York to again even the series. An inspired game by Burdette in game 7 handed the Braves their first and only World Series win.
The relocation to Atlanta was a bitter pill for Milwaukee residents to swallow. They fought valiantly to keep the team with fans boycotting attendance for much of the Braves’ last two seasons. A temporary reprieve was won when Bud Selig went to court to block the move, arguing that the loss of a baseball team would destroy the identity of the community. The judge granted an injunction that kept the team in Milwaukee for one more season but in the end, the move materialized and fans were left heart broken.
The Braves’ Most Notable Players
Hank Aaron played for the Braves from 1954 to 1965 and was one of the standout performers for the team. His performance for the Braves earned him the golden glove three times in row between 1958 and 1960, two times NL batting champion, and three times homerun champion. He led the braves to the 1957 World Series title by hitting .393 with 3 homers and 7 RBI. He was inducted to the hall of fame in 1982.
Another Hall-of-Famer, Eddie Mathews played third base for Milwaukee for the entire thirteen year history. He hit 30 or more homeruns for the Braves for nine straight seasons including 1953 and 1959 when he led the National League. He hit the game winning homerun in the tenth inning of game four of the World Series game against the New York Yankees. He was voted and inducted to the hall of fame in 1978.
Other important players include Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Warren Spahn and Phil Niekro.
What Happened to the Milwaukee Braves?
The Braves reached the pinnacle of their success in the 1957 World Series winning season. In subsequent seasons however, they failed to replicate that achievement. Overall the braves posted very impressive results but as the team entered 60s, the performances reduced somewhat and fans started to stay away from games. In 1964, the Braves reached a decision to relocate to Atlanta for the 1965 season.
However, a court injunction initiated by local businessman Bud Selig initially blocked the move forcing the club to play the 1965 season in Milwaukee. In the end however, the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court opening the way for the move. The team was renamed the Atlanta Braves and is still in operation today. Milwaukee would stay without a Major League Baseball team for just five years as Bud Selig eventually brought the Milwaukee Brewers to town in 1970.