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Host Stu Levitan welcomes Prof. Patrick W. Steele, author of Home of the Braves: The Battle for Baseball in Milwaukee, from the University of Wisconsin Press. www.uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5618.htm
Milwaukee Wisconsin has a great, even historic, baseball heritage, dating to the late nineteenth century. Mid-twentieth century, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers were frequent league champs, and were even owned during the war years by the legendary Bill Veeck.
Which is, indirectly, why in 1953, the owner of the Boston Braves, a Major League baseball team in the National League, moved the team to Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Braves found immediate success on the field and in the stands. They took the National League title in 1957 and 58, winning the World Series in just their fifth year over the mighty and haughty New York Yankees. Attendance at the county-owned County Stadium lead the league and even set records, and was second over that entire period only to the Dodgers of Flatbush and Chavez Ravine. It meant a lot to Milwaukee to be a Big-League city, and it was very good for everybody’s business.
But then in October 1964 the owners – the new owners – announced they were moving the team to Atlanta. Milwaukee County sued them, and kept the Braves for another year, but in 1966, they opened the season in Atlanta stadium.
And that’s why there’s an “A” on Henry Aaron’s cap on his plaque in the Hall of Fame.
How the Braves came to Milwaukee, and why they left is the business that occupies Patrick W Steele in his award-winning history Home of the Braves: The Battle for Baseball in Milwaukee, from our friends at the University of Wisconsin Press. That award is the Gambrinus Prize from the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Dr. Steele is an assistant professor of history at Concordia University, where he focuses on Asian and American history, the Vietnam War, the Modern Middle East, and for our purposes, the history of sports, including baseball and football.
His first two degrees are from UW-Milwaukee, his Ph D in Modern American history from Marquette University, with a dissertation, entitled Strategic Air Warfare and Nuclear Strategy: The Formulation of Military Policy in the Truman Administration, 1945-1950, somewhat beyond the scope of today’s conversation. And no surprise – Patrick is also a member of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association.
I had not yet started this show when Patrick appeared at the Wisconsin Book Festival in 2018, so I’m pleased to finally be able to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Professor Patrick W. Steele.