I was only six years old when the Braves left Milwaukee, but I felt the anger, even from some of my young friends. Then the Brewers arrived, and I lived across the street from Dave Bristol, their first field manager, for three incredible summers. It was amazing, playing on the County Stadium field and in the dugout and bullpen with his children. I've always wondered why that terrible and wonderful transition happened; this book gave me everything I needed. It's the political and economic story of the joy and early success that surrounded the Braves' arrival in 1953, and the rage over their bitter departure in 1966. More than that, the book explains how the Braves' move was the beginning of great change in Major League Baseball, with shifting franchises and expansion extending the league coast to coast, and with frustrated fans in many cities seeing their teams move in large part due of broadcast revenues with the advent of television. Steele's research into the actions and reactions from the entire spectrum of Milwaukee's community, and nationwide, is excellent. A fascinating read!— Tim McCarthy
When the struggling Boston Braves relocated to Milwaukee in March 1953, the city went wild for its new baseball team. Soon, the Braves were winning games, drawing bigger crowds than any team but the Brooklyn Dodgers, and turning Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Warren Spahn into Hall of Famers. Within five years the team would win a World Series and two pennants.
It seemed the dawn of a new dynasty. Impassioned fans wore their hearts on their sleeves. Yet in October 1964 team owners made a shocking announcement: the Braves were moving to Atlanta.
In the decades since, many have tried to understand why the Braves left Milwaukee. Fans blamed greedy owners and the lure of Coca Cola cash. Team management claimed they weren't getting enough local support. Patrick Steele delves deeply into all facets of the story, looking at the changing business of baseball in the 1960s, the interactions of the team owners with the government officials who controlled County Stadium, the surging success of the Green Bay Packers, and much more, to understand how the "Milwaukee Miracle" went south.
About the Author
Patrick W. Steele is an associate professor of history at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is a member of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association.
"How could such a profound love affair between a city and its baseball team turn so toxic? Home of the Braves grapples with that issue, and its conclusions may surprise you. They surprised me."
—from the foreword by Bob Buege, author of The Milwaukee Braves: A Baseball Eulogy
"The truth behind one of the darkest divorces in sports history, revealing details often lost in the shadows of nostalgia. Steele's extensive research uncovers a war of greed, jealousy, and contempt between the Braves and Milwaukee's civic leaders."
—William Povletich, author of Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak