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How and why Milwaukee lost its beloved Braves to Atlanta
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.
Patrick W. Steele is an associate professor of history at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is a member of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association.
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