While most of us didn’t know it at the time, 1959 had been a watershed year…we were now entered into “the ‘60’s”…a time of turbulence, turmoil and transformation…This was the very cusp of great change—in our nation, in our culture and in all our lives. The Baby-Boomers had just started or were just about to start high school. In the past 10 years, some two and a half million immi-
grants have made the U.S. their new home. Physicists and scientists continue to perfect satellites and the laser. Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 was shot down by the Russians. Fidel Castro proclaimed that U.S. holdings in Cuba now belong to Cuba. France became the fourth country with nuclear capability. On the home front, Elvis finished his stint for Uncle Sam and sold “Are you lonesome tonight” to a whole lot of teenagers…and, even, to some of their moms. Ike’s tenure as President came to a close and John F. Kennedy barely beat Richard M. Nixon to become our 35th President. Xerox came out with the first commercial copy machine. To the delight of doctors and chiropractors everywhere, Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” became an American dance craze…For those of a more moribund musical taste. “Teen Angel” was their fare. For total silliness, “Alley Oop” filled in nicely. Some got positively cuddly with Ray Charles’ “Georgia on my Mind”. If you were into having the stuffin’ (Grandma’s nicer word) scared out of you, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” was playing at the Grand Theatre; at the Hwy 29 Drive-In, Kirk Douglas WAS “Spartacus”!!
For Milwaukee Braves fans, 1960 sort of began in late 1959: Less than a week after the two pennant play-off losses to the Dodgers, Manager Fred Haney resigned.
On October 23rd, the Braves hired Dodgers coach, Charlie Dressen, as the new manager. This caused an even louder version of the murmurous mutterings that followed the hiring of Birdie Tebbetts. Neither had ever been a friendly rival; neither was seen as a suitable teammate. From what we’d heard, Dressen was viewed as a brash egotist with a three-word vocabulary: “I”; “me” and “my”. He seemed eminently quotable in the media—even having a few nice things to say about the team. He did, however, revert to type in extolling his own virtues and how things would be done henceforth: his way!! A school-boy had the sense to know this was a team of almost solely veterans who might be bettered with cohesion and direction but, not to be talked to and about like children…It wasn’t a very good first impression!!
Objectively, Dressen was not without favorable attributes: He was fiercely optimistic; his experience and knowledge were solid, he was aggressive and he was glib!! On the other hand, he seemed to come off as a preening ‘little man’ with an overly confident, overly compensating, knows-it-all, foot-in-mouth egotism and “not a good fit” here in Milwaukee—with this team…
Fandom in Milwaukee was no longer the uncultivated, unrefined cheerleader of foul balls (re 1953) after seven mostly wonderful years of in-the-seats training. We read the papers; we subscribed to SPORT Magazine, The Sporting News and Baseball Digest; we listened to the radio and the TV. There were a lot of stories and rumors and snippets of partial information and, I’m sure, misinformation.
When Fred Haney quit, Johnny Logan told reporters, “We should have won the pennant easily”. How close is that to what fans were already thinking…My Mom could have won the pennant with those guys…BUT…how weird was it that NO ONE on the team came out in support of Logan?? I mean, NO ONE…!! A couple said Logan didn’t speak for them, a couple praised Haney, a couple said they might not have been utilized as well as they might have been. Most said, in effect, we may not have always agreed…but, he was the manager…
Even the front office agreed with Logan—they immediately accepted Haney’s resignation…and, as though to pour salt in the wound, gave Dressen a two-year contract which they never gave Grimm or Haney. It sure looked like somebody up there also thought the Braves should’ve won the pennant!!!
Sadly, there were other rumors, as well, to the effect that there was disunity/dissension on the team…A closing of the ranks kept some of this stuff quiet for awhile, but, you kept hearing things re the “milk drinkers” and, apparently, those who eschewed the tamer spirits. Of course this is grist for the sports writers; especially for those with whom the relationship wasn’t all peaches and cream in the first place.
To us readers, it seemed that the Braves got more warmth and empathy from the Sentinel writers. In general, it appeared that the Journal writers had more “edge”. Some of the Journal staff apparently supported Bill Veeck’s efforts to get the St.Louis Browns moved to Milwaukee over Lou Perini and the Braves and Perini’s “triumph” did not earn him and his team the eternal gratitude of those staffers. How much truth there is in all that we may never know, however, there are still Braves’ fans who think that certain comments of Journal writer, Oliver Kuechle, were tantamount to secular heresy…and…he definitely found a coterie of adversarial adherents. Fan unrest cannot be laid at a single doorstep. Many things contributed to it: The newness of the “toy” wore off as did the accompanying awe; as noted earlier, fans had become more sophisticated; there were huge changes in management (Grimm, Haney, Quinn, Tebbetts, McHale, Dressen); owner Lou Perini was seen by some as an absentee landlord whose major business was construction; the Braves were cutting costs to offset the losses of eroding attendance and there were still a lot of people who thought their Mom, sister, uncle, cousin or Pluto the Dog coulda woulda shoulda brought the Braves to the World Series in 1959…
Is all this part of the rites of passage for a guy or gal leaving the teen years and growing up to the realities of life? Maybe so…like finding out your heroes have feet of clay? That they are as human and normal and as prone to err as your family or your neighbors or your friends? That ballplayers are just like everyone else? Well…
not quite…They may not be as heroic as the Greek or Roman pantheon; or even as heroic as policemen, firemen and EMTs…but…they’re still heroes. We can still admire them for their outstanding talents, exploits and achievements…Perhaps not to be revered—but, still able to delight and inspire us…maybe not superheroes…but, still HEROES!!!
Traditionally, we’ve honored our heroes annually with some type of celebration…The banquet season began early in 1960; the honoree on January 10, was Donald Davidson. Don’s career with the Braves began in Boston in 1948 during the World Series. Short, perhaps, of stature; he’s a giant among a vast array of friends in the media, in the sports world and in show business—Babe Ruth being just one. Special guest for the evening was actor, Jeff Chandler. Note the Frank Marasco art on the program…
Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedyheld a press conference in Milwaukee in mid—January to announce that he will run against Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in the Wisconsin Presidential primary this April. The Senator and Johnny Logan are long-time acquaintances from Logan’s days in Boston.
On January 24, 1960, the Milwaukee Chapter of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America held their 7th Annual Diamond Dinner. The Sam Levy Award for faithful and meritorious service was presented to Andy Pafko. Eddie Mathews received the Manning Vaughn Award as the Braves’ Most Valuable Player of 1959. Again, note the artwork of both Frank Marasco and Al Rainovic.
The Old Time Ballplayers Association held their 23rd Annual Banquet on February 10, 1960. The dais held a veritable who’s who of Milwaukee Braves players, current and retired players who hail from Milwaukee and fans and Boosters of Baseball in Milwaukee. The honored guest was “Braves’ 3rd Sacker”, Eddie Mathews. Art by Frank Marasco…
Spring Training (Yaayyy!!!) got underway in mid-February with, as usual, pitchers and catchers reporting earlier than position players. Vic Rehm (who appears in the 1960 Fleer/Sports Novelties set) gets some sound advice from pitching coach, Whit Wyatt.
Bob Buhl, 16-9 last year and Warren Spahn, 21-10, exchange droll comments we’ll probably never get to know as they begin the process of getting in shape for the ’60 season.
Lou Burdette and daughter, Mary Lou, while away the hours awaiting word from the Braves re his contract offer—remember the story after his 13-inning win over Harvey Haddix in the “Greatest Game Ever Pitched”?
Judge Robert Cannon, brand new legal counsel for Major League Baseball Players, discusses the size of a fish or how much he’d miss by if Spahnie threw him a hard curve. You may also recall Judge Cannon as Casey Stengel’s friend present for the alleged “Bush League” comments prior to the ’57 World Series.
As is always the case, again this year we lose some guys we’ve grown to love and admire…again, also, we get to meet some new guys. We’ll start with guys who are leaving us…At least one leaves just for the nonce…
Bobby Avila retired from Major League Baseball after the ’59 season with a fine 11-year career. The Sporting News named him AL Player of the Year in 1954 and to its All-Star Team (2B) that same year. “Beto” ultimately returned to his native home in Veracruz, Mexico.
Ray Boone started the ’60 season with the Braves but, on 5/17/60 was traded to the Boston Red Sox for 1B Ron Jackson (Jackson never played a game for the Braves…or any other MLB team).
Bonus Baby, John DeMerit, was sent down to get more playing time, after spending the obligatory two years with the parent club. We’ll see him again in ’61.
Bob Giggie, after pitching only 20 innings with one win against no losses in ’59, was traded to the KC Athletics on May 11, 1960, for pitcher, George Brunet.
Bob Hartman, after getting only one and two-thirds innings of work for the Braves, was sent down for more seasoning…remem-ber the spring training rain in ’59…?
Joe Morgan also started the ’60 season with the Braves but, was traded to the Phillies for veteran, Al Dark, on 6/23/60. Joe played ML ball through 1964; but, may be better known as coach and then, manager, of the powerhouse Red Sox of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s.
Johnny O’Brien, part of the second-base-by-committee-go-round in 1959, was released 7/19/59 after a 6-year MLB career, mostly with Pittsburgh. He’s a good signer!!
Andy Pafko—One can’t say enough good about this man!! What a great career!!! Fortunately, we’ll really not be saying good-bye as he retires TO the Braves coaching staff…Yaayy!!!
Jim Pisoni came to the Braves organization via the Rule 5 ML draft from the NY Yankees. He was returned to the Yanks 5/7/59 after appearing in nine games.
Del Rice—Another great fave!! With a proliferation of new, young catchers, this great veteran, this marvelous handler of pitchers, was deemed expendable and…sadly…in late August ’59 was released. He signed with the Cubbies in October and played through 1961. He coached until ’68 and managed into the early ‘70’s…a Great Guy!!
Bob Rush started the ’60 season on the Braves roster with two wins, but was sold to the White Sox for cash on June 11, 1960.
Enos Slaughter’s last MLB game was Game Two of the ’59 play-off. He experienced and created great moments in a 19-year career that was variously gritty, gutsy and daring. Slaughter was controversial and “Old School”: He ran hard, he played hard and he brawled hard…he’s in the Hall of Fame now. My Dad, a joker of the first water, always told us kids that Slaughter was born in a little cabin just down the road from where we lived—for many years we believed it…so Slaughter was a kind of favorite of the whole family while we were growing up—he was “from the neighborhood.”
Bob Trowbridge went 12-10 for the Braves over four years; with 262 innings pitched—mostly in relief—and a 3.28 ERA. A solid, dependable pitcher…he was sold to the Kansas City Athletics right after the ’59 season ended—for cash.
Mickey Vernon was given his release two weeks after the end of the ’59 season. After a wonderful 20-year playing career, he coached and managed into the ‘80’s.
Casey Wise, along with Don Kaiser and Mike Roarke, was traded to Detroit on 10/15/59 for Charlie Lau (C) and Don Lee (P). A month and a half later Lee was selected by the Washington Senators in the ML Rule 5 draft, so he never played in an official game for the Braves.
Well, that’s kinda sorta it for the guys who will be leaving us; here are the new guys…
George Brunet is a left-handed pitcher who comes over to the Braves in the trade that sends Bob Giggie to the KC A’s.
Al Dark is a 13-year veteran shortstop/infielder who we get from the Phillies in the Joe Morgan trade.
Terry Fox is a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher whose minor-league won-loss record and ERA consistency has won him a shot at the Bigs.
Len Gabrielson was signed as an amateur free agent in 1959 and comes up from Jacksonville (Sally) after hitting .279 with 10 home runs and 68 RBI’s.
Eddie Haas is the guy who broke his leg last year during spring training and spent the season of the DL. However, he showed great promise before the injury and, also, during a brief stint in ’58…so…here’s another shot…!!
Mike Krsnich is up from Sacramento (PCL) where he hit .282 with 27 doubles. We’ll see more of him in ’62. He’s still a tough autograph…!!
Charlie Lau is a 26-year-old catcher who came to us from the Tigers in the Don Kaiser, Mike Roarke, Casey Wise trade on 10/15/59.
Ken MacKenzie (LHP) is a graduate of Yale University and, among other claims to fame, has beaten Harvard seven times. He’s up from Louisville (AA) where he was 6-2 in a relief role with 52 strike outs in 80 IP with a 3.83 ERA.
Don Nottebart was 18-11 last year in Louisville (AA) with 131 strike outs in 258 IP and a 3.52 ERA. He is reputed to have a “mean slider”.
Ron Piche is a Canadian-born righty who has never had a losing season in the minors. Mostly used in relief, he has a good fastball and good control. At Louisville (AA) in ’59 he went 8-5 with 131 SOs in 125 IP and a 2.95 ERA.
Joe Torre, younger brother of Frank Torre, will make a brief appearance in two games near the end of the season in 1960. He’ll hit .500—one hit in two at-bats.
As an additional occasion for annoyance or vexation, the County Board of Supervisors decided that as of Opening Day 1960, fans would no longer be able to bring in their own beer. You heard a lot of cockamamie stories that blamed ownership or that it had to do with public safety. Very few actually blamed Lou Perini, fewer still believed public safety was—or ever had been—at risk inside County Stadium…most saw it as avarice—a nicer name for greed. In the long haul the ploy back-fired big-time—it caused even more fans to stay away!!
Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee’s internationally-known motorcycle manufacturer, came out with the H-D Topper Motor Scooter in 1960. They never made a motor scooter again; however, they did produce a special side-car edition just for the Braves to use to bring in relief pitchers from the bull-pen. That’s Walter Davidson driving and Warren Spahn urging more speed from the passenger seat.
A nice crowd—39,888—turned out on Tuesday, April 12th, for Opening Day in Milwaukee. It was the Pittsburgh Pirates and Bob Friend facing off against Warren Spahn and the Braves. The Braves struck early with a run in the first, 1-0. Spahn helped his own cause with a home-run in the seventh—career HR# 24, 2-0. Spahnie lost his good stuff in the eighth and the Pirates got a couple guys on base. McMahon came in to relieve and didn’t have his best stuff either and the Pirates tied it up, 2-2. Elroy Face, who was 18-1 last year in relief with 17 victories in a row, came in for the bottom of the eighth. Hank Aaron led off with a single.
The next batter was Joe Adcock who hit Face’s first offering over the moon—which was also over the right field fence, 4-2. In the top of the ninth, McMahon gave up a double, got a ground-out and gave up another double which scored a run, 4-3. With the potential tying run on second, Dressen calls Burdette in to shut it down. Burdette throws three pitches, gets two ground-outs and the Braves win their home opener!!!
The rest of April was somewhat less auspicious: Although there were close to a dozen homeruns hit; the team went 7-5 with the worst part of the five losses being three in a row to the Pirates. So…at the end of the first two weeks of the season, Pittsburgh was in first, San Francisco was in second, our Braves were in third and the Dodgers were in fourth.
Things got worse in May…!!! It was a weird month…It began in Philly with a win for Burdette and five hits, including a home run, for Billy Bruton. Then the rains came—not just where the Braves were playing—EVERYWHERE!!! It seemed like more games were rained out in May of 1960 than ever before—probably not…but, it seemed like it. Between off-days, cold weather and rain, there were 11 days in May when the Braves were cooling their heels.
It sure cooled off their bats—they went 9-11 for the month with another three losses in a row to the Pirates…and ended the month with four more losses in a row…!!! When May finally ended, the Braves were 16-16, still in third place, six-and-a-half out of first.
And…as if that weren’t enough, Vern Bickford, who’d been with the Braves from ’48 through ’53 (and had pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers 8/11/50), passed away in Virginia…he was 39.
On a happier note, individual marks were a bit more hopeful…
Aaron led the league in hitting, .424 with nine HRs; Joe Adcock was hitting .349 with five homers; Eddie Mathews was hitting .318 with 10 HRs and Billy Bruton was hitting .308 with one home run. Spahn was 7-5 with a 2.20 ERA; Carl Willey was 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA; Bob Buhl was 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA and Burdette was 3-2 with a 4.20 ERA.
June, if you will, was a whole new ballgame!! The rains stopped—or went elsewhere—the team had only two days off and both were regularly-scheduled-Monday-travel-days…and some things started to come together. It began with a modest four-game win streak…is four in a row a streak?? It is if you just came out of THAT April and May funk!! Buhl, Spahn, Willey and Burdette got the wins; Covington, Mantilla, Aaron, Crandall, Bruton, Logan and Mathews hit home runs—Aaron hit three!!
On Sunday, the fifth, they split a double-header with the Reds and on Monday, traveled to the left coast. They won two of three from the Dodgers, split a four-game series with the Giants (which included a NL record longest game—three hours, 52 minutes…) and returned to face Chicago at Wrigley. They split the four game series with the Cubbies, took three of four from St. Louis and hosted LA at home—and won—on Monday the 20th. San Fran came in on the 21st and lost all three to the Braves. LA came back on the 24th and took two of three to dampen our spirits on the long home stand just a bit. Monday was a travel day to Chicago and we split the four games there. However, in June, the Braves were 22-11, a .667 winning percentage and playing solid ball. Spahn, at the end of June was 5-4; Buhl and Burdette were both 8-3; Mathews had 16 HRs; Aaron had 18; Adcock had 11 and Covington had six. Overall for the season, the team was 38-27; not enough to be in contention, but 11 wins over .500—much more better!!!
The first part of July—up until the All-Star break—was as dismal as April and May. They lost three of four to the Cardinals, then lost two of three to Pittsburgh, split two with the Phillies and then won two of three from Cincinnati…five wins, seven losses…five games out of first…
In the midst of all that, on the Saturday prior to All-Star break, the Braves hosted their “1st Annual Old Timers’ Day” game at 1:P.M., prior to the game with Cincy. The game consisted of teams made up of old Braves vs. old Brewers (AA). Players in attendance and/or competing were: Burleigh Grimes, Heinz Becker, Cy Buker, Al Epperly, Joe Just, Ray Schalk, Bunny Brief, Chet Laabs, Bernie Tesmer, Bill Zuber, Duffy Lewis, Walker Cooper, Roy Hartsfield, Rip Collins, Phil Masi, Eddie Stanky, Sid Gordon, Ernie Johnson, Ken Keltner, and Joe Hauser. Tommie Ferguson reprised his former role as batboy. It would be hard to say whether the players or the crowd enjoyed it more!!
Once again in 1960 Major League Baseball hosted two All-Star Games. The first was held in Kansas City on Monday, July 11 and had a capacity crowd of 30,619 fans on hand to cheer on their faves. For the third year in a row, the All-Stars (position players, not pitchers) were picked by their peers; managers, coaches and players—you couldn’t vote for a teammate. Each team could have 30 players—up from 25 last year—with the thinking being that a manager (who could pick his pitchers) would require additional hurlers since there was only one day between the two games.
The Braves were represented by Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Del Crandall and Joe Adcock. Crandall had a home run and a single; Adcock had a single and a double as the National League prevailed, 5-3. Bob Buhl gave up one earned run. The second A-S game was Wednesday afternoon, July 13, at Yankee Stadium. Apparently New Yorkers regarded All-Star games as sort of ho-hum affairs; so…Yankee Stadium with a seating capacity of some 70,000, was just over half-full of 38,362 fans. Teams were exactly the same as Monday’s game. Joe Adcock led off the second inning with a solid single. Eddie Mathews, the next batter, hit a home run to right and it was 2-0. Willie Mays hit a four-bagger in the third, 3-0. In the seventh, Stan Musial hit a shot into the third deck in right and it was 4-0. In the ninth, Norm Larker (Dodgers) walked and Ken Boyer homered to make the final score National League 6; American League 0. The four homers tied an All-Star record. This also was the first All-Star game ever televised in color. Mel Allen and Vin Scully provided the play-by-play for NBC viewers. The two All-Star games netted receipts of $328,926.95. Sixty percent of that total went to the Players’ Pension Fund. As always…you could look it up…
On Thursday, after the All-Star break, the Braves, behind the solid pitching of Bob Buhl, beat the Pirates, 9-3. From there they went to the other end of Pennsylvania and swept a three-game series from Philadelphia. It was during this series that Spahn recorded his 2000th lifetime strikeout.
He was the first ML pitcher ever to accomplish this feat all with the same team. At this juncture, the Braves are still in second, but only three games out of first.
On Monday the 18th, they traveled home for a three-game tilt with the Cardinals. Spahnie got his 10th win as they took two—Piche got the other win—only ½-game back!! On the road again—Chicago—on Friday…The Braves and Burdette lost a toughie despite homers by Adcock, Aaron, Mathews and Eddie Haas. The good news…they swept the next three from the Cubbies: Pizarro (w/12 SOs) won on Saturday and Spahn and Buhl each won a half of Sunday’s double-header…THE BRAVES ARE IN FIRST PLACE…!!! WOWWWEEE!!!!! Monday, once again was a travel day…to San Francisco and on Tuesday, Carlton Willey (5-4) vanquished the Giants. Sadly, neither Spahn nor Burdette could eke out a win in either of the last two games in the series. Friday it was on to Los Angeles where Buhl experienced a rare loss versus the Dodgers. Burdette (11-6) won on Saturday in a barnburner that had eight HRs and lasted 11 innings. It was Ladies Night, there were 81,511 fans in the colossal Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—some 20,500 were women who had paid just fifty cents to get in. Burdette had originally been slated to start but, for some reason, didn’t…Juan Pizarro started. Del Crandall hit a HR off Koufax in the first inning, Tommie Davis hit one to tie it in the second. The Braves scored three in the third including a homer by Bruton, 4-1. No one scored in the fourth. Frank Howard had a two-run HR in the fifth, 4-3. In the sixth, Felix Mantilla led off with his four-bagger and it was 5-3. In the top of the seventh, Joe Adcock hit a two-run homer, 7-3. In the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers got to Pizarro and loaded the bases. Ron Piche came in to relieve and Tommie Davis hit his second HR of the evening—a grand-slam, 7-7. The usually un-hittable Larry Sherry came in to pitch for the Dodgers in the eighth. Spahn relieved Piche and loaded ‘em up again, but managed to get out of the inning unscathed; still 7-7.
Burdette relieved Spahn for the ninth and the Dodgers went three up, three down. Sherry continued to pitch hit-less ball…So did Burdette. In the top of the eleventh with one out, Burdette homered and shut the Dodgers down in the bottom half—final score 8-7!! Sadly, we lost the last game of the month on Sunday. For the second half—post All-Star—we were 11-6, .646…however, adding in the 5-7 first half, we’re 16-13, .551—not quite as good…On the season we’re 54-40 going into August…in second place…down by three…
Monday, August 1, was a travel day back to St. Louis. The Braves closed out their two-week road trip and opened the month getting swept in the three games with the Cardinals. The third loss (seven losses in the last eight games) dropped them back into third place, behind the Pirates and the Cardinals. The Cubs came to town of August 5th for a three-game series. Burdette (12-6) won the first game 10-2, going the distance plus hitting his second homer of the year. Aaron also hit a homer.
Chicago won on Saturday but Spahn (12-7) was the victor on Sunday the 7th. The Dodgers came in on Monday and George Brunet won his second game as a Brave. Unfortunately we lost the next two which allowed the Dodgers to tie with us for third; 1½ behind St. Louis and 6½ behind the Pirates. We then lost another to SF on Thursday the 11th.
Happily, Spahn (13-7), Buhl (11-6) and Burdette (13-7) won the next three from the Giants and Mel Roach was the hero in the first two and Eddie Mathews homered in the third. Monday’s double-header with the Reds, in Cincinnati, featured an unforeseen battle-within-a-battle: Reds’ left-fielder, Frank Robinson, slid hard into Mathews in a close play at third base. Words were exchanged briefly—then punches were exchanged.
Mathews was ejected, Roach played third and Aaron played second…they lost both games…it doesn’t appear either Mathews or Robinson lost respect for each other. Spahn (14-7) and Jay (4-6) won the two remaining games with the Reds. Thursday evening, August 18th, was the first game back home in County Stadium in a series of four versus the Phillies.
Starters were Lou Burdette and, former Brave, Gene Conley. The game was relatively uneventful in the early going; Mel Roach got a single in the second but was unable to advance; Burdette, Bruton and Crandall all singled in the third but couldn’t score; Covington got a single in the fifth but languished at first. In the top of the fifth, one of Burdette’s high, inside sliders didn’t “slide” and he nicked Phils’ rookie, Tony Gonzalez, on the shoulder. The next batter, Lee Walls, hit a little bouncer to third that Mathews fielded and made a good throw to Adcock at first for the out. Gonzalez, who had run with the pitch, rounded second and headed for third. Adcock threw a strike to Logan covering third who tagged the sliding Gonzalez for the double-play and third out. In their half, the Braves went three up, three down. The Phils did the same in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth Crandall and Aaron singled but did not score. The seventh was three up, three down for both teams. Cottier went in for Roach at second in the top of the eighth. Burdette’s sinker and slider seemed like they were alive and he got three ground ball outs. In the bottom of the eighth, Bobby Malkmus went to third in place of Walls. Burdette led off the inning with his third double of the season. Billy Bruton, the next batter, hit his 22nd double down the right field line scoring Burdette. The next three Braves were out in turn. In the top of the ninth, speedster Al Spangler replaced Covington in left. The Phillies went three up, three down and Lou Burdette (14-7) won his first ML no-hitter, 1-0!!!
He’d faced just 27 batters and thrown 91 pitches. He struck out three (one in each of the first three innings), four batters hit routine fly-balls, 19 hit ground-balls and one (Gonzalez) was a tag-out. The Braves line: One run; 10 hits; 0 errors and six left on base. The game lasted two hours and 10 minutes and attendance was 16,338.
Bill Jackowski was the home plate umpire with Stan Landes at first, Chris Pelekoudas at second and Al Barlick at third. In Kathryn Conley’s book One of a Kind, Gene Conley calls Burdette in the locker room after the game and says, “Congratulations, Lou—how could you do that to me”? Burdette replies, “You should feel good, Gene; I had to pitch a no-hitter…you only allowed one run.”
The Braves won two and lost one of the three remaining games in the series with the Phillies, had a day off and, on the road again, won two of three with the Dodgers with Buhl taking the loss; but. Mathews hit his 30th HR of the season setting a new ML record by having accomplished that feat eight years in a row. North to San Francisco, they lost two of three, headed back to Milwaukee to split two with St. Louis and, to end the month, split a Wednesday double-header with the Cubs. In spite of Burdette’s no-hitter, it was a lackluster August—they went 16-15 for the month…70-55 on the season. On a brighter note, Hank had 34 dingers, Eddie-31, Crandall-18, Adcock-17; Spahn was 17-7, Burdette was 15-9 and Buhl was 12-8.
September began with three straight wins: Buhl (13-8) beat the Cubs; Jay (6-7) and Burdette (16-9 were both victorious over the Reds. Then we lost one to the Reds. Then we split a Monday double-header with Pittsburgh which allowed St. Louis to move onto a tie with us for second—six-and-a-half behind the Pittsburghers. Tuesday (9/6) the Braves (and Spahn in his second relief loss in two days) lost again to the league-leaders. Wednesday and Thursday, at home, Willey and Spahn each beat the Giants. Buhl lost to the Dodgers on Friday, Jay tamed them on Saturday and Burdette lost to them Sunday the 11th. On Monday and Tuesday, in a brief road excursion to St. Louis, Spahn (19-9) won the first one; Burdette (16-11) lost the second. Back home on Wednesday for two games with the Cubs, Jay (8-7) won the first and Burdette (17-11) pitched a two-hitter to win on Thursday. Friday woke dark and dreary; it rained most of the day and more was in the forecast. Braves fans were torn between going out to see Spahnie try to win #20—and maybe have it rained out—or staying home and staying dry—a lot opted for the latter.
At game time only 6,117 of the faithful showed up for the first of a three-game series with the Phillies. John Buzhardt was the opposing pitcher whose record wasn’t much better than his team’s (they’d spent most of the season in last place). The Phils went down in order in the top of the first. Bruton led off the bottom half with a walk, but got thrown out trying to steal second. Crandall and Mathews both singled but the inning ended with a double-play. In the top of the second, Spahn struck out the side. In the Braves’ half, Adcock walked, Logan sac-bunted him to second, but that was that. In the third both teams went down in order. In the fourth with two out, Spahn walked rookie OFer, Ken Walters; however, he then got Pancho Herrera to hit an easy fly to Bruton. Bottom of the fourth: Aaron singled; Al Dark tripled to deep center scoring Aaron (1-0) and Joe Adcock sac-flied to right, scoring Dark, 2-0. In the top of the fifth, with one out, Spahn walked the Phils newly-acquired catcher, Cal Neeman; he then struck out young third-baseman, Jim Woods and got Ruben Amaro to hit a harmless fly-ball to Aaron in right. In the Braves’ half: Spahn singled to right; Bruton singled to right—Spahn to second; Mathews singled Spahn home and it was 3-0. In the sixth the Phils were three up, three down and except for a single by Adcock, the Braves did much the same. The Phils managed a ground-out and two strike-outs in the top of the seventh. Botton seven: With one out, Bruton singled and promptly stole second; Crandall singled, scoring the speedy Bruton, 4-0. The Phillies repeated their seventh with a ground-out and two strike-outs in the eighth. The Braves went three up, three down in their half of the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Spahn struck out Bobby Gene Smith who batted for the pitcher, Buzhardt. Next he struck out Bobby Del Greco who was batting for OF Johnny Callison. The next batter, Bobby Malkmus (former Brave-’57), set in motion, fittingly, the most exciting play of the game. Malkmus hit what was the hardest-hit ball of the evening—right back at Spahn!! Instinctively Spahnie got his glove up in time to get a piece of it and it dropped between second and the mound. Johnny Logan was on it like a big cat and in one sweeping, fluid motion he threw to first. The hurried, off-balance throw was a bit wide but Joe Adcock stretched, back-handed the ball out of the dirt a nano-second before Malkmus hit the bag—OUT!!!…and the 39-year-old Warren Spahn won his very first Major League no-hitter!!! He and Crandall got to Adcock first but in seconds the celebration spread to the players, the fans in the stands, the fans in front of radios all over Wisconsin and beyond!!!
What a marvelous, masterful display of pitching acumen and ability!!! Additionally, Spahn set a new personal record of 15 strike-outs in a nine-inning game…and…a Major League record for winning 20 games in a season for the 11th time. Another testament to the artful Spahn’s efficient virtuosity was the time of the game: two hours, two minutes!! Warren Spahn’s 20th win (for the 11th time) is also a no-hitter…how wonderfully appropriate!!!
Tom Gorman was the umpire at home plate, Vinnie Smith was at first, Ed Sudol at second and the venerable Dusty Boggess was at third. YEAAHH!!!
Saturday and Sunday it was back to reality…we split ‘em with Philly—Ron Piche took Saturday’s loss, Joey Jay(9-7) won on Sunday. Monday was an off day with no travel. Tuesday, Cincy’s Jay Hook pitched a two-hitter against us which knocked us eight games behind Pittsburgh and two behind St. Louis…Burdette (17-12) got the loss.
Spahn got his 21st win against the Reds on Wednesday the 21st; Aaron hit another homer. Thursday was another day off. The Pirates came into town on Friday for a three-game series. Bob Buhl met them at the door allowing just five hits in a 2-1 victory. On Saturday the 24th , Burdette went the distance for a less-than-pretty 4-2 win On Sunday Spahn started against Haddix. With the Braves trailing 2-0 in the eighth, Joe Torre made his ML debut and led off, pinch-hitting for Spahn—he singled and, subsequently the Braves tied it up. Neither team scored in the ninth—Piche pitched in relief of Spahn. The Pirates failed to score in the top of the tenth and with two out in the bottom half, Crandall walked and Mathews hit his 38th HR giving Piche and Milwaukee a 4-2 win.
The Braves just swept the Pirates and are back in second…Woohoo…!!! While it is cause for some celebration, another part of the reality is that even while losing, the Pirates clinched the pennant as St. Louis lost to Chicago…Woohoo anyway…!!! Monday is spent traveling to Philadelphia for two games. We lose a heart-breaker on Tuesday, 5-3. However, Burdette goes the distance on Wednesday, Mathews hits HR# 39 and we win!! We’re in Pittsburgh on Friday for the final three games of the 1960 season…Buhl pitches, Aaron hits HRs# 39 and 40 and we win by an encouraging score of 13-2. Saturday October 1, has Spahn going for win #22; sadly, it doesn’t happen…Pirates prevail…7-3. But…Mathews drives in all three runs with a single and a double. Sunday, October 2, is Burdette’s shot at another 20-win season; again, sadly, it is not to be. Dressen apparently allowed Lou to pitch the complete game in hopes the Braves could get a few more runs—it didn’t happen…
At times it seemed closer than it ended up—in retrospect it looked like it was the Pirates all year…They really dominated after May…
they were in first 146 days of the season. The Braves were in first one day—by two percentage points—and were tied for first only two other days. In the final analysis the Braves finished second, seven games behind the Pirates (who would go on to beat the Yankees in the World Series on Bill Mazeroski’s ninth inning, lead-off, walk-off home-run) and two games ahead of the Cardinals. Los Angeles was fourth, San Francisco was fifth, Cincinnati-sixth, Chicago-seventh and Philadelphia-eighth. There were things to celebrate: Aaron led the league in RBIs-126, Mathews was second-124, Aaron led the league in total bases with 334, he had 40 HRs, Eddie had 39. Billy Bruton led the league with 13 triples, Aaron was fourth with 11. Bruton led the league in runs scored with 112, Mathews was second w/108. Bruton was fifth in the league with 22 stolen bases. Joe Adcock led all regular first basemen with a fielding average of .993.
Spahn tied as league leader in most wins with 21. He also led in most lifetime shutouts by a left-hander and is fifth on the all-time LH/RH list. He was named NL Player of the Month in August with a 6-0 record in 55 IPs and an ERA of 2.29. He tied with Burdette and Pitts’ Vern Law for Complete Games-18 (The Braves led the league in CG w/55). Spahn led the NL in winning percentage—.667; Buhl was #4 at .640. In the control department, Burdette’s 1.14 was the league’s best re fewest walks per nine innings. Burdette was second in innings pitched—w/276. The Braves led all NL teams in HRs—170 and slugging average—.417. Attendance in 1960—1,497,799—was down over a quarter of a million fans from 1959—1,749,112, but, was still comfortably over a million…In spite of these inauspicious numbers, Milwaukee is still setting NL attendance records.
After the season was over there took place a series of events that were at best baffling and befuddling; at worst disturbing…The day after the Pirates won the World Series; the Milwaukee Braves gave Red Schoendienst his unconditional release!!??!
The hero of the 1957 World Championship season—Gone..??!! A rock-solid veteran, a certain-sure HOFer…gone??!! Who could possibly step into those shoes?? A proven leader on the field, in the dugout, in the locker room gets no more consideration, gets no more respect than “outright release”??? Stunningly short-sighted, tremendously thoughtless in the way it was handled…!!! Grimm and Haney had class…Quinn had class…
On October 17, 1960, in a move maybe baffling to some us old-school-old-coots-bordering-on-becoming-Luddites-and-totally-opposed-to-certain-kinds-of-so-called-“progress”-types; the National League voted to include (read “expansion”) the cities of New York and Houston beginning with the 1962 season. This also, apparently was the death-knell for the proposed Continental League. Talk of a third, expansion league had been in the wind off and on for several years. Braves’ owner, Lou Perini, was given credit for suggesting the inclusion of four Continental League cities into ML expansion. Under the new plan American League teams would commence play in 1961; NL teams in 1962…bah, humbug…!!!
On October 31, 1960, the San Francisco Giants traded shortstop Andre Rodgers to the Braves for affable, likeable veteran Al Dark. More on Rodgers later; the Giants promptly named Dark their new manager. He would manage in the Majors for 13 years with moderate success and win two World Series championships…
About that same time, Hal Goodnough, perennial peripatetic Goodwill Ambassador par excellence of the Milwaukee Braves was somehow deemed expendable. He returned to his hometown, Wellesley, MA and continued to travel far and wide as an in-demand club- and after-dinner speaker.
On December 3,1960, the Braves bought Billy Martin—for cash—from the Cincinnati Reds. Per The Milwaukee Braves A Eulogy by Bob Buege, this questionable-at-best acquisition was interpreted as an insult by Red Schoendienst and other players and further undermined Dressen’s position as manager. To the best of my knowledge and recollection, it also made little sense to the fans. Again…more on this later…
On December 14, 1960, The Braves traded Billy Bruton, Chuck Cottier, Dick Brown and Terry Fox to the Detroit Tigers for second baseman, Frank Bolling. “Pyrrhic victory” may be a misnomer; no doubt—Bolling turned out to do us good; but…just as certain (you could look it up) every one of those guys we gave up worked out very well…for the Tigers!!
On December 15, 1960, Dressen, McHale and “company” traded Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro to Cincinnati for shortstop, Roy McMillan…Does any of this smell like house-cleaning to you? Once again it must be admitted—Roy McMillan was a fine shortstop-only three years Johnny Logan’s junior. His Batting Average was a full 25 points lower than Logan’s and Logan was decidedly more aggressive—on offense and on defense…and one of the best clutch-hitters of his day. Logan’s play was stellar compared to the infamous good-field, no-hit shortstops of his era. Don’t look now but there’s handwriting on the wall…
Enough…!!! Let’s look at some memorabilia…Maybe it’s just me or what I’ve been able to find, but 1960 seems to be a year of PLENTY!!! Remember when I said ’54 was not a year of paucity but certainly of less than I’d have thought—well…this year seems to have a ton…!!!
This Hamm’s Beer combination calendar/schedule was given to customers by South Side Distributing in Hales Corners which—you guessed it—is a south suburb of Milwaukee.
The Passes from 1960 are of much the same type as in prior years. Stanfield and Anheuser were photographers for the Milwaukee Sentinel who, between them, account for scores of the pictures many of us collect. I believe we’ve had earlier versions of Walter Pelzek’s ushers’ pass. The surprise for me here is the yellow PARKARD which does not appear electronic but, obviously was able—somehow—to open Parking Gate 2…!!?
Every year The Braves Boosters took at least one “Big Trip” to follow the team. These were generally organized by Jim Byrd, Boosters’ chairman, and, generally included some extra sight-seeing stops along the way.
The 1960 Armour Coins were pretty much the same as the ’59 coins except in addition to Del Crandall and Hank Aaron, this year’s set also featured Eddie Mathews. If you recall, the 1955 set had the city and team name on the bottom front: “Milwaukee Braves”. In 1959 they dropped the city name so it just said “Braves”. In this, Armour’s final set, to date, the Aaron coin has a variation in that it can be found either way: “Braves” or “Milwaukee Braves”. If that variation is found in any color but blue or any player but Aaron, I’ve not seen it…Enlighten me…play ‘em if ya got ‘em…
Nu-Card came out with an over-sized or PC-sized set in 1960. The fronts were kind of like a newspaper front page with a headline, a B&W picture and a brief story. They were black and red on white. They were numbered in the upper left corner. The set was called “Baseball Hi-Lites” and featured stories on historical moments in baseball. Six were directly about the Braves. The backs had a question and answer that referred to another card in the set. If you’re interested this is a relatively inexpensive collectible…tough to find but reasonable. If you have any info re Nu-card; please let me know…thanks!!
Post Cereal made their first foray into sports collectibles in 1960. These weren’t cards, per se, but 7×8¾ portraits that took up most of the back of a Post Grape Nuts cereal box. The backs are blank—the inside of the box. There were nine in all: Five baseball, two basketball and two football. A side-panel of the box had some biographical info—try and find one of those side-panels. Eddie Mathews was the only Brave in the set.
This is the second edition (of three) of Bob Allen’s “The Fabulous Braves” series. Bob did PR and stats for the Braves and this is a marvelous research tool that, in addition to statistical analysis, has team and player performances and a history of transactions and important events. Absolutely required reading for the “average” Braves-crazie…no…really…
The Press Guide is generally sent to all media people who write about or broadcast the games. It contains supplementary info on the team: Season and spring training schedules; hotels; records; some attendance figures; fielding-, batting-, slugging-, pitching-averages; farm system info; biographical and statistical data on individuals and the team and some stadium info. The Christmas card from the Spahns is not a big deal, but a nice reminder that they send Holiday Greetings…just like us…
On the glass is a 1960-62 Fleer Team Logo decal that came in ’60-’62 Fleer Baseball Card packs. 1960 was blue; the others were white. This one was on the glass when I got it. Topps issued a “Tattoo Bubble Gum” that had a most unusual wrapper. The outside had the product name and instructions and the warning (?)/ assurance (?) that the inside was “Certified Food Color”. The inside of the wrapper was a tattoo of your fave player or your fave team logo. There is an O-Pee-Chee version of these tattoos…the label will say who made it.
The 1960 Yearbook of the Milwaukee Braves…If the cover is not one of Bill Duehren’s designs, the Laughing Brave certainly is. There are more souvenirs that can be ordered by mail on the inside of the back cover.
I’ve seen this placemat with the Laughing Brave with or without advertising. This particular one touts Walgreens.
This placemat has ’59 Team Stats and Records. This one features no advertising. It is printed by our old friends at The Milwaukee Lace Paper Company. I have a version with no autographs that is not framed.
This “placemat” seems to have been used at bars that served food. Some establishments used it as a mini-newspaper. It appears that Al Cissa published one of these every day.
Spic and Span Cleaners ended their eight-year run with the Braves with a 25 (…or 26) card set. These “cards”, not on actual card-stock but a heavy paper and are almost square: 2¾” x 3 1/8”. The fronts—black and white—are a mix of action shots and portraits. Included are manager Dressen and coaches Wyatt, Myatt and Scheffing. The backs have a message in the player’s hand-writing and a facsimile signature in blue plus the words “Photographed and autographed exclusively for Spic and Span” and the S&S logo also in blue. The set number (25 or 26) refers to whether or not you count Del Crandall once or twice. The original negative was reversed…showing him batting lefty…it was later corrected.
Here is a two-page “catalog”—8 1/2x 14—of souvenirs, memorabilia, et al. that can be ordered through the mail. I find these very useful in figuring out what stuff might still be out there that I don’t have.
In 1960 Topps re-visited the horizontal format idea. Card fronts have a color portrait and a smaller b&w action shot with the player’s name, team and position at the bottom. Backs (w/stats) might be gray and gold or an off-white and gold, both with black print. There are “Sport Magazine Rookies” and “Topps All-Star Rookies” (No Braves in the latter category). There are a few group shots and the Sport Magazine All-Star Selections. The set is 572 cards.
The Venezuelan Topps cards are, for all intents and purposes, identical to the U.S. version except for a somewhat duller finish on the fronts. Also, there are only 198 cards in this set and they were all printed in the U.S. (I think…)…
I’m always amazed to find out how much our guys played for as compared to today. This is Frank Torre’s contract…It’s signed on the inside by John J. McHale and dated 1/14/60.
Here are a few more cards from the still popular (with some, at least…) APBA Major League Baseball “Board” game plus a couple of discs from Cadaco’s Ethan Allen’s All-Star Baseball Game which came out in 1941 and was still sold in stores into the ‘80s. Trivia: Ethan Allen was a NL outfielder for some 13 seasons in the ‘20s and ‘30s.
This original pencil sketch for the cover of the 1960 scorecard is by Wilfrid W. “Bill” Duehren. The sketch is approximately 13”x8” and features four boys showing County Stadium Usher #73 their Knot-Hole Club membership cards. This is in contrast to the four lads in the top half who are, apparently, without Knot-Hole Club cards and are engaged in seeing their Braves as best they can. You may recall from an earlier comment on Bill Duehren; this was probably his favorite of all the covers he did for the Braves.
In 1960 Bazooka enlarged their set from 23 in ’59 to 36; so, Braves’ fans found another Warren Spahn card to collect. Another change was that in ’59 only one player was featured on the box; in ’60 the cards were smaller, 1 13/16”x 2 ¾ “, if you cut them right, but there were now three cards per box…and the box itself became another collectible. Sol Leaf and, subsequently, his son, Marshall, were the men behind the Leaf Gum Company in Chicago. The name Leaf does not appear anywhere on the cards; they are attributed to “Sports Novelties Inc., Chicago”. This set is 144 cards, six of which are Braves. All cards are black and white portraits that sold for a nickel a pack and had a marble instead of gum.
The 1960 Topps 5c package had an offer on the back and sometimes inside, too, whereby you could send away five Bazooka (or Blony) wrappers and they would send you—Free!!—a Major League Hot Iron Transfer that you could iron on to your T-shirt. Interestingly, in the ad on the wrapper, the transfer is round; according to KP’s Standard Catalog of BB Cards, it’s “about” five inches square…any info out there…? These Kellogg’s Team Logo Rings come-at least from me-with very little information or explanation. Purportedly a 1960 issue, a set is 16 rings—eight per league—in three colors—blue, red and yellow. That’s all I’m aware of…If you have further info, please let me know…were they in cereal boxes? Did you have to send away to get one? A set…??
These are just a couple of magazines—there are literally thousands available. Many collectors of autographs get them signed; some use them to read the articles; some use them for research. Generally they’re relatively inexpensive, fairly readily available and with tons of choices—and, like baseball cards, you can read ‘em over and over…!!!
As a company promotion, MacGregor Sporting Goods created an Advisory Staff of athletes to popularize their wares. They also promoted a set of 25 3 ¾ x 5 postcards of those athletes as collectibles. Three of that Advisory Staff are Braves. The PCs had blank backs and a facsimile signature on the front.
Nothing out of the ordinary in this year’s schedules: M & I Bank, Milwaukee Western Bank and First Wisconsin Bank; Hardings Restaurants in Chicago with Cubs, White Sox and Braves Home games; The Milwaukee Journal(I think they published a sched every year) and, lastly, a matchbook schedule with just home games from Paul Esse’s Service Station in Madison, WI
The Lake to Lake Dairy Co-op was founded in the late ‘40s by Truman Torgerson and numerous dairy producer members. It had (and still has) plants in Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Kiel and Denmark, Wisconsin which process (manufacture?) milk, butter and cheese products. As part of a promotion and public relations move, the Co-op offered a set (28) of un-numbered Milwaukee Braves cards in 1960. The cards could be collected or redeemed for other prizes: a pen and pencil set; a Braves cap; an autographed baseball or two tickets to a Braves game. Redeemed cards were “punched” with what appears to be various types of punches. As might be surmised, un-punched cards hold a greater value. Lake to Lake offered a similar set to Green Bay Packer fans in 1961—those cards are green instead of blue. Lake to Lake Dairy today has a presence both local and international; probably due, in part, to their 1981 merger with Land O’ Lakes Dairy.
Well…I guess that’s about it for now. Keep those cards and letters coming…yes…and emails…Help me fill in the spaces where I have such limited information. Let me know if I can help you find something…I try to stay in close touch with all the Braves-crazies I can. Hang in there…keep the faith…Remember the cry of our very good friends and neighbors to the south: Wait ‘til next year!! Collect the stuff you love!! Stay Happy!! Stay Thankful!! I hope to see you soon…All the Best!!!
Don’t touch that dial…Stay tuned…Next up: 1961!!!
Go Get ‘Em, Braves!!! Thanks, Earl…!!!