Chapter 9—THE 1958 SEASON
The 1958 season started off with a bang…on October 26, 1957!!! Barely two weeks after a riotous week-end of rejoicing, celebration and general conviviality—three-fourths of the coaching staff of the World Champion Braves; Connie Ryan, Charlie Root and Johnny Riddle—were fired!! It was handled fairly quietly, no one had much for comment…one of the papers said they were “released”…that just didn’t sound right. There had been some indication via the grapevine that no love was lost between Ryan and Fred Haney, but… no hint about cleaning house…Two weeks after the World Series the coaches of the World Champions were no longer affiliated with the World Champions—what’s up with that…???!!?? …And, coincidentally…in March Coach Bob Keely resigned citing “poor health”…Hmmm??!!
The off-season from 1957 to 1958 was filled with those “events that alter and illuminate our time”…!! The U.S. suffered its first combat casualty in Viet Nam; the Mackinac Bridge was opened; Elvis Presley went into the Army and his latest movie, “Jailhouse Rock” was released. Ike had a stroke; Wisconsin serial killer, Ed Gein, was arrested; Sputnik fell back to earth—the Russkies sent up another one—this one was piloted by Laika the dog. For all you Rock and Rollers, Gibson introduced its newest guitar—The Flying V; Bobby Fischer, 14, won the U.S. Chess Championship. Big names in World News were Nikita Khrushchev, Gamel Abdul Nassar, Pope Pius XII, Chou Enlai and Fidel Castro. Biggie Sports News (bad news cuz’ it coulda happened to one of OUR guys): Roy Campanella, All-Star catcher for the Dodgers, was in a terrible car accident. On the night of January 28, Campy was driving home, hit a patch of ice, rolled his car into a telephone post and was paralyzed from the chest down—he never played again. You wouldn’t wish that even on the Dodgers…
Major League Baseball held it’s Winter Meetings in December. A couple important things were changed…The Bonus Rule requiring a “Bonus Baby” to be carried on the Major League roster for two years before being sent to the minors was dropped—was there a caring fan who couldn’t have told them that? An unrestricted draft on minor league players with four or more years of experience was instituted. An increase in minimum salary from $6,000 per year to $7,000 was adopted and the waiver price was raised from $10,000 to $20,000.
For Milwaukee Braves fans the off-season was a time of accolades, wild prognostications and change—inexorable change!! The accolades were non-stop; everybody wanted a piece of the action.
Breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, banquets, ceremonious meetings heaping praises on the Braves—as individuals and as a team!! Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin had been waiting for this
since 1953!! The wild celebrations led, naturally, into all manner of exaggerated predictions. Owner Lou Perini said after the Series that the Braves would dominate the National League for the next ten years!! Most fans who heard him secretly thought he underestimated the amount of time!! There was a lot of speculation and talk of “dynasty”—we had essentially the same team back again—they knew how to win the Big One—there were numerous articles written on how “mature” and “relaxed” the players were—The future was looking pretty rosy indeed…!!!
Changes??—Wowie Zowie, have we got changes!! A quarter (OK, two…) (…of eight…) of the National League teams—the Giants and the Dodgers—have moved to the Left Coast!! California Governor Goodwin J. (Goodie) Knight (C’mon!!) declared the week of April 13—19, “Major League Baseball Week In California”.
Now, instead of traveling to New York, we travel to two new cities, two new ballparks. Will either of them experience what happened when the Braves moved to Milwaukee? Will some other team (Pittsburgh…Cincinnati…) move to New York? The latter appeared unlikely—at least for the nonce—same old stadiums, same old parking problems…Plus…Nothing like the “Milwaukee Phenomenon” happened when the Browns moved from St. Louis to Baltimore…same with the Athletics going to KC…Both became “old news” fairly quickly…They weren’t ”magic”…They didn’t win…
Another piece of news with some significance we mentioned earlier…the renewing of the contract for the rental of Milwaukee County Stadium. Originally, April 1953, rent was $1,000 per year. During the ’53 season the Braves voluntarily raised it to $25,000 a year. In 1954, at a luncheon, Lou Perini presented the County Park Commission a check in the amount of $250,000.
The current contract—which ends 12/31/57—calls for the County to receive five percent of admission and concession monies ($216,000 in ’57) plus $150,000 from parking receipts. The Commission would like eight percent of ticket sales plus 20% of concessions—or around $400,000 per year. Reportedly their proposal so angered the Braves administration that rash words about “moving the franchise” have been heard. From another angle, however, the Commissioners are receiving nasty letters and ‘phone calls from fans telling them to “back off”…Certainly there’s an irony insofar as 1957 is the Golden (50th) Anniversary of the Park Commission and it appears to some that they’re celebrating by mangling the Golden Goose…!!!
Every year we, as fans, have to—once again—deal with the business of losing some old friends and welcoming some new friends to the team. 1958 was no different; we’ll start with who’s leaving…
Dick Cole—Dick spent the last year of a six-year ML career with the Braves. Although his last ML game was 7/21/57, he stayed in organized ball and is, as of this writing, a scout with the SFG system. He’s also a good signer!!
Dave Jolly—Dave spent all of his five-year ML career with the Braves. He was sold to the Giants on 10/15/57 but never again played in the Majors. Sadly, Dave passed away on 5/27/63 at the age of 38. Tough signature…!!
Nippy Jones—He played in two World Series in his eight year ML career. Remember…? He was a rookie on the ’46 Cards (with Enos Slaughter and Red Schoendienst) and will forever be a fond part of Braves lore for his part in the ’57 World Series “shoe polish incident”. Nippy passed away 10/3/95
Bobby Malkmus—Bobby was a 25 year old rookie with the Braves in 1957. He went on to play for Washington (AL) and Philadelphia (NL) and was picked #1 by both in the Rule 5 ML draft. A real speedster, he was nicknamed “Scooter”. A terrific signer!!
Red Murff—A personal fave!! Red came to Milwaukee as a 35-year-old-rookie in ’56. He was used mostly in relief in ’57 (his last year in the Bigs). He came to Milwaukee in a trade with the Giants for one of your “mystery” 1953 Topps cards–# 216—Murray Wall. Red stayed in organized ball and in 1966 signed Nolan Ryan to his first ML contract. These days Red is a writer of children’s books. He’s been ill for awhile but is still a willing signer.
Phil Paine—Phil was with the Braves parts of ’51, parts of ’54, ’55, ’56 and ’57. He pitched two innings of one game in ’57 and got two strikeouts. He was sold to the Cardinals on 4/19/58. He died 2/19/78 at age 47.
Taylor Phillips—He was a rookie in ’56 and went 8-5 during the two years he was here. He was another “victim” of the fact that the Braves had incredible pitching during this era. He was a substantial part of the 12/5/57 trade with the Cubs. He went on to pitch for the Phils and the White Sox…a fine left-handed pitcher for the Braves and a good signer.
Ray Shearer—Ray was a minor league slugger (Wichita) who was brought up in late 1957 to replace the injured Billy Bruton on the W.S. roster (he was not approved by the league office). He appeared in two games. Got two at bats, one hit, one walk and one strikeout…and was sent back to Wichita at the end of the ’57 season. He died 2/21/82 at age 52.
As Bob Barry and others worked through the ’57 roster at the Braves 50th Reunion Dinner, I was struck by the fact that a lot of our guys died young. Did anyone else get that sense? Obviously a little insight into why some of these autographs are so hard to come by…??!!
As part of all the hype and celebration after the ’57 World Series, one of the statements that came from the Braves’ administration was that they “wouldn’t rest on [their] laurels”…that they would continue to find the best players for the team. These are the new guys that came to the Braves for the ’58 season…in no particular order…some of them have been up before…
Casey Wise—On 11/10/57, in a trade of minor leaguers, the Braves sent pitcher Ben Johnson (card #12 in your ’54 Johnston Cookies set…he will sign…) and outfielder Chick King (came in the Jack Dittmer trade) to the Cubs for 26 year old second-baseman, Casey Wise.
Bob Rush—On 12/5/57, the Braves traded Taylor Phillips and Sammy Taylor to the Cubs for the 10 year veteran, 33 year old right-hander…good fast ball, good control, 3.76 ERA. Wags (mostly from Chicago, I think) wondered, “What did they do, hold a gun on the Cubs?”
Eddie Haas—Eddie is a 23 year old, second year in the league outfielder who came over in the Rush-Phillips deal.
Don Kaiser—Don also came over in the Rush-Phillips trade. He spent three years on the Cubbie roster. He’s a six foot, five inch right-hander who throws smoke!! He will be around for a time but will never throw an official pitch for the Braves…Nice guy…good signer.
Humberto Robinson—He’s the hard throwing, 28 year old Panamanian right-hander sent down and called up again from Toronto (Int’l L.). He appeared in 14 games in ’55 and’56, mostly out of the bullpen.
Bob Roselli—A catcher, Bob was up with the parent club for 10 games in’55 and’56. He spent ’57 with Toronto (Int’l L.) where he had a terrific season.
Dick Littlefield—Another sentimental favorite (ask me in person)!! On 3/30/58 the Braves paid the Cubs cash on the barrelhead for the services of this 32 year old, well-traveled, journeyman, lefty reliever (mostly). In the prior eight years, he was with eight teams in nine cities—this would be his last year in the ML. Dick’s “other claim to fame”: he was part of the ill-fated trade of Jackie Robinson from the Dodgers to the Giants (Jackie refused to report so the trade was voided).
All righty, then…If you’re looking for KEY signatures on your 1958 Milwaukee Braves Team Ball…the one guy out of these new guys who played for the Braves ONLY in 1958 is Dick Littlefield. Keep in mind, given the date of the trade, he probably spent most of Spring Training with the Northsiders. The only other guy who might be problematic in that sense is Phil Paine who did spend Spring Training and the first couple of weeks of the season in Milwaukee. Consider yourself fortunate if you have Littlefield on your ’58 team ball (he only played in four games)…Same with Bob Roselli who only appeared in one game…
The level of excitement in Milwaukee and Wisconsin was, in some ways similar to prior years and, yet, different…The sense of anticipation was decidedly different from other years…there were virtually NO humorous, human-interest stories like the lady sitting on the horseshoe. The mood, the talk, the assumption was pretty much “We’ll do it again…”!!
I think that all sports fans have their own version of what I’ll call the “interminable wait” from “last season” to “Opening Day!!” I think we all go through some philosophical variation of the changing of the seasons: things die in winter and are reborn come spring…Last year’s triumphs mean nothing—although we may claim some interim bragging rights—it’s a new day, a new season. We all start anew and try to do it all over again…Maybe it’s not like that for all fans…No matter—the “interminable wait” is officially over as announcements are made: “Pitchers and Catchers report next week…”…and the excitement inexorably, rapturously begins anew…!!!
Saturday, March 8, 1958, was the first official full-team day of Spring Training. There was no insufficiency of confidence and optimism. The Sports pages were filled with articles of sometimes overweening certainty…a lot of stuff on the Braves as the “latest dynasty”…talk that heretofore had only been heard about the Yankees. Now it seemed that all you heard was how deep in talent…especially pitching…the Braves are…that they, perhaps, have the premier scouting and farm system in the NL…maybe the Majors!!…John Quinn is a genius (probably true!) who should have been named MLB Executive of the Year (also probably true)… John Mullen (and his lesser known but widely-respected assistant, Roland Hemond) have developed and fine-tuned that marvelous farm system to the point where it will provide the Braves with quality young players for years to come…
In fact, on this beginning day of spring training, 32 of the 41 players on the roster have come up through this selfsame farm system. All in all it would appear that this 1958 team is even better than the 1957 team. With the exception of the addition of Bob Rush, the starting line-up is practically identical to last year. Billy Bruton is still in Rehab from the knee surgery after last year’s collision with Felix Mantilla.
From the benefit of retrospect we know Red Schoendienst will miss nearly 50 games and only after the season will the early stages of tuberculosis be diagnosed. Wes Covington will only play in 90 games this season resulting from a spring training knee injury—but—when he plays, he plays gigantic!! Sore arms will plague Bob Buhl and Gene Conley practically the whole year. Bob Hazle will get hurt and be out.
Mel Roach will fill in admirably for Red until he gets hurt. But—same as last year—people will step up as needed!!
New coaches did not all arrive the same day, nor, as near as I can remember, was it a big deal in the sports pages. Whitlow Wyatt was a fine pitcher and a fine pitching coach. He’d been in Milwaukee with the American Association Brewers in the late ‘30’s and for the past three years had been the pitching coach for the Phillies. John Fitzpatrick had been in Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League with Fred Haney and when Haney was promoted to the Pirates he took Fitzpatrick with him. Fitzpatrick has been in and around the game since the mid-‘20’s. Billy Herman hit a life-time .304 in the Majors from 1931 to 1947. He managed in both the Majors and the minor leagues. He coached for the Dodgers from ’52 to ’57. He’ll be elected to the HOF in 1975. George Susce played in the Majors for eight years as a catcher and will take over Bob Keely’s bullpen duties.
Finally…we arrive at April 15, 1958—Opening Day!!! We’re playing the Pirates…Spahnie’s pitching against Bob Friend. The line-up is pretty much as expected: Schoendienst-2B, Hazle-RF, Mathews-3B, Aaron-CF, Torre-1B, Hanebrink-LF, Logan-SS, Crandall-C and Spahn-P. A great crowd—some 43,339 souls—show up to see a continuation of the Braves’ record-tying, five consecutive Opening Day wins.
Prior to the actual start of the game, the Braves held the ceremonial raising of the 1957 Pennant on one of the outfield flagpoles. The game itself went 14 innings, Eddie hit two home runs, Spahnie gave up three runs in nine innings, Don McMahon pitched scoreless ball the 10th and 11th innings, Gene Conley came in in the 12th and held the Bucs scoreless for two and two-third innings. In the 14th, with two out, Dick Groat doubled and two batters later, rookie RC Stevens singled and the Braves lost their first home opener since coming to Milwaukee…Final score: 4-3.
April, as is often the case, turns out to be a wild month!! The Giants, in their San Francisco debut, win 21 of their first 24 games at home…go 13-8 on the road…which includes winning eight of their first 10 games against the Dodgers. The Dodgers’ debut is considerably less auspicious…they start their season in the NL cellar and work their way up to seventh by season’s end…never in the hunt…not a familiar role for this proud franchise. The Cubbies get off to a pretty good start; going 13-7…then losing seven straight. Buhl wins his first three starts resulting in talk of him finally getting the 20-win season that many have expected for some time. Covington misses the first three weeks of the season with that knee injury suffered in spring training. Somewhere in here the National League institutes a “Player of the Month Award”—more on that later…
May finds the Braves and Cubs tied for first place at the end of the first week. Covington caps off his first full week back from the DL by hitting a three-run home run to beat the Redlegs, 5-3; Spahn gets his fifth consecutive win. Conley is struggling with arm trouble and being in Haney’s doghouse—he finishes the month 0-2 with a decent 3.83 ERA. Buhl is 4-1 by mid-month but his sore arm will keep him off the mound until September. Happily, Billy Bruton rejoins the team about the middle of the month.
Hopefully happily…around the end of the month, the Braves sign Hank Aaron’s brother, Tommie to a Major League contract. Also happily, on May 31, Aaron, Mathews and Covington connect for home runs on three consecutive pitches in the first inning against Pittsburgh’s Ron Kline…it put Spahn well on his way to his eighth victory of the season, 8-3.
By the end of the first week in June, the Braves were tied for first place in the NL—with San Francisco. Then they lost five straight—finally beating the Cubs on the 11th thanks mainly to Joe Adcock’s grand slam. By mid-month they were alone in first—a game and a half up on the Giants and in a three-game series at St. Louis.
Joey Jay got his first win of the season in a six-inning, rain-shortened game, 2-0. On Saturday (14th), the Cards returned the favor, beating Spahn (2-1) in another six-inning, rain-shortened game—Spahnie’s third loss against eight wins. Sunday, Harry Hanebrink hit a come-from-behind two-run homer in the ninth to beat the Cards, 4-2 (zealous Milwaukee fans immediately endorsed him for Mayor). On Tuesday the 17th, Lou Burdette threw his first complete game since May 22 and won, 6-3, over the Cubs. The Braves went up by two and a half games over the Giants and pretty much held that for the rest of the month.
July 1958 was a very exciting time to be a Milwaukee Braves fan…or a National League baseball fan!! On the firecracker 4th of July only seven games separated the first place Braves from the last place Dodgers. St. Louis was in second, a game and a half out; San Fran was in third, two out; Cincy and Philly were tied at three and a half back; the Cubs were sixth, four and a half out; Pittsburgh in seventh, six back and the aforementioned Dodgers were in eighth but only seven games off the pace. The Braves were in the midst of a five game losing streak that included both ends of a double-header with the Phillies on Friday the 4th and the fifth on Saturday the 5th.
The Milwaukee fans were not as gracious as in an earlier time—Fred Haney was hanged in effigy from a crane at a construction site near downtown. Maybe a couple things worth noting—the Braves were still in first place in the National League—they weren’t scoring runs—one of the losses went to Warren Spahn—and whether hanging Haney in effigy was the work of a small group or not, there was mounting evidence that the attitude of the once-fervent, once ultra-loyal Braves fan-base was changing. However, on July 6th, Joey Jay pitched a beautiful four-hitter against Pittsburgh and Wes Covington delivered both RBI’s…one by driving in Hank Aaron, the other with his 12th home run of the season…Final Score…2-0.
The July 8, 1958 All-Star game was pretty much a non-event in and of itself…Spahnie was the NL starter…He gave up two runs in the three innings he pitched while his teammates scored three. Haney, Aaron, Crandall and Logan also represented the Braves at the 25th playing of the A-S Classic at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Hank hit a sac fly in the first inning to drive in Willie Mays with the first run of the game…Hank and Del played the entire game; Johnny pinch-hit in the seventh…The American League won…4-3.
Oddly enough the “big” news during the All-Star break was from the other end of the country. It seems several Braves were invited to a party in Bel Air…people got thrown in the pool with their clothes on (Isn’t that standard Hollywood behavior?)…a grand piano was injured…(Don’t they dance on those in Hollywood?)…and the press, the media (What would they do without the media in Hollywood?) had a field day!! The Los Angeles Times-Mirror had it on the front page-in red…it must have been a slow news day…You could read a couple other accounts: Eddie Mathews and the National Pastime by Eddie Mathews and Bob Buege or One of a Kind by Kathryn Conley (Gene’s wife).
Wednesday night, July 9th, first game after the All-Star break, the Dodgers got all over the Braves, 10-3…and then, things got a lot better. Thursday, 7/10/58, Burdette pitched and won, 8-4. Lou also hit two home runs in the game-one a grand slam. As odd as it may seem, Lou only had two other home runs in his ML career…and those two were both in the same game (8/12/57 vs Reds). This tied the record for most times a pitcher had ever gotten two HR’s in a game.
Felix Mantilla also had a homer right after Burdette’s grannie. Friday, the 11th, Jay wins again, 7-4. Saturday, despite home runs from Aaron and Adcock, Spahn loses to SFG, 5-3, and worse yet, SFG wins the next day to go into first place. However, on Monday, the 14th, Burdette wins, 12-3, on a HR, three singles and a walk in five AB’s by Covington…Logan also homered…and we were back in first!! On the 15th, Tuesday, Jay beat the Cardinals, 4-1, giving up only four hits and benefiting from homers by Covington and Aaron (2). On the 19th, Jay five-hit the Cubbies, winning, 3-2, thanks in part to Andy Pafko’s spectacular ninth inning catch. Spahn won his 12th of the season on the 20th. Joey Jay pitched a two-hitter and Eddie Mathews hit a three run homer on July 23rd for Jay’s fifth victory in July, 6-0. Tuesday, July 29th, had more downs than ups. Jay, going for his sixth consecutive win, held the Dodgers scoreless for five innings but strained his elbow in the sixth and had to leave the game…Braves lost 4-2 and fell out of first.
On a happier note—Joey Jay was named National League Player of the Month for his two-shutout-five-consecutive-wins in July performance. Wednesday (30th) Spahn won over LA. He had not beaten the Dodgers in seven years (9/25/51)…and we were back in first!! To close out an incredibly exciting month, Juan Pizarro beat the Dodgers again on the 31st, 4-1…and Aaron had a home run. Owner Lou Perini was a very happy camper!!
On August 7th, Spahnie won #15…giving the Braves their ninth win in their last 10 games and they were in first by seven games…Life is Good!! Around this time Pittsburgh is making a run and goes ahead of SF into second. On August 16th Spahnie wins #16…on the 25th he wins #17…on the 26th Burdette wins #15—his 6th consecutive complete game…with home runs by Crandall, Covington and Mathews (2).
A little recap of Braves pitching in August: Spahn won four, Carlton Willey won five, Burdette won seven and was named the NL Player of the Month. By the end of August the Braves led the Pirates by eight games!!
September started off with Bob Buhl pitching a 2-1 win over the Cubs in his first outing since arm problems derailed him in mid-May. On the 7th Spahn won #19. On the 10th Pizarro throws his first ML shutout…a three hitter…while scoring a run and driving in another in the 3-0 triumph!!
On the 13th Spahn wins #20, 8-2, versus St. Louis. This is his 9th 20-victory season, putting him ahead of Eddie Plank and Lefty Grove…and to accentuate his value, Spahn went three for four with three singles and a ribbie. On the 16th Burdette wins #18…on the 20th he wins #19 (winning 13 of 16 decisions since the All-Star break).
On September 21, 1958, the Braves clinched the NL flag for the second consecutive season. Spahn got the win (#21) with help from McMahon. Aaron’s 30th homer was the margin of victory, 6-5. On the 26th Lou won #20, 2-1 over the Reds…on the 27th Spahn won #22 again against the Reds (6-1) while contributing a home run. Frank Torre and Red Schoendienst also had round-trippers in the game. The 1957 Bonus Baby, Hawk Taylor, got his first Major League hit, a double…and scored his first ML run two batters later. Cincinnati fans, true to their fellow National Leaguers, carried signs cheering the Braves on in the World Series!!
The Braves ended the season eight up on the Pirates, 12 up on the Giants, 18 over the Reds, 20 up on both the Cards and Cubs, 21 over the Dodgers and 23 games ahead of the last place Phillies. Strangely it was Philadelphia and Milwaukee tied for Team Batting Average–.266. The Braves led all comers in Complete Games pitched with 72, next closest was 51 (Phils).
We also led in team ERA with 3.21 (Jay-2.13, Pizarro-2.69, Willey-2.70, Burdette-2.91, Robinson-3.00, Spahn-3.07, Rush-3.43, Buhl-3.45). Spahn and Burdette tied for the league lead in Winning Percentage with .667. Spahn tied with Bob Friend for most wins with 22. Spahn led in Innings Pitched—290, Lou was second—275. Spahn led in Complete Games with 23, Burdette was third with 19. Willey led the league in Shutouts—4. Lou led everybody with Fewest Walks per Nine Innings—1.63. No Braves led in hitting or base running but we had guys in the Top 5.
Hank Aaron’s .326 BA was good for third in the league…his Slugging Average (.546) was also third…his 30 HR’s was fifth…his 328 Total Bases third…his 196 Hits and 109 Runs Scored both third. Eddie Mathews was third in three areas…HR’s—31, Walks—85 and Home Run Percentage—5.7.
It absolutely deserves to be noted that Wes Covington, in 90 games, hit .330 with 75 RBI’s and 24 home runs. Frank Torre, in 138 games, hit .309, fielded .994 and made 958 putouts.
And…lastly, but certainly not leastly…Handy Andy Pafko, in 92 games, handled 109 chances with 111 putouts—that’s with two assists which means that after the catch, he threw to a base for a second out…Andy was the only “regular” ML outfielder to boast a 1.000 Fielding Percentage in 1958!!! Way to go, Andy!!!
As you can imagine, in a Pennant/World Series year, there’s a ton of good memorabilia. As usual, here we go again in no particular order…
Unfortunately, I do not know who manufactures pennants…It seems…fairly much across the board…that it’s NOT someone with much knowledge of the team or the players on the team. In general the graphics of pennants is what fascinates me…the “content” often baffles me. For instance, this is a very attractive concept; the “roster” appears to be on the skin of an animal, the colors of the headdress were probably much more brilliant before they faded with age and the basic information (Braves…Champs…) is there. However (…and here is where I wish the manufacturers were more familiar with the subject…), the choice of names is at best questionable…the most obvious is the omission of the greatest left-hander ever…!! They noted Joe Koppe and Casey Wise; both good guys, but neither played a particularly significant role in the ’58 season. You might have expected instead Joey Jay or Don McMahon or Carlton Willey or Ernie Johnson. And Harry Hanebrink…don’t you hate it when they spell your name wrong…??
This is an absolutely gorgeous pennant…the purple color variation is probably the rarest of the common colors-I know that sounds
weird…rare but common…I just mean it’s nowhere near as hard to find as white or yellow but is harder to find than the much more common colors of red or blue or green. This may engender a certain amount of controversy but—I have a hard time with those who refer to this as a “lady Brave” pennant. I have heard some stories that are intended to justify that terminology but none them are at all convincing. I believe that both Native American culture and simple logic stand against any claim that the team could be represented by any feminine icon. This is a brave/Brave…male!! …and, please, ladies, I mean absolutely NOTHING chauvinistic by this opinion…
Once again, conceptually, this pennant has got it all going!! It also gives credit to G.B. Feld of Chicago as creator and/or manufacturer. Two minor spelling issues: Conley is misspelled and I think the scroll could have been drawn wide enough to accommodate Schoendienst in its entirety.
Either this pennant came out after the World Series or just barely before. With the exception of Joe Koppe, this is the World Series roster…and there is no “h” in Trowbridge…
Both of these were in the souvenir stands at the stadium and the only thing I can think of that makes them particularly special is in regard to the red one…remember it when we come to 1959…I’ll remind you…
Mostly these schedules are similar to some of the ones from earlier years. In the bottom row, however, that’s both sides of a clever little coin purse from the C.M. Olson Insurance agency in Eau Claire, WI…it has the Braves home games noted. The Miller Brewing Company schedule has a little more personal interest: my Mom just found it while going through some old papers…it’s the schedule she and I used to keep track of who we were playing in 1958…
I think I’ve showed you one of these before…I’ve got a very short run of them. I like it because you could hang it on the wall and were less likely to lose it.
This is a really cool piece. What you see is one-fourth of it as it is folded twice. When you open it like a book you have sepia pix of Aaron, Burdette, Spahn, Haney and O’Connell…then when you open it again (up), a little over half of it is the seating plan of the Stadium plus a home schedule and how to charter Greyhound buses, get Braves tix through your local Greyhound Depot and how to buy Greyhound tix. Cool…!!
This is a 64 page magazine written (mostly) by Lou Chapman and Chuck Capaldo. It’s a series of 21 articles by Braves players, coaches and even one front office guy (John Mullen—Farm Director)…and it’s loaded with pictures. You still see these on ebay from time to time. It’s not just “entry level” information…it’ll surprise even the biggest fan every once in awhile.
Mugs, cups, glasses…drinkware that you probably won’t ever drink from…Lou signed the NY Herald Tribune cup. I included the “ashtray” because it matches the glass—“We did it again”—the “ashtray” is by McNeil and Moore…glass is probably from the newspaper. The brandy snifter has the same design as the ’58 Press Pin; however, the back of it says National League CHAMPIONS 1958. The glass that has a lot of black is from a ’58 series that honors teams and stars of other sports in addition to baseball…it notes the Braves as ’57 Series Champs. In front are mugs/tankards from our old friends at Bill’s Specialty in Milwaukee.
The 1958 Topps set was the largest to date. There are yellow and white lettering variations for those who wish to collect them. This year’s set also has All-Star cards. Here is a sampling…
The Hires Root Beer Hank Aaron card is obvious…in a set of 66 cards, one might have expected a couple more Braves…once again, they didn’t ask me…The under-sized black and white cards of Ernie Johnson and Jim Pendleton are from the Dominican Republic…When Bob Lemke was still at SCD he did a piece on them…Most of what I remember is that the poses were borrowed directly from the ’55 Golden Stamp Book…check it out…!!
After his heroic performance in the ’57 World Series, I’m fairly sure if you looked long enough, you could buy Lou Burdette tooth picks. So…no surprise that at least a couple companies put out Lou Burdette baseballs. The one on the left is the Lou Burdette “Perfect Pitch” ball, the middle one is a smaller version of the Official Rawlings National League ball with a real autograph and the one on the right is the “952” Lou Burdette baseball—mint in the still-sealed box. I still see these on ebay…not often…
At first blush this 1958 calendar with a picture of the 1957 Braves on it seems pretty straight-forward. Then, when you start looking at the names of the guys in the picture, you see that it’s a spring training picture with a lot of cool names of guys who were up briefly or never played. Another oddity…the schedule on the back is for 1957…should be ’58. Oddity #3: March, with notations of player birthdays, is the only month in the calendar. There are two more pages after March but they show the ’57 roster. My guess is this was a mock-up or prototype for a calendar the Braves or someone else was going to publish but never got ‘er done…or…I’ve never seen it. Printing was done by a company called Baseball Calendars from Fort Atkinson, WI.
Frank Stanfield may not have been the MOST prolific of the photographers that covered the Braves but he certainly deserves consideration for the honor. I undoubtedly own more Stanfield pictures and /or negatives than those of any other vintage photog. The identity of the holder of parking permit #147 is unknown to me. Walter Oelzek was an usher at County Stadium from ’54 to ’64…I think I have all his passes…
These rulers with schedules probably could have gone with the rest of the schedules but they seemed to “fit’ better here. The short ruler is a salesman’s sample. The Key Chains were part of the vast treasure trove available from the Stadium concessionaires.
The gray button-top row middle-was also available from stadium souvenir stands. The “bugle” still works, although it doesn’t sound exactly like a bugle. The 189 is a vendor button generally worn on the cap or apron of sellers of beer, hot dogs, polish sausages, cotton candy, pin back buttons, pennants, baseballs, pictures and all manner of items expressly meant to be owned by a 12 year old and /or his family. Maybe if I’d gotten more stuff then I wouldn’t be overcompensating/having so much fun now…Har!!
We’ve already seen quite a number of placemats. They were used then very much the same as now. These are a couple more of the various types that were around in 1958.
This is another with the ’58 home schedule on it. Although not unique, this one is unusual in that it has no advertising on it.
Ray Jackson’s was on Blue Mound right next to what was then the main entrance to the Stadium. It was not only a favorite eating place for fans, it was also a hang-out for players and their families and had a room upstairs if they wanted some privacy. It was also almost a museum of Braves memorabilia—the walls were resplendent with pictures, wire photos and equipment. Ray’s relationship with the players ensured he got items that would not be seen again in public for years. You might note that this placemat is signed by Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Bob Buhl and Red Schoendienst.
If you have any history on the origin of this piece, please let me know. I’d like to know the artist…I wonder if it was done for some special occasion…why does it have one of those little squares on the back for a stamp? Anything…??
Union 76, Union Oil Company did seven baseball players in this 1958 series and two were Braves—Red Schoendienst and Warren Spahn…the Spahn failed to show up on picture day. This is the Season ticket box and the very classy, very formal note that accompanied it. You could send for this Bazooka “My Favorite Team…” patch through a Topps offer. They’re bee-oo-tee-ful…!!!
Well, here we are again…that’s about it for the 1958 season. We’ll get right on the post-and post-post-season (…huh…??) so the wait between chapters won’t be as long as it was this time. It was a very busy and fun time with the people from the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison and the Milwaukee County Historical Association in Milwaukee!!! What great people!!! I have a much greater respect for them in particular and for museums and historical groups everywhere!!! They really are a dedicated bunch of fun and serious individuals. We got every single thing (hundreds!!) back in a timely fashion and more importantly (at least to us…) nothing lost, nothing broken!!! I hope you managed to get to one or both…
As always, keep those cards and letters (…and emails…) coming, we love to hear your comments, questions, suggestions…Next chapter: The 1958 World Series…
Until then…Please stay tuned…
Go Get ‘Em, Braves!!!