Copyright 2008 Tencentzports
Reprinted with permission of the Author
“Sunday May 14, 1950” Revisited
Jack Weisenburger’s career in baseball was a brief one. He never made it to the bigs, but he did play for the American Association Milwaukee Brewers from 1949-1951.
In 1950, while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, Jack wore uniform #14, significant to me, as this jersey is part of my personal collection.
Having acquired it, I was of course, curious to learn more about the young man who wore it, and at the very least, get the spelling of his name right.
1950 Program photo of Jack “Weissenburger”
According to the 1950 edition of Who’s Who in the American Association, his biography stated:
John Edward Weisenburger-Infielder
Born at Muskegon, Mich., Aug. 2, 1927. Height, 6 feet, 1 inch; weight, 180 pounds. Bats, right; throws, right-handed. Nickname, “Jack.” Married, Feb. 11, 1950, to Sally Carnahan of Mt. Pleasant, Mich. Nationality, German-English descent. Was all-around athlete at Muskegon Heights High School and played four seasons of football and baseball at University of Michigan. Graduate of University of Michigan, 1948. Teaches and coaches at Muskegon during the off season. Signed to first professional contract with Pawtucket, R. I., Club of New England League by Marty Purtell, Boston Braves Scout, in 1948. Hobby, all athletics. Calls football favorite spectator sport. Home address, 1206 West Berg Road, Muskegon Michigan.
Autographed Michigan University card (author’s collection)
Autographed Michigan University 1947 National Champion’s card (author’s collection)
1950 Milwaukee Brewers Scorecard
1950 Scorecard, “WEISS’BGR” 3b #14
I recently came upon a batch of original, albeit yellowed copies of Milwaukee Journal newspapers from the 1950’s. One of them included an article that the Milwaukee Journal’s Sports reporter, Sam Levy did, having interviewed Jack for his “On the First Bounce” column. An insightful article, in that you actually hear directly from a player about his experiences.
Jack was only with the team for 3 seasons, but this colorful interview transforms a small blue and white image from an old score card into a real snapshot of his life as a member of the American Association Milwaukee Brewers.
On The First Bounce by Sam Levy
Stage Fright Ends
Columbus Ohio-The train carrying the Brewers was streaking along at a high speed. Most of the boys were playing cards. Sitting alone and reading was Jack Weisenburger, former Michigan Fullback. “Are you over your stage fright?” The reporter asked Weisenburger. “I guess so,” he answered with a smile, “I don’t feel nervous any more at bat or in the field. A few base hits can give you some confidence. And I feel at ease at 3rd base. I don’t care where I play, but I don’t like to be shifted around. Ever since I got into pro ball, I’ve shuttled between second, short or third, with an occasional start in the outfield. When I was in college I used to tell my coach, Ray Fisher, that I preferred the outfield. He used me in the infield. I guess he knew best. Fisher is a great coach. He’s a former big league pitcher; with the Cincy Reds when they won the pennant in 1919.”
A few years ago, while a junior at Michigan, Weisenburger played summer ball in the Northern league, a semipro circuit in Vermont under Fisher’s management.
“I played under the name of Burger” said Weisenburger, his face beaming. I didn’t fool anyone though. Everywhere I played people asked, ‘when are you going back to play football at Michigan?’
I didn’t know what they meant. Did I get paid? Well I got expenses, I guess. A fellow has to eat, you know.”
Faced Robin Roberts
The best pitcher he ever faced in his college days, said Weisenburger, was Robin Roberts, currently rated one of the top hurlers in the National League. Roberts who received a $26,000 bonus to sign with the Philly Nationals
attended Michigan State while Weisenburger was at Michigan.
“Every time he got the chance, Roberts used to spend as much time as he could with Fisher. “ Weisenburger explained. Fisher liked Roberts as much as any of his own players and told him quite a lot about pitching. And in the spring, Roberts would beat us without any trouble. Recently I read a magazine story in which Roberts gave Fisher credit for his success as a big league pitcher.”
A Lot of Injuries
Three years of college football were less harmful to Weisenburger than his first two seasons in baseball he declared. Last year he missed 50 games with the Denver Western league club because of injuries. In June, 1949, he suffered a fractured ankle and was out for a month. Two weeks after he got back into the line-up he was hit by a pitch and his right thumb was fractured. “I was never hurt much in high school and college football,” added Weisenburger. “Now I would like to get a full season in at 3rd base with Milwaukee.”
1950 Jack Weisenburger Brewer Jersey
The 1950 Jack Weisenburger Brewer Jersey
Jack Weisenburger and his 1951 Milwaukee Brewer Teammates (3rd from right)