Copyright 2008 Tencentzports
Reprinted with permission of the Author
Milwaukee Wisconsin, the “Cream City”, has a baseball history that predates the Civil War.
Being called the “Cream City” has nothing to do with the dairy products for which Wisconsin remains famous for or for it’s once renowned brewing industry. The often quoted “Cream City” moniker came from a particular unique type of brick locally manufactured from the 1830’s through the end of the 19th century. Cream city brick, was manufactured from a clay with a relatively high concentration of lime and sulfur which after firing in the kiln, came out with it’s beautiful creamy yellow coloration. The clay was found around Milwaukee, specifically in the Menomonee River Valley and on the western banks of Lake Michigan. The brick graced many of its buildings and homes and visitors to the city, noticed this unique coloring and thus started calling Milwaukee the “Cream City”. The name stuck. Cream City brick was a strong, long lasting building material and is still highly prized today for its decorative beauty and is being actively sought out, recycled and reused by many of today’s builders.
But I digress, baseball in Milwaukee had it’s humble beginnings, which included rudimentary games that Rufus King, editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel Newspaper started playing with his business and professional associates in 1859. They wore no gloves and used home made bats but made up for their lack of equipment with their enthusiasm.
Milwaukee citizens, like the rest of America, loved its baseball and had several teams and affiliations before the restructured American Association came into being in 1902.
Among them, some Hall of Famer’s too. Clark Griffith was a star pitcher for Milwaukee from 1888-1899. A young Connie Mack, learned a lot about baseball while in Milwaukee and managed the Western League Milwaukee Brewers from 1897 until 1900.
Even quirky Rube Waddell “pitched in” with some excitement too.
“MILWAUKEE” Pennant-early 20th century
Although the early years in the American Association and the 20th century didn’t result in any first place finishes, the Milwaukee teams played well and were very competitive having had several respectable winning seasons.
1903 77-60 3rd place
1904 89-63 3rd place
1905 91-59 2nd place
1906 85-67 2nd place
1909 90-77 2nd place
Not to be denied for long, in 1913, they finally reached the top of the league with Player/Manager Harry “Pep” Clark at the helm, winning their first Pennant with a record of 100 wins vs. 67 losses.
Irving(Young Cy) Young Illustration-1913 Milwaukee Sentinel
Milwaukee seemed to be running away from the other teams in 1913 but it soon became a 4 team race when Minneapolis, Louisville and Columbus battled back.
Clark, having played with the team since 1904, was a unifying force with his players and deserves a great deal of credit for his management, instilling a spirit of teamwork and he also helped his team with his bat, hitting for an average of .286.
As the above cartoon illustrates, they had a very talented pitching staff too. Cy Slapnicka tallied a winning record of 25 wins with only 14 losses for the year. Ralph Cutting added 21 victories, Irving “Young Cy” Young, pitched in with 15 victories and Ed Hovlik posted 11 more.
The 1913 Milwaukee Brewers-Original Photo
w/ “Woozey” The Goat
(player / manager) Harry Clark
Ralph Cutting Cy Slapnicka Joe Hovlik
Cy Slapnicka Autograph (author’s collection)
1913 Player Roster
John Beal OF
Harry Bemis C
Joe Berg 2B
Lena Blackburne SS
Larry Chappelle OF
Harry Clark 3B
Oscar “Happy” Felsch OF
Larry Gilbert OF
Johnny Hughes C
Tom Jones 1B
Art LaVigne C
Phil Lewis 2B
Doc Marshall C
Newt Randall OF
Orville Woodruff OF
Pitchers: W L
Alfred Braun 10 7
Ralph Cutting 21 9
Tom Dougherty 14 19
Joe Hovlik 11 9
Don Marion 0 0
John Nicholson 3 7
Bruce Noel 0 1
Bill Powell 2 3
Cy Slapnicka 25 14
Charles Watson 5 3
Irving Young 15 10
September 30th 1913, Milwaukee’s Pennant winning team is welcomed home as conquering heroes. The fans fill the streets outside the Chicago Northwestern Railway station. (Photo and story, courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library collection) According to The Milwaukee Journal’s article
“Remember When…the Brewers won their first pennant ” published 8-26-67.
[According to the Milwaukee Journal, at the end,] ” it was Cyril Slapnicka and his good right arm that did it.” When the team returned to Milwaukee, 30,000 fans filled the downtown area; the buildings along Grand Av. (now Wisconsin Av.) jammed with people. Cheering crowds lined the railroad tracks from National on down. When the train pulled into the Union depot, Slapnicka sensed what was in the wind, picked up his suitcase and exited through a window on the opposite side of the train. The rest of the team was lost in the mad shuffle that greeted them, dozens of automobiles waiting to take them through the city were left waiting. Harry Clark, the team’s scrappy manager was carried from the train on the shoulders of the crowd. His comment “It’s a glorious thing to bring that bunting back to Milwaukee. I will do just as much work next year to pocket another”.
A very rare 1913 Brewer Pennant (author’s collection)
This Blue and Yellow Pennant carried the same phrase as the signs used that day to welcome home the victorious team.
True to his word, Harry Clark made sure the Milwaukee fans didn’t have to wait long for the next one, as the Brewers, fielding an almost identical team, repeated as champions in 1914.
“Milwaukee 1914 Pennant Winners”
By Paul Tenpenny