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The Milwaukee Braves, 1953-1965

In 2003, in honor of the Milwaukee Braves' 50th anniversary, the Wisconsin Historical Museum showcased the following Braves artifacts and photographs.

The arrival of the Braves in Milwaukee in the spring of 1953 signaled a new era in baseball history. The Boston Braves were the first major league franchise in half a century to relocate. In the following eight years, five more teams would switch cities for better economic opportunities.

The Braves brought exciting baseball to fans throughout the Upper Midwest. Led by young sluggers Eddie Mathews and Henry Aaron and powerful pitchers Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette, the Braves became perennial National League contenders, finishing lower than second only once between 1953 and 1960.

The highlight of the Braves stint in Milwaukee came in 1957, when the team won the World Series, beating the New York Yankees four games to three. The Braves lost to the Yankees in the 1958 series, which also went to seven games.

The same fortune that brought the Braves to Milwaukee took the team away again. In the early 1960s, the team's performance tailed off, as did their remarkable attendance. Eyeing greener pastures in the South, new owners jilted Milwaukee and moved the team to Atlanta after the 1965 season.

Button celebrating pitcher Warren Spahn, 1963. On Sept. 8, 1963 in Philadelphia, Spahn won his 20th game of the season, tying the National League record of thirteen 20-win seasons. The home fans celebrated this achievement on his next start in Milwaukee, September 17, 1963. (1971.94.1)
Milwaukee Braves mascot statuette, 1953-1958. (1978.274.6)
Milwaukee Braves mascot bobble-head doll, 1958-1965. The Braves updated their cartoonish mascot to a more realistic depiction about 1958. (1978.274.5)
Autographed baseball, 1953. (1978.274.8)
Pennant, 1953-1960. (1978.274.9)
Milwaukee Braves scorecard, 1965. (1979.75.15)
Pennant, 1953-1957. Hoping to attract a major league team, Milwaukee County decided to build a 36,000 seat baseball stadium. The St. Louis Browns seemed the most likely new tenants, but the Braves organization, which owned the popular Milwaukee Brewers minor-league team, blocked the Browns' proposal move and relocated the Braves instead. (1979.316.50)
Souvenir fan, 1953-1958. (1986.17.1)
Souvenir pencil, 1958-1965. (1980.364.19a)
Souvenir pencil, 1957 World Series. The Braves defeated the New York Yankees four games to three to win the 1957 World Series. Braves' pitcher Lew Burdette earned three complete-game victories. (1988.200.8.2)
Boy's Milwaukee Braves uniform, Empire Sporting Goods Mfg. Co., Inc., New York, NY, 1954-1955. This replica uniform was worn by 12-year-old Braves fan Jay Poster of Madison, Wisconsin. (1998.226.1a-b)
Henry Aaron batting during spring training, April 1, 1955. Aaron joined the Braves for the 1954 season, batting .280 with 13 home runs in 122 games. In 1955, he hit .314 with 27 home runs, and went on to become the major-league career home run champion. (ID 1977)
Eddie Mathews sliding into home, July 7, 1957. In 1957, Mathews batted .292 and hit 32 home runs. He was admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. (ID 6225)
Warren Spahn delivers a pitch, circa 1958. The “winningest” left-handed pitcher in history, Spahn was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. (ID 6224)
Braves fans, 1960. (ID 6229)
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