|1953 Season Manager's Notebook - Baseballhistorian.com - Recalling The Move From Boston To Milwaukee - Here's the written word: |
The Braves, refugees from Boston, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the start of the 1953 season. The club set a new National League record when 1,826,397 fans poured into County Stadium from the beginning of April until the closing days of the season.
Of course, winning helped play an important role in the fabulous Milwaukee story all through the year. The transplanted Braves were in the league's pennant race and ended in second place with a 92-62 record. The great pitching staff had the lowest team ERA, 3.30, in all of baseball.
Manager Charlie Grimm's Braves led the National League for 38 days in the first half of the season, faltered a bit in mid-year, finished second, but still were baseball's 'new city - new heroes' for 1953.
The Braves' superiority on the pitching mound was handled by catcher Del Crandall, an outstanding receiver who batted .272 in 1953 after two years in the United States Army. Playing backup for the 24 year old Crandall was 39 year-old veteran Walker Cooper. Crandall clouted 15 homers in 116 games.
Dream Pitching Staff - Left-hander Warren Spahn, 33 year-old, led the major leagues in '53 with a mere 2.10 ERA and recorded a 23-7 record. Big, 6'2", Bob Buhl, only 25 years-old, was 13-8 with a nice 2.98 ERA. Lew Burdette was another main man of manager Charlie Grimm's dream pitching staff. Burdette won 15 lost only 5 with a 3.24 ERA and appeared in 46 games. Lew hails from Nitro, West Virginia and as good as he was in '53 could be real major league standout pitcher in the future. Left-hander, Johnny Antonelli was stingy in allowing runs, 3.19 ERA, lost quite a few low-scoring games and finished the year at 12-12. Veterans Jim Wilson started 18 games and complied a 4-9, 4.34 ERA and former All-Star Vern Bickford was 2-5. Ernie Johnson and Dave Jolly were two of the finest relievers in baseball in 1953. Johnson pitched in 36 games, 81 innings, went 4-3, a nice 2.67 ERA and Jolly from Stony Point, North Carolina appeared in 24 games, going 0-1, 3.55 ERA
The 1953 infield was led by 22 year-old slugger Eddie Mathews, who led the majors with 47 home runs this year. Mathews hit .302, scored 102 runs with 135 RBIs. Johnny Logan, the classy fielding shortstop teamed up with 2nd baseman Jack Ditmer to form one of the league's top double play combos. The Braves big, 6'4", first baseman Joe Adcock lined 18 HRs, 80 RBIs and batted .285. Adcock's clutch home runs made for a fantastic pennant ride during the early part of 1953.
Outfielders - Andy Pafko hit .297, speedster Billy Bruton roamed center-field and Jim Pendleton played left. Pendleton batted .297. Pafko, born in Boyceville, Wisconsin, is a popular favorite throughout the state and is regarded by the fans as one of Milwaukee's own home-bred heroes. Reserve outfielders were Bob Thorpe and George Metkovich.
In reviewing our old manager's notebook we see the coaching staff underlined and rated with 4-stars. Anytime a ball club wins 92 games, the coaches are a big aid in helping rate the competition, advising the pitchers, and instructing the position players for hitting and fielding. Coaches included Bucky Walters, Johnny Cooney, Bob Keely and trainer Charles Lacks, all of whom helped skipper Charlie Grimm make the transition from Boston to Milwaukee a big success.
Braves' Rookies For 1954 - Among the rookies slated to arrive sometime in 1954 is Hank Aaron, infielder-outfielder who hit .362 for Jacksonville in the South Atlanta League. Aaron is rated high on every scout's lists as the Braves' player of the future. Only 20 years-old was voted the 'Most Valuable' player in the Sally League where he led the league in practically everything including 36 Ds, 14 Ts, 22 Hrs, 125 RBIs, .362 BA. Aaron is slated to begin the 1954 season with Toledo AAA as a second baseman.
Pitching prospects include RH, Glenn Thompson, 8-6, for Toledo in '53, and Joey Jay from Middletown, Conn. Jay did appear in three games for the Braves in 1953. He looked outstanding, hurling a compete game shutout in his major league debut - late in the season. Outfielder Billy Queen hit 18 HRs for Toledo, while batting .281, 77 RBI's. Walter Peterson, RH, 23 years-old - played Army Ball at Fort Sam Houston and rates as a widely sought after GI outfielder.
Felix Mantilla - RH, Shortstop - only 19 years-old, highly regarded for his' defensive skills, batted .278 for Jacksonville and was voted the top shortstop in the Sally League.
George Gorlin, LH, Pitcher - went 12-9 with Milwaukee of the American Association in 1951 before going into the military. In 1950, Gorlin pitching led Texas University to the National Intercollegiate Championship.