Milwaukee County Stadium
Major League Baseball Park #11 out of 39
Saturday, July 9, 1994
Chicago White Sox 9, Milwaukee 5
W– Jason Bere
L – Angel Miranda
Attendance – 41,817
Friday, July 31, 1999
Montreal Expos 4, Milwaukee 2
W– Anthony Telford
L – Eric Plunk
Attendance – 24,513
The great historian Alice Cooper once said of Milwaukee (in 1992's Wayne's World), "The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century." Milwaukee "is pronounced 'mill-e-wah-que' which is Algonquin for 'the good land.'"
Milwaukee County Stadium opened in April of 1953 for the Braves and saw them move to Atlanta after making two World Series trips in 1957 (won) and 1958 (lost). Used-car salesman Bud Selig "spirited away" (other than "stole", it's the only printable verb I can think of here) the Seattle Pilots in 1970 and -- other than their lone World Series appearance in 1982 -- maybe they shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.
The Green Bay Packers played there from 1953 to 1994. Marquette University played football there. The Ice Capades' first outdoor appearance was at County in July of 1953 (Milwaukee in July?! Who were the ad wizards that came up with that one?)
Getting back to its baseball history, Milwaukee County Stadium did have several cool concourse exhibits honoring the Negro Leagues and past Braves and Brewers legends. The stadium itself wasn't anything special, though, by the time we arrived in the summer of 1994 near the end of that trip. Tim had remarked that the park resembled a good AAA field. A single deck of seating in the outfield. A monochrome scoreboard and video screen. Its best/most popular gimmick was probably "Bernie Brewer", a guy in a costume perched high in right-center field and waiting for a Brewers' home run. That was his cue to slide into a giant beer mug. Fairly minor-league stuff.
Since 1993, I've made three separate trips to Milwaukee for baseball and every single time, something kept me from getting to the game early. In 1994, it was "tri-state construction -- next 17 miles" (sign along the interstate on the way from Chicago). In 1999, it was driving over metal debris on the highway which required a replacement rental car at the Milwaukee airport. In 2001, it was more road construction. Not sure what that means exactly, but it's never been like that anywhere else.
During the 1994 trip, Tim and I were still buzzing from our Chicago adventures and unprepared for the road delays. We arrived just minutes before game time and took our seats on the main level on the third-base line and witnessed not only a marriage proposal, but we also saw a brawl. What's that old Disney line about the "circle of life"? Surely, neither of those events had anything to do with the fact that the roving vendors hawked rum daiquiris.
A lot of great baseball guys played their home games at County. Warren Spahn. Hank Aaron. Paul Molitor. Robin Yount. The history is there. The interest is there. Milwaukee deserved better than County Stadium and they deserve better than Miller Park.
I bought a t-shirt there during the 1999 trip because the old stadium was going to be torn down and the back of the shirt is covered with all of the interesting things that happened there. Four no-hitters. The Lone Ranger and Lassie Show. Concerts for the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac (70s) and Paul McCartney (90s). Floods (70s, 80s, and 90s), fire (70s), famine (anyone waiting what had to seem like forever for a rum daiquiri), and pestilence (the won-loss record of any Selig-owned team). One line on the shirt in the 80s section reads cryptically: "Pink Floyd Scared Us All". Sounded like it might have been a fun time.
Below are six pictures from the 1999 trip. Miller Park was under construction just beyond the right field stands, but two workers died in an accident during the construction and the broken crane was still visible when we were there so I feel a little creepy about showing those scenes.
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