Braves’ move to Milwaukee shook baseball’s world
On March 18, 1953, Braves owner Lou Perini changed that when he took his team to Milwaukee.
Baseball’s future had arrived.
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“This can set up a chain reaction,” Dodgers president Walter O’Malley told the Associated Press following the Braves’ move. “You’ll see more territory being drafted than you can shake a stick at.”
O’Malley proved prescient as the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and the Athletics moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City a year later. Then in 1958, O’Malley took the Dodgers to Los Angeles – with the Giants moving to San Francisco the same year.
Suddenly, change was the norm for the National Pastime.
“The country has changed in the last 75 years,” Perini told the AP. “You can’t deny Los Angeles and San Francisco are major league in every respect. And so are Montreal, Baltimore and some other cities. A third major league is the only answer for the future.”
Perini’s last prediction did not come true, but his vision for expansion did as the 16 teams in 1953 mushroomed to today’s 30 clubs.
Four weeks after Perini announced the move, the Braves opened their 1953 home season in front of 34,357 fans at County Stadium in a 3-2 win over the Cardinals. The attendance represented more than 12 percent of the Braves total customers in 1952.
Milwaukee would go on to host more than 1.8 million fans at County Stadium in 1953.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum