Building the Brewers

Bud Selig and the Return of Major League Baseball to Milwaukee


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About the Book

When the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta after the 1965 season, many impassioned fans grew indifferent to baseball. Others—namely car dealer Bud Selig—decided to fight for the beloved sport. Selig formed an ownership group with the goal of winning a new franchise. They faced formidable opposition—American League President Joe Cronin, lawyer turned baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and other AL team owners would not entertain the notion of another team for the city.
This first ever history of baseball’s return to Milwaukee covers the owners, teams and ballparks behind the rise and fall of their Braves, the five-year struggle to acquire a new team, the relocation of a major league club a week prior to the 1970 season and how the Brewers created an identity and built a fan base and a contending team.

About the Author(s)

The late Chris Zantow was a writer of training materials and resources for adult learners at American Girl. A member of the Wisconsin Writers Association, he lived in Madison, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Chris Zantow

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7263-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3720-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  viii
Preface  1
Introduction  4
One • The Borchert Field Brewers  9
Two • Borchert Field to Bushville  25
Three • You’re All We’ve Got Now  41
Four • A Team That Didn’t Exist  57
Five • The Pilots Take Flight  74
Six • The Pilots Crash Land  90
Seven • One Million or Bust  107
Eight • A Fun Place for Fans  124
Nine • Prospects and ­All-Stars  141
Ten • Saturday Night Massacre  157
Epilogue  174
Chapter Notes  183
Bibliography  198
Index  207

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A unique history and essential reading for all dedicated Brewers fans”—Midwest Book Review
  • “With the franchise’s 50th anniversary now upon us, Building the Brewers is essential reading for any Brewers fan. While the upcoming year will certainly be filled with nostalgia-centric reminiscence on this era, Zantow provides a straightforward retelling of the often frustrating and decidedly unsentimental business of Major League Baseball in the late-1960s and early 1970s.”—Shepherd Express
  • “Thoroughly researched and an obvious labor of love, Zantow’s first book engagingly traces the ups and downs of the Brewers’ fortunes and the fans’ support.”—Madison Magazine
  • “It’s virtually impossible to tell the story of the Brewers without including Bud Selig’s story. Chris Zantow was wise enough to know that and skillfully intertwines the two stories into one. He was also wise enough to start with establishing Bud as an avid fan—going back to the Borchert Field days—because that served as perhaps the most consistent motivation throughout his career.”—Gregg Hoffmann, retired sportswriter and author of Down in the Valley: The History of Milwaukee County Stadium
  • “Zantow has done exhaustive research for this book. It’s a must read for any baseball fan or historian.”—Rick Schabowski, president, Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter, Society for American Baseball Research