MUSIC - Hypnotized by Fleetwood Mac
Photographed in 1976, 1987, 1991, and 1994 using film.
County Stadium - Opened April 6, 1953 and closed on September 28, 2000. Demolished in 2001, the site is now a parking lot for Miller park with a mini baseball field.
Location - 201 S 46th St. Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Bounded by I-94, General Mitchell Blvd. Official name was Milwaukee County Stadium
In 1953 Milwaukee welcomed major league baseball to southeast Wisconsin. The transplanted Boston Braves left decrepit Braves field for the greener pastures of brand new County stadium. The new park was constructed on the western outskirts of Milwaukee off south 46th Street on the site of story quarry. County stadium was light years ahead of the old Wigwam that the Braves used to play in.
The "new" Braves set a then National League record of 1.8 million fans in their first season in Milwaukee. It was a far cry from the sparse crowds that watched them in their last season in Boston. The Braves had a stable of talent from which the fans would attach themselves to. From Warren Spahn to a young future home run king in Hank Aaron, the Braves were competitive. The fans were rewarded in 1957 when the Braves won the World Series, defeating the Yankees. The following season saw a return trip to the fall classic, again playing the Yankees. This time, the results were different. After the Braves took a 3 games to 1 lead in the series, the Yankees came back to win the next 3 to take the crown. The 1957 and 58 seasons were the high water mark for the Braves in Milwaukee. Poor team ownership led the Braves to leave Milwaukee for Atlanta after the 1965 season. On September 22, 1965, they played their final game in County stadium. The Braves lost to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6. Gene Oliver hit the last home run for the Braves and little known Chi Chi Olivo picked up the loss. A sparse crowd of 12,577 sat thru the final contest. They only stayed for 12 years, but many in Milwaukee will never forget the Braves.
County stadium was a second home for Wisconsin's favorite sons, the Green Bay Packers. From 1953 thru 1994, the Pack played two to three home games a year at County stadium. The Packers would traditionally host a division rival every season at County stadium. Ironically, they only played their most bitter opponent, the Chicago Bears, once in Milwaukee, beating them in 1974. After the 94 season, the Packers decided to play all their home games in Lambeau field. The last Packers game in County stadium saw Brett Favre lead them to victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Coincidentally, the Falcons had drafted Favre in 1991 and traded him to the Packers after the 1991 season.
The usual gaggle of tractor pulls, wrestling, religious services and concerts graced the turf at County stadium. Popular legend has been bestowed upon the stadium. When Pink Floyd played at County stadium in 1975, it was a dark brooding overcast evening. They were playing brain damage, and when they came to the lyric, "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon," the clouds parted and a brilliant full moon appeared.
County stadium was also a movie star. In 1988, the film Major League was shot mostly inside the park. It was a story of the Cleveland Indians, but their "home" park was not old Municipal stadium. instead, they transformed County stadium into their temporary home. All of the TV signs that were on the scoreboard and broadcast booth were unaltered for the movie. Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker had the prize role of wisecracking commentator Harry Doyle. You can clearly see WTMJ-4 TV and WCGV radio signs in the film. Both stations are in Milwaukee. Ironically, County Stadium only stood for five seasons after Cleveland's Municipal Stadium demolition in 1995.
Some of the characteristics of the park were legendary. Starting with the tailgate parties for both Brewers and Packers games, to the best ballpark food in the majors. The brats at County stadium were the best in baseball. Especially with their "secret sauce." In my opinion, the only ballpark food close to the brats here were the Italian sausages at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Beer played a huge role in the park too. Not just the brew sold in the stands, but the huge beer stein in centerfield. Bernie Brewer, the Brewers mascot, had a chalet on top of the huge stein. When a Brewer hit a home run, he slid down a slide into the stein. County stadium also had it's famous "sausage race" at the 7th inning stretch.
After the Braves vanished in 1965, County stadium sat basically vacant. The Chicago White Sox, unhappy with old Comiskey park, scheduled an exhibition game in Milwaukee in 1967. The game drew over 51,000 fans. During the next two seasons, the White Sox would play 20 "home" games in Milwaukee. Finally in 1970, major league baseball returned to beer town. The 1969 expansion Seattle Pilots were bankrupt. A late hour move by Bud Selig brought the Pilots to Milwaukee for the start of the 1970 season. It really was a last minute move, because the team didn't have time to get new uniforms. They instead sewed the new logos and names on the old Pilots uniforms. The first ever Brewers game took place on April 7, 1970, when they lost 12-0 to the California Angels. Lew Krausse took the loss for the Brew crew. A crowd of 36,107 welcomed baseball back to Milwaukee. The first Brewers home run wasn't hit until April 16th when Greg Goossen connected off the Royals Bill Butler. The first ever Brewers home win didn't come until May 6th when they beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3. In that game Bob Bolin got the first win.
The first years of the Brewers were not good in the standings. They were finding themselves as a team. Finally in 1982, the Brewers put it all together. They went to their first and (so far) only world series. Harvey's wallbangers would eventually lose the series (dubbed the suds series) to the St. Louis Cardinals.
After years of political squabbling, the Brewers were getting a new home. County stadium was ancient by ballpark standards, and falling apart. The sunset season was in 2000 for County stadium. On September 28, 2000, the lights went out for the last time. The Brewers lost to the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 in the final game at County stadium. A sellout crowd of 56,354 saw Jeff D'Amico take the loss. A day earlier saw the last Brewers win, a 10-6 victory over the Reds. In that game, Valerio de los Santos got the win, and Raul Casanova hit the final Brewers home run at County stadium. The next day, the Reds Sean Casey would hit the last home run ever in old County stadium. After the final game, Brewers greats and Braves heroes along with Packers legends entered the stadium one last time. After Robin Yount entered the stadium on his motorcycle, Bob Uecker read a requiem for the park and ended it by saying "so long old friend and goodnight everybody." And that was that. County stadium was soon to be no more.
After two all-star games, and three world series, County stadium was demolished in the winter of 2000. A little league field now stands on the site. Miller park was constructed in back of what was the right field stands of old County stadium. Rest in peace old friend.
County stadium from the south side. 9/91
The year is 1976 and you can see the original Brewers logo of barrel man at the entrance to County stadium. 7/76
A hot summer day in July and the old auxiliary scoreboard is on the second deck. 7/76
The football press box. 7/76
The second scoreboard at County stadium. 7/76
Bernie Brewers chalet above the bleachers in centerfield. 7/76
The broadcast booth behind home plate. 7/76
Getting ready for the season. The last scoreboard is in place. 3/87
Inside the pressbox. 3/87
The main concourse behind home plate. 3/87
County stadium before gametime. 9/91
Inside the main entrance. 9/91
The view from home plate. 9/91
Even County stadium had obstructed views. 9/91
A view of the main concourse behind home plate. 9/91
The view from the parking lot in center. Basically this area will be used for new Miller Park in about 10 years. 9/91
The Brewers bullpen. 9/91
One of the ticket booths behind home plate. 9/91
County stadium on a frigid Sunday in October. 10/94
County stadium is getting ready for winter. Only one more Packers game will be played here. 10/94
County stadium with the Brewers 25th anniv. logo to the right of the flag. 9/95