In the words of Casey Stengel, Milwaukee was a minor-league city. A bush-league town, if you will.
So when the Milwaukee Braves upset the mighty New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series, one fan seized on the opportunity to make Stengel remember his words. His sign read “Bushville Wins” and was a part of the celebration of the memorable seven-game series. The Braves became the first team to win the World Series after relocating, a move they made from Boston in 1953.
The story of that series in the subject of a book by author John Klima entitled ‘Bushville Wins: The wild sage of the 1957 Milwaukee Brewers and the Screwballs, Sluggers and Beer Swiggers Who Canned the New York Yankees and Changed Baseball.’
“I felt that it was one of the great untold stories of baseball history,” Klima said during a recent visit to Turner Field. “I also felt that it was story that needed to be told about a town, a team and a time. I also felt it should be told the true way. A lot of baseball history is done with a lot of pastoral regurgitation and reciting from old newspapers. My big goal with this was I wanted to make it alive.”
Klima says the book is full of colorful language, especially from Eddie Mathews, as players recounted the events of that season.
The historical significance of the Braves move to Milwaukee is also a key element of the book, according to Klima. The Braves move cleared the way for the Giants and Dodgers to move west.
“I always felt that baseball history is predominately skewed toward the east coast and the northeast corridor,” Klima said. “… They beat the Yankees and shaped what we have now. So if you are in Seattle and you are a Mariners fan, you owe the Braves.”
Klima believes Braves owner Lou Perini should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his endeavors. The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965.
Lew Burdette, was buried in Yankees organization by Stengel, got his revenge with three complete-game victories in the World Series. Hank Aaron, who won the MVP that season, hit .393 with three home runs and seven RBIs. Aaron calls the 11th-inning home run he hit against the Cardinals that season that secured the pennant the most memorable of his career.
Klima also recounts the cultural significance that Aaron had on the city of Milwaukee.
“Henry deserves a lot of credit for those early years for helping to shape the landscape of Milwaukee, much the way he did Atlanta in the later years,” Klima said.
- Chris Vivlamore