Milwaukee Got Two Teams During Spring Training, One In 1953 And The Other 50 Years Ago This Week

Technically, it is opening day.

Today was supposed to be the 51st Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day which is a remarkable feat considering Major League Baseball did not want to be in Milwaukee after the Braves franchise owners moved to Atlanta in 1966. Back in 1970, a Milwaukee car dealer Allen “Bud” Selig was on the outside looking in desperately trying to get a baseball club into Milwaukee. With the help of a bankruptcy judge, on April Fool’s Day, 1970 Selig entered Major League Baseball as an owner. Milwaukee is the only city in Major League Baseball history to get clubs in spring training.

The Braves franchise lasted just 13 seasons between March 1953 and the end of the 1965 season. The franchise’s biggest stockholder, Selig, felt that baseball abandoned Milwaukee and set off on a journey to get a full-time team. Selig got a piece of the Chicago White Sox schedule, nine home games in 1968 and another nine in 1969 in Milwaukee but both Selig and Milwaukee were passed over five times in the 1968 expansion which was triggered by Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley taking his team to Oakland on October 18, 1967. The American League quickly added Kansas City and Seattle. The National League said yes to San Diego and a conditional yes to Montreal if a stadium was found, without the ballpark the franchise would have gone to Buffalo, New York. The Seattle franchise was in bad financial shape and Selig purchased the team on March 8, 1970 but the American League blocked the sale and the state of Washington got a court injunction also blocking the sale on March 16, 1970. Selig’s lawyers suggested that Pilots ownership declare bankruptcy which the owners did and Selig bought the team in a bankruptcy proceeding on April 1 and his team moved to Milwaukee.