1953 | ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – The Boston Braves got official permission from the other Major League Baseball (MLB) owners on this date in 1953 to relocate to Milwaukee. It was the first franchise move since 1903 when the Baltimore Orioles moved to New York City to eventually become the Yankees.
The Braves’ move opened the flood gates.
Expansion and relocation were in the air. As Braves owner Lou Pernini put it, “The country has changed in the last 75 years. You can’t deny Los Angeles and San Francisco are major league in every respect, and so are Montreal, Baltimore and some other cities.”
The next season the St. Louis Browns packed up and moved to Baltimore to become a reincarnation of the Orioles. By 1958 the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants had moved to Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. The Milwaukee Braves moved again in 1966 to Atanta, where they remain. Montreal and several other cities, such as Seattle, Anaheim and San Diego eventually got new teams. By 1972 there were 30 major league teams in two leagues, more than double the number the two leagues started with.
Pernini also thought back in 1953, “A third major league is the only answer for the future.” That has not come about. In fact, in 2001 there was discussion among the owners about contraction – eliminating teams. That has not occurred either.
The Associated Press, St. Petersburg, FL, March 19, 1953, by Jack Hand
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