TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US TO SARASOTA, FLORIDA MARCH 3, 1953. How does “Milwaukee Browns” sound? It almost became a reality. There was an attempt in 1953 to shift the American League’s St. Louis Browns franchise to Milwaukee, but that idea was out to rest on this date in 1953. As it turned out Milwaukee’s loss is Baltimore’s gain.
One door closing often opens another. That’s what happened here.
Veeck moved his St. Louis Browns to Baltimore where they started the 1954 season as the Orioles, and remain to this day.
Let me try to explain the sometimes convoluted machinations of Major League Baseball franchise moves and almost moves.
The Braves (today’s Atlanta Braves) were still in Boston in those days, but they owned a minor league franchise in Milwaukee. They would have had to move that franchise if a major league team moved in. St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck was eager to move to Milwaukee, and the city was anxious to get a major league team, using a $5 million, 32,000 seat stadium as an enticement.
It was up to the Boston Braves. Vice-president Joseph Cairnes said, “We wouldn’t stand in the way of Milwaukee getting in the major leagues, but before we give up the [minor league] franchise we want another Triple-A franchise of the same potential.” There wasn’t time to work that out before opening day 1953, so the Browns stayed in St. Louis, if only for one more year.
Veeck moved his St. Louis Browns to Baltimore where they started the 1954 season as the Orioles, and remain to this day. The Boston Braves eventually became Milwaukee’s first major league team three years later, though they didn’t stay long. The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.