“So long old friend, and good night everybody.”
The classic sign-off by legendary Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Eucker was how Milwaukee County Stadium slowly faded into history on Sept. 28, 2000. Eucker read a short requiem for the stadium in front of a capacity crowd that saw the final game in County between the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers lost that game 8-1.
County Stadium opened in April of 1953 as the home field for the Milwaukee Braves. The National Football League (NFL) Green Bay Packers also played two home games there a year between 1953 and 1994. County Stadium replaced the aging Borchert Field that was vacated to make way for the new Interstate 43.
County Stadium was built on the site of an old quarry located in Milwaukee’s Story Hill neighborhood. Construction began in October 1950, but was delayed due to steel shortages during the Korean War. Completed in 1953 at a cost of $5.9 million, it was the first stadium in the United States to be financed with public funds.
The American League Milwaukee Braves played all their home games in County through the 1964 season. The Braves owners, seeking more television revenue and a larger market, moved the team to Atlanta and jumped to the National League beginning in the 1965 season. The Chicago White Sox played home games in the facility during the 1968 and 1969 seasons, as well.
Finally, in 1970, Bud Selig purchased the Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved them to Milwaukee in the American League.
County Stadium was host to a number of notable Major League Baseball (MLB) historic events, among them the final career home run of Hank Aaron, hit in a game against the California Angels on July 20, 1976. Roughly a year prior, on May 1, 1975, Aaron broke the RBI record of Babe Ruth driving in his 2,212th run in a game against the Detroit Tigers.
Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan had his 300th career win at County when the Texas Rangers defeated the Brewers 11-3. Brewers great Robin Yount made his 3,000th hit in MLB on Sept. 9, 1992 and power hitter Cecil Fielder of the Detroit Tigers hit the only home run completely out of County Stadium on Sept. 14, 1991.
As a side note, prior to a June 12, 1977 home game against the Kansas City Royals, thieves stole uniforms and ball gloves of Royals players from the locker room. During that game, all but seven Royals players had to wear Brewers road uniforms.
During the final game at County Stadium, Brewers greats such as Robin Yount, Willie Davis and Warren Spahn along with Packers notables Fuzzy Thurston and Willie Wood all gathered on the field for a moving final ceremony led by Bob Eucker. As Eucker read a short poem memorializing the stadium’s history, the lights were turned off standard by standard before Eucker gave his signature radio sign-off.
While most of the old stadium site is covered by a parking lot for the new Miller Field, the old infield at County is marked by an outline and converted into a little league park. The old County Stadium Home Plate is marked with a bronze plaque in a picnic concourse adjacent to Miller Field.
This Chrome-style postcard was published by the L. L. Cook Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was mailed to Mrs. Sarah Anvoots of Schofield, WI on Aug. 10, 1959. The hand printed message reads: “Had a nice visit in West Bend and also in Chicago. Had dinner with Ray and wife and Esther. Will be leaving in the AM for home. Love, Nina.”