National Geographic : 1957 Feb
187 Steins Uplifted, Milwaukeeans Start a Songfest in a Hofbriiu Democracy-loving refugees from autocratic German rule settled here in the mid-1800's. Despite infusions of many other nationalities, the city retains its Rhineland flavor, especially in food, drink, and song. girls in Indian bonnets leading the way, 60.000 Milwaukeeans paraded this hapless team to a big hotel, draped leis of pork sau sages around the manager's neck, and show ered his players with gifts ranging from trout flies to $1,000 Government bonds. This adoration proved no fair-weather friendship. The ticket turnstiles kept click ing like castanets in the new Milwaukee County Stadium-built for $5,000.000 and rented to the Braves for $1.000 a year (page 150). Attendance for 1953 set a National League record: 1.826,397 paid admissions nearly seven times as many customers as had bothered to appear the previous year in Bos ton. To repay the fans' love, the Braves per formed prodigies of batting, pitching, base running, and fielding. By the end of the 1953 season they had surged into second place. They finished third in 1954, and sec ond again in 1955. And in 1956 they came within a hair's breadth of World Series glory. losing out in a close race with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League pennant. "Wait till next year!" say Milwaukeeans. Whence all this fervor? Mayor Zeidler puts it this way: "We have long felt we were capable people, but because of our peculiar geography, tucked away as we are behind Lake Michigan, our voice has not been heard in the land. This is a means of letting people know we exist." Odd, that Wisconsin should feel such a need. When I left Milwaukee. the flags of a dozen countries few in the lake breeze from ocean-going freighters discharging cargo. Wisconsin doesn't have to flourish a ball bat to attract the world's attention. The world is coming to Wisconsin.