"Bushville hits the sweet spot of my childhood, the year my family moved to Wisconsin and the Braves won the World Series against the Yankees, a team my Brooklyn-raised dad taught us to hate. Thanks to John Klima for bringing it all back to life with such vivid detail and energetic writing." -- David Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author of Clemente and When Pride Still Mattered
The rip-roaring story of baseball's most unlikely champions, featuring new interviews with Henry Aaron, Bob Uecker and other members of the Milwaukee Braves, Bushville Wins! takes you to a time and place baseball and the Heartland will never forget.
In the early 1950s, the New York Yankees were the biggest bullies on the block. They were invincible: they led the New York City baseball dynasty, which for eight consecutive years held an iron grip on the World Series championship.
Then the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, becoming surprise revolutionaries. Led by visionary owner Lou Perini, the Braves formed a powerful relationship with the Miller Brewing Company and foreshadowed the Dodgers and Giants moving west, sparking continental expansion and the ballpark boom.
But the rest of the country wasn't sold. Why would a major league team move to a minor league town? In big cities like New York, Milwaukee was thought to be a podunk train station stop-off where the fans were always drunk and wouldn't know a baseball from a beer. They called Milwaukee Bushville.
The Braves were no bushers! Eddie Mathews was a handsome home run hitter with a rugged edge. Warren Spahn was the craftiest pitcher in the business. Lew Burdette was a sharky spitball artist. Taken together, the Braves reveled in the High Life and made Milwaukee famous, while Wisconsin fans showed the rest of the country how to crack a cold one and throw a tailgate party. And in 1954, a solemn and skinny slugger came from Mobile to Milwaukee. Henry Aaron began his march to history.
With a cast of screwballs, sluggers and beer swiggers, the Braves proved the guys at the corner bar could do the impossible - topple Casey Stengel's New York baseball dynasty in a World Series for the ages.
By the 1950s, Boston Braves fans were few and dying, and there wasn t enough money in Boston to dig the Braves out of obscurity. Owner Lou Perini decided to move the team to the hinterlands of Milwaukee, paving the way for an exodus from the Northeast as New York s Giants and Dodgers soon followed them farther west. The core of the unlikely champions were four players who referred to themselves as the Asshole Buddies and included future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews, joined by a phenom named Henry Aaron. Klima (Willie s Boys) weaves the team s sense of destiny with a Milwaukee fan s obsession and a journalist s eye in relating this David versus Goliath baseball saga that avoids the braggadocio of others of its ilk. He at times assumes a locker room persona with an abundant use of profanity, but rather than offend, it lends empathy to the attitude the team carried to a dramatic and improbable World Series title. Photos.
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