I borrowed Bushville Wins!: The Wild Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the Screwballs, Sluggers, and Beer Swiggers Who Canned the New York Yankees and Changed Baseball by John Klima from my dad. My dad grew up in the 50’s so he remembers the 1957 world series very well and since I now live in Milwaukee I was interested in learning more about this time in baseball history. This was a well researched book that gives an in-depth look at what I always thought of as the golden age of baseball.
1950’s was a time in baseball where everything was changing and the city of New York was the baseball capitol of the world. Bushville Wins! starts with 1953, the year the year the Braves moved to Milwaukee through the 1957 season. I loved how this book gets into how the whole state of Wisconsin fell in love with the Braves and how the Braves success led to the Giants and Dodgers moving out west. This book gets a little into how barn storming tours were becoming a thing of the past and the very end of the negro leagues. Television was changing a lot also and more people saw the 1957 world series from their homes than ever before.
My favorite part of this book was hearing about how different the players of the time were. There are stories on how Eddie Mathews loved to get drunk and get into fights, how the sports writers of the time use to protect the ball players if they were doing something along the lines of spending all their time in the bars and how the hero of every Braves win got a case of Miller high life from the Miller Brewery which is located near the stadium.The 1957 season gets described in great detail, I loved how it was pointed out how the 57 world series felt like a funeral to New York because both of their National League teams were leaving town and their fans were rooting for the Braves.
I thought it was interesting how when the World Series shifted to Milwaukee not only did the Braves get a warm welcome but the Yankees did too. The Yankees didn’t know how to act in the face of Wisconsin hospitality which led to Casey Stengel calling the city Bushville. Stengel became public enemy number 1. New York and Milwaukee couldn’t have been more different but one thing New York found was that Milwaukee fans were much more passionate than New York fans at the time.
If there was anything I didn’t like about this book it was that it gave a little too much detail on certain games in the season and how the fans were reacting to the teams and players. At times the descriptions seemed redundant and I found myself loosing interest at points. The book also made me a little sad it points out how important it was for when the Braves beat the Yankees yet we know the next season the Yankees got even and just a few years later Milwaukee’s love affair with the Braves was over and the team was headed to Atlanta. This made me wonder why did a city that had a team who never had a losing season turn their backs on them? I guess that’s a topic for another book. Since I live in Milwaukee I’m grateful that we have the Brewers to root for now.