The American Association (1901) (1902-1952)
In 1901, the newly-formed American League allowed eight charter members. One of those teams was the Milwaukee Brewers. They played only one year, finishing 48-89, dead last of all eight teams in the league. A year later, they packed their bags and moved to St. Louis, becoming the Browns, and later the Baltimore Orioles. The name Brewers – a nod to the German heritage and Beer-making tycoons like Miller, Schlitz, Blatz, and Pabst – would forever stay in Milwaukee.
The American Association was founded the year after Major League Baseball left Milwaukee for the first time. In 1902, eight Midwestern cities formed what was largely described as a “renegade league.” Despite the way it was looked at by the majority of minor and Major Leagues, it was wildly popular and the Milwaukee Brewers were one of the most successful franchises in the fifty year league history. They played at Borchert Field, a funny wooden stadium sandwiched near 8th and Chambers streets.
The team’s early history had a variety of fonts chosen – usually a mixture of block and Gothic scripts, in white or red with navy blue being the most prevalent color. The name of the city, Milwaukee, was the most common placement on the jersey in script or block letters. It changed occasionally to a block or Gothic ‘M’ on the left side of the chest.
Through it all, the colors blue and red dominated the team for its entire stay in Milwaukee – no doubt the reason the Boston Braves kept the blue and red when they moved back to the Cream City.
As the team evolved, so did the uniforms and logos. One of the most famous
logos( or mascot, if you prefer) was “Owgust” – the now infamous Barrel Man that appeared on programs, pennants, and jersey sleeves in the latter part of the team’s history. The name Owgust, as far as I could ascertain, is a phonetic spelling of the German pronunciation of “August” – which I assume references not only the summer months of baseball, but also the less literal definition of inspiring reverence or a person of eminence. If I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to tell me.
Owgust became the symbol of baseball and pride in Milwaukee, and the Major League Brewers continue to use him and other callbacks from the AA days to preserve the long history of Brewers baseball in the community.