As we continue to countdown to Opening Day, we look back at the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers and their 48 wins in the American League. Just like how the Pilots didn’t last long in Seattle in 1969, the Brewers in the American League were just the same. After being last out of only eight teams, the Brewers became the St. Louis Browns, who eventually over time would become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.
But, let’s break down the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers and their overall record of 48-89 a bit more. Amazingly, enough stats were kept intact to put together the top players in WAR:
Obviously, during this era power numbers were just not where they’re at now. Anderson led the team with 8 HRs along with his 99 RBIs and .360 OBP. Although he didn’t quite make the top 10 in WAR for the league (as Cy Young had a 12.6 WAR), he did come in at #5 for position players. But, looking at OBP, SLG, and the combination of the two, a name of Nap Lajoie dominated those categories as he had a 1.106 OBPS while Anderson was #8 with .836.
Duffy had 1.3, which was pretty good considering he was also the manager. He’d go on to become a Hall of Famer and be a player/manager for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1904-1906.
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Although there weren’t many highlights, the city got to see “Milwaukee” across the jerseys for once and have a team to represent them in a professional league. The jerseys adapted over time even after they left the American League in 1902. To see team photos all the way from 1902-1952 check out the site dedicated to Borchert Field here.
Once they were out of the American League and in the American Association, there were certainly interesting teams in the same league including the Minneapolis Millers, Louisville Colonels, and Toledo Mud Hens. But, unlike the 1901 American League, stats were few and far between. Plenty of names with question marks on their roster and no W/L’s were kept track for their standings. But, for what it’s worth, we can say Billy Clingman looked pretty good for the Crew with a .308 BA and 3 HRs as we can call him the “Hugh Duffy” of 1902 as he was also the manager.
Over time, the Milwaukee Brewers got to the AAA level and eventually got back in the big leagues in 1953 to become the Milwaukee Braves. Only took a short 52 years to become a professional team again. So, here’s to the 48 Ws in 1901 as they officially started a professional baseball team in Wisconsin.