County Stadium, a hallmark of Milwaukee’s baseball history, was more than just a sports venue; it was a beloved home for the Milwaukee Braves and later the Milwaukee Brewers. This stadium, with its rich legacy and quintessential mid-century design, left an indelible mark on the hearts of baseball fans in Milwaukee.
Stadium Facts about County Stadium
- Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Opened On: April 6, 1953
- Closed On: September 28, 2000
- Home Team: Milwaukee Braves (National League, 1953–1965), Milwaukee Brewers (American League, 1970–1997; National League, 1998–2000)
- Stadium Nicknames: N/A
- Dimensions: Left Field – 362 feet, Center Field – 402 feet, Right Field – 362 feet
- Capacity: Initially 28,000; expanded to over 53,000
- Attendance Record: 57,299 (September 9, 1957, vs. St. Louis Cardinals)
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: Osborn Engineering
- Owner: Milwaukee County
County Stadium’s history is a testament to Milwaukee’s love for baseball. Opened in 1953, it was originally built to lure a major league team to Milwaukee. The arrival of the Braves from Boston in 1953 marked the beginning of Major League Baseball in Milwaukee, with County Stadium as its stage. The Braves’ stay in Milwaukee was marked by considerable success, including a World Series win in 1957.
After the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, the stadium stood without a major league tenant until the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1970, becoming the Milwaukee Brewers. County Stadium then served as the home of the Brewers, witnessing the team’s growth and evolution over the next three decades.
Design and Features
County Stadium was a classic example of the mid-century American ballpark design. Its initial construction boasted a single-tiered grandstand, which was later expanded to include an upper deck, significantly increasing its seating capacity. The design focused on fan visibility and comfort, offering expansive views of the playing field from a majority of its seats.
One of the stadium’s distinctive features was its large scoreboard, known for its innovative animations and displays. The park’s aesthetic was simplistic yet functional, embodying the spirit of baseball during that era.
Throughout its lifetime, County Stadium underwent several renovations to modernize its facilities and enhance the fan experience. These renovations included the addition of the upper deck and luxury suites, improvements to the lighting system for night games, and upgrades to the concession stands and restrooms.
These improvements were aimed at keeping the stadium relevant and comfortable in an era where newer, more modern ballparks were becoming the norm. Despite these changes, County Stadium retained much of its original charm and character.
County Stadium offered a range of facilities to cater to its fans. Concessions at the park provided a taste of classic ballpark fare, and the addition of luxury suites offered a more upscale experience for those seeking it. The seating, though not as luxurious as in modern stadiums, was known for providing a cozy and intimate baseball experience.
The park’s parking facilities and accessibility made it a convenient venue for fans, adding to its popularity. Despite its lack of modern amenities compared to newer stadiums, County Stadium was cherished for its traditional baseball atmosphere.
Memorable Moments at County Stadium
- 1957 World Series: Hosting the Braves’ World Series victory.
- All-Star Games: Hosting the MLB All-Star Game in 1955 and 1975.
- Hank Aaron’s Homecoming: Aaron’s return to Milwaukee with the Brewers in 1975.
- Robin Yount’s 3,000th Hit: A milestone achieved in 1992.
- Final Game: The emotional last game played at County Stadium in 2000.
Interesting Baseball History at County Stadium
- Braves’ 1950s Dominance: The stadium witnessed the Braves’ successful run in the late 1950s.
- Brewers’ Development: The growth of the Brewers from an expansion team to contenders.
- Legendary Players: Hosting some of baseball’s greatest players, including Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Warren Spahn.
- Shift in Milwaukee Baseball: The transition from the Braves to the Brewers represented a significant change in Milwaukee’s baseball landscape.
County Stadium’s versatility allowed it to host various non-baseball events. It served as a venue for concerts, including performances by major artists, and other sporting events, including Green Bay Packers games before Lambeau Field became their exclusive home. The stadium’s ability to host diverse events demonstrated its importance as a multi-purpose venue in Milwaukee.