Milwaukee’s Best, Part 1: The 50 Best To Play For Braves, Brewers: 50-41

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Mar 9, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez (16) warms up before a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee has a long history in Major League Baseball and an even longer one in organized baseball as a whole.

Of course, we all know the Milwaukee Brewers, who finished their 45th season in 2014 after moving from Seattle before the 1970 season.

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And most know of the Milwaukee Braves, who moved to Beer City from Boston after the 1952 season and played at old Milwaukee County Stadium through the 1965 season, delivering the city’s only World Series title in 1957.

But there have been four other iterations of MLB franchises in Milwaukee, all of them short-lived and few of them successful.

The Milwaukee Grays were the first, playing one season in the National League in 1878. That team, managed by former outfielder Jack Chapman—owner of one of baseball’s greatest nicknames, “Death To Flying Things”—went 15-45 in their first season, finishing sixth in the six-team circuit.

The Grays’ first season was also their last. The team was headlined by pitcher Sam Weaver, who was 12-31 in 45 starts and 383 innings, and disbanded after just the one campaign.

In 1884, the Brewers name surfaced for the first time in MLB in the form of a club that played just 12 games in the Union Association—a league which rose and collapsed all in the same year. The Brewers played only 12 games and went 8-4, never to be heard from again.

The Milwaukee Brewers resurfaced in the American Association’s final season as a major league, 1891, when they were an in-season replacement for a team called the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, which folded on Aug. 17 of that year. This bunch of Brewers, imported from the Western League, went 21-15.

In the modern era, Milwaukee was a charter member of the American League in 1901 with a team called—shockingly enough—the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers went 48-89 in the American League’s inaugural campaign, finishing 35½ games behind the pennant-winning Chicago White Sox—dead last in the eight-team league—despite the presence of Hall of Fame outfielder Hugh Duffy, also the team’s manager.

The Brewers were relocated to St. Louis and renamed the Browns for the 1902 season. We know this franchise today as the Baltimore Orioles, but they got their start more than a century ago on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee was content to host the Brewers in the old American Association for the next 50 years until the arrival of the Braves in 1953.

The Braves played 13 seasons in Milwaukee and there are just three players—Hank Aaron, Felipe Alou and Phil Roof—who played for both the Braves and Brewers in Milwaukee.

But who are Milwaukee’s best—the best 50 players ever to don major league garb in Milwaukee since the move of the Braves?

Dairyland Express endeavors to answer that question, beginning with players 50 through 41 on the list.

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