Today in baseball history - March 03 - Browns choose Baltimore

Milwaukee's loss, Baltimore's gain

SARASOTA, FLORIDA | MARCH 3, 1953 - How does the "Milwaukee Browns" sound? That almost became a reality. There was an attempt in 1953 to shift the American League's St. Louis Browns to Milwaukee, but conversations on this date that year between owners involved put that possibility to rest.

One door closing however often opens another and that's what happened here.

Let me try to explain the sometimes convoluted machinations of MLB franchise moves and almost moves.

The Braves were still in Boston in those days, but they owned a minor league franchise in Milwaukee. They would have had to move that franchise if a major league team moved in. St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck was eager to move to Milwaukee, and the city was anxious to get a major league team, using a $5 million, 32,000 seat stadium as an enticement. But it was up to the Boston Braves, and vice-president Joseph Cairnes said, "We wouldn't stand in the way of Milwaukee getting in the major leagues, but before we give up the [minor league] franchise we want another Triple-A franchise of the same potential." There wasn't time to work that out before opening day 1953.

Bill Veeck found the time to move his St. Louis Browns to Baltimore where they started the 1953 season as the Orioles, and remain to this day. The Boston Braves eventually became Milwaukee's first major league team in three years later, though they didn't stay long. The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Contributing sources:
Browns/Orioles
New York Times, Sarasota, Florida, March 4, 1953

This baseball history story about the St. Louis Browns is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.