Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Borchert Field was a baseball park in Milwaukee that was home field for several professional baseball clubs from 1888 through 1952. It became obsolete after the construction of County Stadium in 1953 and was demolished later that year. The site is now covered by Interstate 43.
The park was built on a rectangular block bounded by North 7th, 8th, Chambers, and Burleigh Streets. Home plate was at the south end (Chambers), with the outfield bounded by the outer fence, making fair territory home-plate-shaped, with short fields in left and right and very deep power alleys, a configuration used by a number of ballparks of the era that were constrained by a narrow block.
Originally known as Athletic Park, the park opened for baseball in May, 1888. During winter, it was flooded and served as an ice hockey rink. The ballfield replaced the Wright Street Grounds.
The ballpark operated as the home of the Milwaukee Creams of the Western League, later renamed the Brewers. The Creams/Brewers played there through the 1894 season.
The ballfield was also sublet to the Milwaukee Brewers club of the major league American Association for the latter part of the 1891 season, replacing the disbanded Cincinnati Kelly's Killers. After the major league American Association merged into the National League in 1892, the Milwaukee franchise was discontinued.
An independent minor league named the American Association formed in 1902, including a new Milwaukee Brewers club. Meanwhile, another new minor league club, the Creams, began play in a new version of the Western League. The Creams retained the lease on the Lloyd Street property, so the Brewers re-opened their 1887–1894 ballpark, initially calling it Brewer Field, although the name Athletic Park endured until around 1920. Otto Borchert, son of Milwaukee brewing pioneer Frederick Borchert, purchased the field in 1920. The park thereafter became known as Borchert Field. Its original seating capacity was 4,800 but was later expanded to 10,000.
Because Milwaukee was too small to support two ballclubs, the Western League entry folded after 1903. The AA Brewers played for 51 seasons before being displaced by the major league Milwaukee Braves.
Borchert Field was also home to the Milwaukee Bears, an entry in the Negro Leagues, and the Milwaukee Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The Chicks won a pennant in their only year of operation.
The Milwaukee Badgers, who played in the National Football League from 1922 to 1926, staged their home games at Borchert Field.
Borchert Field was also the host to the first Green Bay Packers game held in Milwaukee, a 10–7 loss to the New York Giants on October 1, 1933. The Packers played games in Milwaukee at County Stadium starting in 1953 through 1994.
The ballpark suffered weather damage on June 15, 1944. During a game with Columbus, a windstorm pulled off the roof on the right side of the stands, sending debris flying and damaging some houses on 7th Street. The game was immediately stopped, ending in a tie. There were some serious injuries reported, but no known fatalities. That portion of the stands remained uncovered for the remaining years of the park's existence.
The final game at the ballpark came on September 21, 1952, a Brewers loss to the Kansas City Blues in the American Association playoffs.