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Kathleen Hart, born 1933 

In September of 1938 the school opened and I was in the first kindergarten class.

It was pleasant and everything was very new and lovely.

We painted a lot and at that time people thought the teachers were too progressive and lenient and that the children had too much freedom.  All I really remember about it was nap time.  I do remember being in a dance recital program somewhere around this time.  We had some kind of hats and mine fell off.  I was so embarrassed I ran off the stage and to my father who was in the audience.  This was probably the start of my fear of speaking in front of people. 

A 1957 Greendale Summer in the Big Leagues!
By Ted Mainella

The Milwaukee Braves moved to Milwaukee from Boston in 1953. The team was wildly popular from the very beginning. Many from the team lived all year in and around Milwaukee and were part of local communities. This story recalls what it was like to have them as neighbors in Greendale.


My brother and I spent the summer of 1957 in Major League baseball. The Milwaukee Braves made baseball history that summer by winning the National League Pennant and the World Series that fall. With the help of our Greendale neighbors, my younger brother Hugh and I were going to be a part of it.


Connie Ryan lived right next door to us in the ‘E’ section. He was the third base coach for the Milwaukee Braves and had been a utility infielder with the Boston Braves. He had two boys the same age as my brother and me. The Ryans had a backyard picnic one day and the Braves’ star pitcher Lou Burdette was there.

Vintage Baseball Uniform
Baseball and Mitt
Baseball and Bat

Since my brother Hugh and I played with the Ryan kids all the time, we got to join in and play catch with Lou
Burdette in their backyard.


We could go to any Braves game we wanted. Connie would take us very early, when he went with all the other players. We got to watch batting practice on the field, run the bases, shag fly balls, and pitch from the County Stadium pitching mound. There we were, two kids from Greendale, working out with the 1957 Milwaukee Braves!


Hugh and I always sat right behind home plate with the Braves’ families. One game we sat two rows from first baseman Joe Adcock. His leg was in a cast, and he was sitting in the box seat with his family. He was a big man and with the full leg cast had to stick his leg out into the aisle. Hugh and I walked by several times, just to gawk.


Did we know how lucky we were? We weren’t as awestruck as we might be now. Back then, the Braves players were part of the Milwaukee and Greendale communities that just happened to be major league ballplayers. Of course, several would get into the Hall of Fame. Sure they were special, but not god-like. Maybe when you see future Hall of Famers Eddie Matthews and Hank Aaron walk out of the clubhouse shower after a game they lose some luster and gain some humanity.

We had other baseball people in Greendale. One other neighbor on Exeter Street was a National League umpire named Stan Landes. A rather robust fellow, we called him “Fat Stan, the Umpire Man,” but not to his face. Center field of our sandlot diamond was almost in his backyard. Hugh and I would recruit kids from the neighborhood to play ball. Hugh got his buddies and I got mine. One day someone hit one into his yard. He picked up the old ball and tossed out a new official National League baseball. We thanked him, and kept playing.
 

Just down the block on the corner of Westway and Edgemont lived the Braves head midwest scout. Edie Dancisak was a
former minor league player. Greendale was a newly discovered suburb in 1957 and was considered a good place to live. That made three major leaguers in the ‘E’ Section.


I have some mementos from that summer, but one did not survive. I have the official program from the fifth game of the 1957 World Series. I have the game tickets I had to show my St. Alphonsus 8th grade teacher to prove my Dad and I were really going to the World Series. Both are in original condition. The price of the program was 50 cents. The tickets: $7 dollars each. Connie Ryan gave them to us.

We had other baseball people in Greendale. One other neighbor on Exeter Street was a National League umpire named Stan Landes. A rather robust fellow, we called him “Fat Stan, the Umpire Man,” but not to his face. Center field of our sandlot diamond was almost in his backyard. Hugh and I would recruit kids from the neighborhood to play ball. Hugh got his buddies and I got mine. One day someone hit one into his yard. He picked up the old ball and tossed out a new official National League baseball. We thanked him, and kept playing.
 

Just down the block on the corner of Westway and Edgemont lived the Braves head midwest scout. Edie Dancisak was a
former minor league player. Greendale was a newly discovered suburb in 1957 and was considered a good place to live. That made three major leaguers in the ‘E’ Section.

Image by Benjamin Sharpe

I have some mementos from that summer, but one did not survive. I have the official program from the fifth game of the 1957 World Series. I have the game tickets I had to show my St. Alphonsus 8th grade teacher to prove my Dad and I were really going to the World Series. Both are in original condition. The price of the program was 50 cents. The tickets: $7 dollars each. Connie Ryan gave them to us.
 

But the Holy Grail from those days had cost nothing and did not even survive that summer. During one of our clubhouse visits, the Braves players were hand-signing baseballs. This was the 1957, soon-to-be World Champion, Milwaukee Braves. Several players were sitting around a table and autographing baseballs. I must have caught the eye of one of them. And like in the movies, with a “here- you-go, kid” look, he flipped me a freshly signed baseball. I caught it, but didn’t hold on to it for very long.


Some weeks later we were playing on our back yard diamond and the current ball had worn out. Fat Stan the Umpire Man was on the road and no one had a replacement. But I did. I ran home and plucked that 1957 gem off my dresser and ran with it back to the field and tossed it to Hugh. Play ball!


Our “Field of Dreams” diamond is now the parking lot for St. Thomas Episcopal Church. When I bike through my old ‘E’ section neighborhood, I stop to look around where the bases, the outfield and the pitcher’s mound once were located. Connie Ryan is gone – so are Lou Burdette, Joe Adcock, our neighborly umpire, and the scout. And my brother, Hugh.


It was a magical time in Greendale. It was our summer in the big leagues!