By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Oct 17, 2007 at 5:11 AM

The Milwaukee Braves completed the task with a World Championship in 1957. The Brewers won an American League pennant in 1982, but couldn't go all the way, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Both brought thrills galore to Milwaukee baseball fans in October.

There were no playoffs in 1957. The National League champs went right up against the American League champs after the regular season ended.

The Braves' opponents were the mighty New York Yankees. The Series opened in The House That Ruth Built, and the Yankees' Whitey Ford out-dueled Warren Spahn in the opener for a 3-1 victory. Lew Burdette won the second game in New York.

Burdette would go on to win three games in the Series and earn MVP honors. He recalled how County Stadium was decked out in bunting and packed to the rafters for the games in Milwaukee.

"It seemed like our crowds were always loud," Burdette recalled in a 1999 interview for the book, "Down in the Valley: The History of Milwaukee County Stadium."

"I remember the crowds seemed just that much louder during the World Series," Burdette recalled. "You could feel tingling up your spine."

The Braves and their fans had to endure the Yankees infamous "Bush League" comments when the Bombers first came to Milwaukee. Some attributed the comment to New York manager Casey Stengel. Others said a couple Yankees' players made the comment.

Whatever the source, it provided a rallying cry for Milwaukee fans. It didn't help in the first game at County Stadium, however, as the Yankees beat the Braves, 12-3.

Eddie Mathews hit a dramatic homer in Game 4 to give the Braves a victory abd even the Series, 2-2. Burdette then pitched a 1-0 masterpiece, and the teams went back to New York with the Braves up, 3-2.

The Yankees refused to die and won Game 6, setting up the deciding Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Spahn was supposed to get the ball, but had the flu. So, Burdette was called upon with only three days rest.

"It didn‘t matter how many days rest he had," shortstop Johnny Logan recalled. "He was pitching on adrenaline."

Burdette pitched masterfully again, but the Yanks loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Moose Skowron smashed a ball that Mathews grabbed and stepped on third for the final out.

"I remember we all came together at one time, and Burdette, Mathews and I just started hugging each other," catcher Del Crandall said of the celebration after the final out.

Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee, thousands of fans who had been glued to their radios and TVs spilled out into the streets for a spontaneous celebration. Somebody carried a banner reading, "Bushville Wins." A photo of that banner with fans surrounding it will always serve as the symbol of the Braves' triumph.

The Brewers didn't go all the way in 1982, but gave fans a great thrill anyway. They lost the first two games of the American League Championship Series in California, but returned to Milwaukee determined to continue.

A raucous crowd at County Stadium helped the Brewers take Game 3, as Don Sutton struck out eight and Paul Molitor hit a three-run homer for a 5-3 victory.

In Game 4, Mark Brouhard, subbing for the injured Ben Oglivie, scored a ALCS record four runs as the Brewers won, 9-5.

That set up the deciding game on Oct. 10. The Angels took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Charlie Moore and Jim Gantner singled and Robin Yount walked.

Cecil Cooper came to the plate and looked at his wife in the stands. "She said, ‘you're going to get a hit'," recalled Cooper, who did just that, lining one to left and motioning for the ball to get down as he ran to first base.

Moore and Gantner scored, embracing at home plate. More than 51,000 people in County Stadium were doing the same.

Of course, the last out is storied in Brewers' history, with Rod Carew grounding out to Robin Yount at shortstop. This writer covered the game and can remember it seemed like time froze as the ball arched from short to first base. Then, when Cooper caught it for the final out, there was an explosion of people onto the field.

Just like 1957, people also exploded out of buildings downtown and throughout the city in a spontaneous expression of joy.

Of course, the Brewers went on to lose to the Cardinals in the Series, but a massive crowd welcomed them back as if they had been winners. A great parade took place down Wisconsin Avenue, and thousands attended a celebration at County Stadium, highlighted by Yount's entrance on a Harley.

"We had lost the World Series, but the way those people showed up that day made winners of us all," recalled catcher Ted Simmons, when he returned for the 25th reunion of that ‘82 team this summer.

Baseball fans got to celebrate both great seasons this past summer. The 2007 Brewers also made a run at playing into October, but fell short. They'll try again next year to bring back the thrills that were so prevalent in 1957 and 1982.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.