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It could be said that the modern baseball era began in 1953, when the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee. It was the first major league franchise move in fifty years, and began the westward movement of baseball as it followed the shifting population of the country.
From 1948 to 1952 Lou Perini's Boston Braves suffered a devastating 80% drop in attendance from their 1948 pennant-boosted figures. Unhappy competing with the Red Sox for fan loyalty and dollars, Perini moved his team to Milwaukee, a town that for years had supported a minor league franchise. At first, the move succeeded beyond all expectations. Braves attendance in 1953 was more than 1.8 million and set a National League record. The Braves' young talent included Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, and the team contended throughout the rest of the decade. They won the WS in 1957 and followed it with a NL pennant in 1958, but attendance had already begun to drop somewhat. This trend was accelerated when the team failed to contend in the early 1960s, and by 1966 Milwaukee had lost to Atlanta the team it had greeted so enthusiastically in 1953. (SH)