Milwaukee County Stadium (locally known as just County Stadium) was a ballpark in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1953 to 2000. It was primarily used as a baseball stadium, but was also utilized for football games, ice skating, religious services, concerts and other large events.
* Architect: Osborn Engineering
* Builder: Hunzinger Construction
* Owner: Milwaukee County
* Cost: $5 million (1953)
Even before it was completed, the new "Milwaukee County Municipal Stadium" drew the interest of major league clubs. The St. Louis Browns, who had played in Milwaukee in 1901, the inaugural season of the American League, applied for permission to relocate back to the city they had left half a century before. The Boston Braves, the parent club of the Brewers, blocked the proposed move. The Braves had long been struggling at the gate in Boston, and rumors of them relocating had been floating for some time. The move to keep Milwaukee available as a new home indicated to many observers that the Braves would move to Milwaukee themselves.
Three weeks before the beginning of the 1953 season, and right before the new stadium was ready to open, the Braves made it official, and applied for permission to relocate. The other National League owners agreed, and the Milwaukee Braves were born. The Braves' first home game, on April 6, 1953 was an exhibition contest against the Boston Red Sox.
The Milwaukee Braves used the stadium from 1953 until 1965, when the franchise moved to Atlanta.
The new Milwaukee Brewers, named for the American Association club for which County Stadium was originally built over twenty years earlier, called it home from 1970 to 2000.
The final season at County Stadium was originally going to be the 1998 season, but financial problems in funding for Miller Park, the new stadium, prevented the move from happening early. Therefore, the last season was postponed to 1999. That June three construction workers at the Miller Park site were killed in a crane collapse and a good part of the construction site was also damaged as a result. Cleanup and an investigation delayed the closing of County Stadium to the 2000 season.
County Stadium was demolished on February 21, 2001, and replaced with Miller Park. Although most of the stadium site is now covered with parking for Miller Park, the area where the Braves and Brewers played is still used for baseball. The site of the old field was preserved for Little League, and is now called Helfaer Field.
The movie Major League was shot at County Stadium during the summer of 1988. Even though the movie was about the Cleveland Indians, they did use Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker in the movie, with signage for local channels WTMJ (Channel 4) and WCGV (Channel 24) not covered up and visible in the film. Announcements were made on local television news programs about the number of extras required for the day's shooting, and capacity crowds turned out for the shooting of the final scenes, which involved the Indians in the final games of a pennant race.