Tuesday’s ad is for Golden Grain Belt Beer, from 1910. The ad shows a baseball game, with a man sliding into a base in a cloud of dust. As I mentioned earlier, today in 1839 is the date given when baseball was invented, and while that’s undoubtedly not accurate, it’s still nice to have a date to celebrate baseball. The tagline, almost certainly illegal today, “Quick Thought — Responsive Muscles” goes on to say that “athletes know the great value of good beer as a healthful builder of tissues wasted by exertion.” Don’t they just, though.
Today is the birthday of Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan (May 1, 1915-October 25, 2004), one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in his honor. I met Mac twice, once in Portland at an event at the brewery, and once he visited me in California when I was still the beer buyer at BevMo. I hope I have half the energy he did when I’m in my eighties. A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague John Foyston wrote a nice remembrance of Mac in The Oregonian, which included the obituary he wrote in 2004. Raise a glass today to Mac’s memory.
Mac’s Oregon Sports Hall of Fame photo. Here’s his entry:
Oregon’s most accomplished Masters Athlete, Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan is the first masters competitor ever chosen for induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. His athletic feats are amazing. Mac is a four-time Masters world record holder with a national record in the mile plus three world record holders in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the steeplechase, he is a six-time AAU National Masters champion, two-time USA National Senior Olympic champion, two-time World Senior champion. Mac is also a five-time National Masters wrestling champion. The wiry Scot owns more the 50 Masters Gold Medals.
Thursday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1940. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” This ad features American professional baseball player, manager and coach Leo Durocher. “He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder. Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,009 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history. Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager. A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, the baseball commissioner, umpires (his 95 career ejections as a manager trailed only McGraw when he retired, and still rank fourth on the all-time list), and the press. Durocher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.” In this ad, Durocher is pouring himself a Rheingold Extra Dry, declaring “it’s a hit.”
Sunday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1940. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” This ad features American professional golfer Gene Sarazen. He was “one of the world’s top players in the 1920s and 1930s, and the winner of seven major championships. He is one of five players (along with Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods) to win each of the four majors at least once, now known as the Career Grand Slam.” In this ad, Sarazen mentions that even before Americans played golf, they were making Rheingold Extra Dry beer.
Friday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1947. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” This ad features American professional baseball player and professional golfer Sam Byrd. In this ad, Byrd compares baseball and golf, and says you need to stay calm playing either one, but it’s best to just think of something else and not worry about. And to that purpose, he suggests Rheingold Extra Dry.
Wednesday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1946. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” This ad features American sports writer Stanley Woodward. “Sportswriting legend Stanley Woodward had a 43-year career [as a] sportswriter and editor.” In this ad, Woodward confesses that he’s gotten many, many sports predictions wrong, but then suggests one prediction he won’t get wrong is that you’ll like Rheingold Extra Dry.
Saturday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1941 and 1950. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” This ad features American tennis champion Don Budge. “He was a World No. 1 player for five years, first as an amateur and then as a professional. He is most famous as the first player, male or female, and only American male to win in a single year the four tournaments that comprise the Grand Slam of tennis and second male player to win all four Grand Slams in his career after Fred Perry, and is still the youngest to achieve that feat. He won 10 majors, of which six were Grand Slams (consecutively, male record) and four Pro Slams, the latter achieved on three different surfaces. Budge was considered to have the best backhand in the history of tennis, at least until the emergence of Ken Rosewall in the 1950s and 1960s.” In this ad from 1941, Don Budge discusses how thirsty he gets after playing multiple sets of tennis, giving him “a man-size thirst!” So after a match he heads for the nearest bar for a bottle of Rheingold Extra Dry.
In this later ad from 1950, he doesn’t want to list the other tennis players he considers the “all-time best players,” but he will reveal his favorite beer, which of course is Rheingold Extra Dry.
He also did another Rheingold ad in 1946.
Today is the birthday of Frederick C. Miller (February 26, 1906–December 17, 1954). Fred was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “the son of Carl A. Miller of Germany, and Clara Miller (no relation), a daughter of Miller Brewing Company founder Frederick Miller.
Succeeding his younger cousin Harry John (1919–1992), Miller became the president of the family brewing company in 1947 at age 41 and had a major role in bringing Major League Baseball to Wisconsin, moving the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953. He coaxed Lou Perini into moving them into the new County Stadium and the Braves later played in consecutive World Series in 1957 and 1958, both against the New York Yankees. Both series went the full seven games with Milwaukee winning the former and New York the latter.
Fred Miller was also notably a college football player, an All-American tackle under head coach Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame, posthumously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985. He later served as an unpaid assistant coach for the Irish, flying in from Milwaukee several times a week.
He also “volunteered as a coach for the Green Bay Packers and, during a difficult financial period, even helped fund the team. Miller Brewing remains the largest stockholder of the Green Bay Packers,” which probably explains why they played half of their home games in Milwaukee before Lambeau Field was refurbished.
Here’s his biography from the College Football Hall of Fame:
A native of Milwaukee, Fred Miller was the grandson of the founder of the Miller Brewing Company. The qualities which later made Fred a great business executive were already evident when he entered Notre Dame in 1925, and they were quickly recognized by the immortal Knute Rockne. It was under Rockne’s tutelage that the 6-1, 195-pounder came to his gridiron peak, earning All-America mention in 1927, and again in 1928, and achieving the ultimate Notre Dame football honor by being named captain of the 1928 team. His quest for perfection was not limited to the gridiron. During his years at Notre Dame he coupled athletic prowess with academic proficiency and established the highest scholastic average of any monogram winner. Miller was involved in real estate, lumber, and investments before becoming president of the Miller Brewing Company. In 1954, he and his son, Fred Jr., were killed in an airplane crash. Miller was 48 years old. He was survived by his wife, six daughters and a son.
But beyond his sports accomplishments, he was an effective leader of his family’s brewery, as detailed by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in Remembering Frederick C. Miller, Milwaukee brewing’s 1st rock star:
Frederick C. Miller was the first brewery rock star.
Industry types praised Miller in the 1940s and early ’50s in the same way they gush over leading craft brewers today.
Frederick J. Miller was the builder of the brewery that is marking its 160th anniversary this year. Frederick’s son, Ernest, who took over after his father’s death, was a caretaker for the brewery keeping the status quo.
But Frederick C. Miller, part of the focus of a monthlong celebration of the company’s history that wrapped up last weekend, was the innovator who sparked new relationships, new buildings, put new ideas in motion and marched the family brewery past regional dominance to become the nation’s fifth-ranked brewery.
When you sip a beer at Miller Park or Lambeau Field it’s because of Fred C. He identified the relationship between beer and sports, and ran with it like the all-American football player he was.
“Fred was iconic,” said David S. Ryder, MillerCoors vice president for brewing, research, innovation and quality. “He was named as president of Miller Brewing in 1947, and from the day that he was named president, Miller Brewing started to grow.”
Frederick C. died when his plane crashed on takeoff at what is now Mitchell International Airport on Dec. 17, 1954. He was 48. His son Fred Jr., 20, and two pilots on the Miller Brewing payroll were killed on impact in the crash; Frederick C. was thrown clear of the crash but died hours later in the hospital.
A crowd of 3,000 mourners attended the funeral services, and the overflow was described by The Milwaukee Journal as “everyday folks — men in overalls and other rough work clothes, mothers carrying babies, young people and old.”
During Frederick C.’s time, Miller’s brewery expanded and sales grew from 653,000 barrels in 1947 to more than 3 million in 1952. He added buildings, including a new brewhouse and a new office building. He turned the former ice caves into The Caves Museum, a place where brewers could assemble for lunch or special occasions.
Liberace, a West Allis native, cut the ribbon for The Caves in 1953, according to John Gurda’s book “Miller Time: A History of Miller Brewing Company.”
Here’s a newspaper account of the tragic death of Fred and his son in 1954.
And lastly, here’s some interesting speculation from my friend, historian Maureen Ogle, that Miller Brewing might have done considerably better against their rival, Anheuser-Busch, if Fred Miller had not died prematurely in that place crash when he was only 48 years old.
It’s rare that the presence or absence of one person makes a historical difference (I said “rare,” not impossible). But I think that the death of Fred C. Miller in 1954 altered the course of American brewing. Miller was aggressive, ambitious, smart — all on a grand scale. He was the first beermaker to come along in decades who showed the potential to go head-to-head with the Busch family, particularly Gus Busch, who ran A-B from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s.
Miller became company president in 1947, and over the next few years, he shoved, pushed, prodded, and otherwise steered his family’s brewing company not-much-of-anything into the ranks of the top ten. But in late 1954, he died (in a plane crash) — and Miller Brewing lost its way.
As Miller faltered, A-B solidified its position as the dominant player in American brewing. Had Fred Miller not died, I believe the course of American brewing would have turned out differently: Fred Miller would have transformed his family’s company into a formidable powerhouse. He would have challenged A-B’s dominance. He would have been able to command-and-direct in a way that, for example, Bob Uihlein was not able to do at Schlitz during the same period.
Put another way, in the 1950s, Gus Busch met his match in Fred C. Miller. Things might have turned out differently had Miller lived
I can’t prove that, of course, but hey — what’s all that research good for if I can’t express an informed opinion.
And lastly, the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame created a short video of Miller’s life that’s a nice over view of him.
Thursday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1946. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebrities to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” In this ad, American tennis champion Don Budge, compares the consistency of a tennis player to that of Rheingold Extra Dry.
This is the eleventh year for the Brookston Fantasy Football Games. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last ten, so if you love football and beer, consider joining us this year, whether you’ve played in past seasons or are a newcomer. The NFL season begins on Thursday September 7, so you’ve got exactly one week to sign up.
I’ve again set up two free Yahoo fantasy football games, one a simple pick ’em game and the other a survival pool. Up to 50 people can play each game (that’s Yahoo’s limit, not mine), so if you’re a regular Bulletin reader feel free to sign up for one or even both. It’s free to play, all you need is a Yahoo ID, which is also free. Below is a description of each game and the details on how to join each league and play.
Pro Football Pick’em
In this Pick’em game, just pick the winner for every game each week, with no spread, and let’s see who gets the most correct throughout the season. All that’s at stake is bragging rights, but it’s still great fun.
Also, like the last few years, we’ll be able to keep picking all through the playoffs, so the game will continue through to the Super Bowl, which is pretty cool.
In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…
Group ID#: 32472 (Brookston Football Picks)
If picking all sixteen football games every week seems like too much, then Survival Football is for you. In Survival Football, you only have to pick one game each week. The only catch is you can’t pick the same team to win more than once all season. And you better be sure about each game you pick because if you’re wrong, you’re out for the season. Actually three years ago they added a new feature and I changed the game so to be kicked out you have to be wrong twice. In that way more people stand a better chance of lasting longer into the season. So get one wrong, and you’re still okay, get a second wrong, now you’re gone for the season. Last man standing wins.
Again, like the last few years, we can keep picking all through the playoffs, assuming our luck holds. So the game could even continue through to the Super Bowl.
This year it’s even easier to join, with a new streamlined sing-up process. Just click on this direct link and follow the instructions from there.
With 50 players allowed in each game, there’s plenty of room, so don’t be shy. Sign up for one or both games. In past seasons, I’ve posted the standings on the home page, and hopefully I’ll do that again this season. Why not join us? Go head to head again me and my team, the Brookston Brew Jays.