Card: 2007 Wisconsin World Series #64
Position: Boston Braves Owner
He neither slugged like Aaron nor pitched like Spahn, but Lou Perini made his own indelible mark on baseball history. In fact, one can argue that few men ever made a greater impact on the game without playing professionally than the construction giant who moved the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee.
For a half-century from 1903 through 1952, the major leagues consisted of the same 16 teams playing in the same 11 cities. There was no franchise west of St. Louis until Perini gambled that Wisconsinites who enthusiastically supported minor-league clubs would do the same for a major-league outfit. The end result was greater than anybody could have imagined, as the Braves shattered attendance records in their new home and won the 1957 World Series less than five years after relocating.
The move of the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee was so successful, in fact, that it paved the way for numerous other franchise shifts in the years to come – including the dramatic defection of the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers to the greener pastures of California after the 1957 season. This in turn led to coast-to-coast jet travel and the formation of numerous expansion clubs. By 1969, less than 20 years after Lou’s leap of faith, there were 24 major-league teams, including five in California and one in Canada. Lou started it all.
Louis Robert Perini (b. November 29, 1903 in Ashland, Massachusetts – d. April 16, 1972 in West Palm Beach, Florida) was the principal owner of the Boston / Milwaukee Braves of the National League from 1945 through 1962. His large family, and his family business, were firmly entrenched in the Boston area.
His father, Bonfiglio (“good son” in Italian) Perini, was a stonemason in Gottolengo, Italy, who immigrated to New York in 1885 and then moved to Massachusetts two years later. His family was forced to live separately from other workers due to their Italian heritage. He was soon working as a contractor for small dams and roadways throughout and beyond New England, and developed a reputation for taking on jobs – like a 20-mile-long bluestone wall in New York’s Catskills – that other men considered too risky or difficult.
Prior to owning the Braves, Lou gained his fortune in his family's construction business in Boston, Perini Corp, having started out his working life as a water boy in his father's small construction firm, ending up running the major worldwide Perini Corporation.
In 1945, he purchased the Boston Braves from Bob Quinn for $500,000 and the club won the National League pennant in 1948, but lost the World Series in six games. Performance of the club then tailed off, accompanied by poor attendance and revenue. In March 1953, Lou moved the club to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the club set the NL attendance record that first season and continued to increase. The Braves won two NL pennants in Milwaukee, in 1957 and 1958, and played the New York Yankees in the World Series twice, winning the first. They also tied for a third straight league title in 1959, but fell in the playoff series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
At the completion of the 1962 season, he sold the franchise for $5.5 million to a Chicago group led by 34-year-old insurance executive William Bartholomay, who later moved the franchise to Atlanta for the 1966 season. Perini retained a 10% interest in the club and sat on the board of directors for a number of years.
Lou is also part of the Braves Players (Owner) Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Perini’s baseball cards at TCDB
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