Tuesday, November 14, 2017

With the death today of Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, former Brown Chuck Stevens is now the oldest living major leaguer at 99 years and 127 days old. Stay healthy Chuck!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Great Coverage Of the St. Louis Browns Annual Reunion Luncheon by the St. Louis Cardinals for their program The Cardinals Insider.

Great segment from the St. Louis Browns Annual Luncheon captured by the St. Louis Cardinals for their TV show: The Cardinals Insider. Really shows what a great time had by all and a great turnout. Bottomline, it shows the tremendous vitality and commitment of Brownie Fans and how they turn out even 64 years after the team left St. Louis. The Fan Club welcomes all to attend. Here is the clip introduced by Ozzie Smith on the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLcyQUkdjV0.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Big News! Save the date for the very first St. Louis Browns Fan Club Quarterly Roundtable to be held Saturday January 20, 2018 from 1:30PM to 3:30PM at the Carondelet Historical Society building. The topic will be George Sisler and the great Browns teams of the 1920s. Members of George Sisler family will be attending as well as the Browns Fan Club. It will be an open discussion and all are invited to participate and bring items to show and discuss as part of the presentation led by the Browns Historical Society. Admission is free to all current Fan Club members and $15 for non-members. Full details of the event will posted around December 1, 2017.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A New 'Brown' to Make Hall Of Fame?

(Blattner, left, Carl McIntire, right)

There are 14 players who played for the St. Louis Browns who are in the  National Baseball Hall Of Fame.  In addition, there are another eight inductees who had a connection to the Browns either by being on the Browns roster as a player, or coach, or by being the everyday broadcaster of Browns games.

Frankly, we at the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Fan Club were not expecting ever to have another inductee. But one has arisen on the horizon: Buddy Blattner.

Blattner is one of the nominees this year for the broadcaster wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Broadcasters who are "inducted" receive the Ford C. Frick Award.

Blattner was the Browns radio broadcaster for four full seasons (from 1950 through 1953).  He was also the Browns television broadcaster in 1953 on KSD-TV and by mid-August, on "the Home of the Browns", WTVI (present day KTVI or "Fox 2").  On both radio and TV, Blattner's job was to handle play-by-play while a sidekick did "color" commentary (in 1952 and '53 the color man was Dizzy Dean).

Blattner was a fine broadcaster who later went on to greater fame in the broadcasting world than calling the lowly Browns.  But being required to make Browns games exciting on radio gave Blattner the "chops" he would need to rise to the level of being considered for the Hall Of Fame.

The Browns also gave Blattner the chance to get into TV sports reporting.  TV viewers wrote letters to the Post-Dispatch in protest when Blattner's and sidekick Howie Williams' hot stove league program recapping the week's Browns' escapades interrupted the center portion of Your Show of Shows, a Saturday evening staple and the fourth-ranked program in the ratings for 1951.  The Browns and Blattner were scheduled to broadcast every game in 1953 on WTVI.  Broadcasting games every day was a practice that was only found in the big markets of New York and Chicago.  Unfortunately, the new station, on Ultra High Frequency, couldn't get its signal together until early August.    Nonetheless, Blattner hosted a program previewing the Browns 1953 season on the only TV station on the air at the time, KSD-TV*.

Since Blattner was rehearsed for the nuances of TV description in 1953, but with no regular station, he was tapped to televise the Major League opening day game in Washington D.C. for the Game of the Week (Yankees vs.  Senators). But the game was washed out.  Blattner's first known Browns play-by-play telecast was Saturday, June 13, a contest against the Philadelphia Athletics on KSD.

Blattner was slated to be part of a Bill Veeck stunt that, if it had come off, might have made his name come up for consideration in the Hall of Fame a whole lot sooner, simply because the notoriety gained from the stunt would have made him something of a journalistic pioneer (and his name a household word almost on par with Eddie Gaedel's.)

Here's that scoop:  In 1951, Veeck was planning to activate Blattner on the Browns' roster, send him onto the field with a walkie-talkie strapped to his back, and have him broadcast a game while playing. (Much like the annoying little league right-fielder who gets bored and starts pretending he is a baseball announcer!).  Blattner had appeared in 272 major league games before retiring, and was only 31-years old, so the gimmick even had competitive plausibility.

But the experiment died when the Phillies, who still owned Blattner’s contract even though he was retired, demanded $10,000. Veeck couldn’t afford it.

After the Browns moved, Blattner became the play-by-play man for another pro sports franchise that moved from Milwaukee to St. Louis when the NBA’s Hawks moved from Milwaukee to St. Louis in 1955.  (The Hawks didn't last nearly as long as the Browns, though: just 14 years.)

* That season-opening TV appearance was April 10, 1953 on KSD-TV with "a studio program featuring Marty Marion, manager of the Browns, other Browns players" and Blattner as "m.c.".

Former Royals announcer Bud Blattner up for Ford Frick Award - Royals Review clock menu more-arrow no yes

Former Royals announcer Bud Blattner up for Ford Frick Award

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He was the original Royals broadcaster

Former Royals announcer Robert “Bud” Blattner is one of eight finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize longstanding excellence in broadcasting. The other candidates are Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Al Michaels, Joe Morgan, and Pee Wee Reese. Denny Matthews won the award in 2007. Blattner was paired with Matthews for the original broadcasting team in Royals history back in 1969.
Blattner grew up in St. Louis and played for his hometown Cardinals for a season before serving his country in World War II in the Navy. The second baseman returned for a few years with the Giants and Phillies before turning to broadcasting, working with the St. Louis Browns. He was teamed with Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean, known for his folksy sayings and mangling of the English language (he would frequently say runners “slud” into the base.) Blattner was the straight man to Dean’s mania, commenting, “People liked (Dean) giving everything but the score, but wanted me to restore sanity.”
Blattner and Dean were picked up nationally and eventually did TV broadcasts for ABC. They were the first team ever to do a weekly national broadcast. Blattner was known for “a sunshiny voice and his Rotarian of the Year personality.” Eventually, Blattner and Dean split up acrimoniously and Blattner returned to St. Louis to do Cardinals games.
After two seasons in St. Louis, Blattner moved on to the expansion Los Angeles Angels, where he served as their broadcaster from 1962 to 1968. In 1969, he again joined an expansion team, becoming the first broadcaster in Royals history, along with a young, fresh-faced Denny Matthews.
Despite being 23 years his senior, Blattner meshed well with the 26-year old rookie broadcaster from Peoria. Blattner became enormously popular, broadcasting games on 980 KMBZ, with games occasionally simulcast on KMBC Channel 9 in Kansas City. Blattner worked for the Royals until 1975, when he decided to retire and hand things over to Fred White, who paired with Matthews for the next two decades.
Blattner was also a very accomplished table tennis player, winning a national championship, and being inducted in to the U.S. Table Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1979. He passed away from lung cancer in 2009.
The winner of the Ford C. Frick Award will be announced December 13, with a ceremony for the honoree at next year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony next July.