Monday, March 16, 2015

The Most Unloved Team in Baseball

By

          

I was a thirteen-year-old baseball nut in 1948 when I discovered the St. Louis Browns of the American League. Red, white, and blue had monopolized big-league team colors since Bob (Death to Flying Things) Ferguson had cavorted for the Hartford Dark Blues decades before, but the Browns had been flouting color convention since their founding, in 1902. For the same logical reason that the Homestead Grays’ uniforms could hardly be puce or taupe, the Browns had to wear brown. A rich color, brown, but not a heroic color.
 
It was a perfect fit. A color scheme that evoked the barnyard and the excretions of babies fittingly defined the Browns. They were the Lowly Browns from the outset, setting all the wrong records: first in last-place finishes; leukemic attendance that reached a nadir, in 1933, when thirty-three fans paid to watch a home game; so financially strapped that scuffed, worn, and torn baseballs were put in play because the club couldn’t afford the regulation number of fresh ones.
 
Other than a freak World Series appearance in 1944, amid a wartime talent drought so dire that a one-armed outfielder eventually made the starting lineup, the Browns were as universally unloved a baseball team as ever existed. The National League Cardinals shared the Browns owned Sportsman’s Park with the Browns and were their opposite: perennial winners, darlings of St. Louis baseball fans. The red-white-and-blue Cards filled the park as fast as the Browns emptied it.
Which struck a resonant chord and endeared them to me, because of my own issues of low self-esteem. I identified with unloved losers in all spheres: in hockey, the then forlorn New York Rangers; in automobiles, Nash, a poor relation of Detroit’s Big Three, about to go under; in politics, Harold Stassen, the Don Quixote from Minnesota. Naturally, I despised the rich and smug New York Yankees the way Walter Reuther despised Henry Ford.
 
I wallowed in my Brownsophilia even after that baseball Barnum Bill Veeck took over the team, in 1951. He proceeded on the principle that stunts would be a faster, cheaper route to higher ticket sales than trying to build a winning team. It was Veeck who once sent a three-and-a-half-foot little person up to bat, who let the fans in the stands vote on strategy, who tried attracting St. Louis’s black community to Sportsman’s Park by signing the beloved grandfatherly pitcher Satchel Paige (the Cardinals stayed all-white to the bitter end).
 
I wallowed in Brownsophilia until that fateful day in 1953 when baseball exterminated the Browns like a roach (an ugly brown roach, natch) and the franchise morphed into, ladies and gentlemen, your Baltimore Orioles.
 
Yet that youthful crush abides even today. As I write this I’m wearing a sweatshirt with the classic BROWNS,” and atop it a medieval knight astride his horse, wielding a mighty sword, more Knights of Columbus heraldry than baseball iconography. (Its origins and meaning remain tantalizingly mysterious.) My sweatshirt was obtained via the official online Browns Fan Club, a hardy cell of nostalgists keeping the feeble flame alive sixty-two years after the last Brownie whiffed.
Browns logo over the heart: a shield enclosing a baseball imprinted with “
 
There’s even a Brownie theme song and a Surviving Players roll call. (The nifty fifties hurler Ned Garver, a twenty-game winner for a 1951 Browns team that lost a hundred and two games, is ninety years old.)
 
Baseball economics today have levelled out the old imbalance that kept rich teams like the Yankees riding so high and the impoverished Browns providing the flooring for the league cellar, year after year. I feel for the kid with an inferiority complex who has just discovered the game, because the sweet misery of Brownsophilia will never be his.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

'Did You Know That?' Dept.: St. Louis Browns First Team to Sell Hot Dogs.

Hot diggity dog!  Our crack St. Louis Browns Historical Society research crew has uncovered another Brownie record:   In 1893, the Browns became the first team in the history of baseball to sell hotdogs to fans. 

From the History of the Hot Dog over at hot-dog.org:

The year was 1893.  In Chicago that year, the Colombian Exposition brought hordes of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors. People liked this food that was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive. Hot dog historian Bruce Kraig, Ph.D., says the Germans always ate the dachshund sausages with bread. Since the sausage culture is German, it is likely that Germans introduced the practice of eating the dachshund sausages, which we today know as the hot dog, nestled in a bun.

 
Standard fare at baseball parks.

Also in 1893, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks. This tradition is believed to have been started by a St. Louis bar owner,
Chris Von de Ahe, a German immigrant who also owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.



 Inventing the hot dog bun.

 Many hot dog historians chafe at the suggestion that today's hot dog on a bun was introduced during the St. Louis "Louisiana Purchase Exposition" in 1904 by Bavarian concessionaire, Anton Feuchtwanger. As the story goes, he loaned white gloves to his patrons to hold his piping hot sausages. Because most of the gloves were not returned, the supply began running low. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help.

The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat - thus inventing the hot dog bun.

According to Busch Stadium Facts, in one year, the stadium sells:

540,000 hot dogs;
181,000 pounds of nacho chips; and

32,000 gallons of nacho cheese.


Go Cards!  Go Alka-Seltzer!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Coming Soon: Tiny Bar for Tiny People

Browns Fan Club officials, Emmett McAuliffe & Bill Rogers, are the two guys right in the middle.
Others toasting the event are officials and staff from Elasticity, a digital marketing and public relations
firm and HLK Agency
(Click on Photo to Enlarge)

A new bar is set to open in downtown St. Louis* in a month or so to pay homage to the "tiny" things in life - like former Browns player, Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player in baseball history. Gaedel is part of the mural hanging on the wall in the background
Official notices and press releases will be out soon.  Stay tuned.

*1008 Locust Street


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Roy Sievers Becomes Oldest Living Senator


Roy Sievers, a regular at the annual St. Louis Browns Fan Club player/fan reunion luncheon, has become the oldest living Washington Senator (expansion franchise).  This so, after the passing today of Minnie Minoso.

Roy was purchased by the Senators late in the 1964 season from the Philadelphia Phillies.  This entailed for Roy moving from a first-place team to a 9th-place team. Still, Sievers performed admirably, banging four home runs in just 58 at bats. Thus he led the Senators that year in both pinch hit home runs and home run percentage.

Sievers, a St. Louisan who attended Beaumont high school, was American League Rookie of the year in 1949 as a Brown.  He finished his career with the Senators in 1965, totaling 318 home runs.  When Sievers retired, he was the oldest non-pitcher, non-manager in baseball (age 38.172).  Roy and Minnie both played in the A.L. in the 40s, 50s and 60s.  But unlike Minnie, Roy did not make "stunt bows" in the 70s and 80s to become a most-decades leader.

Several other Brownies are featured on the Oldest Living Baseball Player List.  Chuck Stevens, 96, of Garden Grove, Calif., is the oldest living St. Louis professional ballplayer (Browns or Cardinals). A career Brownie, Chuck is also one of only six major league players who played before World War II.

Ned Garver, 89, is the oldest living member of the entire Los Angeles franchise.  Tito Francona, 81, who was signed by the Browns and played his first two years of professional baseball at the Browns' farm clubs at York and Aberdeen, is the oldest living player of two teams.  First, he is the oldest living member of the Oakland Athletics.  Second, Tito is the oldest-living Milwaukee Brewer (the Browns were originally derived from the 1901 Milwaukee Brewer franchise).










The St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles currently have six players in the Top 25 Oldest Living Major League Baseball Players list:
#7   Stevens, 96
#13 Tom Jordan, 95
#20 Wally Westlake, 94 (Oriole only)
#22 Dick Starr, 93
#23 George Elder, 93
#24 Jim Rivera, 93

Dick Starr



George Elder
Jim Rivera

Friday, February 27, 2015

A 2015 Interview With Ty Cobb; Baseball With Matt



Posted: 25 Feb 2015 06:55 PM PST

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have a special interview! It's with the Hall of Famer who has the best lifetime batting average of all time (.366), Ty Cobb! But wait: Ty Cobb has been dead since 1961, so how could I have possibly interviewed him? Good question. Remember my "interviews" with Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, where I asked someone who knew a lot about one of the hitters to answer questions as if he was him? Well, I did the same thing with this interview. The person who answered my questions as if he was Cobb is Norm Coleman, an actor who actually plays Ty Cobb on stage for the past eight years in the play "Tyrus Cobb." Norm's answers were awesome and I think they sound exactly like how Cobb himself would answer the questions.

The real Ty Cobb below:
Ty Cobb
 

But before I present the interview, click here http://baseballwithmatt.blogspot.com/ . The link will actually take you to where you can buy my book, "Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History, " which I highly recommend. If  you flip to chapter three in the book, you will see a whole section on "Cantankerous (meaning argumentative) Cobb." Hope you find the biography interesting. Anyway, let's get to the interview.

Matt: You faced a lot of tough pitchers during your playing days, but who was the toughest to hit against?
Ty: The two most difficult pitchers for me to handle were Babe Ruth when he pitched for Boston and Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators. Both entered the Hall of Fame with me in 1936. The Babe threw only two pitches, fastball, up high and in tight, and a curve, low and away. You knew they were coming and sometimes he’d yell at me, telling me what was coming. He dared you to hit it and if you got a hit, he’d scream at me, "You got lucky Ty."
 
I went 22 for 67 with a batting average of .328 against George. No one threw faster than Walter Johnson. If they had radar guns back then, his fastball would clock near 100 mph. Johnson feared hitting a batter, afraid he might kill him if he hit the batter in the head. So I would step in closer to the plate, making Walter throw a little outside, making it a little easier for me to hit the ball to left and get 120 hits in 328 at-bats for an average of .366.
 
Every hitter has one guy he can’t hit. For me, there was a little fellow named Bill Bayne (pictured below), pitched for the St. Louis Browns between 1919 and 1924. I faced him 36 times and got only 5 hits, which was a batting average of .139. I never could figure him out.
 
Read more at: http://baseballwithmatt.blogspot.com/
Bill Bayne


Monday, February 23, 2015

Don Johnson Dies at 88

Don Johnson was born Nov. 12, 1926, in Portland, OR.  In high school, he excelled as a pitcher attracting the attention of major league scouts and was signed by the New York Yankees in 1943. WWII interrupted Don's early baseball career. He served two years in the U.S. Army.

Don Johnson
At the age of 20, Don made his major league debut with the 1947 Yankees, going the distance against the Philadelphia Athletics in a 10 inning 3-2 victory.

Don's professional baseball career spanned 16 years with the Yankees, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. He also pitched for Toronto in the International League. He led the league in ERA and strikeouts and in 1957, was named the league's MVP.   v

 

So You Think You Know the Browns


Difficulty level: 6

  1. Who was the first Saint Louis Brown to play in an All-Star game?
    1. Beau Bell
    2. Harlond Clift
    3. Rick Ferrell
    4. Rollie Hemsley
    5. Sam West
  2. Who was the only Saint Louis Brown to twice win a batting title?
    1. Beau Bell
    2. George Sisler
    3. Vern Stephens
    4. Jack Tobin
    5. Ken Williams
  3. Who was the only Saint Louis Browns pitcher to pitch 36 complete games in one season?
    1. Red Donahue
    2. Fred Glade
    3. Harry Howell
    4. Barney Pelty
    5. Jack Powell
  4. In what year did the Saint Louis Browns win their one and only American League pennant?
    1. 1902
    2. 1906
    3. 1922
    4. 1944
    5. 1945
  5. Who was the first Saint Louis Brown to lead the American League in RBI?
    1. Del Pratt
    2. George Sisler
    3. Moose Solters
    4. Vern Stephens
    5. Ken Williams
  6. Who won the most games while pitching for the Saint Louis Browns?
    1. Red Donahue
    2. Bobo Holloman
    3. Barney Pelty
    4. Jack Powell
    5. Urban Shocker
  7. Who holds the Saint Louis Browns record for most hits in one season?
    1. Beau Bell
    2. Heinie Manush
    3. George Sisler
    4. Vern Stephens
    5. Jack Tobin
  8. Who did not throw a no hitter for the Saint Louis Browns?
    1. Bob Groom
    2. Earl Hamilton
    3. Bobo Holloman
    4. Harry Howell
    5. Ernie Koob
  9. Who was the last owner of the Saint Louis Browns?
    1. Philip Ball
    2. Donald Barnes
    3. August Busch
    4. Robert Hedges
    5. Bill Veeck

Friday, February 20, 2015

Browns Canyon Designated National Monument

Although it has nothing to do with the sport of baseball, and rather more to do with the sports of fishing and whitewater rafting, when our "Google Alert" goes off, it goes off.

Therefore may I present to you, the beauty and splendor that is Browns Canyon:


In looking at the history of this Colorado natural wonder, there is no mention anywhere of why it was named "Browns".  Lost in the mists of time apparently.  But since the St. Louis Browns were the closest team to Colorado for the first 100 years of major league baseball, we are going to assume it was named in honor of our Browns.

Browns Canyon Colorado was declared a National Monument by Pres. Obama on February 19, 2015.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hank Peters, Baseball Executive, Died January 4, 2015

Henry J. "Hank" Peters began his career after answering an ad from the St. Louis Browns, eventually working his way up to the scouting department. When the team moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season, Peters declined to make the move and subsequently joined the front office of the Kansas City Athletics.


During more than a decade with the franchise, Peters would eventually direct the team's scouting and minor league system in the mid-1960s under owner Charlie Finley. He held the title of general manager of the Athletics during the 1965 season.

Peters joined the Cleveland Indians following the 1965 campaign as director of player personnel and assistant general manager to Gabe Paul for the remainder of the 1960s through 1971. He then served as the sixth president in the history of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the umbrella group that governs minor league baseball, from 1972 to 1975, president and general manager of the Orioles from 1975 to 1987, and president of the Indians from 1987 to 1991.

As Orioles' general manager, he kept the team competitive in the tough American League East Division, and won AL pennants in 1979 and 1983, as well as the 1983 World Series.
Prior to his baseball career, Peters served in the United States Army during World War II. He died of complications from a stroke in Boca Raton, Florida on January 4, 2015, aged 90.

.

Monday, December 29, 2014

He Threw Games for Gamblers Yet He Still Holds Record for Most Innings Pitched Without Allowing a Home Run

We present now for your amusement, the curious case of one Joe Blong.  St. Louis Brown Stockings right-handed pitcher, St. Louis native, son of Irish immigrants, and University of Notre Dame alumnus.

He holds the major league record for most innings pitched without allowing a home run in a career (320.1 innings). But it also seems he had a nasty habit of throwing games, "hippodroming" as the newspapers of the day colorfully called it, and was kicked out of baseball for it not once but twice.

When Joe and two other Browns teammates were kicked out of baseball and blacklisted from all respectable leagues in November 1877, it was curtains for repeat-offender Blong.   How do you develop a reputation for throwing games and still hold a positive record that lasts forever?  Perhaps he had so much pitching control that he was able to serve up only singles and doubles so that it did not look too obvious that he was throwing a game.?? In that case, still remarkable control for a pitcher.

The modern record is quite a ways off from Blong's mark: (269.1 Greg Minton, San Francisco Giants reliever - June 1, 1979 through May 1, 1982), symptomatic of home runs that happen about 8 times as often as they did in the eighteen seventies.  But nonetheless even if someday someone surpasses 320.1 innings, it is not likely to represent the entire career of that pitcher.  Organized baseball did not know what a favor they were doing for Joe when they expelled him in 1877:  bestowing him with an almost impossible record of pitching an entire career, consisting of more than 300 innings, without giving up a home run.

Blong is buried in Calvary Cemetery in north St. Louis.

p.s. for Notre Dame fans, one of Blong's partners in crime was the unfortunately named ballplayer Trick McSorley, his classmate at Notre Dame. 

Here is the account from This Game of Games blog:

The St. Louis Globe Democrat ... chastised the Browns for signing Blong. While it’s possible that this sense of outrage was simply a result of Blong’s disregard for a contract, the Globe Democrat’s article from October 31st, that stated that Blong was expelled from both the Reds and the Stars for “hippodroming, must be taken seriously. The contemporary sources paint Blong as a scoundrel at best and, at worst, as a man lacking honesty and character. The red flags were certainly up.

Playing mostly in the outfield, Blong had an uneventful 1876 season for the Brown Stockings while enjoying his best year statistically. In 1877, he was named team captain. Captain Blong was not having a good year at the plate that year when the Brown Stockings went to Chicago in late August to take on the White Stockings. On August 24, 1877, Chicago beat St. Louis 4-3 in just another game in the dog days of the season. However, later that month, Blong and teammate Joe Battin were named by a group of Chicago and St. Louis gamblers as “willing partners” in the fix of the August 24th game. “Crooked play has been discovered in the St. Louis nine,” said an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “and a dispatch from St. Louis says that (Davey) Force, Battin, and Blong have been expelled with forfeited pay.” The scandal would lead to the blacklisting of Blong, Battin, Force, and teammate Mike McGeary in November of 1877.

Joe Blong’s big league career was over. Even though he was able to catch on with “the Springfield nine” in 1878 and was playing baseball with the Union Club of St. Louis as late as 1884, Blong would never again be allowed to play baseball in the major leagues. While the incidents with the Reds and Stars are open to interpretation, Blong was specifically named, by gamblers, in a fixing incident while with the Brown Stockings and would be persona non grata in Organized Baseball for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Photo Collages of St. Louis Browns

Click below for Browns history. All of the items displayed are available for purchase. Write or call:
Billrogers@swbell.net
Tele:  314-892-8632

Enjoy!!

http://www.pinterest.com/wrogers37/st-louis-browns-historical-society/

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

St. Louis Browns Were Colorful

 Major League Baseball fans in Illinois are divided into several camps. Cardinals fans rule the south, while White Sox fans creep in farther north. The Cubs have a strong base statewide. Sixty years ago, there was another, more interesting choice.

Until 1953, St. Louis was home to two teams, the National League's Cardinals as well as the Browns of the American League. Though the Browns lost a bundle of games over the decades, they left a legacy of some of baseball’s most colorful moments.

The Browns opened play in St. Louis in 1902, a year after the founding of the American League, when the last-place Milwaukee franchise moved to the Gateway City after only one season. They were named for the color of their uniforms, which were replete with brown trim. The name also had been an early moniker of the other team in town, the Cardinals, before the turn of the century.

The Browns finished second at 78-58 in that inaugural season, which was not a sign of things to come. In their 52 years in St. Louis, the Browns finished first once, second twice and sixth or worse 33 times. Their ineptitude gave rise to the saying, “St. Louis. First in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League.”

Despite their struggles, the Browns never lacked for color. The team gave rise to the brilliant career
Branch Rickey
of Branch Rickey, who came to St. Louis in 1913 from a successful stint as head baseball coach at the

University of Michigan. Rickey later moved across town and built the first minor-league farm system, which helped the Cardinals win four World Series titles before he left in 1942 for Brooklyn. There, he introduced Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues.

“The owner of the Browns at the time did not recognize Rickey’s value,” said Bill Rogers, of St. Louis, who has researched the Browns extensively. “Had Rickey stayed on, I think things would have turned out much differently.”

Rickey also is responsible for the player that many believe was the greatest in Browns history. First baseman George Sisler was a former Michigan star who batted .420 with 51 stolen bases and 105 RBIs in 1922 to lead the Browns to a 93-61 record, their best ever. Sisler batted .340 in a 15-year major league career, 12 with the Browns. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

Poor attendance was a recurring theme in Browns history. The 1935 team drew 80,922 fans for the entire season, and the Great Depression was not entirely to blame. St. Louis never won more than 67 games in a 154-game season at any point in the 1930s and was a miserable 43-111 in 1939.

Finally, the Browns broke through in 1942, finishing third at 82-69 under manager Luke Sewell. 

With a strong pitching staff and a formidable infield, St. Louis was primed for a run. In 1944, they
remained in contention for most of the season and swept a season-ending, four-game series against the Yankees at home to capture the pennant with an 89-65 mark.

Ironically, their World Series opponents were their crosstown rivals, the Cardinals. Since the early 1920s, the Browns actually had been the Cardinals’ landlords as the owners of Sportsmans’ Park. Unfortunately for the Browns, they had to suffer as the Cardinals rose to the top of the National League and routinely outdrew their counterparts at the box office.

The Browns jumped to a 2-1 Series lead, but the Cardinals won the last three to clinch in six games. “The Series appearance was a tremendous shot in the arm for the Browns,” said Rogers. “But in St. Louis, the fans of one team did not like the other team. Even Stan Musial remarked about that once.”

The Browns nearly repeated in 1945, but were eliminated from the pennant race on the last day of the season. That year, the star attraction for the Browns was Pete Gray, a one-armed outfielder who batted .218 in 77 games in his sole major league season.

For most of their existence, the Browns were financially strapped, and often had to sell off star players simply to keep afloat. After their glorious run of the mid-1940s, many top players were sold for needed cash, and the team fell into steep decline.

“I hate to say it, but I think the Browns were often mismanaged,” remarked Rogers. “That put them in a financial bind often, and they had to trade or sell their best players to cover expenses.”

However, there were plenty of memorable episodes. Many were courtesy of the flamboyant Bill Veeck, who bought the team in 1951 from an ownership tandem including Bill DeWitt, whose son is a current Cardinals’ team owner. Veeck challenged the Cardinals head on with a series of wacky promotions.

Soon after buying the team, Veeck signed Eddie Gaedel, a three-foot-seven-inch midget to a one-day contract and sent him up to bat in the second game of an Aug. 19, 1951, doubleheader against Detroit. Wearing the number “1/8" and creating a strike zone of a mere inch-and-a-half, Gaedel walked on four pitches.

Six days later, the Browns hosted “Grandstand Manager’s Night,” in which fans were allowed to

Bill Veeck
make on-field decisions. Manager Zack Taylor held up signs such as “Should the Browns Bunt?,” “Take Out the Pitcher?” and “Steal?,” while spectators held signs replying “Yes” or “No.” The Browns knocked off the Philadelphia A’s 5-3 that night, a highlight for a squad that went 52-102.

Still, many of the players preferred playing for the Browns than the other team in town. Though the Cardinals never finished lower than second from 1941-49, many Browns were happier with their cellar-dwelling franchise. In an interview for a 2000 book, Don Gutteridge, a former Cardinal who was the Browns’ second baseman through their 1940s heyday, said that “the Cardinals were always pinching pennies. The Browns were a better club to play for than the Cardinals.”

Some of the later Browns are among the franchise’s most recognizable names. They include the legendary Satchel Paige, who won 12 games at age 46 in 1952, as well as righthander Ned Garver, who won 20 games in 1951. Garver is one of 23 surviving Browns players today, a list that includes Ottawa native Ed Mickelson, who saw action in seven games for the Browns in 1953 and is said to have driven in the final run in Browns history.

Mickelson, now 88, played in a total of 18 Major League games over three seasons with the Browns, White Sox and Cardinals and later wrote a memoir of his 11 seasons in pro ball, mostly in the minors.

Another surviving ex-Brown is Don Larsen, a St. Louis rookie in 1953. Three years later, he tossed a perfect game for New York in the 1956 World Series.

When the Cardinals were sold to Anheuser-Busch in December 1952, Veeck realized he could no longer survive against a larger-budget rival. His tumultuous run as Browns’ owner came to an end when he sold the team after the 1953 season. The franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles.

Sixty years later, the Browns are hardly forgotten. In 1984, the St. Louis Browns Fan Club was founded and now numbers 370 members. The club holds an annual banquet, publishes an in-house magazine and offers a line of collectibles.

“Interest in the Browns is extremely high,” said Rogers, the president of the club. “Even though only 23 Browns survive, there are tens of thousands of fans left. Even younger people have experienced the Browns through the memories of their parents and grandparents. Like one person said to me, 'we can’t bring back the Browns, but we can at least keep their memory alive.’ ”

Friday, December 5, 2014

Don Lenhardt, 91, former outfielder for the St. Louis Browns

Don Lenhardt, who spent five seasons in the major leagues as an outfielder with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles, passed away June 9, 2014 in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was 91.

Don Lenhardt
A native of Alton, Illinois, Lenhardt was a standout multi-sport athlete, earning a scholarship to the University of Illinois to play both baseball and basketball. His collegiate career was cut short in 1942 when he joined the Navy. He served in World War II until his 1945 discharge, never playing during his military service.

“I missed about five summers of playing after I went into the service,” Lenhardt told Lou Hernandez in his book, “Memories of Winter Ball.” “I cannot say it was bad, because you never know. It probably did not hurt me at all, because I probably matured some. I did not play ball in the service. I tried out when I was leaving, and they wanted me to stay and play, but I said no, I am going home.”
With the help of Yankees scout Lou Magualo, Lenhardt signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1946.

As he progressed in the Browns minor league organization, Lenhardt grew into a feared power hitter, smashing 22 and 26 home runs respectively for Springfield in 1948 and San Antonio in 1949. His outburst in Double A with San Antonio attracted the attention of Mike Gonzalez, who managed the Habana team in the Cuban Winter League.

“Mike Gonzalez saw me play in San Antonio and he invited me to play in Havana,” he said to Hernandez. “I wanted to go, because I knew it would help me get to the big leagues. I had a great year down there and I had a great first year in the big leagues.”

Lenhardt had a breakout rookie season in 1950 with the Browns, cracking 22 home runs, driving in 81 runs while posting a .273 batting average; however, his powerful start was not enough to cement his position in St. Louis. The cash strapped Browns traded Lenhardt to the Chicago White Sox less than halfway through the 1951 season for two players and cash. It was a welcome acquisition for the White Sox.

“I’m glad to have him with us,” White Sox manager Paul Richards said to the United Press in 1951, “and I’ll probably use him most against left-handed pitching.”

The White Sox used him as Richards directed and in 199 at-bats, he hit 10 home runs. Still, despite his power hitting, the winds of change continued to blow Lenhardt throughout the American League.
He played for three different teams in 1952, starting with the Boston Red Sox after an off-season trade. He was then traded twice in the span of two months, going from Boston to Detroit in a blockbuster deal that sent Walt Dropo and Johnny Pesky to Detroit in exchange for future Hall of Famer George Kell and Dizzy Trout. In August, Detroit sent Lenhardt back to St. Louis for 20-game winner Ned Garver.

Lenhardt stayed with St. Louis through the 1953 season, their last in St. Louis. He followed the organization in their move to Baltimore in 1954 and finished out his major league career that year with the Boston Red Sox after being sold to the team in May
.
He played two more seasons in the minor leagues with the Boston organization and hung up his spikes for good at the end of the 1956 campaign.

He finished his major league career with a .271 average and 61 home runs in 481 games.
After his playing days, he worked over four decades in the Red Sox organization as a scout and coach, serving as the Red Sox' first base coach under manager Eddie Kasko from 1970-73. He retired from scouting in 2002 and lived in Chesterfield attending St. Louis Browns reunions and meetings of the 1-2-3 club, an exclusive group of St. Louis retired athletes and sports writers.

His passing leaves only 22 living former members of the St. Louis Browns.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Browns Original Jersey For Sale

While there are a number of sources in the market for replica jerseys for the Browns and other teams, the Browns jersey shown below is reported to be an original jersey from the 1952-53 season. Price is negotiable. Call Jay Turek during evening hours in Pennsylvania at 215-855-4006.

Click on photo to enlarge

Friday, November 7, 2014

This is a New One on Me ...

Athletic and competitive, Cohen was an avid baseball fan, partial to the St. Louis Cardinals, as he made it past the team’s first cuts in his youth when the Cardinals were then known as the St. Louis Browns.

I am afraid that the Cardinals were not the St. Louis Browns.  At least not since 1898.  The Browns were a different team.  But condolences to the family.  Another one for the "Grand daddy played for the Browns" annals.

Gerald Allen Cohen

Gerald Allen Cohen
Gerald Allen Cohen
Gerald Allen Cohen, 83, passed away Oct. 1, 2014, at his home in Laguna Beach.
Cohen was born March 5, 1931, in St. Louis, Mo., to Benjamin and Leah Cohen.
He was a remarkable mathematician and a very talented engineer who contributed greatly to the U.S. space program and several other engineering projects.
His academic pursuits began in 1948 at Purdue University. A full scholarship brought him to the California Institute of Technology for post-graduate work and he returned to Purdue to receive his Ph.D in mechanical engineering by the age of 25. Interest in post-Ph.D math studies brought him to Brown University and later he was a professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech University.
After working for Ford Aeronutronics, Cohen started his own company, Structures Research Associates. There he developed the software program FASOR (Field Analysis of Shells of Revolution) which he contracted to NASA, Ball Corporation, and others. He was known by his colleagues as the best in his field and by his sons and their peers as a math and physics homework tutor.
Athletic and competitive, Cohen was an avid baseball fan, partial to the St. Louis Cardinals, as he made it past the team’s first cuts in his youth when the Cardinals were then known as the St. Louis Browns. The highlight of his every year was his Alaskan/Canadian fishing trip with his son, Gerald.
Cohen is survived by his wife, Eivor; four sons, Ben, Ron, Gerald and Steve; grandson, Jaden; brothers Ray and Stan; and many friends.
A private memorial service at sea was held Oct. 11, 2014, off the coast of San Pedro, Calif.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Very Contempo: A St. Louis Browns Hoodie

I spotted this St. Louis Browns hoodie at the Cardinal Authentics store in ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  It is the store that is right on the ground floor next to where the St. Louis baseball Museum is (containing some great Browns exhibits, natch!).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, Browns Fans, from Blackie Schwamb


Happy Halloween from the Browns Fan Club!
Halloween greetings brought to you by Blackie Schwamb, from Manager Zack Taylor's '48 squad. As a kid in depression-era Los Angeles, Ralph Schwamb earned his nickname "Blackie" because he dressed in all black to emulate the bad guys he rooted for in western movies.
Honorable Halloween mention from Spook Jacobs, who although not a Brownie, played for two defunct teams: the Philadelphia and Kansas City A's.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Is This Bobo Holloman's Daughter??


"Maggie grew up in St. Louis watching the Cardinals with her grandfather, who once threw a no-hitter as a member of the Triple-A St. Louis Browns." 



Assuming they mean the American League Browns (and not the AAA Browns), "Maggie" would have to be Bobo Holloman's granddaughter. A granddaughter of Bob Groom or Ernie Koob, would be much older than this young lady.

See http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/11779356/sports-dating-sites-help-fans-meet-their-matches-online

LOVE AND BASEBALL: SPORTS DATING SITES HELP FANS MEET THEIR MATCHES ONLINE

A Cardinals fanatic finally found her match on MLB Singles, one of many dating sites that are helping pair up sports fans.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
A Cardinals fanatic finally found her match on MLB Singles, one of many dating sites that are helping pair up sports fans.
When you think about it, a baseball game is a perfect first date.
There's enough action on the field to give you something to talk about or fill the awkward silences, but it's not too loud or frenetic, so conversation can flow. You've got the sun above you, beer and hot dogs in hand, and a couple of hours to kill, usually enough time to determine if you'd like to play tonsil hockey with this person sometime down the road.
Of course, you've gotta like baseball. Or at the very least, tolerate it.
In five years living in L.A., die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan Maggie* was dying for that perfect first date, but she was having a heck of a time trying to track down a guy willing to watch an entire baseball game.
"They're all into their clothes and Hollywood," the 29-year-old says of the guys she'd encountered in SoCal. "I'm like, 'Can we just eat hot dogs and watch baseball?' It's kind of a big hang-up, because it's hard, especially in L.A., to meet guys who like sports as much as I do.
"A lot of guys find it intimidating when a girl is rattling off statistics and they're clueless, so I've learned from past experience that that doesn't always work out that well."
Maggie met Dan's parents at a game at AT&T Park earlier this season.
Courtesy of Maggie
Maggie met Dan's parents at a game at AT&T Park earlier this season.
Maggie grew up in St. Louis watching the Cardinals with her grandfather, who once threw a no-hitter as a member of the Triple-A St. Louis Browns. "I spent every summer with my grandfather on the lake," she says. "Watching baseball, fishing and barbecuing. I was just raised on it, it's in my blood."
So when a banner ad reading, "Meet other singles in your area who like baseball" popped up on her MLB.TV app in April, she figured she'd give it a shot. She clicked on it and ended up on the "MLB Singles, powered by Match.com" landing page.
"I've tried a few other dating sites before and wasn't impressed," Maggie says. "This was the first time I ever paid for a dating service. I made 'N1StlCardsFan' my user name as a way to find people who were truly baseball fans and help break the ice. A lot of the messages I got, they used the Cardinals fan thing as a great way to start a conversation."
MLB Singles launched earlier this year and, according to Match.com, since then more than 550,000 members have added an MLB badge to their profile to identify themselves as baseball fans and acknowledge their favorite teams. (And, surprise, surprise, the New York Yankees badge is the most popular one on the site.)
Right around the same time the MLB Singles page hit the web, so did Packers Backers, a site that aims to pair up Cheeseheads looking for love. According to the home page, about 2,600 Packers fans have signed up, but the site didn't respond to requests for updated statistics or potential success stories.
SportsPassions.com, GolfMates.com, MVPDate.com and FanSingles.com are some of the other dating sites that look to aim Cupid's arrow at sporty singles. NFL Network broadcaster Rich Eisen is even getting in on the action -- he partnered with Nike Football to create the Free Agent app for sports-loving singles.
I like that we get to cheer for each other. I feel like it expands my team interests a bit. I'm dedicated to my Cardinals, but it's nice to have someone help cheer for my team, and then I can rally for his team, as well.
Maggie
Using a shared interest in sports to bring singles together not only works well for dating sites like Match.com, which earned a new paying customer in Maggie, but also for MLB, which launched the partnership hoping to get baseball fans paired up and buying tickets to games.
"The idea is to put like people together with similar interest and passion," Noah Garden, Major League Baseball Advanced Media's executive vice president of revenue, told The Associated Press. "There's still always room for more butts in the seats."
Of course, helping two baseball fans find lasting love is a nice bonus, right? Maggie certainly thinks so.
She went on a lot of first dates with guys she met on the site, but only one or two second dates. No one impressed her much, until about six weeks in, when a message appeared from a handsome, smart guy who not only liked baseball, but made a living off the game, too.
"My mom and my sister were in town when he first messaged me and he mentioned that he worked for the Dodgers," Maggie says. "I have lower expectations when I'm on those sites, so I kind of joked with my family, 'He's from the Dodgers, maybe he can at least get me some free tickets when the Cardinals come in town next month.' ... Little did I know that he was going to end up being this amazing guy."
(*The amazing guy, a 33-year-old who works in the Dodgers' front office, is a little wary of admitting to the guys that he went on Match.com, so for the sake of the story, he's "Dan" and she's "Maggie.")
"He doesn't really want people at work knowing he was on the site," Maggie says, laughing. "Some people in the office already give him a little grief for dating a Cardinals fan, but I think his friends are just happy he's with another baseball fan."
Even though Dan works for the Dodgers, he's actually an A's and Giants fan, owing to his Bay Area roots. The couple has a visit to Oakland, California, on the agenda, as Maggie has never been to O.co Coliseum. They already made the trek up north to AT&T Park, where she met his parents at a game.
"One of my goals is to see the Cardinals play in every stadium," Maggie says. "I'm the kind of person who wants to book a last-minute trip to go see my team play and he's really understanding of that and supportive. He actually hooked me up with tickets to a Padres game, so I drove down to San Diego to go with my sister."
Maggie says the best parts about dating a fellow baseball fan are the shared interest in the game and having a friendly rivalry to bond over.
"I like that we get to cheer for each other," she says. "I feel like it expands my team interests a bit. I'm dedicated to my Cardinals, but it's nice to have someone help cheer for my team, and then I can rally for his team, as well."
Maggie is finishing up her Ph.D. at USC and plans to do management consulting in the health-care field, so it was also important for her to find a sports lover with an intellectual side and a lot of ambition.
"'You're smart and you're into baseball?'" she says about meeting Dan. "Oh, my god. I'm always pinching myself. I'm like 'Am I dreaming? Is this baseball heaven?'"