Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Radio legend to present on "the teen scene" of the '50s and '60s, in the era of "Elvis, the Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner and the St. Louis Browns."

Radio Legend Johnny Rabbitt Promotes 'Dance Through the Decades' Centennial Event

Nov. 10, 2015
Radio Legend Johnny Rabbitt Promotes 'Dance Through the Decades'
'Dances Through the Decades' celebrates the centennial through the language of dance with a variety of performances and events.
Friday's all-day "Dance Through the Decades" event will celebrate the centennial through the language of dance with a variety of performers, lectures and other interactive events.
One presenter will be Ron Elz, the radio legend who will present on "the teen scene" of the '50s and '60s, in the era of Elvis, the Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner and the St. Louis Browns. Hear a radio promo [mp3] of Friday's events in Elz's "Johnny Rabbitt" character.
See a full lineup of "Dance Through the Decades" events, which include presentations by Webster faculty, staff, students and community legends like Elz. 
Earlier this week, Department of Dance chair and assistant professorJames Robey was on KMOX to talk about Friday's events, including his own presentation with students on modern dance at 2 p.m. 
About Johnny Rabbitt
This year marks the 61st year in radio for Elz. The St. Louis icon first broadcast in St. Louis as rock and roll DJ Johnny Rabbit in 1962. For the past seven years, “Johnny” has hosted KMOX’s Saturday night “Route 66” playing the big hits of the '50s through the '70s. He adds interesting bits of information about St. Louis and its history throughout the program.
Read a 2014 St. Louis Magazine profile of Elz here, and a "walk down memory lane" with him from theLadue News in 2015 here.
Elz's knowledge of St. Louis is detailed and deep. He grew up on Flora Place in the St. Louis Shaw neighborhood and has lived in the St. Louis Hills area for 40 years. He has written two books on St. Louis trivia and is working on two more about St. Louis.
He is an inductee of the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame, but Ron has earned what quite possibly is an even greater honor: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, the nationally known St. Louis “must go,” offers the Johnny Rabbitt Chocolate Covered Cherry Custard. This concoction, it turns out, is another St. Louis favorite.

Monday, November 2, 2015

George Walden, Last Browns Front Office Staff

George F. Walden a lifetime member of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society, died Saturday, October 24, 2015 at age 87.
A professional baseball writer and scout, he was inducted into "The Midwest Professional Baseball Scouts Association Hall of Fame". George worked in the Browns front office where he wrote and distributed news releases for the Browns and their 12 farm clubs. He also served as the clubs statistician, yearbook editor, tryout camp and minor league spring training camp publicist. He is believed to have been the  last living member of the Browns front office.
George worked as Baseball Scout for the Kansas City (Oakland) A's, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and the New York Mets. George scouted and was instrumental in signing Jason Isringhausen with the New York Mets. George leaves behind many friends and a loving family.

Fun World Series Factoid Overlooked by the Media . . .

Contratulations Royals . . .

The original New York Metropolitans Major League franchise won their 1st pennant in 1884 in the American Association. The franchise dissolved in 1888 and was replaced by . . . wait for it . . . the 1888 Kansas City Cowboys.

Their star player was future Hall of Famer "Sliding Billy" Hamilton, shown on his 1888 baseball card, who still ranks 3rd among all-time stolen base leaders (behind only Henderson & Brock).

The American Association vanished into Major League Baseball history after the 1891 season, pre-dating the birth of the American League by 10 years.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Did You Know . . . from Emmett McAuliffe

Did you know that the St. Louis Browns played in the American League from 1902 to 1953 and owned the stadium the Cardinals played in?

Did you know that Cards infielder Greg Garcia's grandfather Dave Garcia was signed by the St. Louis Browns?

Did you know that Browns pitcher Ned Garver is the only pitcher to win 20 games for a last-place team that lost 100 games?

Did you know that Browns pitcher Ned Garver led AL pitchers in Wins Above Replacement during the period from 1948 (his rookie season) through 1951?

Did you know that in 1922 Ken Williams of the Browns denied Babe Ruth his fifth straight home run title by clubbing 39 home runs?

Did you know that the Browns George Sisler's major league record of 257 hits in a season was broken by Ichiro Suzuki?  

Did you know that the St. Louis Browns Fan Club holds a player reunion every year for all living Browns players (and that there only 20 players left)?.

Did you know that the St. Louis Browns once sent Eddie Gaedel, a midget with a legal major league contract,to bat (he walked on four pitches)?

Did you know that Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson was signed by the Browns but was sent back to the Giants in a peace deal between the AL and NL?

Did you know that Don Larsen, the only pitcher to pitch a perfect game in World Series, started his career with the Browns?

Did you know that the last former-St. Louis Brown to play in the major leagues was pitcher Don Larsen in 1967 for the Chicago Cubs?

Did you know that Branch Rickey was a Browns catcher, manager and general manager?

Did you know the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals met in the 1944 World Series?

Contributed by Emmett McAuliffe

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cardinals versus Cubs: going deep into (postseason) history

It is an oft-repeated nostrum among the announcerdom: these two teams have never met in the postseason, referring to the Cardinals and Cubs.

But if you go deep in history, especially history among the sabermetricians, you will find that the picture is not so clear.

The Chicago White Sox met the St. Louis Browns in a world series in both 1885 and 1886.

It matters not that "Post-season games prior to 1903 were considered exhibitions", as Baseball Reference notes.  In what sense is the current postseason not an exhibition?   The statistics do not count towards a players total. The voting for the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Etc.Is already sealed and delivered before postseason.

The other argument against 1885 and 1886 counting has to do with the continuity of the two teams. But the Cubs team officially says it was established in 1876.  The Cardinals claim the team was established only in 1892.  There was indeed almost complete discontinuity between the Browns teams of 1891 and 1892.  "Ownership" is the chief factor cited in favor of continuity.

But then the 1915 Terriers could be said to be continuous to the 1916 Browns, because the ownership was the same plus the major stars from the Terriers came aboard.

"Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to announcer-hype".

Friday, October 9, 2015

Question for the Readers

Dear Reader:

See the uniform pictured in the header of this blog?  A thing of beauty, right?? My question: where is that uniform today? And the presumably hundreds others like it produced in the early part of the 20th Century? Who could possibly throw out that uniform with the Monday morning trash?  Or the ball-cap which is so elegantly stated and takes up so little room in the top drawer of the desk?  But I never see any of these for sale on eBay. Are moths that effective that they completely obliterate an old wool uniform given a hundred years or so?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Miniature Cardinals-Browns themed arch disappears from downtown corner

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yogi, Garver and the 1951 AL MVP Award

The passing of Yogi Berra reminds us of a controversey near and dear to the hearts of Browns fans.

In 1951, Browns' right-handed pitcher Ned Garver was setting the record that still stands for pitchers who won 20 games for a team that finished in last place and lost 100 games.  Better still, Ned was in the fourth year of an incredible four-year rWAR spurt (4.6, 4.1, 7.3, and 5.6) which started right in Garver's rookie season, 1948.  Meanwhile, in '51, Yogi could rise no higher than seventh in any major batting category (except for home runs where he was in a three-way tie for fourth place with a not-so-incredible 27 dingers).

Yogi of course also had "being a catcher" going for him.  But the Yanks had only the third-best pitching staff in the eight-team league.   And the staff featured - not kids who might need some grooming from their battery-mate - but veteran all-stars like Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds and Eddie Lopat.  So "Where was the beef?" (as Yogi might have said himself).

Fielding-wise, Yogi was solid, but not spectacular, ranking only third in caught-stealing and fielding percentages and ranking first in errors.

Garver seemed to be the clear MVP.

And so Ned thought. The night before the announcement was due, back home for the off-season in Ney, Ohio, Ned received a call from a wire service reporter out of Cleveland (Ned doesn't remember whether it was AP or UPI) congratulating Ned on his MVP victory, and asking for his comment.

But then the announcement came out that Berra had won.

Yogi Berra     AL   M.V.P.
A griming Yogi Berra, center, Squat New York Yankee catcher, receives thumping congratulation from other Major Leaguers at American Baseball Academy in New York on Nov. 7, 1951 after learning that he will be named on November 8, most valuable player in the American League for 1951. Berra polled 184 votes to 157 for runner-up Ned Garver of the St. Louis Browns. From Left to right are: Sid Gordon, Boston Braves; Ed Lopat, Yankees; Berra; Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Gil McDougald, Yankees. (AP Photo/John Rooney) (John Rooney)

The theory is that the votes were rigged by the New York press. Both American League and (especially importantly) New York Yankee attendance was falling in 1951, after robust postwar gains for several years. The baseball minions– and the press– decided that the very last thing the game needed was for a member of the laughingstock St. Louis Browns to win the MVP, and a pitcher at that. The likable and comical Yogi was the candidate to bring everybody out of the doldrums.

Ned himself says that the information he received down through the years was that the New York press even left Garver's name off of some ballots.

Yogi would repeat the MVP award in 1954 and 1955 with somewhat more formidable numbers.  But his 1951 award was the most inauspicious AL MVP winner until 1965's Zoilo Versailles of the Minnesota Twins.  The Browns, for their part, would never win a modern (post-1931) MVP award.

"Gee, Yogi, gimme a break!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yogi's Quotes

Yogi Berra  -  He was famous for paradox remarks. Here's a few more:
·         Every team should play their opening game at home.
·         Whenever you see a fork in the road, take it.
·         The future ain't what it used to be.
·         You gotta' be careful if you don't know where you're going, 'cause you might not get there.
·         He sure did make a wrong mistake.
·         This is the earliest I've ever been late.
·         Nobody goes to that restaurant any more because it's too crowded.
·         A game isn't over till it's over.
·         You'd be surprised how much you can observe by watching.
·         I just want to thank everybody who made this night necessary.
·         I didn't say everything I said.
·         Half the lies people tell about me ain't true.
·         If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's gonna stop them.
·         It was deja vu all over again.
·         Hiow can you think and hit at the same time?
·         I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hittin'.
·         In baseball, you don't know nothing.
·         These ain't Yogi remarks, but I heard them lately and get a kick out of them:
·         I talk to myself because I need expert advice.
·         My peop-le skills are just fine; it's my tolerance of idiots that needs working on.
·         I don't need anger management; I just need people to stop pissing me off.
·         At my age, getting lucky means walking into a room and remembering what I came for.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

YOGI: Almost a Brownie

An ardent athlete but an indifferent student, Berra dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He played American Legion ball and worked odd jobs. 

As teenagers, both he and Garagiola tried out with the St. Louis Cardinals and were offered contracts by the Cardinals’ general manager, Branch Rickey. But Garagiola’s came with a $500 signing bonus and Berra’s just $250, so Berra declined to sign. 

(This was a harbinger of deals to come. Berra, whose salary as a player reached $65,000 in 1961, substantial for that era, would prove to be a canny contract negotiator, almost always extracting concessions from the Yankees’ penurious general manager George Weiss.)

In the meantime, the St. Louis Browns also wanted to sign Berra but were not willing to pay any bonus at all. Then, the day after the 1942 World Series, in which the Cardinals beat the Yankees, a Yankee coach showed up at Berra’s parents’ house and offered him a minor-league contract — along with the elusive $500.

But what if . . . . .?  Thanks for the memories Yogi.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Once in a Lifetime St. Louis Baseball Event

You may have missed a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Roy Sievers and JW Porter, former Browns players, were on hand at the St. Louis Browns annual reunion on September 10, 2015.  The place was Sheraton Lakeside Hotel in Westport. Almost 200 fans joined in to talk baseball along with Ned Garver and Ed Mickelson from the Browns.
Moderating the discussion was Benjamin Hochman, Sports Journalist with the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Pictured below are some of that day's activities.

Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post Dispatch
and Bill Rogers, President, Browns Fan Club

Fan greeting Roy Sievers

Louie the Elf with his luncheon date.

Louie the Elf with Tom Keefe, President Eddie Gaedel Society

Browns merchandise for sale

Charlie Hopkins and his favorite fan.

Emmett McAuliffe, Vice President
St. Louis Browns Fan Club

Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post Dispatch

JW Porter, former player with the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals

Bill Borst, St. Louis Browns Fan Club,
Board of Directors

JW Porter

Visit the Browns Website at:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Last of the Living Former Browns

In 1902, the original Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Browns. From 1902 through 1953, the St. Louis Browns, won only a single American League pennant and that was in the 1944 WWII year in which much of their Brownie good fortunes were attributable to the fact the Yankees and several other clubs were missing key players to military service while the St. Louis entry fared well with older players and draft-deferred flat foots. The Browns lost to their St. Louis NL rivals, the Cardinals, in six games in the 1944 World Series.

Over the years, the Browns were known best for finishing last or next to last; the great Hall of Fame first baseman George Sisler, who also led the city’s greatest AL club, the 1922 Browns, to a one-game finish behind the Yankees; the single pennant of 1944; Willard Brown hits the first American League HR by a black player for the 1947 Browns; the Barnum & Bailey world of new-in-1951 owner Bill Veeck; the August 19, 1951 appearance of 3’7″ Eddie Gaedel as a pinch hitter; Satchel Paige; Fan Manager Night, also in 1951 under Veeck; and Ned Garver winning 20 games for a last place Browns club that won only 52 games the entire season.

The Garver feat led to one of the most memorable anecdotes in baseball history. When Garver asked for a raise in 1952, owner Veeck is said to have turned him down with a very simple explanation: “No way. We could have finished last without you.”

After a couple of years of falling attendance, more losing baseball, chicanery with also suffering Cardinals, and political pressure from the AL owners who wanted to get rid of Bill Veeck, the Browns were sold to Baltimore interests after the 1953 season. They were re-christened as the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

The St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Browns Fan Club has existed since 1984 for the purpose of keeping alive the memory of the St. Louis Browns baseball club. The Pecan Park Eagle wants to thank current president Bill Rogers for sending us this new list of the current surviving Browns players. With death of former shortstop Bud Thomas on Saturday, August 15, 2015, the list of living former Browns now has dropped to only twenty names.

The 20 Surviving St. Louis Browns Players Through 8/16/2015                                   
From Oldest to Youngest by Name, Birthdate, and Age in 2015

01) Chuck Stevens 07/10/18 – 97
02) Tom Jordan 09/05/19 – 94
03) Dick Starr 03/02/21 – 94
04) George Elder 03/10/21 – 94
05) Neil Berry 01/11/22 – 92
06) Johnny Hetki 05/12/22 – 93
07) Jim Rivera 07/22/22 – 93
08) Tom Wright 09/22/23 – 92
09) Billy DeMars 08/26/25 – 90
10) Ned Garver 12/25/25 – 90
11) Frank Saucier 05/28/26 – 89
12) Johnny Groth 07/23/26 – 89
13) Ed Mickelson 09/09/26 – 89
14) Roy Sievers 11/18/26 – 89
15) Hal Hudson 05/04/27 – 88
16) Al Naples 08/29/27 – 88
17) Billy Hunter 06/04/28 – 87
18) Joe DeMaestri 12/09/28 – 87
19) Don Larsen 08/07/29 – 86
20) J.W. Porter 01/17/33 – 82