Thursday, July 23, 2009

Browns Fans Yell FOUL BALL on Election for St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame

Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial, a unanimous choice of a committee of media members and sports figures, heads the first class of inductees into the new St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

President Greg Marecek announced the first inductees earlier this month. The remainder of the first class in the baseball category included Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Yogi Berra and Whitey Herzog.

Additionally, four men will be inducted in a special "oldtimers" class. They are Cardinals Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick and Frankie Frisch in the baseball category.

While all of the players elected in the first class of inductees are excellent players, it looks as if the media members and sports figures didn’t do a lot of homework in their selection when it comes to statistics. At first glance, the inductees look like they were voted in based on media popularity.

Where the homework really needs to be done is in the old timers category. St. Louis had two major league baseball teams for more than 50 years and both teams had outstanding players during this period. The St. Louis Browns were the predominant team during the first 25 years of the last century before the Cardinals took over the spotlight. One obvious oversight was the Browns best player – the equivalent of a Stan Musial or Albert Pujols. The shining star was George Sisler.

If the voters would have done their homework fully, they would have noticed the difference in performance of Sisler to Joe Medwick. Here’s how the two compared. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Games Played
Medwick 1984 – Sisler 2055

At Bats
Medwick 7,634 – Sisler 8,267

Medwick 2,471 – Sisler 2,812

Medwick 1,383 – Sisler 1,175

Batting Average
Medwick .324 – Sisler .340
Musial's lifetime average was .331

Slugging Average
Medwick .505 – Sisler .468

Stolen Bases
Medwick 42 – Sisler 375

Positions Played
Medwick OF – Sisler 1B, P

Years Played
Medwick 16 – Sisler 13

We don't mean to balk at the election, but it appears there was an error or perhaps just a fielder's choice. Maybe there were just too many players on the field. We don't want to kill the umpires or maybe this was just a rain delay with play to be resumed at a later date. Maybe George Sisler will be the player to be named later.

St. Louis Born Home Run Hitters

Q. - During the telecast of the All-Star Game Tuesday night, they flashed one of those pieces of trivia on the screen that always make you wonder about how they can possibly keep track of all that stuff. It said that on a list of all pro baseball players born in St. Louis, Ryan Howard ranks third in career home runs. My question, of course, is who are the top two?
-- S.L., of Fairview Heights

A. - In only his sixth pro season, the 29-year-old Phillie slugger has ripped 200 homers (as of Thursday) faster than anyone in baseball history. But he's going to have to keep eating his Wheaties if he's going to surpass the two in front of him, one of whom should be familiar to any fan while the other might have you reaching for a baseball encyclopedia.

At the top of heap is that legendary master of the malapropism, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra, who, by some accounts, is the best catcher ever to wear the tools of ignorance. One of the great products of The Hill neighborhood, Berra ripped 358 home runs during 18 seasons in his Yankee pinstripes. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Give up on the second? It's Roy Sievers, a St. Louis Browns signee, who, after some early arm and shoulder injuries, starred for the Washington Senators and became a favorite of then Vice President Richard Nixon. Before he retired in 1965, Sievers would belt 318 home runs during stints with five teams.

And, what local sluggers has Ryan Howard belted his way past already? Those who hit more than 100 were Nate Colbert, 173; Elston Howard, 167; Al Smith (of Kirkwood, Mo.), 164; Norm Siebern, 132; and former St. Louis Cardinal Bernard Gilkey, 118.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Browns Race to The Pennant Heats Up

July 18, 1944

Browns Homers Sink Yanks, 8-0

19,003 See Muncrief Fan 9

Appearing before the largest crowd yet far in the season, the Browns "put up a championship exhibition" by beating the Yankees in a shutout. Milt Byrnes, Gene Moore and Chet Laabs each had homers for the Browns.

Get the daily details of the Browns race to the pennant in 1944.

Thanks to Dale Isgrig for the daily updates.