Friday, August 20, 2010

River City Rascals Salute St. Louis Browns Historical Society & Eddie Gaedel Anniversary

August 19 is the date and 1951 is the year when the shortest man in baseball history stepped into the  batters box and walked on four pitches.  The River City Rascals recreated the event last night and the revived "Eddie Gaedel" also took four pitches. Unfortunately, three of them were strikes and a defiant Gaedel walked back to the dugout. There was no joy in O'Fallon, MO as the mighty Gaedel has struck out.

Prior to the start of the game, Eddie surprised everyone by jumping out of a large cake wheeled on to the field - just as it happened back in 1951. Eddie waved to the crowd and made his way to the Rascals' dugout.

The visiting Oakland County Cruisers went down in order in the top of the first inning. As the Rascals' first batter was about to approach the batters box, Gaedel was announced as the pinch hitter. As he approached the plate, the fans cheered him on . . . only to see him go down on strikes.

Fans from the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Fan Club were on hand to cheer for the Rascals. Pictured above is Bill Rogers, Editor of Pop Flys, the Browns Official Publication, along with Nick Hagan in the role of Eddie Gaedel.

The following photos will give you an insight into the festivities. (Click on Photos to Enlarge)

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Famed home run hitter Bobby Thomson dead at 86

Bobby Thomson, whose "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951 has echoed through baseball history as perhaps the game's most famous home run, has died. He was 86.

Thomson had been in failing health for several years. He died at home in Savannah, Ga., on Monday night, the Fox & Weeks funeral home said Tuesday.

On that October afternoon, with one swing, Thomson transformed a pennant race for one season, and his life forever. He connected off Ralph Branca for a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in the decisive Game 3 of a National League playoff, lifting the New York Giants over their dreaded rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The drive into the left-field stands at the Polo Grounds and broadcaster Russ Hodges' ecstatic call of "The Giants win the pennant!" remain one of the signature moments in major league history.

"I never thought it was going to be that big. Hell, no," Branca told The Associated Press from his home in suburban New York. "When we went into the next season, I thought it'd be forgotten."


More at:

The Human Game -

By Bill Borst, founder of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Browns Fan Club

Read entire article at:

Baseball is much more than a funny game as Joe Garagiola quipped many years ago.

It is a refreshingly human game that brings to the forefront all the best and the worst facets of human nature.

We all know about the recent scandals with steroids and performance-enhancing drugs but even that is part and parcel of man’s human nature.

This flows from the very nature of the game. They keep score. There are winners and losers. Everyone wants to be a winner.

Conversely, no one wants to lose. But some teams do–just ask the old St. Louis Browns players, survivors from the 1962 Mets and the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, the linear descendants of the Browns.

We have it in our nature to bleed every chance we can to ensure a victory.

Players are no different. When skill is lacking, sometimes players will opt for guile. That’s why they have umpires.

We have it in our nature to bleed every chance we can to ensure a victory.

When skill is lacking, sometimes players will opt for guile. That’s why they have umpires.

Years ago I interviewed an author, Martin Quigley, who had made a study of the physics of the curve ball and other pitches of that era that broke, dipped, dropped or made some unpredictable movement.

His book was entitled The Crooked Pitch — a double entendre he used because many of these pitches were also patently illegal from a rules’ standpoint because they had been doctored that is, foreign substances had been added surreptitiously to cause the pitch to behave in a funny manner.

These crooked pitches included the shine, mud, coffee and the most infamous–the spit ball.

These pitches were outlawed for all but a select list of current pitchers who were grandfathered in.

This all happened in the wake of the death of Ray Chapman, who in August of 1920 became the first and so far onlymajor league player to be liked during a game.

A Carl Mays side-winding fastball struck him in the temple, breaking his neck in the process. After lingering for several hours he died the next morning.*

So dirty was the ball that Mays was using that Chapman could not see it.

Since then Major League baseball has done everything to stop this practice.

Early modern pitchers from the 50s-70s like Preacher Roe, and Gaylord Perry became notorious for teasing the public with does he or doesn’t he types of questions.

The doubt just added to their unpredictability.

In a book a few years ago, Derek Zumsteg documented just how players have cheated over the years.

When he was a player, Hall of Fame manager, John McGraw used to grab the belt of a tagging runner at third base, trying to impede his ability score.

Click here to read the rest of the story:

Coming: Browns Polo Emblem Shirt; T-Shirts & Jerseys

Interested in obtaining a Browns memorabilia logo shirt? Drop us a note and we'll put you on a preferred mail list. The shirts will be available "in the next couple of weeks."

Send an e-mail to Show subject as: "Send Browns Shirt Info."

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)