Friday, December 16, 2011

Click Below for Access to St. Louis Browns Logo Merchandise, Scorecard, Satchel Paige Replica Jersey

France Laux: Browns & Cardinals Radio Announcer

France Laux has been called St. Louis' "pioneer baseball voice," a tribute that referred to his work with the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals. He was the voice of baseball for 19 years on KMOX starting in 1929.

The Sporting News presented him with its first award to the nation's outstanding major league broadcaster in 1937. He did radio play-by-play in nine World Series and nine Major League All-Star Games, but his work wasn't limited to baseball. Laux also broadcast boxing, football, wrestling, hockey and basketball.

His voice was also heard on KXOK in St. Louis as part of his play-by-play baseball agreements, but his association with KMOX lasted 30 years. His list of broadcast booth sidekicks reads like a "Who's Who" of sports: Gabby Street, Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick, Leo Durocher and Frankie Frisch.

He often bragged that he had worked for 20 years without missing a broadcast or arguing with a player or umpire.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pop Flies In the Mail as of 12/13/11

Pop Flies, the official publication of the St. Louis Browns, is in the mail as of December 13.

Key features include photos from the 2011 Browns luncheon with Whitey Herzog, Bob Turley, Ned Garver, Roy Sievers and other Browns players. Stories include memories of Marty Marion, the Browns last manager, Ned Garver's achievement 60 years ago, and a lot more.

It's now up to the Post Office to complete delivery so be on the lookout.  Thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Musial's Only World Series Home Run Against STL Browns

Stan Musial hit his only World Series home run against the Browns. Per Stan, “"The funny thing about that World Series (in 1944), the fans were rooting for the Browns, and it kind of surprised me because we drew more fans than the Browns during the season. The fans were rooting for the underdog, and I was surprised about that, but after you analyze the situation in St. Louis, the Browns in the old days had good clubs. They had great players like George Sisler and Kenny Williams, and the fans who were there were older fans, older men, old-time Brownie fans. But it was a tough series."
Happy Birthday, Stan.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Virgil Trucks Oldest Living Player

With the passing of Benny McCoy, Virgil Trucks becomes the oldest former Tiger at 94 years old. He is also the oldest player who also played with the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and St. Louis Browns.

Virgil Oliver Trucks was born on April 26, 1917. From 1941 through 1958, Trucks played for the Detroit Tigers (1941–1943, 1945–1952, 1956), St. Louis Browns (1953), Chicago White Sox (1953–1955), Kansas City Athletics (1958) and New York Yankees (1958). He batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

In a 17-season career, Virgil "Fire" Trucks posted a 177-135 record with 1,534 strikeouts and a 3.39 ERA in 2,682.2 innings pitched. In 1952, despite a 5-19 record, Trucks became just the third Major League pitcher to hurl two no-hitters in one season (two others have since matched the feat).

After retiring as a player Trucks joined the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning the 1960 World Series with them against his old team the Yankees. He continued coaching with the Pirates then the Atlanta Braves and finally ending his MLB career with the Tigers in 1974.

Highlights of Trucks' Career

> 1953 - 20-10, 149 SO, 2.93 ERA, including eight straight victories.

> Twice made American League All-Star team (1949, 1954)

> Fifth in American League MVP vote (1953, behind Al Rosen, Yogi Berra, Mickey Vernon and Minnie Miñoso)

> Led AL in strikeouts (1949 [153])

> Twice led AL in shutouts (1949 [6], 1954 [5])

> While with the Tigers in 1952, Trucks had a 5-19 record; however, two of those victories were no-hitters, both by a score of 1-0, against the Washington Senators on May 15, and New York Yankees on August 25, joining Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Roy Halladay and Nolan Ryan as the only major league pitchers to accomplish this feat in a single season.

> During his minor league career, set a record with 418 SO in a single season (1938) and also pitched four no-hitters.

> Trucks had been out of the Navy less than two weeks before his start in the second game of the 1945 World Series. The leagues waived the rule requiring players to have been on the team's roster by September 1 to qualify for post-season play, because of the circumstances of World War II. He defeated the Cubs in that game.

> One of a very small number of pitchers traded in a season during which he would eventually win 20 or more games. In 1953 Trucks went 5-4 for the St. Louis Browns (AL) before being traded to the Chicago White Sox (AL) where he went 15-6 for an overall season record of 20-10.

> As of 2011, Trucks is the oldest living pitcher to have thrown a Major League no-hitter.

Browns Logo Shirts Available

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tony 2 Seconds Before Final Fly Ball Caught to Win Series

All 6 World Series Games Were Played in St. Louis in 1944

St. Louis is still abuzz over the Cardinals capturing the World Series. Can you imagine how wild St. Louis would have been if all 7 games would have been played in St. Louis. This was the case in 1944 when we enjoyed two professional teams here. Our two were the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals

By the time 1944 rolled around, the Cardinals had well established themselves as the predominant team, but that was not the case in the early 1900s. The Browns were the powerhouse. It was in the mid 1920s their decline started and continued to the early 1940s.

The 1944 World Series was an all-St. Louis World Series, matching up the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park. It marked only the third time in World Series history in which both teams had the same home field.

The Browns left St. Louis after the 1953 season and became the Baltimore Orioles. To show you how strong a baseball town St. Louis is, after 58 years the Browns are still very popular with their fan club (330 members), memorabilia sales on eBay, mentioned numerous times in the newspapers during the recent World Series, and now planning a museum presence in the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in the Scottrade Center in early 2012.

While we dearly love the World Champ Cardinals, a lot of St. Louis still “follow the Browns.”

Saturday, October 29, 2011

World Series 2011 Observations

By Bill Gilbert, Rogers Hornsby Chapter, Society for American Baseball Research

(1) The 2011 World Series will be remembered as a great one despite an anti-climactic Game 7. Before that there were 4 nail-biters plus Albert Pujols epic game and an unforgettable game 6.

(Pictured - Bill Gilbert)

(2) If ever there was a team of destiny, it’s the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. Future regular season and World Series comebacks will be measured against what the Cardinals did this year.

(3) The only time the Cardinals were ahead in game 6 was at the end.

(4) Game 6 had 6 home runs and 5 errors and the Rangers had 3 pitchers charged with blown saves. None of their 7 relievers escaped unscathed.

(5) Hunter Pence would have caught the ball that Nelson Cruz should have had on David Freese’s game tying triple.

(6) Where would the Cardinals be without Lance Berkman? He could possibly join Albert Pujols (and former teammates Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell) in the Hall of Fame.

(7) Aside from his 5-hit game, Pujols had only 1 hit in the other 6 games.

(8) I can’t recall seeing so many right-handed batters hit to right field as in the post season this year.

(9) In game 6, Joe Buck talked about Jaime Garcia as a potential pinch-hitter for two innings before he realized Garcia had been the starting pitcher.

(10) Michael Young is a better designated hitter than a first baseman.

(11) Will Ruth Ryan still be this pretty when she is 75?

(12) I thought it was great that no Eastern Division team, including the three biggest spenders were not in the World Series.

(13) In the 17 years of Divisional Play, 10 wild card teams have played in the World Series and the Cardinals are the 5th team to win it.

(14) How drunk do you have to be to get tattoos on your neck?

(15) The state of Texas came within one pitch (twice) of having the best and worst teams in major league baseball this year.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Satchel Paige: The One and Only

Written by: Dick Burnon,

Paige (1906-1982) was an American baseball player whose pitching in several different Negro Leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. A right-handed pitcher, Paige colorful professional baseball playing career lasted from the mid-1920s until 1965. He appeared in the Major League All-Star Games in both 1952 and 1953 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, in 1971.

He played for a dozen Negro League teams; teams in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Mexico; and three Major League teams -- Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles), and the Kansas City Athletics (now the Oakland A’s). As best that can be determined, his overall record was 180 wins and 96 losses. Unfortunately, the Negro Leagues didn’t keep accurate records, so there’s no way to determine how many more games Paige had actually won. He once claimed that he won over 2,000 games and lost only 200 during his lengthy career.

“According to legend, Paige got the nickname ‘Satchel’ from Wilber Hines, a friend and next-door neighbor,” said Burnon, Head of Adult Programming and Public Relations at the Englewood Public Library. “The two would go down to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad station and carry bags for the passengers for money. Hines supposedly gave Paige the nickname after he was caught trying to steal one of the bags that he was carrying.”

On February 7, 1936, Joe DiMaggio was making his last stop as a minor leaguer before joining the New York Yankees, and he was going to face one of baseball’s best pitchers: Satchel Paige. DiMaggio ended up going 1-4 with a game-winning RBI in the

bottom of the 10th. A Yankee scout watching the game wired the big club that day a report which read: “DiMAGGIO EVERYTHING WE’D HOPED HE’D BE: HIT SATCH ONE FOR FOUR.” DiMaggio himself said he now could make it in the big leagues “because I hit off of Satch.”

Finally, on July, 1948, with his Cleveland Indians in a pennant race and in desperate need of pitching, Indians owner Bill Veeck brought Paige in to try out with Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau. On that same day, his 42nd birthday, Paige signed his first Major League contract for $40,000 for the three months remaining in the season, becoming the first Negro pitcher in the American league and the seventh Negro Big Leaguer overall. Two days later, he became the oldest man ever to debut in the Major Leagues, at the age of 42 years and two days. Paige ended the 1948 season with a 6-1 record with a 2.48 ERA, two shutouts, 43 strikeouts, 22 walks, and 61 base hits allowed in 72 2/3 innings.

Paige joined the St. Louis Browns in 1951. The following year, he finished with a 12-10 record for a team which lost 90 games. The team eventually became the Baltimore Orioles. He was in and out of baseball, pitching sporadically, over the next decade.

On May 31, 1981, a made-for-television movie, titled Don’t Look Back, starred Louis Gossett, Jr., as Paige. Paige was paid $10,000 for his story and technical advice.

During a power failure on June 8, 1982, Paige died of a heart attack at his home in Kansas City, a month before his 76th birthday. He is buried on Paige Island in the Forest

Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City.

In the 1996 made-for-cable film Soul of the Game, in addition to Delroy Lindo as Paige, the film also starred Mykelti Williamson as Josh Gibson, Blair Underwood as Jackie Robinson, Edward Hermann as Branch Rickey, and Jerry Hardin as Commissioner Happy Chandler”

In 1999, he ranked Number 19 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century team.

Paige stated in the book Pitchin’ Man by Hal Lebovitz - - as well as numerous articles, that one of his greatest disappointments was, “I never pitched to Babe Ruth.” The Babe Ruth All-Stars did play exhibition games against Negro Leaguers, but Paige and Ruth never faced off against each other.

On July 28, 2006, a statue of Satchel Paige was unveiled in Cooper Park, Cooperstown, NY, commemorating the contributions of the Negro Leagues to baseball.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quit the Crying and Hit the Links

HIT THE LINKS: A telling and uncompromising look at what happened behind closed doors as the Boston Red Sox imploded last month, as reported by Bob Hohler in this morning's Boston Globe. ...'s Amy K. Nelson writes that the Brewers are peeved about where the family tickets are for the games at Busch Stadium during this NLCS. That reminds us all of the immortal Emil Verban, who was so furious about where the St. Louis Browns placed his wife during the 1944 World Series (allegedly behind a post) that he hit .412 for the Cardinals in that series. Verban then went to become a Cub.

Read more:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Strange and Interesting Facts about Baseball

Baseball was invented by Alexander Cartwright, modeling it upon the stick and ball game that he played then. The first known club match with rules written by him was played in June 19, 1846.

Each baseball game has 12,386,344 possible plays.

The odds of a fan being hit by a baseball are 300,000 to 1.

The shortest major league player was Eddie Gaedel, who was three feet, seven inches tall. His sole appearance in an MLB game was a publicity stunt.

The tallest player in Major League history is Minnesota Twins' pitcher Jon Rauch, who is six feet, eleven inches tall.

Baseball legend states that the silhouette on the MLB logo is Harmon Killebrew, who played for the Washington Senators, the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals. He was second to Babe Ruth in total homeruns.

A strange rule of this game is that before every game, umpires remove the shine from the balls by rubbing them. The number of balls that they rub before every game is around six dozen. The mud with which the balls are rubbed is also location specific. Ideally, it should only come from a particular area in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Fidel Castro was once a star baseball player for the University of Havana.

In 1965, the minimum annual salary for a baseball player was $6,000, just a thousand dollars more than it had been in 1947.

A regulation baseball has 108 stitches.

The very first baseball game was played on June 19,1845, across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New York.

In baseball, a "can of corn" refers to a fly ball that is easy to catch.

Robert Redford attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.

In an effort to sell more licensed apparel, minor-league baseball teams were changing their names so often that the sport's governing body now limits franchises to team name changes every three years.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, houses the largest collection of baseball cards: 200,000.

The first perfect nine innings baseball game was achieved by John Lee Richmond on 12 June 1880.

Giants baseball catcher Roger Bresnahan introduced shin guards in 1907.

In 1897, the Washington Senators became the first baseball team ever to introduce "Ladies' Day."

The longest baseball game was between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox and lasted for eight hours and six minutes. Due to MLB rules forbidding an inning to start after 1 o'clock AM, fans had to come back the next day to finish the game.

The average baseball only lasts about a week. Each baseball can only be used one time in a MLB game.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Herzog Says "Cardinals are post season contenders"

Whitey Herzog might just be right

Speaking at the Browns reunion luncheon this past spring, Herzog said he believes this year’s Cardinals are postseason contenders even after losing 20-game winner Adam Wainwright to reconstructive elbow surgery in February.

“Now, they’re off to a good start and it looks like they might have a World Series in St. Louis this year,” Herzog said. “If they stay healthy, I think they’ve got a heck of a chance.”

As of today (10/3) the Cardinals are tied 1-1 in playoff games with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Go Cards!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Even the Browns Were Remembered; The Real Fans Don't Forget

They might get tripped up over today's date, but they still remember playing baseball with bottle caps and broomsticks in the streets of St. Louis.

Veterans with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related conditions met at Busch Stadium on Friday to reminisce over baseball memorabilia while sharing stories of the sandlots and heroes of their youth.

The Veterans Cardinals Reminiscence League is a new support group designed to ease anxiety and depression through the solace of America's pastime. The group of nine men and one woman, dressed in Cardinals and Browns gear, meet every other week to talk baseball with inspiration from the Cardinals' collection of signed baseballs, jerseys and photos.

"A lot of times in today's world senior citizens get left behind," said Rich Hoffman, 70, a Navy veteran and retired truck driver who now lives in Festus. "We chit-chat here. I enjoy listening to these other fellows, and I don't have to sit around feeling sorry for myself."

Hoffman, who experienced memory problems after a stroke, got the session started Friday by asking if the chunk of metal trim that fell off Busch Stadium earlier this month had been fixed. Cardinals staff assured him it had, and gently steered the conversation toward Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.

Volunteers passed around the battered base from 1974 that marked Brock's 118th stolen base of the season. Gibson's signed jersey from 1968 was mounted on a table at the front of the First Pitch conference room near the visitors clubhouse.

With Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, long-term memories are the last to fade. For St. Louisans, the community's long history of baseball can be a source of comfort.

"If you grew up in this town, you know Cardinals baseball," said Nina Tumosa, director of geriatric research at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, a co-sponsor of the program. "It's very affirming to know you haven't lost all of your memories."

Jim Carlson, who is usually first to arrive at the meetings, shared his story of riding on a train engine from Decatur, Ill., as a child just to watch Cardinals' games through a hole in the fence at Sportsman's Park.


There's a lot more to this story so catch all the details at:
Read more:


John Kunderman, 84 wearing his St. Louis Browns cap, looks at 118th base stolen by Lou Brock in 1974. John, a Navy veteran, participates in the Veterans Cardinals Reminiscence League, a support group that involves talking about baseball and looking at memorabilia to trigger memories. During the group meeting John talked about playing bottle cap baseball on picnics with his wife. "She was a good pitcher, she threw it in hard" he said. The group is a collaboration of St. Louis University, the VA, the Alzheimer's Association, and the Cardinals.

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)

 Emily Rasinski,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Browns DVD Video of 2011 Luncheon Now Available

The St. Louis Browns Video of the 2011 reunion luncheon is now available. This program will have you laughling out loud from baseball stories of yesteryear. The program features 8 guest speakers talking about baseball the way it used to be played.

Featured guests included Whitey Herzog, Ned Garver, Bob Turley, Don Lenhardt, Roy Sievers, Ed Mickelson, J.W. Porter and Bud Thomas. Women's professional baseball direct from the 1940s to baseball's Hall of Fame was represented by Erma Bergmann, a member of the Hall of Fame.

More than 286 fans were in attendance. It's thought this may have been the largest baseball oriented lunch in the history of St. Louis. (Can anyone prove us wrong?). Fans came from both east coast and west coast and from more than a half dozen states in between.

Order your DVD and a scorecard from a Browns game played on April 22, 1950 against Bob Feller and the Cleveland Indians. Click on the photo below, print out the order form and complete and mail with your check.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photos From the 2011 Browns Reunion Luncheon

Click on Photos to Enlarge

Whitey Herzog greeting a fan.

Ned Garver

Whitey Herzog & Ned Garver

Don Lenhardt

Ed Mickelson

Roy Sievers

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ned Garver - 60 years after 20-win season with 100-loss St. Louis Browns

Click on link below to view Ned's interview.

Enjoy Ned Garver's memories of his 20-win season in 1951, his All-Star game start and others.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yogi Was Afraid of Being A Brownie

Yogi Berra told me a story once that summed up this Yankee attitude. In his first season, Yogi hit a soft ground ball to second base and in frustration jogged to first base. The next time at-bat, he popped up and again failed to run hard to first. During the next half inning Yogi told me three senior Yankees — Keller, Dickey and Henrich — came down the bench and stood before the rookie.

“Look, kid,” one of them growled, “we saw what you just did. But here we bust our (butt) on every play. We count on winning that World Series money, and our wives count on it. If you want to play that way, we can get you back to St. Louis in a week. Got it?”

Yogi said he was so frightened of being shipped to the lowly Browns that he ran out every ground ball or pop-up from that day forward. That was how the great Yankees enforced their culture, and it certainly was effective. Everyone hustled on those teams from the great DiMaggio down to the newest rookie.

At their start, Orioles turned the wrong Paige

On Sept. 29, 1953, American League owners voted to move the St. Louis Browns franchise to Baltimore. A group headed by Clarence Miles bought the club from Bill Veeck for roughly $2.5 million. Art Ehlers and Jimmy Dykes were brought in from the Philadelphia Athletics as GM and field manager, respectively, and Charm City was back in the big leagues.

It was not a good club. The 1953 Browns had finished dead last at 54-100, and the prognosis for 1954 was no better. Yet, in one of Ehlers' very first transactions as general manager of the Orioles, he released the one player on his roster whose ability to attract a crowd was beyond question: Satchel Paige.

Oh, sure, Paige was 46. Or was it 48? Regardless, he had been an American League All-Star for the Browns in 1953. Pitching almost exclusively out of the bullpen, he led the team in saves with 11 and sported a 3.53 ERA. He appeared in 57 games, second-most on the club. Satch clearly had something left in the tank, but local fans wouldn't see it.

It's easy to sit back and say: Well, he was an older guy, the Orioles wanted to go with kids, blah, blah, blah. But the average age of the inaugural Orioles was nearly 30, and based upon his recent history, he was still better than the other guys in the bullpen.

The truth is probably closer to this: Satchel was a name, and he knew it. He was colorful and frequently outspoken. Major League Baseball was only seven years into integration — by 1954, there were still a few teams that had never had a black player — and Baltimore’s attitude in those days, racially speaking, bore a strong resemblance to the Deep South. If the Orioles were to have African-American players, management reasoned, it would have to be someone who wouldn't make waves. Paige had to go.

The books show that a tiny (5-foot-7) left-hander named Jay Heard was the first black Oriole, making his debut April 24, 1954, in a game against the White Sox in Chicago. He sat for a month and made his final big league appearance May 28 in a home game against Chicago. He never made another big league appearance, and Oriole fans wouldn't see another African-American player in a Baltimore jersey until that September, when Joe Durham was called up for 10 games.

The ’54 Orioles reprised their dismal 54-100 mark of the previous year. The club's quota system for players of color would last a few years longer, until Lee MacPhail was named GM in November 1958.

I know it's spilled milk. Nonetheless, it would be nice to see “Baltimore” under Paige's name on his plaque in Cooperstown.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Braves Field 1948

On a sunny fall afternoon at 3:30 p.m. on September 25, 1948, this rare color photo of Braves Field in Boston was taken from a seat in the left field pavilion. The photographer captured Jeff Heath in front of the Wigwam's new electric scoreboard as the Tribe left fielder was about to haul in a fly ball third out off the bat of NY Giants catcher Sal Yvars in the eighth inning.

The Giants went on to defeat Johnny Sain and the Braves 3-2.
Click on photo to enlarge

Monday, July 18, 2011

Only in Baseball; Unusual Plays Happen Every Day

>>  1947 Pee Wee Reese is picked off base in an original way. When teammate Carl Furillo loses his bat in a swing, base runner Reese decides to pick it up and hand it back. He forgot to call time.

>>  Getting back to Larsen, the perfect game wasn’t his only brush with a no-hitter. Three years earlier he nearly had one as a rookie on the St. Louis Browns. On August 30, 1953, in a home game against the Senators, Larsen kept a no-hitter going until the eight inning, when Wayne Terwillinger broke it up with a single. In that August game, Larsen walked the leadoff batter and so never had a chance at a perfect game, but followed that up by fanning the next five straight batters. He ended the game with a two-hitter.

>>  1962 Hank and Tommie Aaron homer in the same inning, the first brother combination to do so since Lloyd and Paul Waner in 1938. Both Aaron brother homers in the bottom of the ninth inning to key a Brave comeback over the Cardinals. Tommie’s pinch hit solo shot makes the score 6-4 Cards. Shortly after that, Hank Aaron hits a walkoff grand slam to end it, 8-6. It’s the only walkoff slam Hank Aaron ever hits.

>>  1972 Bob Gibson hits a home run and tosses a complete game shutout. This is the sixth and final time he combines those achievements, which I believe is the record. Cardinals 7, Braves 0.

Babe Martin: Ballplayer and Part Time Wrestling Referee

Babe Martin was born Boris Michael Martinovich, the son of a professional wrestler, Iron Mike Martin (Bryan Martinovich). Both of Boris’ parents were born in parts of the former Yugoslavia, his father in Montenegro and his mother in Serbia. They each emigrated to the United States and settled in Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. At least one geographically-challenged sportswriter once dubbed him the “Hungarian hot-shot.”

When wrestling, the senior Martinovich adapted his surname to the circumstances. He wrestled in Montana and he wrestled in Chicago, and in any number of other places. If he was wrestling in an Italian area, he took the name Martini. In a Scottish or Irish area, he became McMartin or O’Martin. “Dad could speak a number of European languages, being born over there,” Babe said, adding “When he married mother, that was the end of his wrestling.”

Boris had two brothers and two sisters, Lola and Olga. Brother Robert was the only other one interested in sports, but it wasn’t something he pursued past college. He became part-owner of a Budweiser distributorship in Florida, while brother Bryan -- who’d boxed and wrestled a bit professionally before going into the service -- became a jeweler in St. Louis. Boris married the former Mildred Slapcevich of St. Louis in 1943. He never legally changed his last name, but still generally goes by the name Martin. His sons, though, prefer to stick with Martinovich.

His mother prompted a family move to Zeigler, Illinois, in the southern part of the state, due to a conflict with an in-law. Born on March 28, 1920, Boris was just one year old at the time of the move. “The only type of industry at that time in southern Illinois was coal mining so my dad went to work in the coal mining business. A shaft caved in on him. He survived that, but died about three years later. He just died. Back in 1926, they didn’t know how or what a person died from.” Boris was three at the time of the accident, and the family moved on to St. Louis.

Boris’s mother was very supportive of his ambitions when Boris showed athletic inclinations early on. “I played on sandlots, glass, and gravel fields, under bridges, wherever I could go ahead and play on. Playgrounds, wherever, you know. In the summertime, I’d be gone early in the morning and come home at dusk”. Martin was a good ballplayer, good enough that “they took me out of grammar school, seventh grade, to play on the ninth-grade high school team.”

As the youngest in his family, he was called Baby. “They called me Baby for years. And then as I got a little bit older, it got to be a little bit embarrassing so they called me Babe.” He was Babe all through high school and beyond.

Though he was both a catcher and outfielder in pro ball -- and only a catcher during his brief time with Boston in the majors, he began as an infielder. “As I grew, I got larger. If it had been today, I never would have consented to be a catcher. I could play first base. I was a pretty good infielder; although I was big, I could have moved to third base. But you know, back then, you did what you were told. If they wanted you in the outfield, you moved to the outfield. Today they don’t take that….”

Martin played for McKinley High School in St. Louis in 1936-38, and his high school coach was Lou Maguolo, who scouted in the area for the St. Louis Browns. Maguolo later retired from coaching and became a full-time scout, working in that capacity for the New York Yankees. Babe was all-district in basketball and also played three years on the school’s football team.

Martin graduated from high school in 1940 at age 20 and most sources show him as signing with the Browns then. “Actually,” Martin confides, “I signed in high school unbeknownst to anybody. I signed in 1938. They gave me a job working in the Browns office at $100 a month and I worked out with the Browns and Cardinals. Back in the ’30s, I guess ’37, ’38, ’39, we didn’t have any money. So $100 a month, bringing that home for my mother…my brother Bryan was really the only one that was working at the time. I was working in the office…office work. Answering the telephone at the switchboard. I wasn’t very good at that, but mostly I was on the field. I was working out.”

Martin played for the Browns and Red Sox and worked as a wrestling referee in his spare time.

Read a lot more about Babe Martin at:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beer Scams at Baseball Stadiums

Check out this video on YouTube. Do you suppose the same thing happens with soft drinks too? And at your favorite ballpark? Surely not.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame to add Two STL Browns Players

The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame has finalized its list of 2011 inductees for the annual enshrinement dinner, scheduled for Nov. 16 at the Millennium Hotel downtown. Roll call: Frank Borghi, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Scotty Bowman, Lenny Wilkens, Rusty Wallace, Garry Unger, Dave Phillips, Roy Sievers, Craig Virgin, Jim Holtgrieve and Erma Bergmann. And Arthur Ashe, Bob Burnes, Marty Marion and August Busch Jr. will be inducted posthumously.

Roy Sievers and Marty Marion join George Sisler as players representing the St. Louis Browns as former players. Marion was most noted for his playing days with the St. Louis Cardinals, but became the Browns playing manager during the 1952 season. Marion was the last manager of the Browns before the team moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Browns Denny Galehouse is One of Four

The Mets' opponent in the 1973 World Series was the Oakland A's. Jon Matlack, who had already started 35 games (34 regular season, 1 postseason) was called upon to start Game 1. In doing so, he became only the fourth pitcher in major league history to start a World Series opener with a losing record (14-16) during the regular season.

The other pitchers to accomplish this rare feat were Alvin Crowder (9-11 with the 1934 Detroit Tigers), Denny Galehouse (9-10 with the 1944 St. Louis Browns) and Don Drysdale (13-16 with the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers). Matlack pitched well, but took the loss as the Mets' bats remained silent in the 2-1 defeat.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What a Catch

Springfield Browns on the Move


For one special year, the Springfield Metro Baseball League is bringing back the storied teams of baseball's past.

In 2011 we have outfitted all our teams in uniforms depicting teams of the 1950s and 1960s like the Saint Louis Browns, the Kansas City Athletics, the Houston Colt 45's, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In this endeavor we have sought out and received the cooperation of a number of the historians of many of the teams unique to the era.

The Majors and Seniors are playing the full 90 foot bases and a 60'6" mound. There are some minor base running restrictions in place, but for the most part rules mirror standard Major League rules. **The new Minors division plays on 75 foot bases with a 50 foot mound and has playing rules aimed at player development. All leagues have a 14 game regular season and all teams play at least 4 more games in our annual World Series.

For more information on the 2011 season, call Rob @ 417-833-8788 or 417-833-8088

Mystery Hat Uncovered

See the second article below for an explanation on the mystery St. Louis Browns cap.

Bill Irvin, Jr. writes . . .

This hat appears to be a hat designed/used by the original St. Louis Browns Fan Club, organzied in the 1950's by a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and comprised of a number of Chicagoans.

 I own a couple of press photos depicting "members" wearing the hat--one from 1956 in which members "serenade" Bill Veeck (he also was wearing the hat for the occasion), and one at Sportsman's Park in the 1960's in which club members, wearing the hat, have their picture taken with exBrownies wearing reproduction 1940's style uniforms.

Bill Rogers writes . . .

While we don't know the exact designation of the letter "B", we assume it's for Baltimore.
(Click on photos to enlarge)

I am thinking this style cap was adopted by the fan club as their official hat.

Jim Brosnan writes in the 1964 Atlantic Magazine . . .

The most unusual, and without a doubt jolliest, fan club of baseball history is devoted to an extinct organization, a team with no live ballplayers. The St. Louis Brown's Fan Club was created on the day the team disbanded.

Bill Veeck, the man who put the team out of business, once said: "I found out the Brown fans were a myth. You heard about 'em, but you never saw 'em." As owner of the Browns, Veeck had searched river bottom and wheatland in and around St. Louis for customer-fans. Unfortunately for him they were in Chicago, where they paid the White Sox a nominal fee for bleacher tickets. There they cheered for the Browns, who epitomized the all-American underdog.

"They needed us," says Bill Leonard, a charter member of the S.L.B.F.C. and a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. "They didn't have anything else."

On the last weekend of the 1953 baseball season the S.L.B.F.C. traveled to St. Louis to see the final games played by the Browns.

"They lost," wrote Leonard. "We were unsurprised and undaunted."

Today the S.L.B.F.C. carries on its motto: "To perpetuate the proud name of the St. Louis Browns, file progress reports on the reincarnation of the Browns, drink toasts in nut-brown ale, and maintain jolly times."

As fans, they're out of this world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Unsolved Mystery: Does This Cap Belong to the St. Louis Browns?

Have you seen this cap somewhere before? Does it belong to the St. Louis Browns or some other team starting with the letter "B"?

We could make some wild hypotheses.

 Number one, the B looks like a Boston B and it could be a "parody" hat about how so many browns were shipped off to Boston after they became valuable. But of course they were not real big into parody back in the 1940s.

Number two, it could be a transition Browns to Orioles hat in that the B stands for Baltimore. Again, why they would bother to produce that in the off-season between 53 and 54 is illogical in itself.

Number three, it could be a modern version of a 19th Century St. Louis Browns Cap.

If you can identify the source of the cap, let us know. Send to

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

A Colorful Browns Team

The 1929 Browns were a colorful team, moreso than the brown and orange of their uniforms. They included:

Red Kress

Lu Blue

Sam Gray

Blackie O'Rourke

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fans Flock to Browns Luncheon; Over 286 Attend from Across the Country

Here are just a few of the Browns fans who attended the May 25, 2011 luncheon.

Fred Buchholz - Batboy for St. Louis Browns
Fred served as a batboy for both the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals, as well as every visiting AL team.  He was recently featured on the Bob Costas narrated program, "MLB Network Remembers: The Eddie Gaedel Story.”

Bob Bokern - Ushered all 6 games of the 1944 World Series of Browns versus Cardinals.

Joe Cunningham - Played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1954-1961), Chicago White Sox (1962–1964), and Washington Senators (1964–1966). The best season for Cunningham was in 1959, when he batted .345 to finish second to Hank Aaron for the National League batting title. He finished his career with a .291 batting average over 1,141 games spread over a 12-year career.

Kerry Clift, Grandson of Harlond Clift, St. Louis Browns
Harlond Clift played for the Browns from 1934 -1943. He finished his 12 year career with a .272 batting average.

Charlie Hopkins * - Browns Minor League System
Charlie Hopkins was a standout catcher for the San Antonio Missions during the early ‘50s. Catching future major leaguers such as Ryne Duren and others.

Greg Marecek - Founder/President, St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame
The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame became a reality in 2009. The HOF will tell the stories with artifacts and presentations on the great tradition of sports in St. Louis.

Ron Paul * - New York Yankees, 1956-’61.

Bill Purdy - Batboy for St. Louis Browns, Batting Practice Catcher
Browns batboy in ‘52 and batting practice catcher in 1953. He also traveled with the team in this role.

Bob Radomski * - New York Giants/St Louis Browns - 1948-51.

Jean Robbins - Worked in the Browns front office in the 40s for Bill & Charlie DeWitt along with Traveling Secretary, Bill Durney. Also worked for Bill Veeck from 1950 - 53.

Ed Schmulbach - Batboy
Batboy for a Hannibal, MO minor league team when he was a “little squirt” in the 1940s.

Jim Smith * - Browns, 1948-52

Dale Vineyard * - Baltimore Orioles, 1972-73

Jack Litzelfelner * - Browns, Washington, Yankees, 1947-52

Browns Fans From Across the Country Came From:
Dumont, NJ
Fraser, CO
Ellensburg, WA
Olympia, WA
Paducah, KY
Dallas, TX

From the Metro area, Fans Came From:
St. Louis Metro, MO
Kansas City, MO
Fairview Heights, IL
Columbia, IL
Gillespie, IL
Springfield, IL
Strasburg, IL
New Athens, IL
Mascoutah, IL
Alton, IL
Granite City, IL

Friday, May 27, 2011

KC Baseball Historical Society Opens Baseball Exhibit 2011

The Kansas City Baseball Historical Society has a wide range of memorabilia including uniforms, equipment, photos and a large array of baseball collectibles. Items from the Royals, Athletics, Blues, and Monarchs will be on display at the Town Pavilion at 1111 Main Street in downtown Kansas City Missouri.

Admission is free and open to the public. This Exhibit will run to September so come and take a look.
More details at:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Herzog Entertains at Browns Reunion Along with Turley & Garver

American League Baseball came back to St. Louis for at least a day with the annual reunion of the St. Louis Browns Fan Club. Club president, Bill Rogers, said the luncheon may well be the largest baseball related luncheon in the history of St. Louis sports. Over 285 fans were on hand to welcome welcome Whitey Herzog, Bob Turley, Ned Garver, Roy Sievers, Don Lenhardt, J.W. Porter, Ed Mickelson and Bud Thomas.

From CBS St. Louis >>>
Whitey Herzog says having his jersey number retired by the St. Louis Cardinals is every bit as special as making it to the Hall of Fame.

The manager who produced three National League pennants and a World Series title in the 1980s with a go-go style known as “Whiteyball” said Wednesday it was humbling to realize that every game at Busch Stadium, fans will see his No. 24 alongside other franchise greats. (Click on Photos to Enlarge)

 Pictured is Whitey visiting with Ned Garver.

Whitey listens in while Bob Turley addresses the crowd.

Herzog is unique to that group because he’s the first to contend his playing career was nothing special.

“To go up there with Musial, Schoendienst, Gibson, Brock, Sutter and Ozzie (Smith), I think hit me the hardest,” Herzog said. “I appreciated that more than anything that’s every happened.”

Herzog also won three division titles with the Kansas City Royals. As an outfielder with four teams from 1956-63, he batted .257 with 25 home runs and 172 RBIs.

“I had a very mediocre career, I was a hanger-on,” Herzog said. “I never knew if I was going to have a locker when I got to the ballpark, sweated out every cutdown day, every training deadline for eight years.

“I worked hard, I hustled, but I couldn’t hit a slow curve with a paddle.”

Herzog, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee last year, was the featured speaker at the annual St. Louis Browns reunion luncheon. His appearance at the podium followed a pretty spry group of former players pushing or past 80 recounting glory days with a franchise that left for Baltimore 58 years ago.

“There aren’t many Browns left, and next year there might be less,” said Don Lenhardt, who had career bests of 22 homers and 81 RBIs with the Browns in 1950. “So it’s good to see all of them.”

Catcher J.W. Porter joked that “really it took CPR to bring this group back.”

Pitcher Bob Turley, who debuted with the Browns and became a star with the New York Yankees later in the 1950s, made his first appearance at the luncheon. Taking note of the audience’s advanced age, the pitcher known as “Bullet Bob” said he would have thought he was speaking to a group of Florida retirees.

“All the gray hair,” Turley said.

Turley was a 21-game winner in 1958, taking the American League Cy Young award and then the World Series MVP. But during his playing career, he said he made more in the offseason working for Continental Baking than for the Yankees.

The 80-year-old Turley threw 19 complete games in ’58, and has trouble relating to the game’s obsession with pitch counts and coddling arms. He joked that Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg signed for “$500 million” and “third time out he blows out his arm.”

“One hundred pitches, I’m just getting warmed up,” Turley said. “No sore arm. Want to know why? I kept my arm in shape.”

Herzog recalled that the Browns wanted to sign him out of high school in New Athens, Ill., as a pitcher after a scout watched him throw a no-hitter and strike out all 21 hitters.

“I didn’t want to be a pitcher, I was wilder than hell,” Herzog said. “Finally, I said, ‘Now I know why you guys are last, because you want to sign me as a pitcher.’ That’s what a brash kid I was.”

Herzog believes this year’s Cardinals are postseason contenders even after losing 20-game winner Adam Wainwright to reconstructive elbow surgery in February.

“Now, they’re off to a good start and it looks like they might have a World Series in St. Louis this year,” Herzog said. “If they stay healthy, I think they’ve got a heck of a chance.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Luncheon Lineup Announced

Here's the lineup for speakers and Browns players as it stands as of May 3, 2011. Make your reservation today at this website for the 2011 St. Louis Browns Fan Club Luncheon. Location is the Holiday Inn Viking in Southwest St. Louis County (Sunset Hills) starting at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $29 per person.

Yes, we expect  more Browns' players to be added. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share memories with many of our old time favorite ball players.

Whitey Herzog

Ned Garver

Bob Turley

Don Lenhardt

Ed Mickelson

J.W. Porter

Bud Thomas

We're expecting a sell out crowd approaching 200 fans. We will have available T-Shirts, Satchel Paige's replica jerseys and a Browns scorecard along with baseball equipment from the 40s-50s on display.