Thursday, January 13, 2011

At Home with the Browns

Hello. My name is Jeff and I’m a certified Brownsaholic.
Browns uniformDon’t ask me why. The star-crossed franchise hasn’t existed in its St. Louis form since 1953, when the club was sent packing to Baltimore to become birds. George Sisler may be the only Brown that your average baseball fan can name. And I’m from New England.  So why do I love reading anything I can get my eyes on about this largely forgotten team?

Is it the colors of those two handmade Cooperstown Ballcaps of mine, brown with orange trim and white with brown trim?  There’s just a warmth to them. Earthy, almost.  And the name Browns, rhyming with frowns and clowns, a built-in sadness I can empathize with. It certainly isn’t because of their uniform logo, which at times was either the knight Saint Louis on a horse or some kind of diabolical pixie.  Nor their talent, because they never won a 20th century championship, and their sole pennant in 1944 largely happened because every other roster in the league was emptied by the War.

The Browns were very unlike the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, the Giants leaving New York, the A’s leaving Philadelphia, or the Senators leaving Washington.  Those teams moved but their names went with them, or in the Senators’ case, returned in expansion form.  The Browns’ sorry legacy is forever embedded in what for many decades was baseball’s “other” two-team town, on the banks of the Mississippi.  All I know is that I’ve daydreamed about kicking back on a broiling 1930s afternoon at Sportsman’s Park with a lemonade, cigar, and 596 other fans, and that I’ve replayed three entire Strat-O-Matic seasons largely to see how Roy Cullenbine, Elam Vangilder and Baby Doll Jacobson would fare.

But the good news is: I’m not alone.

The St. Louis Browns Fan Club (or Historical Society, for long), has over three hundred members, 36 of them actual surviving Brownies. Club President Bill Rogers organizes yearly luncheons and dinners in St. Louis, complete with speakers and memorabilia exhibits, and is constantly looking to bring new and possibly younger members into the fold.  With Browns lore receding into the public mind a bit more each year, though, this is not an enviable task. Rogers is especially proud of his July banquet last year, when Bob Costas arrived unexpectedly to announce Tommy Lasorda as featured speaker in a last-minute coup.  (Lasorda is considered an “almost Brownie” merely for going to spring training in 1953 with the team.)

Thanks to Jeff Polman for the story.
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  1. Hi guys. Bob Muncrief III here. Listen, are you planning a banquet for July this year. If so would you please let me know at By the way. I am the son of Bob Muncrief, not his grandson.

    Thank you very much.


    1. I tried to send you an e-mail but I don't know if it went through or not.

      John Cross

  2. Bill Rogers2/2/11 12:53 PM

    Thanks, Bob. So noted. The 2011 lunch is set for May 25. Details coming to the blog & web site soon.