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  • #91
    October 19th

    October 19, 2004: Brownie Profile / Frank Mancuso. While I was growing up in the East End of Houston neighborhood of Pecan Park, we kids got to know the mothers in our area pretty well. It was important information when you were playing sandlot ball. You had to know which yards might cost you your only baseball - if you hit it through the wrong window or geranium bed. One of the safe houses during the late forties and early fifties was located on the northeast corner of Japonica at Flowers streets. That was the home of Mrs. Mancuso, the mother of two major leaguers named Gus and Frank. God rest your soul, Mrs. M., and thank you for always letting us hunt down those stray balls in your flower bed.

    The younger brother of National League catcher Gus Mancuso, Frank suffered a back injury during WWII paratrooper training that knocked him out of the service and hampered his career from 1943 forward. Amazingly, Frank was back in baseball in 1944 - and in time to find himself on the roster of the St. Louis Browns during their only championship year. Mancuso split catching duties with Red Hayworth on the '44 Browns as the club amazed the baseball world by winning the pennant. Frank's play sometimes was limited by back pain and another sad effect of the injury. He had a hard time looking straight up into the air because of the back problem. That's a serious problem for any catcher, isn't it? Having the ability to look straight up for foul balls is part of the job description.

    Mancuso's limitations from the injury saw him riding the bench in the '44 World Series, but Frank made good use of three plate appearances by banging out two singles. Over the years since, Mancuso has really enjoyed living with with the knowledge that his career World Series batting average is .667.

    Frank Mancuso's four injury-limited seasons with the Browns (1944-46) and Washington Senators (1947) only produced a .241 career batting average, but his one full season (119 games in 1945) found him hitting .268. It's too bad we cannot fairly measure what might have been. Frank had been a promising .300 hitter as a minor leaguer while he was coming up in the systems of the New York Giants first - and then the Browns. I got to see Frank catch for my home town Houston Buffs in 1953 and, of course, I also got to see his mom just about every day during the spring and summer months.

    Following his retirement from baseball, Frank Mancuso ran for city council in Houston. He was elected and then spent the next 30 years in the same public service. During that time, Mancuso did a lot of good things for the kids of Houston, always working to expand sports facilities that served inner city children especially. An audit of council spending near the end of his political career speaks volumes for what it did not find in the record of one Frank Mancuso. He was the only member of Houston's city council who had never used a penny of city money to justify travel to someplace like Paris or London in the name of promoting trade with Houston. Paris, France? Frank Mancuso didn't spend money going to Paris, Texas.

    For his minor league achievements - and for his humanitarian contributions to children and the future of baseball - Frank Mancuso was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. This wonderful native Houstonian and strong Brownie loyalist turned 86 on May 23rd of this year.
    Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-19-2004, 06:24 AM.
    "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


    • #92
      October 20th

      October 20, 1901: New Browns Raid Cards for Players. The American League's Milwaukee Brewers will be moving to St. Louis next season and they will adopt the mascot name abandoned by the same town National League Cardinals. The new St. Louis Browns today also wasted no time stocking up on players raided from the roster of their NL brethren. The Browns sign seven Cardinals, including their three top hitters - Jesse Burkett, Emmet Heidrick, and Bobby Wallace, in addition to and half the pitching staff. With no player agreement in place, the new American League comes to town to do as much damage to their National League competition as possible.

      Wouldn't you love to have a transcript of what the Cardinal brass thought and said about this Browns player raid?

      h :grouchy

      Today's General Reference Link ...
      Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-20-2004, 05:37 AM.
      "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


      • #93
        October 21st

        October 21, 1957: Browns-Itis Spreading. The Washington Senators reject the initial overtures of Minneapolis and St. Paul to move the team to the Twin Cities. Today's decision will not be the end of temptation.

        When the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis in 1902, they finalized a pattern of franchise location stability that would survive for half a century. From 1902 through 1952, the sixteen major league clubs operated in the same cities, but that all began to change in 1953 when the Boston Braves suddenly moved to the midwest, becoming the Milwaukee Braves. Of arcane note is the fact that Milwaukee was involved on both ends of that period of sameness.

        As we know, the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, becoming the Orioles. That move was quickly followed in 1955 by the A's move from Philadelphia to Kansas City. The dam really broke from there. When the Dodgers and Giants moved to California in 1958, it became obvious to even the most obstinate opponents of change. - Maintaining the status quo forever is not the world we live in.

        Relocation was never just about losing teams moving elsewhere. When two winning clubs like the Giants and Dodgers leave New York City, in spite of their loyal fan support, it's about something that now looms as the mightiest force in MLB in 2004.

        Today it's not about our love of the game - nor a loyalty of club owners and players to their fans. Today it's about money - monster-size money. When big money talks, clubs and players walk.

        Maybe it's always been that way on some lesser financial scale. After all, the human ego and the desire for power and greed were not the inventions of free agency. Those traits in the human condition have been around forever.

        In the innocence of my younger years, I fully embraced the illusion that all of my favorite Browns and Cardinals players stayed in St. Louis out of loyalty. Maybe some did, but it was the reserve clause that kept all players from having any choice.
        Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-21-2004, 12:03 PM.
        "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


        • #94
          October 22nd

          October 22, 1933: Browns Owner Dies. Phil Ball, millionaire owner of the St. Louis Browns, dies. Manager Rogers Hornsby will run the team.

          Ball was a fascinating character. Ball became wealthy building refrigeration plants and, with Harry Sinclair, financed the St. Louis club in the Federal League. As part of the settlement with that league, the AL allowed him to buy the Browns in 1916 for $750,000. He remained owner until 1932. Ball became a strong supporter of Ban Johnson, opposed the hiring of Judge Landis, and for six years never voted in support of Landis. An early aviation enthusiast, he was director of several airplane companies and bought the factory where Lindbergh's plane was built.

          His inability to get along with the intrusive Ball led directly to GM Branch Rickey leaving the Browns and casting his lot with the same town Cardinals. That move alone changed the direction of St. Louis baseball history and, years later, it would be the Cardinals who remained as the only MLB club in St. Louis. :atthepc

          October 22, 1926: Former Browns Manager Fired By Red Sox. Manager Lee Fohl resigns after two last-place finishes with the Red Sox. h

          October 22, 1923: Former Browns Manager Hired By Red Sox. The Red Sox name Lee Fohl as their new manager. Fohl was fired in July as the Browns manager.

          Today's General Reference Link ...
          "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


          • #95
            October 23rd

            October 23, 1951: Former Browns Mentor Addresses Congress. Baseball renaissance man Branch Rickey, who left the Browns in 1919 because he could not get along with owner Phil Ball, is still a force in baseball some 32 years later. The father of the farm system is called upon to defend his innovation today against the threat of anti-trust action by the federal government. Rickey contends that the farm system is the only thing that saved baseball during the Depression. He asks Congress for legislation that will protect it from monopoly suits.

            October 23, 1945: Rickey Defies Color Line. GM Branch Rickey announces the signing of Jackie Robinson by the Dodger organization in direct defiance of the racist ownership alliance that has kept blacks out of the big leagues since the 19th century. Way to go, Branch!

            Wow! How much difference would Branch Rickey have made to Browns history had he remained with the organization rather than taking his gifted baseball mind and incredible business acumen to the Cardinals? A picture is worth a thousand words. Think of - Eddie Gaedel in a Cardinals uniform!

            a Branch Rickey Link ...

            Today's General Reference Link ...
            "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


            • #96
              October 24th

              October 24, 2004: Brownie Health Tips From the 1920's.

              Ken Williams, Slugging Browns Outfielder, 1918-27: "One reason for my successful hitting is that I always keep in good condition. I live in one of the greatest game countries in the world, Western Oregon. But I seldom go hunting or fishing. I'd rather drive a car. I went all the way home (from St. Louis) in my car last fall. Then I went down through Southern California, through Texas and up to Kansas City. I travelled several thousand miles over all kinds of roads and averaged twenty-seven miles an hour on the trip. Driving a car trains your eyes and hands and keeps you in the open air. That's the main thing, to keep in batting trim."

              Maybe I should end my 30 plus years of retirement from rag-tag level baseball and try out for the St. Louis Cardinals next spring. Based on Ken Williams's assessment of how important driving is to the development of eye-hand motor coordination, I should easily become the first National Leaguer to hit .400 since Bill Terry of the New York Giants did it with .401 back in 1930.

              Hank Severeid, Browns catcher, 1915-25: (Severied never complained of being tired and he routinely caught both ends of doubleheaders. Hank gave himself credit for a natural inclination toward staying in shape.) "The Norwegians are used to physical exertion. They lead a healthy life, mainly in the open. When they want go anywhere, they walk, or if it is winter, travel on skiis. They eat simple wholesome food without the sugar and nicknacks which spoil the teeth and ruin the digestion of Americans. I inherited natural physical strength, good blood and good habits. The rest I have done for myself."

              Severeid understood the value of the low carb diet much earlier than Dr. Atkins - or so it seems!

              Reference: Williams and Severeid material quoted from page 185 of "Batting" by F.C. Lane.

              October 24, 1908: Was Casey Kazem There To Chart It? Singing sensation Billy Murray hits the charts with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," the second, and most popular, of three versions to be released within a five-week period. Ironically, Murray's 1903 hit, "Tessie," is quickly adopted by Boston's Royal Rooters as their official theme song, much to the chagrin of Red Sox foes.

              Today's General Reference:
              Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-24-2004, 06:50 PM.
              "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


              • #97
                October 25th

                October 25, 2004: Remembering Harlond Clift. He was the greatest third baseman in the history of the St. Louis Browns, but even the exceptional player sometimes gets lost in the abyss of regular defeat of his team. From 1934 through 1943, the Browns compiled an average season record of 62-90 and, in two of those seasons, they lost over 100 games.

                It was a formula for being overlooked. Harlond Clift was the most consistent power-hitting third baseman of his era, but he was selected to the All-Star team only once. When he hit 29 homers in 1937, it was an MLB record for third basemen. He improved in 1938 with 34 home runs, placing third on the American League leader board. In fact, Harlond Clift led the league's third basemen in home runs for four straight years, 1936-39. In his nine full seasons with the Browns, Clift averaged 19 homers, 31 doubles, and 104 walks, hitting .300 twice and slugging .500 three times.

                Clift also was one of the best fielders in the league. His 50 double plays and 405 assists in 1937 were records until Graig Nettles broke them in 1971, and Clift's 637 total chances in 1937 remains as the second-best mark of th 20th century. When he retired, his 309 double plays had broken Pie Traynor's career mark for third basemen.

                Traded to the Washington Senators in 1943, Harlond Clift missed the Browns' lone American League championship run the next year. If you're out there, Don Mattingly, we feel sure you know a little something about how Harlond Clift felt when he missed out on that trip to the Promised Land.

                As things often go, illness and injury ended the career of Harlond Clift in 1945.

                Today's reference link ...
                "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Bill_McCurdy
                  Ball was a fascinating character. Ball became wealthy building refrigeration plants ]

                  So ...... he was a refrigerator magnate?


                  • #99
                    punster time

                    Originally Posted by Bill_McCurdy: "Ball was a fascinating character. Ball became wealthy building refrigeration plants."

                    Originally Posted by Westsidegrounds: "So ...... he was a refrigerator magnate?"

                    You betcha, WSG. - And, once he chased Rickey over to the Cards, the light no longer came on whenever Ball opened the Brownie 'fridge door in search of his next (or first) snack of success. Sadly for Ball and the Browns, Rickey also took all of his championship recipes with him too. h
                    Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-25-2004, 05:35 PM.
                    "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                    • October 26th

                      October 26, 2004: Jack Tobin, A Brownie Profile. Jack Tobin was a St. Louis native who began his major league career with his hometown entry in the Federal League. In 1915 he led the league with 625 at bats and 184 hits. He joined the Browns in 1916 after the Federal League folded. A 5'8" 142 pound lefthanded batter, Tobin excelled at dragging a bunt for a base hit. He could also hit away with authority, powering as many as 13 homers a season and averaging 32 doubles and 12 triples a year from 1920 through 1924. He also hit two grand slams off Walter Johnson.

                      Tobin had four straight 200-hit seasons and batted well over .300 each year from 1919 though 1923. His career-high .352 came in 1921, when he led the American League with 671 times at bat. Jack was the leadoff man for the potent 1922 Browns, who finished one game behind the pennant-winning Yankees. In 1922-23, Tobin joined Ken Williams and Baby Doll Jacobson in a .300-hitting outfield. He coached for the Browns from 1944 through 1948 and then scouted for them for a while.

                      Little Jack Tobin is simply another reason why the St. Louis Browns almost took it all in 1922. It still saddens me to think too long about how we lost the pennant that year by a single game. :atthepc

                      Today's Reference Link ...
                      Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-26-2004, 07:31 AM.
                      "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                      • October 27th

                        October 27, 2004: The Spirit of St. Louis: The History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. If you haven't read this history of St. Louis baseball by Peter Golenbock, I recommend you do so. It is, by far, the most comprehensive anthology of how baseball took root in the hearts of 19th century St. Louisans and became the home of both those original Browns who became the Cardinals - and the Brewers from Milwaukee who came to to town in 1902 and became the 20th century Browns that this website exists to celebrate. If you want a one-stop whole picture of the dynamics that went into the struggle between the Cardinals and Browns for the hearts of the people, this is the book you really need to read. It's about four years old now, I think, but it's still quite available in stock or by order from major bookstores. It's also easy to order online. Here's a link that will give you more information. ...


                        A Brownie Profile: Elam Vangilder. Elam Vangilder pitched for the St. Louis Browns from 1919 through 1927, establishing a club record for most games pitched (323). His 19-13 record in 1922 led the majors and also was his career best mark. He also led the American League with 11 relief wins in 1925. Along the way, Vangilder halted two of minor league baseball's greatest hitting streaks: Joe Wilhoit's 69-game streak, while Elam was pitching for Tulsa (Western League) on August 20, 1919; and Reading's Joe Quellich's string of 15 consecutive hits, while Vangilder was on the mound for Montreal (International League) on August 12, 1929.

                        On December 2, 1927, Vangilder was traded by the Browns to Detroit, along with infielder Chick Galloway and outfielder Harry Rice. In exchange for Vangilder and company, the Browns acquired first baseman Lu Blue and outfielder Heinie Manush in a nice find for the Browns. Future Hall of Famer Manush would go on to hit .378 for the 1928 Browns and come very close to winning the batting championship.

                        Meanwhile, the lamp of Vangilder's big league career was going out like a weak candle in a gentle breeze. It ended early in 1929. Elam finished with a career record of 99 wins, 102 losses, and an E.R.A. of 4.29. The Cape Girardeau, Missouri native died in his birthplace in 1977 at the age of 81.

                        Vangilder Reference Link ...
                        Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-27-2004, 06:16 AM.
                        "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                        • October 28th

                          October 28, 1954: The Franchise Moving Beat Goes On. The Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953. The Browns moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954 and changed their name to Orioles. Now things are stirring hard in Philadelphia. MLB club owners today vote down the sale of the Athletics to a Philadelphia syndicate. A week from now, Arnold Johnson will buy a controlling interest in the Athletics from the Mack family for 3.5 million and move the team to Kansas City. No, they don't become the Royals, they remain the Athletics. The Royals will come later. The Kansas City Athletics (1955-67) eventually move to Oakland in 1968. The Kansas City Royals are born as an expansion team in 1969 - but the beat goes on. There will be numerous other franchise births and relocations from 1954 through 2004, but most cities who lose clubs will not get replacement franchises in the future.

                          Of the 16 clubs that existed unchanged for fifty years (1902-52), the following legendary names no longer exist as living, breathing entities in their original cities:

                          American League
                          Philadelphia Athletics
                          St. Louis Browns
                          Washington Senators *

                          * If the new 3rd incarnation of a Washington club in 2005 really wants the name "Senators", they will have to buy it from the Texas Rangers, who own the rights from their brief term in Washington as the 2nd coming of that club.

                          National League
                          Boston Braves
                          Brooklyn Dodgers
                          New York Giants

                          Today's Reference Link ...
                          "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                          • October 29, 2004

                            A Brownie Profile: Hub Pruett. Breaking in with the great '22 Browns, lefty Hub Pruett quickly gained respect by striking out Babe Ruth, 10 of the first 13 times he faced him. Pruett threw a screwball that simply gave Ruth fits. Unfortunately, Hub had far less success against the rest of league. His dominance of The Bambino was just one of those bizarre pairings that happens every now and then.

                            The screwball that baffled Ruth gave Pruett a chronic sore arm, although he went 7-7 with a 2.33 E.R.A. in his 1922 rookie year. Pruett studied medicine in the off-season and left baseball with the Browns to set up practice in St. Louis after three seasons (1922-24). Pruett made a comeback with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1927, but he went 7-17 with an ugly 6.05 E.R.A. By the end of the 1932 season, Pruett had made two final stops with the New York Giants and Boston Braves and was gone for good. Hub finished with a career record of 29 wins, 48 losses, and a 4.63 E.R.A.

                            a general reference link ...
                            "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                            • October 30th

                              October 30, 2004, A Brownie Profile: Roy Sievers. A St. Louis native signed by the Browns, Sievers was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1949, batting .306 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI. He hit just .238 the following season, then was hindered by a shoulder separation suffered while making a diving catch in 1951; after reporting early for spring training in 1952, he dislocated his right arm during infield practice. The Browns traded him to the Senators for Gil Coan in February 1954. In Washington, Sievers became a favorite of Richard Nixon (then vice president), driving in 100 or more runs and playing at least 144 games each year from 1954 through 1958. In 1957, though his club came in last, Sievers led the AL with 42 home runs and became the first Senator to win the RBI crown (114) since Goose Goslin in 1924. He tied an AL record in July and August of 1957 by homering in six consecutive contests - a mark since eclipsed by Don Mattingly. He remained productive through 1963 with the Phillies; that year, he matched Jimmie Foxx as the only players to pinch hit grand slams in both the AL and NL. In mid-1964 he was sold to the expansion Senators.

                              Roy Sievers is also a very likeable guy and one of the regular attendees of the Browns reunion banquets each May in St. Louis. It's too bad that the Browns had to trade him away to have all of his most productive years in Washington, but that's baseball. And that's life. :atthepc

                              a general reference link ...
                              "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                              • Thanks for the profile, Bill. Another Browns-Senators connection-I love it!
                                "For the Washington Senators, the worst time of the year is the baseball season." Roger Kahn

                                "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby.


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