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Cardinals Chairman DeWitt to Speak at St. Louis Browns Banquet

Annual Baseball Luncheon set for Thursday, June 9 at Sheraton Westport

St. Louis, MO May 17, 2016 -

The St. Louis Browns Fan Club announced that Bill DeWitt, Jr. will address fans at their annual luncheon scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel in St. Louis. DeWitt, managing partner and chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals, won two World Series - in 2006 and 2011 - during his time as owner.

As son and nephew of Browns’ owners, DeWitt grew up in and around the Browns clubhouse as a young boy and has numerous stories about the Browns of that era which he will share for the first time at the annual luncheon of die-hard “Brownie” fans.

The luncheon will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the DeWitt family’s first involvement in St. Louis baseball.

In 1916 DeWitt’s father, William O. DeWitt Sr. began with the Cardinals selling soda pop and later, under the mentorship of Branch Rickey, moved up to become treasurer and assistant secretary of the club. In 1936, DeWitt Sr. jumped at a chance to join the Browns in senior management, switching front offices at Sportsman’s Park. DeWitt stayed with the Browns in various capacities as both employee and for a short time, owner, until the team left for Baltimore in 1954. DeWitt’s 18 years with the team makes him the longest-serving executive in Browns history. Together with his brother Charles, who served 14 years as traveling secretary and scout, the DeWitts gave 32 years of their lives to Browns baseball. In addition, Mr. Dewitt Jr.’s great uncle, Jay Sowash, was a prominent figure in the early days of the Muny (high school-age) League in St. Louis.

DeWitt, Jr. had his own moment in Browns history on August 19, 1951 when as a Browns’ batboy he was called upon to lend his uniform to midget Eddie Gaedel, for a pinch-hitting stunt. Gaedel was secretly signed by the St. Louis Browns and put in DeWitt’s uniform (with the number "1/8" sewn on the back). Gaedel’s one official at-bat was a walk on four pitches.

DeWitt/Gaedel’s uniform is currently on display at the St. Louis Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium.

Bill Rogers, President of the Browns Historical Society and Fan Club, said "We're excited that Bill can join us. Out of 6 surviving players of the Eddie Gaedel ‘small person’ event, only 2 survive - Frank Saucier, the batter he replaced, and Bill DeWitt, Jr., bat boy. Ned Garver and Roy Sievers were both in the ballpark but not playing in that particular game.

“Former Browns player, Don Larsen, is unable to attend our June lunch due to a program conflict. We're working with Don to attend an event later this year." Rogers added. Sievers will attend the luncheon, however.

In addition to the Cardinals, DeWitt also owned or invested in four other major league franchises: Baltimore Orioles, the Cincinnati Reds, the Texas Rangers and the Cincinnati Stingers hockey club.

DeWitt’s son, Bill Dewitt III, is currently President of the Cardinals.

Tickets are available for the June 9, 2016 luncheon at $48 per person. To order on-line, go to . By mail, send a check and payable to St. Louis Browns Fan Club, PO Box 510047, St. Louis, MO 63151-0047.