Sellout Crowd for St. Louis Browns Spring 2008 Luncheon
by Bill Rodgers
All 100 seats were taken at the St. Louis Browns Historical Society
luncheon at the Missouri Athletic Club – West on May 14, 2008.
Attendees enjoyed an afternoon talking old time baseball and exchanging
stories and memories of the St. Louis Browns. Many wore their Browns
baseball hat, jersey’s, pins and shirts with the Browns logo.
Four former players of the Browns were present and included Babe Martin,
Bill Jennings, Bud Thomas and Ed Mickelson. All contributed stories and
experiences on their playing days with the Browns and other teams during
their careers. Names flying around included Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio,
Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Ned Garver, the midget, Pee Wee Reese,
Red Schoendiest, Stan Musial, Marty Marion, Dom DiMaggio, Rogers
Hornsby and many others too numerous to mention. Ed Mickelson & Bill Rogers
Babe Martin is one of two players who played for the Browns during the 1944 season. Babe did not play in the World Series that year as he was called up in late September and was not eligible. He contributed to the Browns winning efforts though by contributing 3 hits in 4 at-bats.
Bill Jennings fielded questions from the audience on such subjects as today’s ballpark lights as compared to those back in the ‘40s, minor league park lighting problems, today’s uniforms, salary comparisons, his favorite memories and personal experiences and more.
Bud Thomas shared some of his experiences and also took questions from the audience.
Ed Mickelson teamed up with Sportswriter, Dan O’Neill, with the Post-Dispatch sharing Ed’s experiences in traveling through the minor league system and his challenges in making it to the “ big leagues.” Dan presented a video program on Sportsman’s Park that spanned the entire history of the park from ownership by the Browns through the sale to the Cardinals. There’s no question memories flooded everyone’s mind as audience members elbowed others pointing out they remembered . . . or they were there for that special event. Sportsman’s park held more major league games than any other park during its history.
We’re not certain who was the oldest fan present, but Jim Green at age 91 ranks up there. Jim came in from Pacific, MO to enjoy the festivities. He said he recalled a particular Browns game against the Yankees. The Yankees had a rally going with a runner rounding third base and streaking for home. He plowed into the Browns catcher, Clint Courtney, and sent him flying.
An inning or two later, Courtney was on first and took off for second. During the process, he took out the Yankee shortstop, Phil Rizzuto who was covering second. With that, both benches emptied with players fighting all over the infield. Courtney got kicked out of the game while spectators threw bottles, cans and anything else they could get their hands on. At the game the following day, all drinks were served in cups.
Bill McConnell from Hillsboro, MO shared mementos of scorebooks from the 1944 World Series between the Browns and the Cardinals. There was a book produced for each team with plenty of photos, background information, statistics and more.
Bill also had two copies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from different days reporting on World Series activities. We noted an ad in the paper for vacuum cleaner tune-up and repair for $2.50 and another for top-of-the-line men’s shoes for $6. (The good old days – or were they?)
More than a few attendees took time to say, “This was great” and “You need to do this more often.” The Browns Fan Club is planning a major event during 2009 to celebrate their 25th anniversary.