2006 BFC Reunion Recap
by Ray Mileur
St. Louis Browns fan packed the Crystal Ballroom at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis on Thursday night, June the 8th, for the 2006 St. Louis Browns Club Reunion.
The evening started out with a cash bar and some time to rub elbows with your favorite Brownie favorites.
This year the Browns lineup included;
ROLLIE STILES - the oldest living American League Player and former St. Louis Brown. Rollie Stiles played for the Browns from 1930 through 1933.
NED GARVER - the old reliable featured speaker, who played for the Browns from 1948 to 1952. Mr. Garver is well known for his 20 game win season in 1951, on a team that lost 102 games.
J.W. PORTER - the youngest living Brownie who always has a great story to share with the audience, played for the Browns in 1952.
BILL JENNINGS - a St. Louis native who still makes his home in the St. Louis, broke into the major leagues with the Browns in 1951.
ED MICKELSON - spent three years in the Major Leagues and played for the Browns in 1953. Milkelson also played for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Ed has a new book, about his baseball career coming out soon, from McFarland Publishing Co.
DICK KRYHOSKI - a seven year Major League Veteran, Dick was a star for the St. Louis Browns in 1952-53, playing in 215 games.
BUD THOMAS - a shortstop from Sedalia, Missouri, played for the 1951 Browns is a regular at the Reunions and is one of the club's best Ambassadors.
Frank Mancuso, Jr - was on hand to represent his father, who couldn't attend the event, FRANK MANCUSO, who played for the Browns from 1944-46.
Unfortunately, illness and other problems prevented many of the other former St. Louis Brownies from attending the festivities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.
As Bill Borst once said, these evenings always have a nostalgic air that is often tinged with remorse and sadness. This year was no difference.
The formal dinner began with a moment of silence for the recent passing of one of the club's co-founders and St. Louis Cardinals Historian, Erv Fischer. Erv past away just two days before the reunion. Erv was a past president of the BFC from 1989-1996 and served as the Banquet Chairman from 1984-2004.
In addition, former St. Louis Brown, Jim Delsing and loyal Browns fan Chuck Dewitt, have both passed away since we last met in St. Louis.
Prayers from the Fan Club went out for Bill Borst, who founded the Browns Fan Club in 1984, who was unable to attend the event due to illness.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Art Richman, Vice-President of the New York Yankees and lifelong St. Louis Browns Fan and member of the Browns Hall of Fame and major supporter of the club. Art was unable to make the trip to St. Louis from New York, after suffering from a recent stroke.
We missed all those who couldn't attend and they remain in our thoughts and prayers.
The Missouri Athletic Club prepared a terrific meal with a great desert that was almost sinful, at least that is how my wife Anne described it. I think she is still asking for forgiveness, as she ate hers and part of mine.
I spent two three days and two nights at the club and I can without reservation, give the MAC my highest recommendations for those who may be considering a place to host an event or to stay at when in St. Louis. The staff was exceptional and attended to our every need and request in a timely manner.
Fred Heger served as the host and MC of the event. Fred is a St. Louis native and charter member of the Fan Club. He has served as the President since 1996.
This year Brownie Fans in attendance were treated to a special appearance by Rollie Stiles, who at the age of 99, is the oldest living former St. Louis Brown and American League ballplayer.
Mr. Stiles started the evening at the podium and had the crowd laughing to the point of tears, when he couldn't remember the name of an outfielder, he said "Them outfielders always gave me trouble."
Rollie (it's hard to call someone who will turn 100 on November 17th this year, by his first name) played for the St. Louis Browns from 1930 through 1933. He retired from Proctor & Gamble in 1969 and now enjoys spending time w/ his 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
After Mr. Stiles, one by one the former Browns came to podium to the delight of the fans.
J.W. Porter and Ned Garver, were both saved for last again this season and if you missed it, well you just missed it, because it was great.
The evening ended way to soon. Players and fans alike filled the Jack Buck bar on the ground floor of the Missouri Athletic Club and the stories, some of them I assumed to be true, carried on until we were ran out at closing time.
Some fans gathered in the MAC lobby until after 1:00 am, where the planning of the 2007 dinner began in earnest.
There is some question about will there ever be another Browns Reunion Dinner, in some circles this was billed as the last reunion. Certainly with the loss of Erv Fischer and the illnesses of Art Richman and Bill Borst, this has significantly impacted the organization.
That said, there are several BFC members who are committed not to let this Club die out and plans are underway to make sure that there is a 2007 Reunion Dinner.
Keep checking back here for the details and updates.