Goldman: The St. Louis Browns: tomb of the unknown baseball team

From SABR member Steven Goldman at The National Pastime Museum on June 16, 2016:

One of the most characteristic stories about the St. Louis Browns was told by Manager Fred Haney, who coached the team to a 43–111 record in 1939. Around that time, the team got an invitation to play an exhibition in Monterrey, Mexico, against the Boston Braves, a team that had gone 38–115 just a few years before. Given that these teams had become afterthoughts in the United States, it seemed odd that they would be sought after to play elsewhere. Still, money is money and these teams were broke, so Haney and Braves Manager Casey Stengel accepted the offer. Even better, when they arrived they were treated like returning World Series champions. As Haney told The Sporting News,

“Both pilots . . . were amazed at the huge turnout as the team rode into the Mexican town in their buses. Haney praised the interest of the Mexicans to one of the townspeople, who floored him by answering, “Senor, these people they know nothing of baseball teams or of baseball. They have come because it is their first chance to see a Greyhound bus.”

That’s the way it often was for the Browns. No wonder owner Bill Veeck turned to playing a midget in 1951; it was the only way to remind the fans that the team was more interesting than its transportation—or that it existed at all.

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Originally published: June 16, 2016. Last Updated: June 16, 2016.