Jackson: The legacy of Jumbo Brown

From SABR member Frank Jackson at The Hardball Times on February 14, 2013:

Whenever a player has a nickname like Jumbo, there are two possibilities: The name is apropos because of excess avoirdupois, or it is ironic because he is small (think of jumbo shrimp). No player of average size will ever be nicknamed Jumbo. Well, maybe if he has elephant ears.

In the case of Walter George Brown, the Jumbo nickname was definitely accurate. The only irony inherent in the nickname is that this 295-pound behemoth hailed from Rhode Island, the nation’s smallest state. (Geography fun fact: Little Rhody is comprised of a scant 1,214 square miles. The next smallest state is Delaware, which has slightly more than twice as much real estate.)

Born in Greene, R.I. on April 30, 1907, Brown made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 26, 1925 at the age of 18. He spent 1926 in the minors, then went back and forth from minors to majors with the Indians in 1927 and 1928. From 1929 to 1931 he was strictly a minor leaguer.

In 1932, Brown returned to the majors (he was still only 24 years old at the start of the season) with the Yankees, spending four years with them in two-year increments sandwiched around a minor league season in 1934. A peripatetic season was 1937, when he went back and forth from the minors, pitched a few games for the Reds, and then was sold to the Giants.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/jumbo-brown/

Originally published: February 15, 2013. Last Updated: February 15, 2013.