Neumann: Baseball’s Browns were first franchise to leave St. Louis behind

From Thomas Neumann at on August 23, 2016, with mention of SABR member Emmett McAuliffe:

St. Louis has been jilted by the professional sports world yet again.

The Rams have returned to Los Angeles, reuniting with their ex after a two-decade fling in the Gateway City. St. Louis enjoyed a Super Bowl victory and five postseason appearances from 1999-2004, but the divorce ingloriously capped a decade of playoff-free football for the city’s NFL fans.

Worse, the Rams are the fourth major sports franchise to abandon St. Louis. The NFL’s Cardinals bolted for Arizona in 1988. The NBA’s Hawks relocated to Atlanta in 1968. MLB’s Browns pulled up stakes for Baltimore after the 1953 season and became the Orioles. That doesn’t even count the decommissioning of the Spirits of St. Louis prior to the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.

The baseball Browns played 52 seasons in St. Louis, not far off the sum of the Rams (21), football Cardinals (28) and Hawks (13) combined. That fact alone makes the Browns unique among franchises to defect from St. Louis — but it’s a colorful legacy as lovable losers that places them in a sentimental category of their own.

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Originally published: August 26, 2016. Last Updated: August 26, 2016.