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neo_prankster

The St Louis Browns of the 21st Century

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Between the San Diego Padres' teams of the past decade, and the Tampa Bay Rays, which of these modern teams could match the futility of the old St Louis Browns?

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Neither in my opinion. The Browns made one World Series and that was only because MLB had so may players serving in WWII. They were in the lower half of the standings for the vast majority of their 52 years in St. Louis. The Rays and Padres don't even come close to the futility of the St. Louis Browns.

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Its not really fair to call any team the "modern day Browns" because the main issue with the Browns was financial and no modern team will ever be in as bad financial shape as the Browns were.

Them along with the Braves and A's never really recovered from the great depression, but I don't think any team had it worse then the Browns. They had a few years where they drew under 100K for the season, not to mention by far the most brutal travel schedule of any team in the AL at the time. Its amazing they were even able to stay in business up to the point they moved to Baltimore. There were years where they were more worried about how they were going paying the bills then how they were going to win games.

There are AA teams out there who you could promote to the majors, slap on a few bleachers on the stadium just to bring the place up to code and they would still be in better financial shape then the Browns, just through the revenue sharing system alone that's in place now.

That being said I think the '44 Browns team is maybe the most fascinating World Series team in baseball history. It is true that you had guys like George Cater and Jack Kramer who benefited a great deal from the absence of guys like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Bob Feller, and certainly not a coincidence that the team with the oldest and most experienced farm system would benefit the most from the young stars of the league basically disappearing from existence at least as far as the baseball encyclopedia is concerned. But you also had guys like Vern Stephens and George McQuinn on roster who were all-stars even after the war ended, so it wasn't like you had a team that would be lucky to win 60 games in any other year that went to the World Series. There was some real talent on that roster.

War time baseball in general though is fascinating. Its only time in the game's history where you can find guys like Joe Berry coming in as 39 year old rookie turning into the WWII version of Mariano Rivera for two years and then is never heard from again after the War ends.

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And yet the Browns almost chased the Cardinals out of St. Louis. They owned the ballpark they shared with the Cardinals, and until the Busch family bought the National League club they were the ones going to make the inevitable move.

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Bill Veeck when he owned the Browns invited somebody to a game, and the guy said "I didnt know the Browns were in town" Veeck replied neither does anybody else.

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And yet the Browns almost chased the Cardinals out of St. Louis. They owned the ballpark they shared with the Cardinals, and until the Busch family bought the National League club they were the ones going to make the inevitable move.

Not because they were dominating the market, though. They just had the stronger ownership (which is to say they had ownership, and the Cardinals did not). The Cardinals pretty much dominated the market since winning the 1926 World Series.

But you're right, after the Cardinals owner was forced to sell due to tax evasion, it looked like the Browns were going to be the ones sticking around anyways. Then Gussie Busch bought them, and the Browns were all but history.

If you're interested in the Browns history and legacy, there's some pretty cool stuff on the way. Some of it relatively soon, some a bit further off. But it's all very cool. More to come...

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Not even that - the Browns were going to win the battle for St. Louis only because they owned the stadium. The deep Busch pockets could overcome that advantage, though, and as soon as the Cardinals were sold Veeck knew that the Browns had to move.

His first thought was back to Milwaukee, but the AL owners didn't like him and blocked it. Then the Braves took the market, and he turned to Baltimore. This time the AL approved it, but only if Veeck sold his stake.

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Interesting. Didn't know the Milwaukee bit.

Though, even before that (and before Busch bought the Cards), Veeck tried to move the team to LA. That was blocked too, but less because of his personality and more due to the travel expenses other teams would deal with.

In fact, about a decade before that attempt, a previous owner tried to move to LA, too. But the owners meeting to discuss it was cancelled due to the attacks on Pearl Harbor happening the day prior.

So yeah, for decades they struggled in St. Louis, and you're almost certainly right that the only reason they lasted as long as they did was because they owned the park.

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And how different the city's landscape would be had the Cardinals been run out of town in the early 1950s.

The travel expenses thing can't be overstated; Walter O'Malley orchestrated the move of the Giants to San Francisco (without the team's knowledge at first) because he knew that he needed at least one other club on the West Coast.

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An odd coincidence, that Baltimore's current pro teams had previously played in different cities but were both previously called the Browns.

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And how different the city's landscape would be had the Cardinals been run out of town in the early 1950s.

The travel expenses thing can't be overstated; Walter O'Malley orchestrated the move of the Giants to San Francisco (without the team's knowledge at first) because he knew that he needed at least one other club on the West Coast.

It's strange to think about in retrospect, but it sounds very similar to what happened in Philadelphia. The successful Athletics bungled their way out of town while the woebegone Phillies stayed around.

I wonder where the Cardinals would have moved to. I've read before that all teams back then owned territory rights to certain regions and held them as back-up plans in case they needed to move the franchise.

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It wasn't just relocation options - keep in mind that before the Braves left Boston there hasn't been a relocation since the Yankees traded Baltimore for New York a half-century earlier. Moving just wasn't something that teams did. I think it was more about owning a strong farm team in a good market, both for the money it could generate as well as the player development options.

But the leagues were separate then, and not every city was controlled by teams in both leagues. Milwaukee was a National League town based on the Braves' ownership of the AAA franchise there. Veeck could have moved an American League club with little difficulty.

Baltimore would have remained a possibility for the Cardinals. Considering that the Orioles needed to consult with the Senators before moving an AL team so close to theirs, I suspect moving the Cardinals would have been even easier.

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Between the San Diego Padres' teams of the past decade, and the Tampa Bay Rays, which of these modern teams could match the futility of the old St Louis Browns?

Don't think either would really qualify. On field the Rays have had some very successful seasons in a row until very recently. And the Padres, despite futility are usuallly a mid pack team and have made the playoffs in the last decade (and have made it to two series overall). And off field there's no comparison when talking about the Padres. Tampa you might have more of an argument off field, but even then it's not really that close. I don't think any modern team really comes close to the Browns since the Expos stopped playing.

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According to the Busch Stadium tour guide, the Cardinals almost moved to Milwaukee before A-B bought the team.

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That's a new one on me. Veeck tried to move the Browns back to the Cream City, and he considered it years before actually proposing it.

I've heard Dallas but never Milwaukee. And considering that the Braves owned the NL rights to Milwaukee from 1946 until they moved there themselves, I'm a little skeptical. That was in 1952, right? The Braves had been rumored to be on the verge of a move to Wisconsin for a couple years at that point; they had clearly lost Boston well before that.

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Wikipedia specifically mentioned Houston (maybe that's what you were thinking, or maybe both were possibilities), but yeah, I've never specifically heard Milwaukee other than what Goth said.

But yeah, until Gussie Busch made an offer, it looked like the Cardinals would be sold to SOME out-of-town interests and be moved rather than the Browns.

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Above I made reference to some cool stuff on the way in regards to the Browns. Over time, there should be more, but here's phase 1 so to speak.

It's been a pretty cool project to be a part of, as will some of the future things we'll working on. Should be a fun experience site for baseball fans—especially those that love the history of the game.

http://thestlbrowns.com/

Note: It's designed to be a desktop experience. The mobile/tablet experience is limited.

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An odd coincidence, that Baltimore's current pro teams had previously played in different cities but were both previously called the Browns.

Similarly, Milwaukee has had two teams leave town only to end up in both St. Louis and Atlanta. The Browns and Hawks went to St. Louis, and the Braves went directly to Atlanta where the Hawks eventually landed.

That's a new one on me. Veeck tried to move the Browns back to the Cream City, and he considered it years before actually proposing it.

I've heard Dallas but never Milwaukee. And considering that the Braves owned the NL rights to Milwaukee from 1946 until they moved there themselves, I'm a little skeptical. That was in 1952, right? The Braves had been rumored to be on the verge of a move to Wisconsin for a couple years at that point; they had clearly lost Boston well before that.

This is my favorite what if/alt history scenario in baseball. What if the Browns had returned to their original home and become the Milwaukee Brewers again. Is it the Braves, and not the Giants, who eventually move west? Then what city is awarded the 1962 expansion club that eventually became the Mets?

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