St. Louis Browns
1902: When the Milwaukee franchise moved to St. Louis in the American League’s second season, they lured several valuable players from the city’s National League Cardinals, including 1901 batting champ Jesse Burkett, star shortstop Bobby Wallace, and the Cards three best pitchers. They also took on the Cardinals’ discarded nickname, becoming the new St. Louis Browns. The Browns would go to finish a solid second-place record of 78-58.
1903: The Browns second season was not quite as impressive, the team struggled all year and finished in sixth place with a 65-74 record.
1904: The Browns struggle again, finishing in sixth place for the second straight year with a record of 65-87.
1905: The Browns narrowly avoid 100 losses finishing in last place for the first time with a record of 54-99.
1906: The Browns end a three-year string of losing seasons with a 76-73 record that was good enough only for fifth place.
1907: The Browns are unable to build off their winning season as they fall back down to sixth place, posting a disappointing record of 69-83.
1908: For the first time since their first season, the Browns are a factor in the American League Pennant race, finishing just six and a half games out of first with an 83-69 record, which landed them in fourth place.
1909: The Browns are unable to build off their solid season as they stumble all year, falling back down into seventh place, posting a record of 61-89 along the way, as Manager Jimmy McAleer is fired following the season.
1910: The Browns finish in last Ppace again with a terrible 47-107 record. Over the years, last-place finishes would become a regular occurrence.
1911: The Browns lose 107 games for the second season in a row and finishing dead last and 56 and a half games out of first.
1912: The Browns escape the cellar by one game, but can’t avoid their third consecutive season of more than 100 losses, with a 53-101 record.
1913: To try to build the struggling franchise into a winner, Branch Rickey is hired to run the lowly Browns. For Rickey, it was his first management job in Major League Baseball. Rickey’s Browns would finish in last place with a 57-96 record.
1914: In Branch Rickey’s first full season as manager, the Browns show slight improvement finishing in fifth place with a record of 71-82.
1915: The Browns continue to struggle to finish in sixth place with a terrible 63-91 record. Following the season, Branch Rickey would leave the managing to Fiedler Jones, to concentrate on the front office.
1916: The Browns end a string of seven straight losing seasons with a 79-75 record, but only manage to finish in fifth place. However, Browns’ management was not satisfied, and Branch Rickey was fired. The firing would later backfire on the Browns when Rickey took over the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Rickey would turn Cards into one of the premier franchises in all of baseball. He would then go on after nearly a quarter-century in St. Louis to run the Brooklyn Dodgers. He would transform the Dodgers into a perennial Pennant winner and make history by signing Jackie Robinson. Meanwhile, the Browns would rarely contend and would become the worst franchise in the history of baseball.
1917: After a winning season, the Browns come crashing back to earth, posting an awful 57-97 record while finishing in seventh place.
1918: The Browns continue to struggle, going through three managers while finishing in fifth place with a 58-64 record.
1919: The Browns close out the decade by finishing in fifth place with a 67-72 record. During the decade, the Browns would never contend for a pennant, and would only post one winning season.
1920: George Sisler batted .407 and connected for 257 hits, a major league record that would last 84 years, to help move the Browns up to fourth place, their highest finish since 1908. However, their record of 76-77 remained on the losing side.
1921: The Browns post their first winning season in five years with an 81-73 record, finishing in third place. However, the team still finished 17 and a half games out of first.
1922: The Browns have their finest season ever with a record of 93-61. The Browns as the team led by George Sisler’s sizzling .420 batting average; hit .313 to lead the league. Left fielder Ken Williams ran away with the RBI title and beat out Babe Ruth, who missed nearly a third of the season for the home run crown Sisler and Williams even finished one-two in American League in stolen bases. Pitcher Urban Shocker won 24 wins, as he led a pitching staff that recorded the league’s lowest ERA. The team led the league in the standings throughout July and into August before the Yankees nudged ahead of them. The Browns hung close but didn’t regain the lead, remaining second by a heartbreaking single game back at season’s end.
1923: After two straight winning seasons, the Browns return to their losing ways, finishing in fifth place with a 74-78 record.
1924: With George Sisler now filling the role of player-manager, the post their second straight 74-78 season finishing in fourth place.
1925: The Browns rebound after two losing seasons to finish in third place with a solid 82-71 record.
1926: After a promising third place season, the Browns stumble and fall again, finishing in seventh place with a terrible 62-92 record.
1927: Under new manager Dan Howley the Browns continue to be a resident of the second division finishing in seventh place with a record of 59-94.
1928: After two 90-loss seasons that landed them in seventh place, the Browns put together a solid season finishing in third place with an 82-72 record.
1929: The Browns post their second straight winning season finishing in fourth place with a 79-73 record.
1930: After two seasons with a winning record, the Browns return to their losing ways finishing in sixth place with a dreadful 64-90 record.
1931: The Browns’ legacy of losing continues, as they finishing in fifth place with an awful record of 63-91.
1932: The Browns continue to be at the bottom of the American League, finishing in sixth place with a 63-91 record.
1933: The Browns lose 96 games, on their way to finishing in last place again. The Browns, by now, were caught in a cruel trap. They needed to field a good team to draw fans, but they needed to draw fans to get the money to put together a good team. Since the team could never break out of the cycle, they were always poor, unsuccessful, and lonely. One of the Browns’ 1933 games was played in the eerie silence of an empty park except for 33 paid customers.
1934: The Browns end a four-year string of 90-loss season by posting a 67-85 record, which landed them in sixth place.
1935: Competing for fans with a great Cardinals team known as the Gas House Gang, the Browns only draw 81,000 fans for the season, on their way to a seventh-place season with a 65-87 record.
1936: The Browns struggles continue as they finished in seventh place with a terrible 57-95 record that had them more than 40 games out of first place.
1937: The Browns finish ten games worse than anyone else in the American League with an awful 46-108 record.
1938: The Browns continue to play hideous baseball, finishing in seventh place with an awful 65-97 record.
1939: The Browns hit a new low even for them, losing a club worse 43-111 record finishing an incredible 64 and a half games out of first place. The teams pitching staff was mostly responsible for this compiling a team ERA of 6.01.
1940: In what would only be considered an improvement for them, the Browns posted a record of 67-87 finishing in sixth place.
1941: The Browns hit accomplish the heady total of 70 wins for the first time in a dozen years, posting a record of 70-84 on the way to finishing in sixth place.
1942: The Browns post their first winning season in 13 years, by finishing in third place with an 82-69 record. However, they still finished nearly 20 games out of first as the Cardinals won the World Series.
1943: The Browns are unable to make it two winning seasons in a row, finishing in sixth place with a 72-80 record.
1944: With many of baseball’s biggest stars off fighting in World War II, the Browns became contenders, for the first time in 23 years. The Browns would battle the Detroit Tigers all season for the AL Pennant, overtaking them in the final week of the American League Pennant season with an 89-65 record. It would be the only Pennant ever won by the St. Louis Browns. In World Series, the Browns face the Cardinals, who they share the city and Sportsmen’s Park with. If the Browns were to win the series, it would have gone a long way into making inroads in the city’s psyche. The Browns won the series opener on Denny Galehouse’s strong pitching. Galehouse gave up seven hits and four walks but held the Cards scoreless for eight and two-thirds innings before yielding a run in the ninth. In Game 2, the Browns kicked and fumbled the ball around, leading to two unearned runs, which aided the Cards to a 3-2 win in 11 innings. Two Brown errors led to a pair of unearned runs in Game 3, but Jack Kramer held the Cards scoreless apart from that, striking out ten. Meanwhile, Brown hitters tied together five singles with two out in the third inning for three runs, adding a fourth run on a wild pitch before the inning ended. In the seventh, the Browns tacked on two more runs for a comfortable win and a 2-1 Series advantage. The Browns lost Games Four and Five, as the Cards knocked three Brown pitchers for 12 hits in Game 4, then slamming Denny Galehouse for two solo homers in Game 5. In Game 6, errors would doom the Browns again as Brown shortstop Vern Stephens’ throwing error in the fourth inning led to three runs for the Cardinals. That was all the Cards needed to win the game and the series, as the Browns even in winning a pennant still could not beat the Cardinals.
1945: With World War II wrapping up and many of baseball’s best stars in the military, the search for talent to fill Major League Rosters was going in all directions. One of those players that are given a chance to play in Majors was Browns Outfield Pete Gray. When he was six years old, Gray hopped on a farmer’s provision wagon, fell off, and caught his right arm in the spokes. The arm was mangled, and amputated above the elbow. Despite his handicap, Gray was determined to play baseball. Originally right-handed, he learned to bat and throw left-handed. He had a superb batting eye and was a fast runner. Gray mixed line drives with well-executed bunts, some down the third-base line; others dragged past the pitcher. Gray’s handicap hindered him more in the field than at-bat. For a man with two arms, switching the ball from the glove hand to the throwing hand takes a fraction of a second. Any extension of that time would allow runners to take an extra base. With only one arm, Gray had to catch the ball with a glove on and throw it with the glove off. He managed this cleverly and deftly. Removing almost all the padding from his glove, Gray wore it on his fingertips with his little finger out. He would catch the ball, stick his glove under the stump of his right arm, draw the ball clear with his left hand, and throw it to the infield. Gray managed to impress several people in tryouts, and became such a story of inspiration that the War Department made movies about him for our troops. The Browns decided to give him a shot in 1945 partially because of gate attraction Gray’s story had. Gray played 61 games in the outfield and was sent up to pinch-hit a dozen times. He batted .218 with six doubles and two triples while stealing five bases. Although admiring him for overcoming his handicap, they believed that the Browns lost a half-dozen to a dozen games that season because runners often were able to take an extra-base while Gray fielded a ball. With the war ending and the stars coming home, Gray’s career lasted just his one season. Coming off a trip to the World Series, the Browns contend for the Pennant again, finishing in third place, six games out of first with a solid 81-70 record.
1946: As the baseball’s stars returned from World War II, the Browns returned to their losing ways finishing in seventh place with a 66-88 record.
1947: Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home, unfortunately home for the Browns seemed to be last place, and that’s exactly where the Browns finished with a 59-95 record.
1948: The Browns continue to lose regularly, finishing in sixth place with a 59-94 record.
1949: The Browns hit the century mark in losses again, finishing in seventh place 44 games out of first, with a record of 53-101.
1950: The Browns continue to make an art form out of losing as they finish in seventh place with an awful record of 58-96.
1951: With the Browns franchise on life support, Bill Veeck, who a few years earlier built the Cleveland Indians into a World Champion, brought the struggling team. One of Veeck’s first moves was the signing of ageless Negro League star Satchel Paige. A month into Veeck’s ownership, there were no signs of improvement, so Bill Veeck decided to find a unique way to bring his team notoriety. On August 18th, in the second game of a Double Header against the Detroit Tigers, Veeck got his team some notoriety and the most memorable moment in Browns’ history. Wearing uniform number 1/8 at the height of 3′ 7″ and weigh 65 pounds, Eddie Gaedel stepped up to the plate pinch-hitting in the first inning. Gaedel, a midget signed by Veeck to draw press attention to his team, was snuck on the rosters without anyone noticing. When the Tigers protested Browns’ manager Zack Taylor furnished a valid contract with a date stamp. Gaedel stood up and took his at-bat, Tiger pitcher Bob Cain was unable to find his strike zone, and Gaedel walked on four pitches. Gaedel was then lifted for a pinch-runner, and the game resumed as usual. Other baseball team owners were not amused, and future Eddie Gaedel plate appearance was not allowed. The Browns would go on to finish the season in last place with a 52-102 record.
1952: With the Browns still struggling, Bill Veeck attempts to move the team to Los Angeles. However, since no other American League team played on the west coast, travel would have been too much for the other teams to handle. In addition, owners hated Veeck, so any decision made by allowing him to move his team had a tinge of spite to it, as the Browns finished in seventh place with a 64-90 record.
1953: Before the season, Beer magnate August A. Busch Jr. purchased the Cardinals. It was at this moment the Browns’ fate became sealed. The Cardinals have longed owned the city, and unlike the Browns had a glorious history of pennants and World Championships. What was ironic is that Sportsman’s Park, which belonged to the Browns. In 1920 after the Cardinals’ old stadium became unusable, the Browns agreed to rent the Sportsman’s Park to their rivals. The moved like most other moves in Browns’ history backfired, and the Browns became second class citizens, and by 1953 were virtually anonymous to fans in St. Louis. Bill Veeck seeing that the Busch family now owned the Cardinals began to make arrangements to move the Browns again. The first move was selling the ballpark to the Cardinals, and the second was to sign a lease with the city of Baltimore. This time American League Owners could not use the excuse of excessive travel to reject the move. Instead, owners flat out demanded the only way the move be allowed is for Veeck to sell his interest in the team. Veeck relented, and the team was sold. On September 28th, before a sparse crowd of 3,174, the Browns played their last game in St. Louis. Fittingly, the Browns lost, giving them yet another last-place season with a record of 54-100.
©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the St. Louis Browns or Major League Baseball. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on April 14, 2001. Last updated on April 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm ET.