A full story of what ifs and comedies: A history of the St. Louis Browns | St. Louis Public Radio

A full story of what ifs and comedies: A history of the St. Louis Browns

Nov 14, 2017

A full story of what ifs and comedies: A history of the St. Louis Browns

St. Louis’ baseball history includes one of the best teams in baseball history, the Cardinals — and the worst— the Browns.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the history of the St. Louis Browns baseball team with Ed Wheatley, one of the authors of “St. Louis Browns: The Story of a Beloved Team.”

The colorful, coffee-table book illustrates the Browns’ history with stories and photographs of the team’s success – and lack of it. The largely unsuccessful team played in St. Louis for 52 years and drew a loyal fan base.

“There is this untapped love and memory,” Wheatley said. “We’re the ones keeping this alive.”

Wheatley co-authored the book with Bill Borst and Bill Rogers; all are members of the Saint Louis Browns Historical Society. The club has over 500 members across the country. Wheatley said their book events often draw out fans of the team who hung on to St. Louis Browns’ memorabilia. The book is filled with more than 600 photographs and short stories about the Browns’ history.

“This book is all about going back in time,” he said. All profits from the book will go to charity.

The St. Louis Browns moved to St. Louis from Milwaukee in 1902 and continued their season until 1953, when they relocated to Baltimore and became known as the Baltimore Orioles.

Wheatley said he won’t deny the team’s overwhelmingly losing record. Various factors affected the team’s success. The team would often trade their good players for money. The Depression, Word War I and II affected the games’ attendance.

The team also had good moments as well. In the ‘20s, the Browns’ outfielder Ken Williams led the league in RBIs and beat out Babe Ruth for the home run title. First baseman George Sisler had a .420 batting average and became the first official MVP of the American League.

“These are the things of those times and those periods that really made them a great team,” Wheatley said. “But the tide kind of turned. It’s a full story of what ifs and comedies.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.