Bonus Episode: The St. Louis Browns


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Satchel Paige
Satchel Paige at the 1952 All-Star Game with, from left, Mickey Mantle and Allie Reynolds of the Yankees and Dom DiMaggio of the Red Sox.

We go deeper into the second of this week’s two stories, about the St. Louis Browns, baseball’s forgotten team.

The Browns check off two boxes for Can’t Win 4 Losing: They lost a lot in their hapless half-century of existence and then their city lost them. Maybe three boxes, as they’ve largely been lost to history. If you’re wondering what happened to them, they moved east and became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

This bonus episode includes three longer interviews with men whose voices you heard in Episode 5. We lined them up alphabetically by age.

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Ed Mickelson is one of 14 living ex-Browns. He had a cup of coffee with them at the end of their last season, 1953. He only got into seven games, but he managed to drive in the last run the team ever scored. It was in a 2-1 loss to the White Sox at Sportsman’s Park. “We went out in Brownie style,” he says. “We lost our 100th game.” Mickelson played 11 years in pro ball, including brief stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs as well as his time with the Browns. He’s 91, retired from a career as a baseball and football coach and counselor at St. Louis-area high schools.

In the interview, which like the others is lightly edited for length, listen as Mick sends it into extra innings. I thanked him for his time, and he said he had more things he wanted to say. That’s when he told a couple of Satchel Paige stories.

Ed Mickelson Cartoon

Burton Boxerman is an author or co-author — with his wife, Benita Boxerman — of several books about baseball history, including Jews and BaseballVolume 1 and Volume 2; and Ebbets to Veeck to Busch: Eight Owners Who Shaped Baseball. We talked about his childhood in St. Louis, when for some reason he chose to root for the Browns, not the Cardinals. He was 20 when they moved to Baltimore, and it took him about 10 years before he settled on a new team to root for: The Cubs. He wanted a team that could find as many creative ways to lose as the Browns had.

Emmett McAuliffe is a board member of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and a leader in keeping the team’s legacy alive, despite being born several years after they left town. He’s an intellectual property lawyer in St. Louis, and his office is filled with Browns memorabilia. (Gallery)

Music

Opening and Closing Theme: “Can’t Win For Losing” by Johnny Rawls, courtesy of Deep South Soul Records. Visit Johnny Rawls’ website and Facebook page.

His latest album is called Waiting For the Train.

Other Song Used

“The Messenger” by Silent Partner (Creative Commons)

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