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1944 St. Louis Browns season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1944 St. Louis Browns
American League Champions
LeagueAmerican League
BallparkSportsman's Park
CitySt. Louis, Missouri
Record89–65 (.578)
League place1st
OwnersDonald Lee Barnes
General managersBill DeWitt
ManagersLuke Sewell
RadioWEW/WTMV
(Dizzy Dean, Johnny O'Hara)
← 1943 Seasons 1945 →

The 1944 St. Louis Browns season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Browns finishing first in the American League with a record of 89 wins and 65 losses. In the World Series, they lost to the team they shared a stadium with, the Cardinals, four games to two.

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Transcription

Offseason

Regular season

The Browns were one of the unlikeliest pennant-winners in history, failing to contend in nine of the previous 10 seasons.

However, 1944 marked the peak of wartime conditions in Major League Baseball. The shortage of available players degraded the talent level of both major leagues, benefiting the 1944 Browns who were relatively untouched by the military draft. Nine players were at least 34 years old and the all-4F infield included 23-year-old shortstop Vern Stephens, who led the league in RBI (109) and was second in home runs (20).

St. Louis started the season with nine straight wins and continued to contend in a four-team race with Detroit, Boston, and New York. It came down to the final week, when the Browns defeated the Yankees five times, winning the pennant by a game over Detroit. It was the only championship the franchise won in St. Louis. Nine years later, after the 1953 season, the Browns were sold and became the Baltimore Orioles.

Season chronology

  • May 26, 1944: In a game against the Boston Red Sox, Nels Potter retired the first 23 batters and was on his way to pitching a perfect game when Jim Tabor got a hit in the 8th inning.[3]
  • June 15, 1944: Frank Demaree was released by the Browns.
  • July 20, 1944: Nels Potter took to the hill against Yankees' pitcher Hank Borowy. The Yankees third base coach Art Fletcher noticed that Potter was moistening his fingers. After Browns manager Luke Sewell consulted with Potter, Potter proceeded to make a deliberate motion with his fingers to his mouth. Umpire Cal Hubbard ejected Potter from the game. On July 22, American League President Will Harridge suspended Potter for 10 days for throwing an illegal pitch. Potter was the first pitcher to be suspended by Major League Baseball for that reason.[4]
  • Every team in the league hosted a game where net proceeds went toward the National War Relief and Service Inc. On July 26, the second game versus the Philadelphia Athletics was that game. Everyone had to pay their way into the stadium including team management, umpires and players.[5] The crowd of 24,631 was the greatest for a Browns home game since the team's first night game in 1940. Oscar Zahner, chairman of the benefit game committee, announced that $25,000 was raised.[5]
  • On August 3, the Browns played the minor league Kansas City Blues. The Browns lost the game by a score of 9–8.[6] The attendance was 5,965, which was Kansas City's best attendance all season. Despite losing, the Browns got 14 hits and Gene Moore went 4–5 with three runs batted in.[6]
  • August 8 marked the Browns 70th consecutive day in first place.[6] This broke the club's previous record of 69 days in first place, which had been set in 1922.
  • The Browns beat the New York Yankees on August 12. It marked the first four-game series victory over the Yankees since 1940.[7]
  • Browns pitcher Nels Potter and Washington player George Case got into an altercation on August 22. The result was a bench clearing brawl and Potter, Case, and Washington player Ed Butka were ejected.[8]
  • On September 4, the Browns found themselves out of first place. The Browns slipped to a half game behind the New York Yankees with 22 games left.[9]
  • The final series between the Browns and the Senators had its share of tension. In the first game of the series, Senators pitcher Roger Wolff hit Vern Stephens with a pitch. Browns manager Luke Sewell waved a bat in the direction of the pitcher.[10]
  • September 21 was the final game between the Browns and the Senators. Browns catcher Tom Turner engaged in a fist fight with Senators player Roberto Ortiz. The two players lined up in a boxing formation in the middle of the field.[11] Ortiz broke his hand and this was bad for the Browns as the Senators were finishing the season against the Detroit Tigers. At the time of the Browns-Senators game, the Tigers were in first place. The conflicts strained the friendship of Washington manager Ossie Bluege and Luke Sewell. The two were teammates in Washington from 1933 to 1934.
  • After the Browns farm team, the Toledo Mud Hens was eliminated from the American Association, the Browns called three players to bolster their team for their stretch run. The callups were Earl Jones (10–6 for the Mudhens), infielder Len Schulte (.296 batting average, 96 RBI's), and outfielder Babe Martin, the American Association Most Valuable Player.[12]
  • With six games left in the season, the Browns and Tigers had identical 84–64 records. The last six games of the season for the Browns were against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
  • At the start of play on the very last day of the season (October 1), the Browns and Tigers were still tied with identical 88-65 records. The Tigers, playing Washington at home, had an earlier start time for their game, and fell to the Senators 4-1. Just moments after the Browns had pulled into a 2-2 tie in the fourth on a 2-run homer by Chet Laabs, word reached the St. Louis ball park that Detroit had lost. This meant a Browns victory could clinch the pennant. In the bottom of the fifth, Laabs hit another 2-run shot to put the Browns ahead -- as it turned out, for good. Vern Stephens hit a solo homer to lead off the eighth, and the Browns hung on to beat the Yankees 5-2, and win the 1944 AL championship.

Opening Day lineup

Hal Epps CF
Don Gutteridge 2B
George McQuinn 1B
Vern Stephens SS
Gene Moore RF
Milt Byrnes LF
Mark Christman 3B
Frank Mancuso C
Jack Kramer P

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Browns 89 65 0.578 54–23 35–42
Detroit Tigers 88 66 0.571 1 43–34 45–32
New York Yankees 83 71 0.539 6 47–31 36–40
Boston Red Sox 77 77 0.500 12 47–30 30–47
Cleveland Indians 72 82 0.468 17 39–38 33–44
Philadelphia Athletics 72 82 0.468 17 39–37 33–45
Chicago White Sox 71 83 0.461 18 41–36 30–47
Washington Senators 64 90 0.416 25 40–37 24–53

Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Team BOS CHW CLE DET NYY PHA SLB WSH
Boston 17–5 8–14 10–12–2 11–11 11–11 10–12 10–12
Chicago 5–17 14–8 9–13 10–12 9–13 8–14 16–6
Cleveland 14–8 8–14 10–12 8–14 12–10–1 10–12 10–12
Detroit 12–10–2 13–9 12–10 14–8 11–11 9–13 17–5
New York 11–11 12–10 14–8 8–14 13–9 10–12 15–7
Philadelphia 11–11 13–9 10–12–1 11–11 9–13 9–13 9–13
St. Louis 12–10 14–8 12–10 13–9 12–10 13–9 13–9
Washington 12–10 6–16 12–10 5–17 7–15 13–9 9–13


Roster

1944 St. Louis Browns
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

= Indicates team leader

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Red Hayworth 89 239 60 .223 1 25
1B George McQuinn 146 516 129 .250 11 72
2B Don Gutteridge 148 603 148 .245 3 36
3B Mark Christman 148 547 148 .271 6 83
SS Vern Stephens 145 559 164 .293 20 109
OF Milt Byrnes 128 407 120 .295 4 45
OF Mike Kreevich 105 402 121 .301 5 44
OF Gene Moore 110 390 93 .238 6 58

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Al Zarilla 100 288 86 .299 6 45
Frank Mancuso 88 244 50 .205 1 24
Chet Laabs 66 201 47 .234 5 33
Floyd Baker 44 97 17 .175 0 5
Mike Chartak 35 72 17 .236 1 7
Hal Epps 22 62 11 .177 0 3
Frank Demaree 16 51 13 .255 0 6
Ellis Clary 25 49 13 .265 0 4
Tom Turner 15 25 8 .320 0 4
Tom Hafey 8 14 5 .357 0 2
Joe Schultz 3 8 2 .250 0 0
Babe Martin 2 4 3 .750 0 0
Len Schulte 1 0 0 ---- 0 0

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jack Kramer 33 257.0 17 13 2.49 124
Nels Potter 32 232.0 19 7 2.83 91
Bob Muncrief 33 219.1 13 8 3.08 88
Sig Jakucki 35 198.0 13 9 3.55 67
Denny Galehouse 24 153.0 9 10 3.12 80
Steve Sundra 3 19.0 2 0 1.42 1

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
Al Hollingsworth 26 92.2 5 7 1 4.47 22
Tex Shirley 23 80.1 5 4 0 4.15 35

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
George Caster 42 81.0 6 6 12 2.44 46
Sam Zoldak 18 38.2 0 0 0 3.72 15
Lefty West 11 24.1 0 0 0 6.29 11
Willis Hudlin 1 2.0 0 1 0 4.50 1

1944 World Series

NL St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. AL St. Louis Browns (2)

Game Score Date
1 Browns 2, Cardinals 1 October 4
2 Cardinals 3, Browns 2 (11 innings) October 5
3 Browns 6, Cardinals 2 October 6
4 Cardinals 5, Browns 1 October 7
5 Cardinals 2, Browns 0 October 8
6 Cardinals 3, Browns 1 October 9

Awards and honors

All-Star Game

League leaders

Team leaders

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AA Toledo Mud Hens American Association Ollie Marquardt
D Newark Moundsmen Ohio State League Clay Bryant

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Newark[13]

References

  1. ^ Sam Zoldak page at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Owen Friend page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 49, David Alan Heller, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2003, ISBN 0-7385-3199-5
  4. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 65
  5. ^ a b As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 70
  6. ^ a b c As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 78
  7. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 79
  8. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 83
  9. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 89
  10. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 95
  11. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p. 96
  12. ^ As Good As It Got, The 1944 St. Louis Browns, p.97
  13. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997

External links

This page was last edited on 25 March 2024, at 12:57
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