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Sunday, May 17, 2020

The L.A. Browns? How one day in ‘41 changed MLB

The Browns were so certain they were moving that they had even set up a news conference in Los Angeles at Lyman’s Cafe. All they needed was for the official vote, which was expected to pass. The Browns would head west, more than 15 years before the Dodgers and Giants ended up doing so.

And so, the vote was scheduled. It was to take place in Chicago on the morning of Monday, Dec. 8, 1941. The news conference in Los Angeles was scheduled for 1 p.m. PT the same day. The Browns would triumphantly introduce themselves to Southern California. Major League Baseball would span coast to coast.

The vote did indeed take place. Each team voted against the move—including the Browns. If you know anything about American history, you know what had happened. The Browns would remain in St. Louis. Baseball wouldn’t arrive in California until 1958.

The night before, while Browns owners were at Comiskey Park in Chicago watching the NFL’s Bears beat the Cardinals, 34-24, and eagerly anticipating the next day’s presumed success, word reached the continental United States about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and America’s subsequent entry into World War II. Quickly realizing the timing clearly wasn’t right to move a team 1,800 miles west, Browns ownership reversed course on the plan. The Browns stayed in St. Louis for another dozen years, eventually moving to Baltimore following the 1953 season to become the Orioles.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2020 at 05:14 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: st. louis browns

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   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 18, 2020 at 10:05 AM (#5951594)
I actually wrote an OOTP scenario in which Pearl Harbour didn't happen (we got the bomb early and used it on Berlin, ending WW2), so the Browns do move to LA...and sign Satchel Paige after K.M. Landis' death in 1944. (Also, the A's move to San Francisco...)
   2. Traderdave Posted: May 18, 2020 at 12:46 PM (#5951686)
So many what ifs about the Browns.

What if they'd won the '44 World Series?
Or hung on the win the 1922 pennant?
What if the Busch family hadn't bought the Cards?
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5951688)

I actually wrote an OOTP scenario in which Pearl Harbour didn't happen (we got the bomb early and used it on Berlin, ending WW2)


Wow, the AI in OOTP has really advanced!
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:17 PM (#5951745)
Among the ripple effects in the alternative franchise development universe:
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Braves remain in Wisconsin, where they continue to exist to this day. Without a desperate need to return baseball to his beloved hometown, Braves minority owner Bud Selig never takes full possession of the team as he eventually did with the Brewers, and thus never becomes Commissioner.
Without Selig, there wouldn’t be Manfred. Just need to figure a way to get rid of Bowie Kuhn, too.
   5. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5951749)
The night before, while Browns owners were at Comiskey Park in Chicago watching the NFL’s Bears beat the Cardinals, 34-24, and eagerly anticipating the next day’s presumed success, word reached the continental United States about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and America’s subsequent entry into World War II.


"The night before"? The attack began at something like 8 a.m. local time. I've always had the impression of radio news reporting it that morning throughout the U.S. Was the time difference in the 12-hour range?
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5951752)
Oakland built a new stadium in 1966 without a team, so I don't think MLB completely bypasses them in expansion in '69 if there are no A's. Would Baltimore really be considered a great candidate for expansion in '61? (never mind, it was the 9th-largest city in the US in 1960!)
   7. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5951760)
Per Wikipedia, the news went out around 2:30 p.m. in the States. Sloppy writing by the author here.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5951764)
Per Wikipedia, the news went out around 2:30 p.m. in the States
The Washington Redskins were playing the Eagles at home that afternoon, and the crowd was alerted that something was amiss when reporters and military personnel began to be paged over the public address system, although no official announcement was made of the actual attack during the game.
   9. Karl from NY Posted: May 18, 2020 at 04:21 PM (#5951780)
Oakland built a new stadium in 1966 without a team

They had the Raiders, it was built for them.
   10. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 18, 2020 at 05:10 PM (#5951799)
The announcement was made during the game. It was a DAY game, not a night game.

Chicago was warm on December 7, 1941--warm for December, with a high of 39 degrees. It was Sunday. With the stores closed, people had a chance to take the day off from Christmas shopping. Maybe they were headed out to Comiskey Park to watch the Cardinals battle the Bears.

The news hit the city shortly after noon. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor--where's that? And Chicagoans searched their maps, and found it was in Hawaii, and realized that their country was now at war.


link
   11. baxter Posted: May 18, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5951824)
It was 6 pm in Germany but lunchtime in Cleveland, Price
   12. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 18, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5951841)
I actually wrote an OOTP scenario in which Pearl Harbour didn't happen (we got the bomb early and used it on Berlin, ending WW2)

Wow, the AI in OOTP has really advanced!


Heh!

What if the Busch family hadn't bought the Cards?


I drummed up a scenario for that, too: ladies and gentlemen, your 1954 Houston Cardinals...!
   13. bobm Posted: May 18, 2020 at 10:19 PM (#5951884)
It was 6 pm in Germany but lunchtime in Cleveland, Price

Primey.
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 19, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5951958)
So many what ifs about the Browns.

What if they'd won the '44 World Series?


It wouldn't have mattered. They were still underfinanced and could never have competed with the Yankees or the other rich franchises.

Or hung on the win the 1922 pennant?

In 1923 the Browns went 74-78. It wouldn't have meant anything but a few nice memories.

What if the Busch family hadn't bought the Cards?

Now that's another story. The Cards were on the ropes when Busch pulled Fred Saigh's franchise out of the fire, and since the Browns owned Sportsman's Park, Bill Veeck might well have been able to have forced the Cardinals out of St. Louis. That may seem farfetched now, but before Busch started pumping money into them, the Cardinals were a team in decline.
   15. Traderdave Posted: May 19, 2020 at 11:16 AM (#5951978)
It wouldn't have mattered. They were still underfinanced and could never have competed with the Yankees or the other rich franchises.


In a small market with two teams and almost all revenue local, their competition wasn't the Yankees, it was the Cards.
   16. winnipegwhip Posted: May 20, 2020 at 10:28 AM (#5952247)
"The night before"? The attack began at something like 8 a.m. local time. I've always had the impression of radio news reporting it that morning throughout the U.S. Was the time difference in the 12-hour range?


There were times when NFL games were played away from Sundays. Not disagreeing with you but a fact-check is necessary.

Where I have a problem with the facts is in my favorite scene from Godfather 2. It is the closing scene with the men around the table. Sonny states, "Do you believe the nerve of those bloody …. dropping bombs on Pearl Harbor on Pop's birthday."
Tessio replies, "I heard 30,000 men enlisted this morning."
Michael also states he enlisted.

The news would have been reaching the east coast in the early afternoon. Tessio's number must have been created by the MLB accounting department.

But still a fantastic scene to close those movies.
   17. bobm Posted: May 22, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5952929)
[16] Those are minor discrepancies IMO compared to the fact that Vito's tombstone in The Godfather lists his date of birth as April 29, 1887, despite the December 7 birthday reference in The Godfather Part II!

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