After profiling Jerry Coleman in my previous post, I thought it would be only right to profile one of his teammates, an individual who also served during the Korean conflict and who gained much success off the playing field.
There were two Bobby Brown’s who played for the Yankees, one was an OF from 1979 to 1985 in the majors (1979-1981 with the Yankees). It’s not that one.
The one profiled here is the infielder who became a cardiologist and later became the president of the American League—THAT Bobby Brown.
That Bobby Brown wore no. 7 when he first came up to the bigs in 1946, five years before the number saw the likes of the Mick.
Brown was primarily a third baseman, but did see action at shortstop, second base and in the outfield. The lefty hitter usually was a platoon player, never getting more than 363 at bats in a season. He played in only seven major league games in 1946.
In 1947, Brown got into 69 games, hitting .300 with a HR and 18 RBI (OPS+ 113). He then had one of the greatest World Series a pinch hitter can have, going 3 for 3 with a walk, two doubles, and three RBI. He pinch hit in game one, and walked with the bases loaded. In game three, he pinch hit in the sixth inning and got a leadoff double. He later came around to score. He pinch hit again in Game 6 with two out and runners at 1st and 3rd in the third inning and produced an RBI single, which tied the game (the Yanks eventually lost the game. This game featured the Al Gionfriddo catch off of Joe DiMaggio). Finally in Game 7, Brown pinch hit in the bottom of the fourth, Yanks down 2-1 and with two out and runners on 1st and 2nd, and doubled in a run to tie the game. He came around to score later in that inning.
In 1948, Brown got the most playing time of his career, and hit .300 again, this time with 3 HR and 48 RBI (OPS+ 111).
In 1949, Brown hit .283 with a career high 6 HR and 61 RBI (OPS+ 101). Once again he terrorized the Dodgers in the World Series, playing in four of the five games, and hitting .500; six for twelve, one double, two triples and 5 RBI. He had a bases-loaded triple in the Yanks 6-4 game 4 win, and had 3 hits and two RBI (including his other triple) in the Game 5 clincher.
1950 saw Brown hit .267-4-37, OPS+ 82. Once again, he had a solid World Series, going 4 for 12 with a double, a triple and an RBI. In Game One, he doubled and came around to score on two fly balls for the only run of the game. He tripled (there’s that word again, for he had 3 WS triples in his career) in a run in Game Four and came around to score.
Brown’s last year of significant playing time was 1951, when he hit .268-6-51, OPS+ 107. Brown shone again in what was his final World Series, going 5 for 14 with a double.
Brown’s World Series record is amazing. He went 18 for 41 for a .439 BA, fifth in World Series play (per baseballreference.com, 36 PA or 14 BB + H required). Of those 18 hits, five were doubles and three were triples. He drove in nine runs. He ranks in the top 10 for World Series OBP, SA, and OPS, as well as the BA.
Brown only got into 29 games in 1952 before heading to Korea as an Army doctor. He hit .247. He missed all of the 1953 season, and then hit .217 in 28 games in 1954 before retiring in order to advance his medical career. He ended his career with a .279 BA, OPS+ 100 in 1619 AB.
Great stuff from Wikipedia:
A famous apocryphal story that has made the rounds for years in baseball circles concerns the time when Brown’s road roommate was star Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who had little formal education. The two were reading in their hotel room one night – Berra a comic book and Brown his copy of Boyd’s Pathology. Berra came to the end of his comic, tossed it aside, and asked Brown, “So, how is yours turning out?”
Brown and Berra are the last two living members of the Yankees team that won the 1947 World Series. There are no living players who played on an earlier Yankees World Series-winning team.
While he was playing, Brown was studying to become a doctor (hence the Pathology copy listed above). He attended Stanford and UCLA before receiving a medical degree from Tulane. After retirement, Brown became a cardiologist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area until the early 1980s when he became a VP of the Texas Rangers. In 1984, he became the American League President, a position he held until 1994.
Brown was more known for his bat than his glove. Often his teammates would joke about the fact Brown became a cardiologist, often citing his defensive abilities to say (jokingly) that he didn’t have the hands for the job.
Brown is still alive at the age of 86.