On Oct. 1, 1944, the lowly St. Louis Browns shocked the baseball world by beating the New York Yankees to win the American League pennant. Before the season, only one sportswriter in America, Post-Dispatch sports editor J.E. Wray, had picked the Browns to win. Here is his column after the victory.
ONE of the strangest pennant victories in the history of either major league was achieved by the St. Louis Browns when they beat the Yanks in the final game of the season, while Washington was defeating the red-hot Detroit Tigers, yesterday.
We’ll make it 130 million, with a couple of exceptions they were Luke Sewell and this writer. When the Browns surged to the front early in the season and remained there, observers were saying: “Well, the rocket is going up we’ll wait for the stick to fall.” And that was the national attitude.
Nobody believed in a club made up of discards, un-heralded players with an exception or two, fading stars and has-beens who were trying to come back, plus a few freshmen. Time went on The Browns remained up there.
Team after team challenged.
Now and then for a short time one club or another forged to the front and looked like a winner.
The Browns twice were passed by the Yankees, once by the Senators and then by the big train from Detroit, the Tigers. Luke Sewell’s nobodies took them all in their stride.
They rose to each occasion. And when the pinch came, with the supposedly overpowering Tigers as rivals, they outlasted and outgamed them at the finish. It was an earned and deserved victory, achieved against general opinion and in the face of handicaps.
And, In the history of the American League, we can find no parallel and no club that did more with seemingly less, than the Browns have just accomplished,… You’ll just have to take off your hats to a team that hit the canvas three times and then bounced up to lick the enemy.
Yes, but What Will The Cards Do to ’Em.
THE Browns will graduate into a world series with the “supermen” of the National League, the Cardinals, starting Wednesday.… Friends of the Browns look on this encounter with about the same confidence fans had as to the team’s chances of winning the American League pennant at the start of the 1944 season…. They sympathize but doubt. One fan last night said the odds ought to be 5 to 1 against the Browns.… And perhaps that’s the right idea.… We don’t share the view.… Nor do the professionals who lay odds against World Series baseball.
The Cards are 1 to 2 and the Browns 16 to 10, against. But if the Browns first game, the odds situation will be materially changed.
There isn’t much doubt that the Cards have a superior club — man for man, in most positions…. But these Browns have produced the goods more consistently than any other club in baseball, except the Cards.… And you just can’t write off a courageous team or a game man, in any line of endeavor. If the Browns had a little bit more firepower we’d back them to beat the Cards.… Unfortunately, we can’t expect Chet Laabs to pull two more home runs out of the hat in one game, or similar feats which are not within the reasonable expectation of the Browns’ batting past.
We’d be willing to take the Browns’ pitchers against the Cards’ big four.… But on Sewell’s club there’s no Walker Cooper, no Musial, no Marty Marion and no Ray Sanders.
Man for man we give the Cards the shade.… But it will be no surprise if the Browns step out and climax their pennant race with an even mote astounding achievement in the World Series.