Sunday, June 15, 2008

The 1896 St. Louis Browns

Here's a picture I found in my files and for the life of me I can't remember where I got it from. While the pic is labeled the "St. Louis Base Ball Club of 1895," this is actually the 1896 team.

Another in a line of bad Browns teams in the 1890's, the 1896 team is remembered for the return of Arlie Latham, who was at the end of his career, as captain and sometime manager. 1896 was also The Year Of The Five Managers.

Beginning in 1895, the Browns managerial position became somewhat unstable. Between 1895 and 1897, the following people managed the Browns: Al Buckenberger, Joe Quinn, Lew Phelan, Harry Diddlebock, Arlie Latham, Roger Conner, Tommy Dowd, Hugh Nicol, Bill Hallman, and Chris Von der Ahe. Der Boss actually took a turn managing the Browns on three separate occasions. He went 1-0 as a manager in 1895, 0-2 in 1896, and 2-12 in 1897. Altogether, the Browns went through thirteen managers in three years (with Dowd getting two cracks at managing the mess that the Browns had become).

Shockingly, this revolving door managerial strategy did not bring much success on the field. The Browns, who had lost 76 games in 1894, went on to lose 92 games in 1895, 90 games in 1896, and 102 games in 1897. Of course, after the position stabilized and Tim Hurst was allowed to keep his job through the entire 1898 season, the team still lost a whopping 111 games. So maybe it was the players.

Below is the 1896 Browns team photo.

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