Bobby Brown, 96, a life of Yankees, military, medicine, dies

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — At the very first Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, on the final day of the 1947 season, 22-year-old rookie Bobby Brown watched wide-eyed from the dugout.

Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb were on the field. Joe DiMaggio wasn’t a face on a ballpark monument then — he was a teammate.

All of a sudden, the festivities took a dark turn. Hall of Famer Home Run Baker tried to beat out a bunt and collapsed near first base.

Brown was the only one in the surrounding area with any medical training. Quickly summoned to tend to the 61-year-old Baker, Brown rushed out and dispensed his best advice.

“I told him, `Get up, get up!”‘ Brown recalled a few years ago. “I guess it worked.”

Worked out pretty well, too, for Brown, one of baseball’s most distinguished major leaguers on and off the field.

Five-time champion with the New York Yankees. Highest World Series batting average of anyone with at least 35 plate appearances. Veteran of World War II and the Korean War. Prominent cardiologist. American League president.

Brown died at 96 on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, the Yankees said. They said he was last remaining person to play for the team in the 1940s.

“Few people who have worn the pinstripes have lived such an accomplished, fulfilled, and wide-ranging life as Dr. Brown, who was beloved by our organization for his warmth, kindness and character,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement.

Brown made his big league debut on Sept. 22, 1946, the same day roommate Yogi Berra played his first game.

Often used as a platoon third baseman, Brown was with the Yankees through 1954 and batted .279 with 22 home runs and 237 RBIs. Known as a terrific contact hitter, Brown struck out just 88 times in 1,863 plate appearances.

In the World Series, Brown became a Bronx bruiser.

Just two days after that Old-Timers’ Day episode in 1947, Brown made his debut in the Fall Classic as a pinch-hitter, drawing a bases-loaded walk against Brooklyn. Brown went 3 for 3 in that matchup, including a big, pinch-hit RBI double in a Game 7 win.

Brown hit .439 (18 for 41) with five doubles, three triples and nine RBIs in 17 World Series games, with a .500 on-base percentage.

Born on Oct. 25, 1924, in Seattle, Brown went to the same San Francisco high school as DiMaggio. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served stateside, and signed with the Yankees in 1946.

Brown continued his military service when he was called up by the Army medical corps in the middle of the 1952 season – when New York won another crown – and was overseas during the Korean War for 19 months. He played in 28 games for the Yankees in May and June 1954 before retiring from baseball.

After his playing days, Brown became a longtime practicing cardiologist in Fort Worth. In 1974, he served as president of the Texas Rangers for part of the season.

“Dr. Brown was not only a great baseball player, but a great gentleman and a great patriot. We were fortunate to know him, to work with him, and to call him our friend,” said former President George W. Bush, who once owned the Rangers.

Brown was president of the American League from 1984-94, when he also was on the board of directors for the Hall of Fame.

Commissioner Rob Manfred called him a “proud Yankee” and “quiet star.”

“Dr. Bobby Brown led an extraordinary life, which included great accomplishments on the baseball field and as a leader and executive in our game,” he said in a statement.

Former commissioner Bud Selig praised Brown’s “extraordinary baseball life, both on and off the field,” adding, “he was of great help to me both during my years as a club owner and then as baseball commissioner.”

“Obviously a sad day and a kind of giant in our sport. Did a lot of different, special things in our game,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Brown, who played at Tulane and graduated from its medical school, continued to motivate in all fields in recent times. He spoke last year with Mark Hamilton, a former Tulane star who went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals and graduated from medical school this past spring.

“Dr. Brown was my childhood inspiration to play Major League Baseball and then enter medicine; the example that my dad provided to show me the two were not mutually exclusive.” Hamilton said in an email to The Associated Press.

Brown is survived by his son, Dr. Pete Brown, daughters, Beverley Dale and Kaydee Bailey, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Brown’s wife of more than 60 years, Sara, died in 2012.

The Browns made a striking couple for decades. During his final Old-Timers’ Day visit in 2019, Brown recalled their dating days and remembered giving his future wife advice on how she should describe him to her parents.

“Tell your mother that I’m in medical school, studying to be a cardiologist,” he said. “Tell your dad that I play third base for the Yankees.”

Pujols hits 702nd HR, ties Ruth in RBIs, Cardinals lose 7-5

Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols hit his 702nd career home run and tied Babe Ruth for second on the all-time RBI on Sunday, but the Pittsburgh Pirates took the game from the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5.

Ben Gamel and Bryan Reynolds homered for Pittsburgh, which has won four of six. Chase DeJong (6-2) got the win for the Pirates.

Yadier Molina and Pujols, who will retire at the end of the season, were honored in a 46-minute ceremony prior to their last regular-season home game.

Pujols ripped a two-run double in the opening inning, and Molina brought him in with a fly to left for a 3-0 lead.

The 42-year-old Pujols followed with his 23rd home run of the season in the third inning, a 409-foot drive off Roansy Contreras that tied the game at 4. Pujols is fourth on the all-time home run list behind Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762).

He’s also now tied with Ruth for second in RBI (2,214) behind Aaron (2,297).

Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright started their 328th game together. Wainwright (11-12) allowed six runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. Molina, Pujols and Wainwright were all removed from the game together so they could walk off as a trio with two outs in the fifth. Wainwright has yet to decide if he will come back next season.

The Cardinals, who have clinched their fifth NL Central title in the last 10 years, closed the regular-season with 26 wins in their last 34 home games.

SAYING GOODBYE

Pujols and Molina were given gifts from the team, including a set of golf clubs, a silver plate and one-of-a-kind artist drawings of each player. The two have a combined 41 years in the majors. Former teammates Matt Holiday, Ray Lankord and Jason Isringhausen were present for the ceremony.

ANOTHER GOODBYE

Hall of Fame sportswriter Rick Hummel worked his last home game. Hummel, who has covered the Cardinals for the last 51 years for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is retiring after this season.

The 76-year-old Hummel has covered 42 All-Star games and 35 World Series.

KIDDIE CORPS

The Pirates have 11 players under the age of 25 on their roster. The average of the 28-player team is 25.8.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: C Tyler Heineman was activated from the 7-day Injured List list before the game. C/INF Zack Collins was placed on the 10-day Injured List with a non-COVID illness.

UP NEXT

RHP Mitch Keller (5-12, 3.92) will start against the Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series on Monday in Pittsburgh. Keller has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 18 of 21 starts since coming off the disabled list on May 31. The Cardinals have yet to announce a starter.