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Friday, September 14, 2012

Baltimore Browns?

This ramble is brought to your courtesy of the new Bill Veeck biography I've been reading:
For three seasons Bill Veeck was the owner of the St. Louis Browns. 

I've always been interested in the histories of sports franchises.  Maybe it has something to do with growing up in Chicago.  
      All of our teams have been around forever.  The Cubs date back to 1876 and have been called the Cubs since 1903.  

The White Sox have been around since 1901. 

 The Monsters of the Midway, the Chicago Bears, were founded in 1919 as the Decatur Staleys and have been called the Bears since 1922. 

The Chicago Blackhawks joined the NHL in 1926. 

 Even the Chicago Bulls, the city's most recent franchise, has been around since 1966, just about the time I got into sports as a kid.

     So growing up with that kind of sports stability, albeit mostly losing stability, it intrigued me when I started learning that other sports teams had moved around.  My memory is always foggy but I'll bet it was through baseball cards that I first learned that the Braves used to reside up in Wisconsin and that the Swingin' A's played in KC.  Keep in mind that this was way before both cable and internet.  We're talking five or six TV channels and the World Book encylopedia days.
     So back to Bill Veeck.  Bill would have liked to have driven the Cardinals out of St. Louis but what ended up happening is that the Browns were driven out instead and he was forced to sell his share in the team.  In 1954 the Browns moved to Baltimore and were renamed the Orioles.   The Orioles name was not new.  There had been an American Association and National League team with that name just before the turn of the 20th century.  For two seasons, 1901-1902, there was a new Orioles team that was part of the American League.  They went north in 1903, first as the Highlanders and then the New York Yankees.  The new Orioles are the team that exists today and is having their first winning season since 1997.

     What occurred to me while reading about the Browns move to Baltimore was a coincidence that came about just over a half century later.  In 1996 another Browns team,  in another sport, the Cleveland Browns of the NFL moved to Baltimore.  Negotiations between the league and the city of Cleveland resulted in the city being promised a new franchise and the rights to the name "Browns".  

Through a contest fans in Baltimore chose the new team name, the Ravens.

      So Baltimore has two major sport teams relocated from different cities at different times that were both called the Browns.  How unlikely is that?  
      By the way, Baltimore had another NFL team before the Ravens ...
      Maybe another time.  I'm sure you're tired.  

1 comment:

  1. Odd I never thought about that Browns thing. As to the other Baltimore NFL team there are still diehard Colts fans who are annoyed (using a softer word than how they really feel) that the team quite literally snuck out of town in the middle of the night. For a very brief time (before the Browns move to become the Ravens) Baltimore had a CFL (Canadian Football League) team that started out as the "Colts" but due to the NFLs claim to the name had to change. They were the Stallions.

    As a fan of DC baseball I wish the Senators 2.0 hadn't moved to TX to become the Rangers, but am glad that finally after 33 years another team (Montreal Expos) moved to DC to become the "Nationals".


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