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Some Long-Overdue Attention for the St. Louis Browns

The St. Louis Browns existed for half a century. During much of that time, they were a punchline. Now they’re even less than that — barely a footnote in MLB history. They appeared in only one World Series, in 1944, and that has always been considered to be an “asterisk pennant” because most of the sport’s best talent had been depleted by military service in World War II. (Additional footnote: That Series, which the Browns lost in six games to their intra-city rivals, the Cardinals, was the last Series to be played exclusively in one stadium.) The Browns’ franchise heirs, the Orioles, have worn Browns throwback uniforms only once, in 2003 — and they didn’t even get the design right.

Here on Uni Watch, we’ve had only two requests for Browns-themed membership cards over the years — one from reader Mark Faron in 2012 and other from reader Stephen Strohl in 2007. As you can see in that last link, Strohl’s card was based on Browns owner Bill Veeck’s Eddie Gaedel stunt, which is probably the thing for which the Browns are best known at this point.

So I was intrigued when the great Flagstaff Films Twitter feed recently posted a some color Browns spring training footage from 1940. Check this out:

(Note that these are two of three video segments. We’ll get to the third one in a minute.)

As I watched this footage, I found myself drawn to the patch on the players’ left sleeve. I was vaguely aware that the Browns had worn a team logo patch during this period, but I didn’t have a clear sense of what it looked like or what it symbolized. (I had always been more interested in their Brownie patch from 1952 and ’53.) After a bit of research, here’s what I learned about that patch:

1. The patch depicts a crusader on horseback. Here’s a closer look at it:

2. The crusader depicted on the patch is Saint Louis IX, who was the King of France from 1226 through 1270, and after whom the city of St. Louis is named. There’s a statue of him in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, which served as the basis for the Browns’ patch (click to enlarge):

Multiple sources indicate that this statue, which was erected in 1906, was the city’s primary visual signifier prior to the construction of the Gateway Arch.

3. The Browns wore the Louis IX patch for only four seasons — 1937 through 1940.

I confess that I didn’t know any of this until a few days ago. And I learned all of it because of that Browns footage posted on Twitter. Educational!

Now, as for that third video segment, this one isn’t from spring training. It’s pregame footage from the Browns’ 1940 home opener against the White Sox. I especially love the dugout jackets both teams are wearing, beginning around the eight-second mark:

Great stuff. How many days again until pitchers and catchers?

(Big thanks to @NCSox for bringing the Browns footage to my attention, and to @EdSandheinrich for info on the Louis IX statue.)

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Click to enlarge

New ESPN column (for real this time): My annual Uni Watch Super Bowl Preview, which I initially thought was going to be published yesterday, is now available, with lots of uni-related tidbits about this Sunday’s big game (including the fact that the Rams are poised to become the first team ever to wear different helmet designs in the conference championship round [above left] and the Super Bowl [above right]). Enjoy!

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MLB 150 update: Remember that MLB 150th-anniversary sleeve patch that we got a peek at earlier this week? A source has provided me with some new info on that.

The sleeve patch will be worn on game jerseys all season long (not a surprise, obviously) and also appear on game caps on Opening Day, but not for the full season. My source says he thinks all of the patches will have the red-white-blue color scheme (unlike the MLB logos that appear on jerseys and caps, which are executed in team colors [that breakdown is out of date, but you get the idea]), but he’s not 100% sure.

Regarding the jerseys, the patch will presumably be worn on the chest of the Rockies’ black alternate vests, which is MLB’s only remaining vest design. It’s not yet clear if it will be worn on the Reds’ 15 throwbacks.

I’ll keep providing more info on this as it becomes available. Stay tuned.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

LAST CALL for the raffle: Today is the last day to enter our latest raffle, in which the good folks at Vintage Brand will allow one lucky Uni Watch reader to choose any item from the Vintage Brand site (like the Super Bowl XIV T-shirt shown above, for example, which is from their Super Bowl shop).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 7pm Eastern today. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck!

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The Ticker
By Yianni Varonis

Baseball News: New uniforms for Marshall featuring truncated piping (from multiple readers). … Here’s something new: a scratch-off poster of MLB ballparks. … The logo for the 2019 Southern League All-Star Game has been revealed.

NFL News: Did Saints HC Sean Payton wear a Roger Goodell clown shirt to his end-of-season press conference? (From Christopher Falvey.) … Here’s why Patriots players chose their jersey numbers (paywalled). …. This article argues that the Super Bowl logo, like the NFL itself, has become corporate and soulless. … Ahead of the Super Bowl, the online video game Fortnite is again offering jersey “skins” of every NFL team. … Steelers WR Antonio Brown has been vocal about his desire to be traded and expressed as much by posting a Photoshopped image of himself in a 49ers uniform. … Back in 1971, the Broncos had some incredible striped end zones.

College Football News: TCU unveiled new uniforms for next season with a video, plenty of photos, and background information (from multiple readers).

Hockey News: Here’s an analysis of the sweater numbers that the Maple Leafs have retired, at least one number that the team has not, and the most popular numbers retired across the NHL (from Michael Duffy).

NBA News: A Midwest artist has been designing game posters for every Bucks game this season, and most are really good (from multiple readers). … The Suns recently signed G Isaiah Canaan, who will wear No. 7 with the team (from Etienne Catalan). … Knicks C Enes Kantner, making his first appearance since being benched four games ago, checked into last night’s game and kissed the Knicks logo on the Madison Square Garden court.

College Hoops News: Pitt will wear 1980s throwbacks featuring a blue-and-yellow color scheme (from multiple readers). … Buried within this article is the tidbit that Nevada HC Eric Musselman has his staff wear polo shirts during games instead of suits “not just because it’s more comfortable but also because he thinks [team outfitter] Adidas might get more bang for its buck if it sees its logo every game” (from Alex Hale). … Ohio’s mascot, Rufus, will have a throwback look this week (from Kyle Arnott). … Reader Brian Hanson brought attention to Nebraska basketball’s reintroduction of its “Herbie” logo that misses the mark in a couple areas. … Marquette debuted alternate uniforms last night (from Sam Kissel). … Syracuse also unveiled alternates featuring the shorts the team wore during last year’s NCAA tournament. Its game with Boston College was color-vs.-color as Syracuse wore orange and BC went GFGS (from Jakob Fox and David Haberman).

Soccer News: We wrote earlier this week that the Portland Timbers have new kits. The goalkeepers also have four new options this season (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: The away jersey of Argentinian club, Rosario Central, may have leaked. … The United Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders 2 will now be rebranded as Tacoma Defiance. This could be what the team’s new jerseys will look like (from Alex Carson and Josh Hinton). … Here is one site’s opinion of the best team nicknames in soccer. … The United Soccer League 2’s Michigan Bucks are now the Flint City Bucks and have a new logo, which was voted on by local children.

Grab Bag: Fashion brand Zara has a new logo, and it’s been met with tepid reviews. … American Airlines is replacing its employees’ uniforms, but the design process is taking longer than expected. … Speaking of Airlines, Air India will adorn each of its airplanes with a logo commemorating the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

Comments (79)

    I surprised you didn’t cover the tcu uni unveil more than just a mention in the cfb ticker

    their site is pretty neat.. i like he way you when you scroll through it just slides the image of the new jersey over the one you were originally looking at.

    i can’t be the only one that gets a Black Panther/Wakanda Forever vibe from these

    What I found fascinating in the Browns footage: Game time 1:54. That would be about 5 innings now-a-days.

    I must be old. When I watch the Browns footage, all I see is Dr. Hardy from General Hospital fame. Berardino only person ever to win a World Series (’48 Indians) and have a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

    Thank you so much for highlighting our beloved Browns.
    This is a club rich in wonderful stories and history.
    The St. Louis Browns Historical Society is enjoying a renewed interest and we invite all of you to join us.

    The Browns may be largely forgotten by some, but Bill Veeck’s famous “Veeck as in Wreck” covers a lot of stories from his years as owner, including Berardino’s concern about getting hit by a pitch that could ruin his actor’s face.

    I am upset with myself that it took me as long as it did to realize that Baltimore got both the MLB Browns and the NFL Browns (Ignoring the “expansion” Ravens, etc.) .

    so if the new Seattle NHL team is inexplicably named the Browns, it will eventually move to Balto too, right?

    Funny story…back in the mid-90’s Baltimore had a franchise in the Canadian Football League. They originally named the team the Baltimore Colts, and the NFL sued (of course), and they were forced to change their nickname. Their first attempt to rename the team was the “Baltimore CFL Colts”, then just the temporary moniker Baltimore CFLs. (The whole story was kind of funny… a big slap-in-the-face F-U to the NFL, and in many ways it helped solidify the Baltimore fan base as anti-NFL because the NFL Colts deserted Baltimore for Indianapolis and then shunned Baltimore in favor of Jacksonville and Charlotte in the 1995 expansion.)

    Anyway, the team had a name-the-team contest (they eventually chose “Baltimore Stallions”), but my favorite entry was the “Baltimore RuffRiders”, which was really just a tongue-in-cheek poke at a league which already featured the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Rough Riders.

    Yep – in 1994 the Baltimore CFLers were “the horse with no name”.

    I have deep respect for the Baltimore fans for the way they embraced the Canadian game during that short period of U.S. expansion.

    Most CFL fans would like to forget the US expansion, but it basically helped keep the league afloat financially with expansion fees during those darker economic times for the league.

    Re: Super Bowl Logos
    Part of the joy of watching Super Bowl Highlights are seeing those terrific and colorful logos from the past. What they’re doing now is so stale that I wonder how long this will continue before someone realizes, “Wait, we can make this look better,” and save us from logo hell.

    One thing I realized too is that you can identify what happened in a Super Bowl according to those old logos almost without thinking about it. Now I have to think about what game that was, who was in it, what happened. Whenever I see an outline of Arizona I think “the Helmet Catch.” If I see XL I picture Randle-El throwing a pass to Hines Ward. Doesn’t apply anymore.

    New York Times had a pretty extensive article about the St. Louis Browns Historical Society & Fan Club maybe 20-25 years ago, really stuck with me.

    I believe they also referenced a similar group in Philadelphia that existed in remembrance of the Philly A’s.

    Bless them.

    “Did Saints HC Sean Payton wear a Roger Goodell clown shirt to his end-of-season press conference?”

    100 percent he did. Although then Patriots DC Matt Patricia wore the shirt two yeas ago, it is surprising to see an NFL HC engage in this big of a troll job on the commish.

    Did Saints HC Sean Payton wear a Roger Goodell clown shirt to his end-of-season press conference?

    Saints fan here. Yes, he probably did because Payton is a petulant child.

    Interesting on Marquette, it looks like the new uniform template (I think) changes the design a little

    If anyone is interested – the first of the springs training caps are up. Only one listed I found was for the Mariners.


    Going back to the Diamond Era name, using “COOLERA” technology with “MICROERA™”

    Thank God they have stitched logos on the front.

    Side patch is okay with the Cactus.

    It looks like we will see only a handful of new caps: Mariners, Nationals, and Marlins. And each of them will wear new spring training jerseys.

    I know the TCU jerseys are supposed to represent the scales on the Horned Frog, but all I see is Black Panther.

    Any one else?

    I can see it but I see it kinda as an updated version of the jersey that LT wore when he was there

    I am a big Syracuse fan and was at the SU-BC game last night. Didn’t even notice that the shorts were different, let alone the shoes. Talk about change for the sake of change. Or, change for the sake of Nike. Several times I have written the AD to ask about throwback uniforms, but have never even gotten a response. Worst uniforms in college hoops.

    On the topic of the Bucks posters, I especially like the Top Gun themed Mavericks one and the one where Milwaukee was playing Utah and the head was made entirely of jazz instruments!

    It may be first time there are different helmets designs for a team in Super Bowl and Conference Final for an NFL team.

    This has happened before in Canadian pro game. Got me thinking about how the 2013 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders wore 3 different designs for their 3 playoff games.

    Vintage alternate helmet at home in Western Semi-Final (with green pants):


    Were wearing white road helmets back then. Western Final in Calgary:


    Wore their primary home uniform in Grey Cup:


    “The Browns’ franchise heirs, the Orioles, have worn Browns throwback uniforms only once, in 2003 — and they didn’t even get the design right.”

    That game was played IN St. Louis against the Cardinals back in 2003. It has always been my understanding that the “Host Team” (Cardinals) provide the uniforms for Retro-unis Days.

    A lot can be blamed on Orioles management, but probably not his uniform error.

    Though, as a life-long Orioles fan, I too have wondered why there is so little acknowledgement of the Browns, especially since the whole “Throwback” concept is so trendy now.

    Same with Nats, down the road. Would love to see a nod to the Expos.

    Great to see those 1940 Browns uniforms in action (in color!) today.

    I sort of get why the Orioles have shunned their Browns heritage; the Baltimore Orioles name has a distinguished record in major- and minor-league ball dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. The Browns name has no such history or resonance for Baltimore. And given how badly the Orioles franchise tends to screw up literally anything it attempts to do, other than that one time it built a ballpark, I’m OK with the team keeping its hands off the Browns heritage. But that puts the onus on the Cardinals to do more Browns throwbacks whenever they host an interleague game against the Orioles, and to get the uniforms right when they do so.

    As for the Nats, I think they get the balance about right between paying homage to the city’s deep big-league and Negro League history and acknowledging the Expos franchise history. Ultimately Expos history belongs in Montreal; MLB will surely expand again, and there’s a good chance that big-league ball will return to Montreal. I dearly hope that it does, and when it does, I dearly hope that the new team 1) Is not named the Expos; but 2) Takes ownership of honoring and celebrating the Expos history.

    Maybe Baltimore can break out some Brewers jerseys the next time Milwaukee is in town, to honor their start!

    You should take a look the really cool documentary “The St. Louis Browns: The Team Baseball Forgot” which was produced by the local PBS station in St. Louis (Jon Hamm is the narrator). Great film. As a Cardinals fan, I’d love to see them so more to honor the “other” St. Louis team.

    That Browns patch looks great! P.S. in the NBA ticker, the Wolves signed Canaan (previously of the Suns), not the Suns. I never comment on mistakes/typos, but given I’m a disgruntled Suns fan right now, I was taken aback that the Suns would have re-signed him.

    Browns crest is outstanding – I especially like that it has nine stripes as befits a baseball insignia.

    “2.The crusader depicted on the patch is Saint Louis IX…”

    I’ve never heard of Louis IX (more commonly known as “Saint Louis”) being referred to as “Saint Louis IX”. I don’t think it’s used at all…

    agreed. I’ve seen churches and schools named either St. Louis (w/o a number) or San Luis Rey though. as a boy, I played football against a St. Louis School located in a Denver suburb. Unsurprisingly their mascot was the Cardinals

    The St. Louis Browns have a pop-culture uniform distinction. In one of Bing Crosby’s most notable roles (Fr. O’Malley in Going My Way in 1944), he wore a link which he then gave away. I’m not aware of an earlier instance of team attire being worn on film in a non-sports context.

    To add another Uni-Watch connection, there was a radio adaptation of link which featured the actor Paul Lukas.

    The Browns made an appearance as the White Sox’s opponents in the opening scene of Eight Men Out.

    From the TCU Uniform hype site:

    FINDING PAYDIRT: HI-Vis numbers encased in a double kiss cut represent Opportunity. The black horizon stripe represents the landscape of the players and the white piping tucked under represents the paydirt beneath the surface.

    That’s authentic frontier gibberish. I have absolutely no idea what any of that means.

    The uniforms look OK, but the detail around the neck looks like a bit of a clown costume. But I get the horned frog tie-in, and it’s more understated than prior attempts.

    I imagine 1. they don’t want to, 2. they’d need permission from the NFL, and 3. they still need them for practice, but theoretically with the bye week and it being the last game of the season, wouldn’t the patriots be able to paint their helmets for a throwback Superb Owl?

    Can you clarify a uniform rule for me? The NFL has a one shell helmet rule. Does that mean one COLOR shell or one shell period? The Rams did a lot of back and forth helmet changes this year, white horns/facemask to yellow horns/navy facemask. – Seems like a lot of jumping through hoops for a “look” – A lot of trashed horns, facemasks on and off. Just curious if you know. I’d like to know if the Rams equipment guy is thinking, “yellow horns this week? I just slapped the white ones on for the last game!” Make up your mind!

    It’s one shell, period. And yes, they swap out the horn decals and facemasks as needed. And yes, that’s a lot of work for the eq guys.

    So, theoretically, the Patriots could paint the shell white and add the throwback decals and use them as throwback helmets? And obviously bring back the red/white throwbacks?

    Well, they could do that without violating the one-shell rule, yes.

    But there would be lots of other hurdles. They’d be creating a uniform that isn’t currently part of their wardrobe, which basically means they’d be *out* of uniform.

    The St. Louis Browns footage is outstanding!
    I wonder if the players were being asked to remove their caps, or they just didn’t out of the custom of the day.

    Is Joske’s Mens Store still around?!


    Looks like Joske’s was sold to Dillard’s in 1987.

    Another San Antonio outfield advertiser, KABC radio, is now known as KKYX (and the KABC call letters can be found on both a radio and TV station in Los Angeles).

    My favorite ballcap of all-MLB-time is this early 1900s St. Louis Browns: link

    I got a real nice version made by Cooperstown BallCap Co, when they had an MLB license.

    Did Bill Veeck bring the Brownie the elf with him from Cleveland? What was it that made it so popular at the time that two major sports franchises would use something like that?

    I know the elf is embraced in Cleveland still, but not much elsewhere.

    Was it a sign of the times?

    Brownie the elf does for sure, but what I wonder about its use in St. Louis. I’m familiar with the history in Cleveland, but was St. Louis a big Irish town then?

    I honestly didn’t know it was ever used for anyone but the Cleveland Browns.

    Re generic Super Bowl logos…Roger Goodell has taken every single thing and made it about further monetizing the product. Even the Super Bowl logo is stale and generic in order to make it about the league and not the host city.

    Goodell made more money in his first year as commissioner than anyone ever needs. He could have used this time to build a legacy. He could have been a hero for football fans everywhere. It might have gone up against some owners, but even if he was fired he still would have piles of money for the rest of his life.

    Instead, he’s only been focused on making the league richer. Now, his “legacy” is that he’s made 31 rich people even richer. What a waste.

    In other words, he’s doing precisely the job he was hired to do.

    As I’ve said before, today’s sports commissioners are not guardians of the sport and they are not concerned about quaint notions like “legacies.” They are essentially CEOs answering to a board of directors (i.e., the owners) — no more, no less.

    Oh, I don’t disagree. It’s the way things are set up. It’s just a shame that it has to be run that way. Thanks for all you do.

    The NFL’s 75th anniversary in 1994 started my uni obsession. I really liked the 75th patch. I loved the throwback uniforms worn by the teams. Even link wore fantastic throwbacks. It was that season that made the NFL my favourite sporting event. I learned all about the history and tradition of American football. It caught me up to everything I had missed, if you will.

    I remember being beyond excited to see what the NFL would do for the 100th anniversary. Here we are…twenty five years later. I know the world has bigger problems I should feel this disappointed over and more. But, I feel completely disgusted.

    Meanwhile, I know it’s terribly simple, I really like what MLB has done to celebrate their milestone year! Sports enterprises are stampeding towards an artificially bright, shiny, glittery future. But, it’s a fool’s gold. Thank you, MLB for the beautiful less is more approach. And, thank you Cincinnati Reds for taking the time time to show a new generation of fans the origins of their fandom. They’ll better enjoy your future when they understand your past.

    The Browns legacy has been rekindled by the St. Louis Browns Historical Society & Fan Club (contact them at link) who have published an award winning book with a foreword by Bob Costas and an awarding winning documentary shown on PBS that was narrated by Joh Hamm. The Fan Club host an Annual Reunion luncheon attended by over 300 fans as well as Quarterly Roundtables. The next Roundtable is February 23rd and focuses on the little know fact that the 3rd and 4th Afro-Americans to play in the majors played for the Browns in July 1947 and it was the first time that two Afro-Americans played together in the same game. The Roundtable will highlight the Negro Leagues with several former players in attendance and also highlight the 100th birthday of Jackie Robinson. A lot of great discussion and memorabilia to share.

    On June 13th the Fan Club will partner with the Gateway Grizzlies and again have a Browns evening where the players dress in 1949 throwback uniforms to honor Roy Sievers. A Sievers bobblehead will also be given away.

    Regarding the Browns logo which is one of the most iconic logos in all of baseball history. At the top of the logo is King Louis IX whose statue reigns over Art Hill in Forest Park and was the long time symbol of St. Louis. The eight stars reflect the eight teams in the American League at that time and the nine columns represent the nine players on the field. The logo came about as a result of a contest held in 1936 by Browns owner Donald Barnes.

    Great stuff on the St. Louis Browns! To answer your question, Paul, the Oakland A’s pitchers and catchers will be the first to report to spring training on Monday, February 11. Right around the corner!

    Forgive me if it’s already been address, but in your ESPN Super Bowl article, you say the Patriots are wearing white for the “second consecutive Super Bowl.” It’s their third straight wearing white.

    For my money the Ram’s blue and gold Unis are the league’s best ever. The colors pop like none other, and the horned sleeves are ingenious. It brings back the 70’s era of the Youngbloods, Lawrence McCutcheon, Vince Ferragamo and Fred Dryer! Too bad the Pats can’t go with their old school threads.

    Only problem is that the Rams Horns striping on the shoulders of the current jerseys are substantially thinner than the original incarnation worn through the St. Louis years. Skinny shoulder stripes/horns really do not look that well.

    When I saw that Browns Crusader patch, it made me think of the MLB HEALTH Patch from around the same era. link

    They’re both shields with strong vertical elements and a star field on top. Makes me wonder if there was some connection, or if that was just a style of the time.

    I have always loved the 3-dimensional numbers on the Browns’ jerseys; what a failure by the Orioles in not even trying to replicate them.

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