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The greatest Indians manager of them all, Lou Brown, dies at 70

By Joe L. Brown
For www.youhitlikeshit.com

CLEVELAND — Lou Brown, the gravelly voiced manager who led the Cleveland Indians to their first pennant in more than 40 years in 1988 has died after an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 70.

Brown, whose belief in calisthenics, sound un-flashy glove work and downright loathing of contract squabbles, kept him at the helm of the Toledo Mud Hens for 30 years, was hired for the job by General Manager Charlie Donovan, who had been promoted after the death of owner Donald Phelps.

Un-beknownst to Brown and Donovan, owner Rachel Phelps had intended to produce a team worthy of re-locating to Miami, but it was Brown’s daring managerial style and an eclectic mix of veterans and unknown talent like Willie Mays Hayes, Pedro Cerrano and Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn that led the Indians to the AL East title for the first time since 1954.

Brown’s Tribe defeated the New York Yankees in a playoff game on a bunt by catcher Jake Taylor, which meant the team finished with a 93-70 record in his dream season. Brown told reporters that “there are two or three potential all-stars” on his roster, but it was his managing of that talent that was vital for the Tribe’s success. One example? Brown discovered that Vaughn’s wildness was a result of poor eyesight, propelling the former California Penal Leaguer into one of the game’s greatest success stories.

Brown often admitted that he wasn’t “one for inspirational addresses” and he was known for wasting sports writers’ time when they irked him. One of his great thrills in life was a simple one, grilling burgers.

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What if I, Lou Brown, had a 1989 Donruss baseball card?

pg2-mem-front-brown

My Cleveland Indians never got any respect, despite a pair of division titles and a couple of postseason runs.

And then we were broken up via free agency so Rachel Phelps could make a buck.

And the ultimate sign of disrespect is that we never appeared on any real baseball cards.

But what if I, Lou Brown, had a card? Well, I do — sort of.

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