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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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Roger Dorn throws out the first pitch on fateful anniversary

Roger Dorn poses with Indians fans before the game. (Image courtesy of http://twitter.com/tribetalk)

Roger Dorn threw out the first pitch today in Cleveland, which also happens to be the 12th anniversary of Major League: Back To The Minors‘ theatrical release.

Harry Doyle said his pitch was juuuuuuust a bit outside, but personally I think his vision is getting bad.

It’s worth noting that Dorn is one of only four Major Leaguers to appear in all three films — him, coach Duke Temple, Pedro Cerrano and Doyle.

— Lou Brown



Did you know … Fleer pulled Pedro Cerrano’s baseball card from its 1989 set while fixing the Billy Ripken FF error?

Did you know Fleer pulled this card from its 1989 baseball card set while fixing the Billy Ripken error?

Pedro Cerrano appeared on card No. 402 until someone spotted him and replaced him with Dave Clark. It was a change that was so subtle it didn’t even require a change to the alphabetical order on the checklist.

(We heard that Fleer’s CEO just couldn’t allow the Tribe’s voodoo warrior on a card — he thought it gave off the wrong impression to youngsters. Little did he know what was on the knob of Ripken’s bat. But then that’s all just an urban myth, anyway … right?)

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Will you find these in 2010 Upper Deck baseball card packs?

Since Upper Deck has decided to go all renegade and use MLB logos on its 2010 baseball card set — a move that has the attention of Major League Baseball — I just want to know one thing …

Will any of the 1990 buyback cards inserted into packs look anything like this one?

I still haven’t found a Pedro Cerrano card in any of the backs I have purchased … what about you?

— Lou Brown



I have another reason to believe in calisthenics (and you can guess what I think of this one)

dorninscribed

Lou Brown has been known to pick up an autograph or two — call them mementos of my team — but I’m not sure if this one (sold on eBay from JG Autographs Inc.) will join the ol’ collection.

It’s not because I already own three Corbin Bernsen-signed … err Roger Dorn … items.

And it’s not because I don’t dislike the idea of inscriptions from the film — or that this one’s a tad overwhelming.

It’s just that I do believe in calisthenics.



Exclusive Discovery: The long lost 1990 Upper Deck Major League cards

1990UDparkman2 copy

Hot off the heels of yesterday’s landmark — some might say exclusive (but it’s much, much bigger than that) — find, we have gotten our hands on the cards that were intended to be in the 1990 Upper Deck baseball set.

These feature the stars of Major League II — a few guys you have heard of and, based on the box office attendance, some guys you haven’t.

(We won’t mention that the sequel came in 1994 — Major League II documents my squad’s second pennant-winning season, which is firmly 1989.)

— Lou Brown

See the rest of the “missing” 1990 cards after the jump.

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