|The gold "bling" in Clint Brown's front teeth|
provided Senators batters with a "tell" to
what pitch was coming.
Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in
sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the
players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball
and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as
I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the
1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those
cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.
In the “Scribbled by Scribes” digest column in the June 25, 1942, The Sporting News, Shirley Povich
of the Washington Post was quoted from a recent feature he’d written about
pitcher Clint Brown.
in the American League for 15 years, with the Indians, the White Sox and thence
back to the Indians, but he hasn’t started a ball game since 1936. These past
six seasons he has been earning his keep as a relief pitching specialist. His
record of putting in rush appearances in 81 ball games in 1939 stands as an
to be a starting pitcher. He had particular success against the Yankees and
Athletics, the two toughest teams of a decade ago. But for some reason he
couldn’t beat Washington. In fact, he was lucky to last out the first inning
against the Nats. Finally, manager Roger Peckinpaugh bowed to the weight of
evidence and refused to start him against the Washington club.
until several years later, along about 1934, that Cleveland learned why Brown
was so habitually ineffective against Washington. It was all explained in great
detail by Sam Rice, who was traded to Cleveland by the Nats. Rice threw
complete illumination of the great secret of the Washington club’s ability to
to lick himself,’ said Rice. ‘Did you ever notice all those gold teeth in the
front of Brown’s mouth? Well, all the hitters on the Washington club noticed
‘em too. When Brown was going to throw a curve ball, his lips curled up and the
Washington hitters saw those gold teeth. We’d take a toe hold and bang the
curve we knew was coming.’
by that knowledge, Brown got sweet revenge on the Nats in successive years.
He’d bare his golden array and then cross up the hitters completely by fogging
a fast ball past their unwary bats. He enjoyed their confusion hugely, and
rarely missed a turn against the Nats thereafter.
The "Rice Revelation," does seem to have had an effect in Brown's success against the Senators. From 1930-33, Brown had a 1-5 record versus Washington, appearing in eight games. (He didn't face the Senators in 1928-29 when he first came up to the American League.)
Rice came over to the Indians prior to the 1942 season, and from 1934-42, Brown was 8-5 in 31 games against Washington.
observed that when, following his release by Cleveland, Brown announced that he
was retiring to his chicken farm, “he . . . became the envy of most ball
explained, “Just as retired prize fighters gravitate to the tavern and
restaurant business, the old ball players yearns for a chicken farm all his
own. Approach any ball player, suddenlike, and ask him what he’d like to do
when he’s through playing ball, and it’s even money that he’ll blurt out
compelling attraction for incipient omelettes? We don’t know,” Povich
confessed, “and we leave you to figure it out. We are simply reporting the
facts. The nation’s country side is dotted with chicken farms bossed by old
ball players who saved their dough to that end.”
|Despite pitching his entire big league career in|
the Golden Age of pre-war bubblegum cards,
Clint Brown appears only in the 1934-36