1951 St. Louis Browns season

1951 St. Louis Browns season

The 1951 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing eighth in the American League with a record of 52 wins, and 102 losses.

Regular season

Bill Veeck

Bill Veeck, the manager of St. Louis Browns had Leroy Satchel Paige sign with the Browns July 17, 1951. The owner Veeck immediately announced to everyone that the negro pitcher will begin the following night during the game against the Senators.[1] In his first game back in the major leagues, on July 18, 1951, against the Washington Senators, Paige pitched six innings of shutout baseball, but was roughed up in the seventh, giving up three runs. He ended the season with a 3-4 record and a 4.79 ERA.

Another of Veeck's promotions included the signing of Eddie Gaedel. Gaedel gained immortality in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, August 19. Weighing just 65 pounds (29.5 kg), and 3 feet 7 inches (1.09 m) tall, he became the shortest player in the history of the major leagues. He stood 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 m) shorter than Jon Rauch, whose height of 6'11" (2.11 m) made him the tallest person to play in a major league game. He had been secretly signed by the Browns and put in uniform (complete with elf slippers & the number "⅛" on the back) as a publicity stunt.

Gaedel popped out of a papier-mache cake between games of a doubleheader to celebrate the American League's 50th anniversary, and as a Falstaff Brewery promotion. Falstaff, and the fans, had been promised a "festival of surprises" by Veeck. Before the second game got underway, the press agreed that the "midget-in-a-cake" appearance had not been up to Veeck's usual promotional standard. Falstaff personnel, who had been promised national publicity for their participation, were particularly dissatisfied. Keeping the surprise he had in store for the second game to himself, Veeck just meekly apologized.

Gaedel entered the game between the Browns and Detroit Tigers in the first inning as a pinch hitter for leadoff batter Frank Saucier. Immediately, umpire Ed Hurley called for Browns manager Zack Taylor. Veeck and Taylor had the foresight to have a copy of Gaedel's contract on hand, as well as a copy of the Browns' active roster, which had room for Gaedel's addition.[2] Tigers pitcher Bob Cain walked him.[3] Jim Delsing pinch ran for Gaedel,[3] but did not score.

Ned Garver

In 1951, Ned Garver fashioned an outstanding season. Pitching for the Browns, Garver compiled a 20-12 record,[4] which was noteworthy considering the Browns lost 102 games. Garver also posted a 3.73 ERA. Out of the Browns' 52 total wins, Garver accounted for nearly 40 percent of them. Garver also led the American League in complete games with 24 in 1951, and when he pitched, he often batted sixth in the order rather than the customary ninth, compiling a .305 batting average with one home run.

Garver remains the only pitcher in American League history and modern baseball history (post-1920) to win 20 or more games for a team which lost 100 or more games in the same season and the only pitcher in Major League history to do so with a winning record.

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 98 56 .636 --
Cleveland Indians 93 61 .604 5
Boston Red Sox 87 67 .565 11
Chicago White Sox 81 73 .526 17
Detroit Tigers 73 81 .474 25
Philadelphia Athletics 70 84 .455 28
Washington Senators 62 92 .403 36
St. Louis Browns 52 102 .338 46

Notable transactions


1951 St. Louis Browns
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
OF Delsing, JimJim Delsing 131 449 112 .249 8 45
OF Coleman, RayRay Coleman 91 341 96 .282 5 55

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Lenhardt, DonDon Lenhardt 31 103 27 .262 5 18
Lehner, PaulPaul Lehner 21 67 9 .134 1 2
Wahl, KermitKermit Wahl 8 27 9 .333 0 3
Saucier, FrankFrank Saucier 18 14 1 .071 0 1
Gaedel, EddieEddie Gaedel 1 0 0 ---- 0 0


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Garver, NedNed Garver 33 246 20 12 3.73 84
Byrne, TommyTommy Byrne 19 122.2 4 10 3.82 57
Turley, BobBob Turley 1 7.1 0 1 7.36 5

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Kennedy, BillBill Kennedy 19 56 1 5 5.79 29

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Paige, SatchelSatchel Paige 23 3 4 5 4.79 48
Fannin, CliffCliff Fannin 7 0 2 0 6.46 11
Herrera, BobbyBobby Herrera 3 0 0 0 27.00 1

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Toronto Maple Leafs International League Joe Becker
AA San Antonio Missions Texas League Jo-Jo White
A Dayton Indians Central League Jim Crandall
B Wichita Falls Spudders Big State League Bruce Ogrodowski and Cecil McClung
B Anderson Rebels Tri-State League Len Schulte and Hillis Layne
C Pine Bluff Judges Cotton States League Bob Richards
C Aberdeen Pheasants Northern League Joe King, Jim Post and Bruce Ogrodowski
D Redding Browns Far West League Ray Perry
D Pittsburg Browns Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League Bill Enos
D Ada Herefords Sooner State League Stan Gallo
D Appleton Papermakers Wisconsin State League Joe Skurski and Paul Erickson



External links

  • 1951 St. Louis Browns team page at Baseball Reference
  • 1951 St. Louis Browns season at baseball-almanac.com