Joe Brown (executive)
Joe LeRoy Brown
The son of stage and movie comedian Joe E. Brown, who was himself a huge baseball fan and owner of a minor league club, Brown started in baseball as assistant business manager for the Lubbock Hubbers in 1939 and was president of the Waterloo Hawks in 1941. He had wanted to have a career as a player, but an elbow injury ended those dreams before he could sign his first professional contract; he had also played college football at UCLA. He then spent three and a half years in the Army Air Corp during World War II before serving as publicity director for the Hollywood Stars from 1946 to 1947. He was the GM for the Zanesville Indians in 1949 and the Waco Pirates in 1950. After a stint as general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans in 1951, he was president of the team from 1952 to 1954.
Brown moved to the Pirates, doing special administrative and scouting jobs during 1954. Following the 1955 season in which Pittsburgh finished in last place, he succeeded Branch Rickey, who had served as his mentor over the years, as the team's GM. After acquiring Don Hoak, Smoky Burgess, Bill Virdon, Harvey Haddix, Dick Schofield, and Vinegar Bend Mizell and hiring Danny Murtaugh as manager, the club went on to win the 1960 World Series. The Pirates won another World Series in 1971.
Brown retired as GM after the 1976 campaign but returned to the helm nearly a decade later. He was interim general manager of the Pirates from May to November 1985, when Syd Thrift took over.
Brown passed away in 2010 at age 91.
|Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager
Hardy Peterson & Joseph O'Toole
- Rob Edelman: "Joe L. Brown", in Clifton Blue Parker and Bill Nowlin, ed.: Sweet '60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 220-225. ISBN 978-1-93359-948-9