Willard Brown

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Note: This page links to Hall of Fame outfielder Willard Brown. For the former major league first baseman and catcher who played from 1887 to 1894, click here.

WillardBrown.jpg

Willard Jessie Brown
(Ese Hombre or Home Run)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006

Biographical Information[edit]

“Brown is what we called a Sunday player... Willard liked to play on Sundays when we had a full house. If the stands were full you couldn’t get him out. He could play baseball as good as he wanted to. If the stands were half empty, you might find Brown loafing that day. In fact, he didn’t play on rainy or cloudy days. That’s why we called him Sonny. He loved to play on sunny days and before big crowds. And he was a real crowd pleaser.” - Sammie Haynes, to Larry Lester and Sammy Miller, Black Baseball in Kansas City

A Negro Leagues star, Hall of Fame outfielder Willard Brown played just briefly in the majors with the St. Louis Browns.

Brown began his career with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1935 and played with them for more than a decade, missing time while serving in the Army during World War II. At age 32, he was signed by the Browns in July 1947, along with Hank Thompson. He made his big league debut on July 19th and, four days later, he went 4-for-5 against the New York Yankees. His home run on August 13th was the first hit by a black player in the history of the American League; it was an inside-the-park shot off future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser of the Detroit Tigers. Brown hit just .179 in 21 games and was let go by St. Louis.

An article in the 1948 Sporting News Guide (page 341) reported that he lead the Puerto Rican League in 1947 in batting average, .432; home runs, 27; RBI, 86; and runs scored, 79. He returned to the Negro Leagues and later found success in the minors in the Texas League. When playing baseball in Puerto Rico, Brown was known as "Ese Hombre" which, translated to English, would be "That Man".

Negro Leagues Career Statistics[edit]

Year Team League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB BA SLG
.
1935 Kansas City Monarchs independent 5 17 4 9 1 0 3 3 1 2 .529 1.118
1936 Kansas City Monarchs independent 3 10 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 .200 .200
1937 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 47 174 40 61 8 8 8 30 9 14 .351 .626
1938 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 32 118 20 41 8 3 4 16 16 7 .341 .568
1939 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 24 94 11 33 10 2 1 12 6 2 .351 .532
1940 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
1941 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 29 111 24 37 6 4 3 24 6 10 .333 .541
1942 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 36 147 28 50 7 3 5 28 3 9 .340 .531
1943 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 26 96 17 31 4 0 4 15 2 5 .323 .490
1944 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250
1945 military service
1946 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 58 230 47 80 21 7 5 42 13 6 .348 .565
1947 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 50 211 38 71 3 5 2 22 1 3 .336 .427
1948 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 66 262 65 98 20 5 18 13 24 .374 .695
.
Totals 13 seasons 378 1478 297 514 88 37 53 194 71 82 .348 .565
' Per 162 g 2.33 162 633 127 220 38 16 23 83 30 35 .348 .565

Source: Committee on African-American Baseball

Notable Achievements[edit]

Related Sites[edit]