Help Solve This Baseball Photo’s Mysteries

A St. Louis Browns Home Game Sportman's Park, St. Louis Sometime during WWII ~ But what are the other details?

A St. Louis Browns Home Game
Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis
Sometime during WWII
~ But what are the other details?

We found this World War II photo of the St. Browns performing a rundown play on an unidentified player from an unknown American League opponent tonight. It was among a group of pictures in one of those column stories sponsored most likely by one those Advertising-Trackier-Trojan-Horse-Loader sites. This history tempter site was called something like “rare photos from WWII”. The photo above was the only one about baseball, but it just happened be my old MLB favorites, the St. Louis Browns – and I never had seen it before.

I’m only guessing it was the 1944 Browns’ AL championship year, but the only things we known for sure are: (1) It is the St. Louis Browns in the field; and (2) The venue is unmistakably old Sportsman’s Park. That field scoreboard, even without the name “St. Louis” being clearly present, is also a no doubter.

If it’s 1944, the catcher is either Frank Mancuso or Red Hayworth. The cut-of man behind the retreating runner probably is the 3rd baseman, either Mark Christman or Ellis Clary. The shortstop probably came over to cover 3rd base. If he did, it may be Vern Stephens, but it’s impossible to tell. The unidentified umpire has him covered pretty well in the picture.

No ideas come to me about the name or team of the runner. He may be wearing the number 2, but that could be the second of a two-digit number cannot see.

Hey, Bill Hickman! You are our SABR guy on ancient baseball photos. Do you happen to have some or all of the answers we seek? – And that call also goes out to our fellow members in both the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and the Eddie Gaedel Society! _ Do any of you visually knowledgeable people know the answers we seek here?

Have a cup of coffee and think about it. If we really need to solve any mysteries on a pleasant Sunday morning, let it be one of these – the baseball fun kind.

ADDENDUM 1, 9/13/15, 12:00 PM, CDT: Mike Vance e-mailed me an important set of facts that I could not see with own eyes: “The scoreboard says they are playing New York. Snuffy Stirnweiss wore number 2 for them in 1944.” Mike also notes that New York closed their 1944 season with the Browns in St. Louis. -Thanks, Mike.

ADDENDUM 2, 9/13/15, 3:05 PM, CDT: Keith Olbermann e-mailed the following link to what appears to be the game. Check out the Yankees time at bat in the top of the 3rd with Stirnweiss, who wore number 2.):

http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1944/B10010SLA1944.htm

Olbermann added his own fitting comment: “The term “mystery” is overused.”

Thanks, Keith.

ADDENDUM 3, 9/13/15, 3:30 PM, Bill Hickman posted this confirmation of Olbermann’s information with these remarks in the comment section which follows this article:

“Think I may have it this time. Stanfromtacoma’s hint about large crowd size got me to thinking about the pennant race. On Sunday, October 1, 1944, the Yankees played the Browns at Sportsmen’s Park in front of 35, 518 cash customers (37,815 total) in a day game. The Yankee’s Stuffy Stirnweiss (#2) was out at home (third to catcher third to catcher) on a fielder’s choice in the top of the third inning. With the scoreboard clock showing about 2:25, that would probably be about the right timing. The game started at 2 pm, midwest time. The whole game only lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes.

“The third baseman for the Browns that day was Paul Christman and the catcher was Ray Hayworth. The third base umpire was Jim Boyer.

“Bill, if you have a larger version of this mystery photo, you might want to compare the shot of the umpire with the photo of Jimmy Boyer found on the following webpage to see if it matches: http://tinyurl.com/3seax65 “

Thanks, Bill, for that diligent second breath pursuit of the truth.

And thanks to all of you who care enough about baseball history to feast upon this kind of dedication to the discovery of the arcane.

______________________________

eagle

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5 Responses to “Help Solve This Baseball Photo’s Mysteries”

  1. Bill Hickman Says:

    Bill – I tried, but struck out on this one. If knowing my failed approach benefits anyone, here it is. Given the socks on the trapped runner, I assume that he had to be with the Tigers, Yankees, A’s, or Senators. All the other AL teams of that era had striped socks or white socks. (It couldn’t have been the Cardinals, either). Then I looked up the players who wore uniform #2 on those teams during the 1941-45 period. I did a newspaper search individually on those names plus Browns plus rundown. For a moment, I thought I’d nailed it, when I found that the Tigers’ Dick Wakefield was caught in a rundown between third and home on August 25, 1944 in a game with the Browns, but that was in Briggs Stadium, not Sportsman’s Park. Did not come across any other hit. Also tried searching on Sportsman’s Park plus Browns plus rundown for the 1941 period, but had no success with that approach either. I was using newspaper.com Perhaps other sources would work better.

  2. Bill Hickman Says:

    Meant to say that the second search was also the 1941-45 period.

  3. stanfromtacoma Says:

    There are a lot of people in the stands for a Browns game. I’d start by looking for the best attended day games for the Browns in the WW ll era.

  4. Bill Hickman Says:

    Think I may have it this time. Stanfromtacoma’s hint about large crowd size got me to thinking about the pennant race. On Sunday, October 1, 1944, the Yankees played the Browns at Sportsmen’s Park in front of 35, 518 cash customers (37,815 total) in a day game. The Yankee’s Stuffy Stirnweiss (#2) was out at home (third to catcher third to catcher) on a fielder’s choice in the top of the third inning. With the scoreboard clock showing about 2:25, that would probably be about the right timing. The game started at 2 pm, midwest time. The whole game only lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes.

    The third baseman for the Browns that day was Paul Christman and the catcher was Ray Hayworth. The third base umpire was Jim Boyer.

    Bill, if you have a larger version of this mystery photo, you might want to compare the shot of the umpire with the photo of Jimmy Boyer found on the following webpage to see if it matches: http://tinyurl.com/3seax65

  5. mark schweer Says:

    The Browns third baseman is Mark Christman, not Paul. Paul was the college HOF QB from Missouri (Mark’s brother).

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