Posts Tagged ‘Game Attendance’

Home Attendance of the St. Louis Browns

December 18, 2013

Back in the day, before there were any residual incomes from television to drive fan interest in the game, baseball had to rely upon gate income and concession sales to cover the cost of very low player and administrative salaries and minimal maintenance of the club’s equipment, uniform, and venue expenses. It helped if an MLB club owned its own stadium.

1944: Just a Dream. Just a Dream. Just a Dream.

1944: Just a Dream. Just a Dream. Just a Dream.

The St. Louis Browns of the American League (1902-1953) did own their own game arena. It was a place known for most of its life as Sportsman’s Park. They also pocketed good side income by serving as landlord to the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League until they sold the place to their highly more successful same-city rivals in 1953, the last year of the Browns’ existence.

It was easy for the Browns to become dependent upon the sale of good ballplayers rather than the attainment of pennants as the unspoken priority plan for economic survival. The club could not draw the fans they needed to pay for a winning team on the field, so, in effect, if not by stated goal, they showcased and sold many of their best talents to wealthy clubs like the Yankees just to pay their bills and stay afloat. As a result, all hope spun as wasted motion in the mud. The St. Louis Browns were going nowhere “up” in the AL standings, except in 1921, when they got there honestly and fell a mere one game short of winning the pennant, and in 1944, when World War II and military draft conspired to leave the Browns with their only pennant winner against inferior competition.

In these 52 annual attendance figures from Baseball Almanac, pay special notice to how bad things got during the Great Depression years. 1935 was their worst year. The Browns drew only 80,922 fans for the season in 1935, To say the least, their per game average of 1,044 fans was both abysmal and unsustainable by today’s financial needs.

It reminds me of pitcher Ned Garver’s favorite line about poor Brownie game attendance during their last generation of air-gasping survival in the years that followed World War II.

“Our fans never booed us,” said Browns pitcher Ned Garver. “They wouldn’t dare. – We outnumbered them.”

St. Louis Browns Attendance1902 – 1953
Year Ballpark Name Attendance

Game Average

Season Total

A.L. Average

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

1907

1908

1909

1910

1911

1912

1913

1914

1915

1916

1917

1918

1919

1920

1921

1922

1923

1924

1925

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

1946

1947

1948

1949

1950

1951

1952

1953

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (III)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park IV

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

Sportsman’s Park (IV)

3,890

5,474

4,078

4,348

5,054

5,407

7,986

4,757

3,163

2,737

2,727

3,230

3,078

1,891

4,250

2,716

1,985

4,991

5,446

4,623

9,259

5,588

6,972

6,012

3,664

3,198

4,409

3,645

1,975

2,326

1,462

1,152

1,497

1,044

1,203

1,578

1,672

1,399

3,072

2,245

3,386

2,803

6,606

6,273

6,749

4,162

4,330

3,496

3,209

3,815

6,694

3,860

272,283

380,405

318,108

339,112

389,157

419,025

618,947

366,274

249,889

207,984

214,070

250,330

244,714

150,358

335,740

210,486

122,076

349,350

419,311

355,978

712,918

430,296

533,349

462,898

283,986

247,879

339,497

280,697

152,088

179,126

112,558

88,113

115,305

80,922

93,267

123,121

130,417

109,159

239,591

176,240

255,617

214,392

508,644

482,986

526,435

320,474

335,564

270,936

247,131

293,790

518,796

297,238

275,807

293,111

378,004

390,094

367,260

424,846

451,421

467,484

408,836

417,439

407,954

440,851

343,449

304,336

431,486

357,357

213,500

456,780

635,538

577,541

609,294

575,324

656,930

648,356

614,073

576,619

527,649

582,809

585,716

485,412

391,654

365,776

470,451

461,001

522,365

591,979

555,711

533,825

679,224

613,995

525027

462,071

599,770

697,553

1,202,648

1,185,759

1,393,762

1,341,331

1,142,795

1,110,334

1,036,737

870,510