Posts Tagged ‘Surviving St. Louis Browns Down to 14’

Surviving St. Louis Browns Down to 14

July 13, 2017

Bill McCurdy and Ned Garver
1996 St. Louis Browns Banquet
St. Louis, MO

The recent deaths of former St. Louis Browns pitcher Ned Garver and outfielder Roy Sievers brought the question home: How many of the former Browns are still alive to this date in 2017? As a younger fan, I used to know the answer like the back of my hand, but not so much in recent times. The Browns haven’t existed since their last game of the 1953 season. As you probably know, they left St. Louis after 1953, moving east to become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

Ned Garver was the amazing right-handed pitcher who won 20 games for the last place 102 season-team-loss last place 1951 Browns. That’s right. He was the same guy who was refused a raise in 1952 by club owner Bill Veeck with the simple explanation that “we can’t give you more money. Look at us. We could have finished 1951 in last place without you!”

Roy Sievers was 1909 AL Rookie of the Year, who later went on to have his best home run production years as a member of the Washington Senators. As a St. Louisan, however, he remained a loyal Brown alumnus into retirement and he would become one of the pillars of the community that started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and Fan Club, an organization that continues to this day under the able care of Executive Director Bill Rogers and the club’s amazing “Pop Flies” periodical and few local annual gatherings.

As a member of the clubs, I remember when we could have annual banquets and player-fan gatherings in St. Louis annually, but that future has dwindled away with the availability of survivors of every kind.

Thanks to a quick turnaround to my request for an update from Bill Rogers, here’s the tab on the 14 surviving former Browns:

Surviving St. Louis Browns

By Birthdates & Ages in 2017 *

01) Chuck Stevens 07/10/18 – 99
02) Tom Jordan 09/05/19 – 98
03) George Elder 03/10/21 – 96

04) Johnny Hetki 05/12/22 – 95
05) Jim Rivera 07/22/22 – 95

06) Tom Wright 09/22/23 – 94
07) Billy DeMars 08/26/25 – 92
08) Frank Saucier 05/28/26 – 91

09) Johnny Groth 07/23/26 – 91
10) Ed Mickelson 09/09/26 – 91
11) Al Naples 08/29/27 – 90

12 Billy Hunter 06/04/28 – 89
13) Don Larsen 08/07/29 – 88
14) J.W. Porter 01/17/33 – 84

* Ages each will be on this year’s birthday.


With 11 of their 14 survivors now already in their 90’s, maybe it really was true what some coaches used to yell at us kids: “Go out there and give it your best! Losing won’t kill you!”

Don Larsen is the most famous survivor, best remembered for his perfect game victory for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series. Larsen is also a surviving member of the last 1964 Houston Colt .45s club of 1964 and also a survivor of the first Astros club to play in the Astrodome in 1965.

Errata: As my friend and colleague, Tom White, has pointed out to me, I mistook Chuck Stevens for former Dodger/Pirate Ed Stevens when I wrote that Chuck once addressed our Larry Dierker SABR Chapter. I do know better. (Most of the time). – Yes. We heard from Ed Stevens. Not Chuck Stevens. – Thanks, Tom. At least it was an error that serves itself appropriately on a column about an aging group of ballplayers.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle