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Remembering Dr. Bobby Brown

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Dr. Bobby Brown, a member of the vaunted New York Yankees championship teams of the 1940s and ‘50s, and a Korean War veteran who made his post-playing name as a cardiologist and baseball executive, passed away today at the age of 96. He leaves a legacy as one of the most well-rounded and interesting people to have ever played Major League Baseball.

Brown was born in Seattle on October 25, 1924, and was allegedly a hot baseball prospect by the age of 13.  When he graduated high school in 1942, however, he began attending Stanford University.  While at Stanford, he received a Silver Lifesaving Medal from the Coast Guard when he assisted in the rescue of a Guardsman from a plane crash.  He also enlisted in the Navy during his college years; because he was a pre-med student, during his time in service he was assigned to UCLA and then Tulane to complete his medical training. He was discharged in 1946, and that year, in a staggering feat of multitasking, he convinced the dean’s office at Tulane Medical School that he could balance his coursework and a professional baseball career.

He signed with the Yankees that year and made his Major League debut at third base in September alongside his minor league roommate, Yogi Berra. Over the course of his 548 game career, all with New York, Brown hit .279, drove in 237 runs, and won four World Series titles.  He batted .439 over the course of seventeen World Series games.

Brown missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season when he was drafted to serve in the Korean War, heading the battalion aid station for the 160th Field Artillery Battalion.  After serving for 19 months, Dr. Brown returned to the United States and to the Yankees lineup, playing 29 games in the 1954 season before announcing his retirement at age twenty nine.

His playing career over, Brown dedicated himself to his cardiology practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for twenty years before returning to baseball to serve as interim president of the Texas Rangers.  He left the Rangers to return to his practice after the 1974 season, but ten years later was called to the baseball diamond again – this time, he received an offer to interview for the MLB Commissioner’s job.  He was not selected to replace the retired Bowie Kuhn, but was offered the position of American League President, which he held for ten years.

Until his death, Dr. Brown frequently attended Yankees’ Old Timers games, attending most recently in 2019.  He was the last living member of the 1947 World Series championship team.

Views from 314 Ft thanks Mike Huber for compiling Dr. Brown’s SABR.org biography, from which much of this information was sourced.

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6 Comments

  1. MikeD

    A .439/.500/.707 triple slash in four World Series is not too shabby.

    I remember thinking Dr. Bobby Brown was “old” back in the 1980s when he’d appear at Old Timer’s games. I was just a kid. Pretty sure I’ll never make it to 96.

  2. This Year

    Wonderful that you did this. I am one of the older readers of the site (although not that old!), so I think posts about past Yankees and past Yankee experiences would b invaluable, especially for the younger readers. The Yankee past is so replete with legendary stories and legends, regular post along these lines would be a huge contribution to the depth of the site. One man’s opinion. And thanks.

  3. Why did he retire so young? Did he feel his skills were eroding? Or was his passion to be a physician greater than his passion to be a baseball player?

    • Jane Hollywood

      I had the honor of working with Dr. Brown at Harris Hospital Fort Worth. I was a nurse from Scotland working in post Cardio thoracic surgery ICU. He was a gentle giant, professional and highly skilled Cardiologist. His contribution to medicine I believe meant more to him. God Bless and RIP Dr Brown thank you for your service to many patients.

  4. JCherry

    Thanks for the great article, Anna!

  5. dkidd

    what a life
    i’d be happy to experience half as much

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