Ray Brown

"Now my pitching staff: Satchel, Sug Cornelius, Hilton Smith, Raymond Brown, Harry Salmon, Sam Streeter, Willie Foster, Harry Glass...Ted Trent and Max Manning. That's 10. We don't need 12 like the Big Leagues 'cause these boys can pitch!"

--Double Duty Radcliffe naming his all-time All-Star team.

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Negro Leaguer of the Month
June, 2003

Raymond Brown
Born: February 23, 1908 in Ohio
Died: 1968 in Ohio
Ht: 6'-2"", Wt: 210
Batted both and threw right.
Positions: pitcher, outfield, pitcher
Years: 1930-1955

Teams: Homestead Grays, Detroit Wolves, Mexico, Canada

Ray Brown was one of the most versatile players in the Negro Leagues, and during the 1930s was often mentioned as one of a handful of players to be considered in integrating the Majors. Baseball writers in Washington D.C. often wondered in print how much the hapless Senators would improve with the addition of Homestead Grays’ players Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and Brown.

Brown was first and foremost a great pitcher, the ace of the Homestead Grays of the 1930s and 40s, and usually among the lead leaders in wins. Brown had a great fastball and sharp curve, comparable to Bert Blyleven.

Brown was doubly valuable because he could hit for average and power from both sides of the plate.

Brown married the daughter of Homestead Grays’ owner Cum Posey in the early 1930s, and it was with the Grays that Brown stayed most of his career.

Brown pitched in the 1935 and 1940 East-West games, allowing two earned runs in 7 innings*.

In 1936, Candy Jim Taylor chose a Negro National League All-Star team to enter the Denver Post Tournament, and he picked Brown on a pitching staff with Sam Streeter, Satchel Paige, and Big Bob Griffith, and position players Buck Leonard, Double Duty Radcliffe, Josh Gibson, Sammy T. Hughes, Chester Williams, Felton Snow, Vic Harris, Cool Papa Bell, Jack Marshall and Wild Bill Wright.

The Negro League stars cruised through the tournament without losing a single game.

When not pitching, Brown played first base and outfield. Brown was a key reason the Grays won 9 Negro National League pennants in a row.

The Grays won the 1943 Negro League World Series versus the Birmingham Black Barons, and in '44 they repeated the feat with Brown playing a major role.

Regular first baseman Buck Leonard was injured in the first two games of the series so Brown played first, fielded flawlessly and belted three hits.

In game four, Brown took the mound and tossed a one-hitter, the only blemish being a single to Double Duty Radcliffe.

Brown was a husky player, with great power to all fields, and in his prime, he usually exceeded 20 wins and 20 homers a season.

In Mexico, Brown was a star and in Cuba he won 46 of 66 decisions, a .697 winning percentage!

*Some information gathered from "Black Baseball's Showcase," by Larry Lester. Check the link on the home page to purchase book.