Willard Jesse Brown
Nicknames: Home Run, Esse Hombre, Willie, Sonny
- Bats:Right Throws: Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
- Positions:cf, lf, ss
- Teams: Monroe Monarchs (1934) Kansas City Monarchs (1935-1943, 1946-1951), Mexican League (1940), military service (1944-1945), major leagues (1947), minor leagues (1950, 1953-1956)
- Negro Leagues Debut Year:1934
- Negro Leagues Final Year:1950
- Born:June 26, 1911, Shreveport, Louisiana
- Died:August 4, 1996, Houston, Texas
- Hall of Fame: 2006
Brown was a longtime star with the Negro National League's Kansas City Monarchs. He was nicknamed "Home Run" by Hall of Famer Josh Gibson for out-slugging Gibson in their head-to-head confrontations. He began as a shortstop for the Monroe, LA Monarchs, and was later discovered by Kansas City Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson. Wilkinson offered Brown a $250 bonus, a $125-a-month salary, and $1 a day as meal money. Brown accepted the increase over his $10-a-week stipend in Monroe.
Brown matured into a complete and dangerous hitter. With Brown batting cleanup, the 1942 Monarchs routinely beat the Dizzy Dean All-Stars in exhibition games played in Chicago and Buffalo. Brown played in the 1942 and 1946 Negro World Series, and hit a combined .304 with three HR and 14 RBI.
Brown became a hero in Puerto Rico by winning three home run and three batting titles from 1946 through 1950, earning the nickname "El Hombre" - The Man. In 1947-48, he won the Triple Crown, hitting .432 with 27 HR and 86 RBI in 60 games.
While leading the NNL with a .372 average in the fall of 1947, the 34-year-old Brown signed with the St. Louis Browns. He became the first black player to hit a home run in the American League. But he felt the St. Louis club was not as talented as the Monarchs: "The Browns couldn't beat the Monarchs no kind of way, only if we was all asleep. That's the truth. They didn't have nothing. I said, 'Major league team? They got to be kidding.'" After playing only 21 games, and frustrated with a .179 average, he quit the Browns because of racial pressures and the team's lack of a winning attitude, and rejoined the Monarchs.
Negro Leagues Career Statistics
|1935||Kansas City Monarchs||independent||5||17||4||9||1||0||3||3||1||2||.529||1.118|
|1936||Kansas City Monarchs||independent||3||10||3||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.200||.200|
|1937||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||47||174||40||61||8||8||8||30||9||14||.351||.626|
|1938||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||32||118||20||41||8||3||4||16||16||7||.341||.568|
|1939||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||24||94||11||33||10||2||1||12||6||2||.351||.532|
|1940||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||1||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000|
|1941||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||29||111||24||37||6||4||3||24||6||10||.333||.541|
|1942||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||36||147||28||50||7||3||5||28||3||9||.340||.531|
|1943||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||26||96||17||31||4||0||4||15||2||5||.323||.490|
|1944||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||1||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250||.250|
|1946||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||58||230||47||80||21||7||5||42||13||6||.348||.565|
|1947||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||50||211||38||71||3||5||2||22||1||3||.336||.427|
|1948||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||66||262||65||98||20||5||18||13||24||.374||.695|
|'||Per 162 g||2.33||162||633||127||220||38||16||23||83||30||35||.348||.565|
Source: Committee on African-American BaseballBy The Baseball Page
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