Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baseball Team Symmetry - Reds vs Browns, part 8

The Reds vs the Browns!? How is this possible!?

Somewhere in Time on a solemn enchanted Field of Dreams the yesteryear dreamers and legends play ball.

The partner of the Cincinnati Reds is the forlorn St. Louis Browns. They match because both their team totems are colours - red & brown. The St. Louis Brown are a team no more, they left St. Louis for Baltimore and underwent metamorphosis to become the Oriels.

The Logo of the Browns is a fascinating icon. It features a throw back to heraldry - a shield with a pattern taken from the American flag but uses the colours brown, orange, and white. In the chief and crest position is a holy man on horseback holding a cross in his hand. There is also a baseball with the teams name written on it - BROWNS -that takes up most of the shield.

On the other hand the term REDS by simple accident became pejorative term for politicians who seemed to operate on socialist principals, was an atheist, or non-conformist during the Cold War.

The St. Louis Browns are perhaps best remembered as the first runner up in the genesis of the MVP award. One hundred and one years ago the Chalmers Automoblie Company announced the player with the highest batting average in Major League Baseball was to get a free car - a Chalmer's Model 30.

1910 Chalmers Model 30
Ty Cobb & Nap Lajoie

As the season went on, two contenders swung their way to top - Ty Cobb with the Detroit Tigers and Nap Lajoie with the Cleveland Indians. But this rivalry turned into something more than just a race for a free car. Perhaps they knew they were laying a foundation of something bigger than themselves. They were in a neck in neck race, up till the end of the season. This award for best batting average, eventually evolved into Major League's Baseballs Writer's Association of America's Most Valuable Player in 1931.

Red and Brown

Ty Cobb was something of passionate player from the Deep South, Georgia to be more specific. Mr. Cobb was loved by some and hated by others for his eye of the tiger like play. While Nap Lajoie was a well mannered man from the North via good old fashioned 'Yankee Pie Country' - Rhode Island.

On October 9, 1910 the Cleveland Indians were scheduled to play the St. Louis Browns in a doubleheader. Nap Lajoie had an opportunity to pull ahead of Ty Cobb and Nap had the sympathy of the other players and coaches of the St. Louis Browns.

The Browns were suffering from a dismal season: 47 wins and 107 losses. It seemed that Nap Lajoie had an home heart advantage. Nap made it on base every all eight times at bat. But on Nap's at last bat there was a wild throw to first base and it was counted as error rather than a hit. The Brown's manager and player-coach Jack O'Conner and Harry Howell tired to bribe the official to count it as hit rather than an error. But she refused, and word eventually got out and O'Conner and Howell were subtly banned from professional baseball.

Famous Ty Cobb Photo Sliding to Safety

However more than eighty years later in 1981 Pete Palmer took a second look at the 1910 batting data for Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie and saw that Cobb's numbers were inflated - either by accident or on purpose. In reality Nap Lajoie of the Cleveland Indians had the higher batting average.

The foundation of baseball's MVP award is shrouded in a enchanting controversy, several players were banned and the St. Louis Browns took a lot of heat. Eventually their name was lost to the annals of baseball history & trivia.
This video explains the idea of 'flag symmetry' or in this case baseball team totem symmetry.
It features clips from Field of Dreams, Northern Exposure, and Deepak Chopra. Today it's called synchronicity but before Dr. Carl Jung it was known as Providence. Carl essentially put this semi-superstitious idea into modern terms that 'rationalista academics' wouldn't have a hissy fit over - since they loathe the term providence.

Somewhere in Time on a solemn enchanted Field of Dreams the yesteryear dreamers and legends play ball.

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