Today in Baseball: How history spoiled the future of the St. Louis Browns (and other clubs)

Today, 79 years ago, MLB owners would vote for a possible move of the St. Louis Browns to Los Angeles. But history got in the way and things would have a different outcome.

As the St. Louis Browns could not compete, attendance-wise, with the team they shared Sportsman’s Park with, the Cardinals, the owner proposed a move to Los Angeles for the 1942 season. The club had acquired the Los Angeles Angels for territorial rights. The Angels would move a bit South to Long Beach and their ballpark, Wrigley Field would be expanded to MLB standards.

The Browns also got a deal with Trans World Airlines and the Santa Fe railroad to deal with traveling.

All MLB owners were positive about the move. The Browns were even offered $250,000 by the owner of the Cardinals to make sure the team would leave town.

The voting would take place in Chicago on the morning of December 8, 1941. Browns owner Donald Barns was confident. Even that confident that he had organized a press conference in Los Angeles to present the team there.

Unfortunately for Barns, history would have a bitter turn. The previous day, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan.

The planned vote in Chicago would take place but all owners voted against the move as it was not the appropriate time. The Browns withdrew the plan and would stay in St. Louis until 1953 when they moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles.

One can say that Japan spoiled the future of the Browns. Japan even spoiled the future of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. It is very likely with the Browns in California already, the Giants would have made the projected move to Minneapolis. Perhaps, the Brooklyn Dodgers would have moved to San Francisco, or perhaps they would have stayed in Brooklyn.

Likely, the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels would not have been an expansion team in 1961 as the American League was settled in Los Angeles already. On the other hand, the team could have been the National League’s bid for a stronghold in Southern California.

For sure the MLB landscape would have looked totally different had the Japanese not interfered with American History.

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