The Remarkable 95-Year Old Veteran of World War II and Korea, Four Time World Series Champion, Cardiologist, and Former President of the American League Talks Candidly about the Greatest Generation, the Golden Age of Baseball, and Baseball Today.
Dr. Robert William Brown is a man of many accomplishments. As a ballplayer, he was the third baseman for the New York Yankees for 8 years with a lifetime batting average of .279. He won four Championships with New York (1947, 1949, 1950, and 1951) batting .439 (18-41) in 17 World Series games. It is remarkable that Dr. Brown’s baseball career was interrupted twice by military service, and he was also able to study for his medical degree during that time period.
In the interview, Bobby Brown discusses the makeup of those Championship teams, “They didn’t tolerate any bums. They shopped for good ball players who were also good people.” He talks about playing for Casey Stengel, being roommates with Yogi Berra, and the rumored friction between Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. He reminisces about what was a very friendly rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox, especially with Bobby Doerr.
Dr. Brown dismisses the sacrifices which he and many others made due to military service with the resolve which is associated with his generation. “Everybody realized that the country came first. Nobody sat around crying or complaining. You did what you had to do…and then you went on with your life.”
When he was asked to compare the ball players of his era and today’s athletes, Dr. Brown is sure that the great players of his day like Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, or Jackie Robinson were stars then and would be stars today. Bobby also made a case for two of his teammates—pitchers, Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi–being in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The last segment of the interview dealt with the financial growth of baseball today. Teams are worth billions of dollars and ballplayers are paid huge salaries. Dr. Brown was President of the American League from 1984-1994. He believes that many things are relative when you compare baseball salaries of the 1940s and today. As a third baseman on the Yankees and as a medical student, he was making more money than the dean of his medical school.