Pete Browning

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Louisville
  • Team: Colonels
  • League: American Association

Louis Rogers Browning (1861-1905) starred in the outfield for six teams over twelve seasons and was the best hitter in the ten-year history of the American Association. Pete’s nickname with the Eclipse was The Gladiator, but Browning is known to history as the Louisville Slugger: the first player to order bats from Hillerich & Bradsby after the owner’s son, Bud, invited the slumping slugger to the woodworking shop for a custom-made model that produced three hits the next day. Bud defied his dad’s unwillingness to bother with baseball equipment and sealed the company’s reputation when Honus Wagner became the first star to officially endorse a bat. Browning always ranked among the batting leaders and won the crown three times. Fighting the excruciating pain of mastoiditis with alcohol, Browning dominated at the plate even as his drinking increased. The chronic childhood affliction caused deafness and contributed to Pete’s erratic performance afield.

  • Only four right-handed batters have eclipsed Browning’s .341 lifetime average
  • A lifelong eccentric, driven by his demonic ailments, Pete lovingly named his bats and retired them when he deemed them to have used up their quota of hits
  • Selected as SABR’s 2009 Overlooked 19th Century Legend still awaiting the Hall
  • Pete’s nephew, Tod Browning, was a film director best known for his films Dracula (1931) & the classic cult film Freaks (1932)
  • Browning’s uniform color in this card was changed from black to maroon in January, 2017 to reflect recent reliable research conducted by Craig Brown and friends at Threads of Our Game. Nine cards had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

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