No. 22 Negro Leagues Willard Brown

Willard Brown was Mr. RBI as in the 11 years we have records he led his league in RBIs 8 times. In two of the other seasons, he played 3 games or less in that season. Willard played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and they had a great team when he played there. However, that was only some help for him leading the league in RBIs, as he also led the league in slugging 6 times. His lifetime average was .350.

Brown was only 32 when Jackie Robinson broke the color line. He was signed by the St. Louis Browns which didn’t thrill Brown as there was a lot of bigotry in St. Louis at the time. From what I read the cities of St. Louis and Philadelphia treated Jackie Robinson the worse when he was on the road. Brown never got on track with the Browns just hitting .179 in 1947 his only year in the American or National League. Too bad because he probably would have been a good player in the major for a few years in the right circumstances.

His SABR biography mentions him reading the magazine “Reader’s Digest while playing the outfield. Well, there stories are short enough to get some reading in between pitches. Also, Brown didn’t walk a whole bunch, especially for a power hitter.

Willard Brown like a lot of ballplayers served in the Army in WWII. While not in actual combat he was in supply and guarded prisoners. He also played ball on an integrated team while stationed in Europe.

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