Robert William Brown (born October 25, 1924) is a former third baseman and executive in professional baseball who served as president of the American League from 1984 to 1994. He also was a physician who studied for his medical degree during his eight-year (1946-52, 1954) career as a player with the New York Yankees.
Brown, born in Seattle, Washington, attended Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco, then Stanford University and UCLA before receiving his medical degree from Tulane University. During his time at Stanford, he and another student were involved in the rescue of a Coast Guardsman from a plane crash, for which he received a Silver Lifesaving Medal.
Sometimes known as "Golden Boy" during his baseball career, he played 548 regular-season games for the Yankees, with a lifetime batting average of .279 with 22 home runs. In addition, he appeared in four World Series (1947, 1949, 1950, 1951) for New York, batting .439 in 17 games. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He missed 1½ seasons due to military service during the Korean War.
Brown had a bases-loaded triple in Game 4 and a two-run triple in the championship-clinching Game 5 of the 1949 World Series. He tripled again in the final game of the 1950 World Series.
A famous apocryphal story that has made the rounds for years in baseball circles concerns the time when Brown's road roommate was star Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who had little formal education. The two were reading in their hotel room one night—Berra a comic book and Brown his copy of Boyd's Pathology. Berra came to the end of his comic, tossed it aside, and asked Brown, "So, how is yours turning out?"
Brown is the last living member of the Yankees team that won the 1947 World Series. There are no living players who played on an earlier Yankees World Series-winning team.
Baseball executive career
Brown practiced cardiology in the Dallas-Fort Worth area until the early 1980s, when he returned to baseball as a vice president of the AL Texas Rangers. In 1984, he succeeded Lee MacPhail as AL president and held the post for a decade; Gene Budig replaced him. In 1992 and 1993, Brown presented the World Series Trophy (on both occasions to the Toronto Blue Jays) instead of the Commissioner of Baseball. The presidencies of the American League and the National League were abolished in 2000 and their functions were absorbed into the office of the Commissioner of Baseball.
A decorated veteran of two wars, a noted baseball player who served on five championship teams, an accomplished physician, and the former President of the American League, Brown is considered to have few equals in the history of major league baseball. He is a regular at the Yankees' annual Old-Timers' Day celebrations.
On March 27, 1957, Brown was a contestant on the game show To Tell The Truth. Repeats of the episode are occasionally broadcast on the Game Show Network and can also be seen on YouTube.
Brown's wife of 61 years, Sara, died in 2012. They were married in October 1951, shortly after he played in the 1951 World Series.