Baseball Hall of Famer Didn't Let Disability Strike Him Out
As Major League Baseball gets ready for their 2021 season, NTI@Home, a nonprofit organization that helps Americans with disabilities find at-home-jobs, looks at Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown, who remains one of the most famous baseball names in history, but nobody calls him Mordecai or Peter or even Centennial.
If you are a baseball historian or a fan of the TV show, “The Simpsons,” you might know the hall of famer by his nickname, “Three Finger" Brown.
After losing part of two fingers in a farm machinery accident as a 5-year-old in 1888, it didn’t look like Brown was going to be a baseball player, but his disability didn’t stop him from having an outstanding major league career.
At first, Brown played third base and was a switch-hitter in a semi pro league. That was until one day when the team’s pitcher didn’t show up, and Brown was pressed into service on the mound.
It was there where Brown figured out how his disability could help him get batters. He developed a grip with his remaining fingers on his right hand, which left with a devastating curve.
“It was a great ball, that downward curve of his,” said Ty Cobb, one of the greatest hitters ever. “I can’t talk all about all of baseball, but I can say this. It was the most deceiving, the most devastating pitch I ever faced.”
Brown played most of his career with Cubs, with exception of when he jumped to the rival upstart Chicago Whales of the Federal League for two years. After making it to the majors at 26, Brown finished when he was 40, but he kept pitching in and around Terri Haute, Ind. before a stroke and diabetes prevented him from taking the mound.
A major league record of 239-130 with an earned run average of 2.06, six 20 game winning seasons and being on two World Championship teams with the Cubs, got Brown elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949, one year after he died in 1948.
While he accomplished more than it was ever thought because of his disabilities, Brown did have a strange opening day record. Despite being the ace on some of the teams he played on, Brown never started an opening day game, but he did record two saves.
On the other days of the season, though, he was a Hall of Famer.
National Telecommuting Institute helps Americans with disabilities, including baseball fans, find at-home-jobs with training and job placement services. You can register at www.ntiathome.org
"Three Finger" Brown
Brown figured out how his disability could help him get batters. He developed a grip with his remaining fingers on his right hand, which left with a devastating curve.