Baseball pitching legend Mordecai Brown died on this day in 1948. He was 71.
Mordecai Brown was an Indiana boy who worked in the coal mines and didn’t reach the major leagues until 1903, when he was 26 years old. He became one of the best pitchers in the league; the press dubbed him “Three Finger” Brown because of the condition of his right (pitching) hand, which had been injured in a corn shredder when he was a boy.
Of course, the press being the press, “Three Finger” had more than three fingers. He had nine. On his right hand he actually had four fingers, not three — he was missing most of his index finger, and had a mangled middle finger, as you can see in this photo from his home state :
Someone somewhere decided that “Four Finger” Brown didn’t have the same ring to it.
Mordecai Brown spent almost 14 years in the majors, retiring when he was 40. He went back to Terre Haute, Indiana and ran a gas station. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949, a year after his death.
Mordecai Brown joins astronaut Deke Slayton, sex researcher Alex Comfort and Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in CELEBS MISSING FINGERS, a Who2 loop where you can read more about people with missing fingers.
(Photos from the Library of Congress)