The Pearl Harbor Attack Ended The Los Angeles Browns Brief Existence

The American League was set to allow the franchise to move from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

Japan’s December 7th, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II and it also changed baseball’s history. On December 8th, 1941, the American League’s St. Louis Browns franchise was headed to Los Angeles. Don Barnes’ planned move of his franchise was going to get the other seven American League owners approval but that vote never happened. America went to war. But what if Barnes did move his Browns to Los Angeles, would Major League Baseball have quickened its westward movement? The American League and National League each had eight teams, but the New York Yankees shared the market with two other teams, the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Philadelphia was a two-team town with the American League’s A’s and the National League’s Phillies. Boston had two teams, the American League’s Red Sox and the National League’s Braves. Chicago had the Cubs and White Sox. St. Louis had the National League’s Cardinals and the American League’s Browns. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington had just one team. Major League Baseball was a Northeast and Midwest league. Moving to Los Angeles would have created problems. Teams travelled by train but Barnes was going to have a deal with TWA to fly players in and out of Los Angeles along with the Chicago to Los Angeles Santa Fe Railroad.

Cardinals ownership was willing to give Barnes a $250,000 parting gift. Barnes was going to buy the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels and move the team to Long Beach, California. The team was set to play in Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field. The baseball owners did meet in Chicago the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and voted against the move leaving the what if question. The St. Louis Browns franchise would move to Baltimore after the 1953 season.

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