For over 30 years. I worked for established businesses in the corporate world but in 1988, I took a big step to become an entrepreneur. I went from a company with 65,000 employees down to my own company with one employee – me. I “survived” that adventure for another 25+ years.
I really didn’t plan on doing this. It just happened. Fortunately, I had enough experience and contacts in my field to make a go of it. My business background has been in service, sales, management, publishing and speaking.
Of course there were plenty of ups and downs and pros and cons, but I got lucky and survived. What’s exciting about being an entrepreneur is developing a product or service and making it work – in most cases. Sure, sometimes you fail, but you will fail 100% of the time if you never try.
I’m working on several projects and am looking for some spirited help and support. If you have any entrepreneurial spirit and would be interested in volunteering some time in support of sports history in St. Louis, I’d like to talk to you.
As you may well know all my current entrepreneurial spirit has taken me to help support a non-profit corporation supporting sports history in St. Louis. The St. Louis Browns Historical Society was organized in 1984 with a mission to help preserve the history and memory of the St. Louis Browns professional baseball team. The Browns were one of the most colorful teams in baseball history. Unfortunately, finances and management of the organization often lacked over the years.
The team played here in St. Louis from 1902 through the 1953 season. The Browns still play today, but under the name of the Baltimore Orioles.
There are some big, interesting and fun challenges facing the organization today. Currently there are 27 surviving Browns players with the youngest being 79 years of age. There are 11 former players in their 90s with about 15 in their 80s.
The Browns played the St. Louis Cardinals in an all St. Louis World Series in 1944. Just a year ago, we had three surviving players from the 1944 World Series still around. They were Stan Musial, Marty Marion and Bud Byerly, a pitcher for the Cardinals. Marion was the last manager of the Browns in 1953. Babe Martin was a roster player on the ’44 Browns but was not elegible to play
I am kind of an idea person with probably too many ideas and not enough time. Here are just some general thoughts and ideas I wish could be accomplished before I kick the bucket.
Ø I just did a Google search and got 1.7 million results. This is the most for any sports team that has relocated to another city. Other teams might include the Dodgers, Athletics, Senators, Braves, Giants and others. These are pretty good results, considering the team has not been here for 60 years.
Ø While there are numerous sports bars in St. Louis, I am aware of only two or three that have anything to do with the Browns hanging on their walls. I would like to undertake a program to contact all of our St. Louis sports pubs, suggesting they consider having the Browns represented in their establishment.
Ø I think it would be great if someone opened up a new sports bar, calling it the “St. Louis Browns” and stocked with lots of Browns memorabilia.
Ø I have had meetings with three separate organizations discussing memorabilia displays of St. Louis Browns items. They are the St. Louis Cardinals, Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Sports History Museum. All three are very interested in having our memorabilia displayed at their facilities.
Ø I think there may be a great marketing opportunity for the right organization to set up some type of Knot Hole gang card which would act as a discount card for their products and services. I envision the St. Louis Browns fan club being the central point for establishment of this card and the program.
Ø We established a service to provide St. Louis Browns shirts, caps and other merchandise during the past year. This program has excellent potential to be greatly expanded. It’s grown very popular in its short existence.
Ø The fan club has little capital, thus making it difficult to achieve some of these goals. As a result, a focus needs to be on the raising of money for operations.
Ø I would like to see us contact the top 20 corporations in the Metropolitan St. Louis area for sponsorship. This is a major challenge since we would be working with top corporate executives.
Ø Our publication is called Pop Flies. We have been receiving excellent feedback since we went to producing the magazine in color. In addition, several new columns have been introduced which has stimulated more interest. The magazine is published twice a year. I would like to see it published more often, such as quarterly.
Ø I would like to see us hold some type of roundtable discussion with our fan club members talking baseball in general and the Browns in particular. Club members could display their own memorabilia collection.
Ø The membership of the fan club is aging. It’s important that we attract younger members interested in baseball history.
Ø How can the St. Louis Browns Fan Club survive after all of the Browns baseball players pass on?
I am looking for a team of individuals who would be interested in working together to address some of the above challenges and others. I am looking for more Indians than Chiefs. We need more workers than supervisors. I recognize some of the tasks mentioned may be completely foreign to many of us. But that’s the spirit of being an entrepreneur in tackling new challenges. While the initial tasks are volunteer, there is no reason why some of these cannot reap financial rewards.
Many of us give back to society for a number of worthwhile projects, whether they be at church, with youth organizations, hospitals, health and welfare of the poor, and others. Somehow the St. Louis Browns Historic Society got into my Bucket List and I’m glad they did.