Brown lost parts of his fingers on his right hand as a child. But he learned how to grip a baseball and grew up to become a Hall of Fame pitcher.
The incident that resulted in Mordecai Brown losing parts of his fingers
As a kid, Brown had something that happened to him that changed his life forever. At the age of five, he got his right index finger caught in a machine made to separate the grain from stalks and husks. Most of his finger was severed off, and his other fingers were damaged. As his hand was healing, Brown aggravated the injury when he took a fall that broke several bones in his fingers. When he broke those bones, his fingers were not properly reset.
So growing up, Brown had three fingers. When he learned how to throw a baseball, he used his middle finger, ring finger, and thumb to grip it. Brown found a way to make it work. He played with a semi-pro team near his home as he got older, and he dominated pitchers on the mound. Not too long after he was playing semi-pro, Brown got the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues.
He made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1903. Brown struggled a bit in his first season, finishing with a 9-13 record in 24 starts. But he did finish with a 2.60 ERA. For Brown to make it to the MLB given his circumstance shows how dedicated he was, and despite losing parts of his fingers, he did not let that stop him from pursuing his dream.
Mordecai Brown had success as a pitcher in the MLB
After his first season in the league, Brown became a dominant pitcher. The Cardinals decided to let Brown go after one season, and he joined the Chicago Cubs. In his first season with the Cubs, he won 15 games and finished with a 1.86 ERA. Brown was very effective with his curveball. He took advantage of his three fingers and found a way to grip his curveball and make it difficult for batters to hit it.
Brown pitched for the Cubs from 1904 to 1912. During that time, he was one of the best pitchers in the league. He won 26 games during the 1906 season and finished with a 1.04 ERA, which was the lowest in the league. In the next two seasons, Brown helped the Cubs win back-to-back World Series titles. Brown had a stretch of six consecutive seasons where he won 20 or more games, and during that stretch, he finished with an ERA lower than 2.00 five straight seasons. He spent 14 years in the MLB and became one of the greatest.
Mordecai Brown overcame a tragic accident and became a Hall of Fame pitcher
You have to ask yourself how many people would still want to pursue their dream of pitching in the MLB if they went through what Brown experienced as a kid. Brown could have easily given up on sports in general because of his circumstances. But he was determined and focused on becoming a professional baseball player.
His hard work paid off. He finished his career with a record of 239-130 with a 2.06 ERA. Brown finished with six 20-win seasons and 55 shutouts. He passed away in 1948, but his legacy will always be remembered throughout the game of baseball.