Return to Terre Haute

  • During the 1930s and 1940s, Mordecai owned and operated a Texaco service station on the corner of 7th and Cherry Streets in Terre Haute. The service station became a meeting place for old time baseball players to reminisce, sports writers to keep up to date on baseball’s golden age heroes, and aspiring young athletes to acquire a few tips from the old master.

  • The Chicago Old Timers’ Baseball Association, established in 1918 was a frequent stop for Mordecai when he was in the Windy City. A July 1941 Old Timers’ meeting roster reveals the presence of Mordecai , Jimmy Archer, Ray Schalk, and many other of baseball’s elite.

  • Mordecai Brown was always a draw for the fans of baseball. Well past his playing days, Mordecai continued to suit up and throw a couple of innings for special occasions. An Old Timers’ game in Chicago during the 1933 World’s Fair was just such an occasion.

  • Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown monument in Nyseville, Indiana; the long time dream of Mordecai’s great nephew Fred Massey. The memorial marker was erected on July 9th, 1994.

In 1919 Brown went back to Terre Haute, Indiana to manage his former semipro team. Later that year, after Terre Haute’s season was completed, he joined Indianapolis of the American Association, but made little contribution to their pennant aspirations. His last year pitching was 1920, but after that he kept his hand in the game by managing oil company teams and buying an interest in the Terre Haute team.

Later in life Mordecai owned and operated a gas station in Terre Haute. He remained popular, occasionally showing up in newspaper reports about old-timer games or columns about players’ lives after baseball.

In his fourteen years in the majors, Brown won 239 games and lost only 130. He led the league in wins twice, 1909 and 1910, and led the league with most shutouts in 1906 and 1910. He had a lifetime ERA of 2.06 and from 1905 to 1910 he posted 20 or more wins–numbers sparking the attention of the Hall of Fame Committee on Baseball Veterans. He was elected in 1949. He may have known he was being considered for election, but he didn’t live to see it because he died on February 14, 1948 in Terre Haute, Indiana at the age of seventy-one.

Forty-six years after Mordecai Brown died, his relatives, led by great-nephews Joe and Fred Massey, erected a three-foot-high granite stone to mark the birthplace of Nyesville’s famous son. On July 9, 1994, on land donated by farmer David Grindley, family and friends of the legendary three-fingered pitcher gathered to remember him.

In How to Pitch Curves, Mordecai leaves a farewell, “I would like to meet every one of you personally if such a thing were possible. But as it isn’t possible, I want you to believe right now that Mordecai Brown’s hand is reaching out to you in the distance and he is wishing you–good luck.”

Biographical material by Cindy Thomson – SABR Bio Project