“This Is My Kind of Team Charlie, My Kind of Team” – RIP Lou Brown

For me the funniest scene of the funniest movie ever made occurs very close to the beginning.  The Indians are trying to assemble a team from scratch, including a new manager.  GM Charlie Donovan calls former minor league skipper Lou Brown to offer him the job:

Donovan: “Hey Lou, it’s Charlie Donovan, GM of the Cleveland Indians.  How would you like to manage this years club?”

Lou: “Oh Iiiiiiiiiiiii dunno….”

Donovan: “What do you mean you don’t know?  This is your chance to manage in the big leagues!”

Lou: “Let me get back to you Charlie I got a guy on the other line looking for some white walls.”

No matter how many times I watch Major League (and by now I am pushing triple digits) I still laugh out loud at that part.  For my money, even though the cast is huge (Corbin Bernsen, Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Dennis “President Palmer” Haysbert) James Gammon as Lou Brown is the funniest and most beloved character.

Gammon passed away this past weekend from cancer at age 70.  Even though he acted in 137 different TV shows and movies (according to IMDB) he will always be Lou Brown to me. 

I never met the man and had no personal connection to him, but I’m saddened by his passing for this reason: I have been reciting Lou Brown quotes in my daily life for so long that it feels like a) the character was real and b) I knew him.  For instance:

– It’s become part of my lexicon in the 500 Level on days when Ricky Romero pitches to yell a Brown quote when he reaches two strikes on the batter: “Forget about the curveball Ricky, give him the heater!”

– When an error is made either at the Dome or in beer league softball: “Come on Dorn. Get in front of the damn ball.  Don’t give me this ole bullsh*t.” 

Other favourites include:

– “Nice catch Hayes, don’t ever f#$%ing do it again.”

– “I’m too old to go diving behind lockers.”

– “I’m getting sick and tired of this nickel and dime stuff.”

– “You may run like Hayes but you hit like sh*t.”

– Taylor: “Would I bullsh*t you about something like that?” Brown: “You’d better if you want to make this team.”

There are too many more to mention.  The biggest impact of Brown on me came in the dark years of the Jays, the Buck Martinez, Carlos Tosca, Tim Johnson years.  I would often sit and watch the Blue Jays blow game after game and wonder “what would Lou Brown have done with this team.”  At the very least he would have provided some character.

Real or not, Lou Brown will always be remembered.  Now, Major League will never be the same.

RIP James “Lou Brown” Gammon

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