INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - While thousands of Hoosiers are rooting for the Chicago Cubs to win their first World Series in more than century, family members of one Hoosier pitching legend say he's watching from above and rooting for the team that like himself faced a lot of adversity over the years.
“I believe that somewhere today Mordecai is smiling down just watching these young guys have fun," Scott Brown, cousin of Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, said.
Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai Brown, born in in 1876, played for the Chicago Cubs from 1904 to 1912. He won more than 20 games in six of those seasons and led the team to two World Series Championships. In the 1908 World Series, which is the last time the Cubs won one, Brown pitched and won two games including one complete game shutout.
“Other pitchers, professional pitchers, have told us the reality is, ‘he’s one of the freaks of nature. He was a phenom,'" Scott Brown said.
But when Brown was a kid not many thought he'd have the chance to become a professional baseball player, let alone one of the best to play the game.
At the age of five, Brown lost his index finger in a feed machine on the family farm in Terre Haute. With hopes of becoming a professional, Brown learned to throw a baseball with three fingers.
“He was able to turn that into what Ty Cobb called the most devastating curve ball that he ever faced," Scott Brown said.
After his time with the Cubs, Mordecai"Three Finger" Brown went to share his story of overcoming adversity to encourage other players and children that they could do anything they put their mind to as well.
"He loved baseball. He was serious about the game, but he was more serious about having fun and helping others enjoy their life thought the game," Scott Brown said.
Brown wrote a series of seven books titled, "How to throw a curve."
"(The books were) a lot more than that," Scott Brown said. "It was about life and using baseball as a vehicle to get to where you wanted to go.”
Scott Brown and some of his family members now work to preserve Brown's legacy. They wrote a biography about his life and created a virtual museum to honor the Hall of Famer.
“We found the lessons he taught in overcoming adversity could be utilized today in young people and players starting out just as Mordecai taught them when he was alive," Scott Brown said.
Mordecai Brown is buried in Terre Haute and memorial stands in his hometown of Nyesville, Indiana.