Obituaries

William B. Mead, 103, journalist and baseball writer

Mr. Mead penned seven books on baseball.
Mr. Mead penned seven books on baseball.

WASHINGTON — William B. Mead, a journalist and baseball writer whose subjects included the hapless St. Louis Browns and their single wartime championship season and a ‘‘New York Yankees Haters Handbook,’’ died Dec. 14 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was 83.

The cause was a transected aorta, said a grandson, Brett Mead.

Mr. Mead, who held reporting jobs with United Press International and Money magazine early in his career, wrote seven books on baseball and was co-author of volumes on money management, tax savings, and trivia.

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His first, and possibly best-known book, was published in 1978, ‘‘Even the Browns: The Zany, True Story of Baseball in the Early Forties.” Sports Illustrated called it ‘‘marvelous, informative, and fun to read.’’

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In Baltimore, Mr. Mead wrote in the New York Times, the Orioles went ‘‘out of their way to deny their heritage.’’

In February 1983 an excerpt from Mr. Mead’s about-to-be-published handbook for Yankees haters was printed in the Times. ‘‘The first Yankee haters were New Yorkers. They were fans of the New York Giants,’’ Mr. Mead began his polemic against the 27-time World Series champion Yankees, who over the years have attracted a national following of diehard fans and determined haters.

He recounted how a Boston cab driver, learning that his fare was the owner of the Red Sox, punched the man and knocked him to the ground for selling star slugger and pitcher Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.