Four-time World Series Champion Robert W. “Bobby” Brown, M.D. inspired countless lives, including ours.
His reach toward excellence led him to achieve a batting average during his Major League Baseball career better than anyone in the history of the league. Following his unmatched career in baseball, he focused on excellence again. His next chosen career was in medicine, which he combined artfully with leadership in his community and a focus on his family.
“He was an extraordinary man,” said Peter Dale, grandson, and member of The Cary Council Steering Committee. “With all his accomplishment, he was most proud of being a doctor. Anytime he signed his name, he always added an ‘M.D.’ – saying he worked too hard to get it to not include it. He was a great father, husband, and grandfather and we miss him dearly.”
Beginning in 1994, Dr. Brown began his service on the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Medical Foundation. In 2016, he wrote: “I have enjoyed my association with Southwestern Medical Foundation immensely and would be delighted to be an Honorary Trustee… I plan on attending the May 26th Annual Meeting.” He indeed attended the Annual Meeting at the age of 91. We were deeply honored – always – by the presence of Bobby Brown and by his advocacy and interest in our work.
“Bobby was a brilliant, talented, compassionate cardiologist whom we were privileged to have as a Trustee and Honorary Trustee for 27 important years in our history. During Bobby’s time on our Board, the Foundation’s assets grew more than ten-fold, enabling an ever-widening impact on the progress of health care in the North Texas region. He was proud of his association with this remarkable mission, and he was exceptionally proud of our new young person’s group, The Cary Council, which his grandson helped to form and lead forward.”
Kathleen M. Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation
The legacy of Dr. Brown is as a legend on the baseball field and in the hall of fame of Southwestern Medical Foundation. He advocated and supported needed research and programs at UT Southwestern and appeared regularly as an advocate for the building of health care we were undertaking, which he considered so critical to the health of our region. His legacy of inspiration lives on as we remember and seek to emulate his timeless devotion to our community as a leader and philanthropist.
If baseball was Dr. Brown’s passion, medicine was his calling. “Inevitably, there will be a day when I will have to say to myself, ‘The time has come. Hang up your spikes and your uniform, put away the bats, and get down to working out the Oath of Hippocrates,’” Dr. Brown told The Sporting News in 1949.
It was a noble calling Dr. Brown worked the rest of his life to exemplify. His devotion to his calling as a doctor reminds us how truly distinctive it is in our society. At this time of year, it is a special reminder as new classes of medical students are approaching graduation and will pledge their own physician’s oath such as the Hippocratic Oath:
“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say, “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
Dr. Brown honored this Oath in every aspect of his extraordinary life.
A Lifetime of Service
Dr. Brown was a renowned baseball player signing with the New York Yankees in 1964. During his eight-year career with the Yankees, he played on four World Series Championship teams. At the same time, he completed his medical education at Tulane University. After retiring from his baseball career, he opened a private cardiology practice in Fort Worth in 1958. He made Fort Worth his home and spent more than 60 years in practice as a renowned cardiologist.
Dr. Brown spent most of his life serving others. He was drafted into the Korean War by the Army medical corps and served as a doctor in a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit.
Later in life, he continued his service to his community. He joined Southwestern Medical Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 1994 and began serving as an Honorary Trustee in 2016. During these formative years in the Foundation’s history, Bobby spent 12 years on the Nominating Committee helping to attract new talents and advocates to the Foundation’s mission. He later served 5 years on the Scholarship Committee helping to understand and support the needs of medical students at UT Southwestern.
In addition to his service, Dr. Brown supported several different initiatives of UT Southwestern. In later years, he was very proud to support the formation of The Cary Council, a young leaders group dedicated to advancing early-stage research at UT Southwestern, in partnership with Southwestern Medical Foundation.
Dr. Brown leaves a vast imprint in our community and nation. His life touched and influenced so many lives through baseball and later through the example and values he lived, represented, and instilled in his family.
His grandson, Peter Dale, is a member of the Steering Committee of The Cary Council, and his wife, Alison, is an active member and advocate for The Cary Council. Peter also serves on the Patient Services Committee of UT Southwestern, continuing the great legacy of service his grandfather instilled in his family.
“I had many thrills in baseball,” Brown told the Star-Telegram in 1994. “But as far as what’s important, as far as making a contribution to society, there’s no question that medicine provided me with that opportunity.”