Growing up with both older and younger brothers, Harold had opportunities to engage in some sports. For example, competitive horseshoe was a no cost sport on the farm that filled some vacant time. In addition, playing baseball was likely during elementary years and with his brothers.
St. John’s College Harold’s involvement in organized sports really began when he was in college at St. John’s College in Winfield, KS. He was on the college tennis team all three years. His claim to fame in tennis occurred during his second year. He and his partner beat the Kansas state college champions. Harold’s partner won his singles match and together they won the doubles match and a 2-1 victory.
He began playing basketball when he entered college. But he was only 16 and while tall, was quite skinny. He made the team the second and third year of college. He played center. That was an important position, since the games involved a center jump following every basket. He notes in his autobiography that during his last year at St. John’s he averaged 15 points per game. That was significant, because the typical scores in games for teams were about 25-45 points.
Below are his official letter awards at St. John’s College.
The 1924 edition of the yearbook, The Saint, included the following profiles of the tennis and basketball teams.
At Concordia Seminary Harold Brauer participated in tennis. In both his first and second year at the seminary there was an in-house fall tournament. He won both years. The campus newspaper, Alma Mater, reported on the tournaments.
An article in the June 1, 1930 issue states: “The singles tourney is rapidly drawing to a close with the former champion “Hoss” Brauer well out in front, having defeated Bornemann, Besalski, John, and Klopp with comparative ease. The laurels of the tournament will rest on the head of either Brauer or Udo or Mehl. Mehl was the runner-up in the tournament last fall, and Udo has been a dark horse in both tourneys. Prospects are that Brauer will run up against some solid rock competition in the finals.”
An article in October 1, 1930 includes the following: “The fall singles and doubles tourneys will be run off in the near future. ... The shining light in the singles will most probably be that long-legged affair commonly known as “Hoss” Brauer. All Hoss needs is a high-pitched voice, and he would be the allaround athlete of the campus. However, this man, who moves in right angles, is likely to run up against some rather stiff competition this fall as there are some very competent “dark horses” looming up in the distance.”
In the same issue of the Alma Mater, there was an article that explained how the tennis courts on campus were managed. It reported that they were operated by the Tennis Club. Members paid per-semester dues. The Club had started to pay people 30 cents per hour to maintain the courts. The article stated: “Mr. Brauer will direct the work.” Most likely they were clay courts.
When Harold Brauer entered Concordia Seminary in 1929, he tried out for the basketball team. He made the team and played forward, since another student was taller and played center. With no gym for practice at the seminary, the team often traveled downtown by street car to the St. Louis Armory. They played many of their games there, but also played games at the Washington University Field House and the St. Louis University gymnasium.
During the 1929-30 basketball season, Concordia split with St. Louis University. On Feb 10, Concordia won, 29-27. On February25, Concordia lost, 25-24.
Victory Over University of Iowa
One of the most notable victories for the seminary basketball team in 1930 was against the University of Iowa on Saturday, February 15, 1930. Concordia won 41-32. Harold was high scorer for both teams with 16 points.
Iowa had a 4-13 record that year. About that time, the Big Ten Commissioner had accused Iowa of illegal recruiting. An investigation uncovered a football slush fund of $4,000. Iowa was suspended from the Big Ten Conference and several student athletes were eventually declared ineligible before Iowa returned to the Big Ten. A Post-Dispatch article covered the Big Ten investigation. Beside the “slush fund,” one of the issues was “why did so many of the athletes come from states other than Iowa?”
The February 14, 1930 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch promoted the game on the Saturday of the game. A headline read: “Concordia Plays Iowa, Its first Big Ten Foe” and devoted nearly half a column about the game and Concordia’s preparation against Iowa and the fact that Iowa would play St. Louis University on the following Monday. The story stated: “Coach Eber Simpson has his Preachers going at top speed just now and the regular lineup of Brauer and Mehl, at forwards, Werling at center and Rueter and Etzler or Spitzenfeil at guards, will start. ...A new set of plays are a part of their makeup for this contest.
To Guard Tall Center. “If my club plays up to expectations,” Simpson commented, “I am sure it is going to give Iowa a stiff battle. We have been warned to expect a great deal of offensive play from Figg, the Iowa center, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall. He averages about 9 or 10 points a game.”
With the Concordia victory over Iowa, the Sunday edition of the Post-Dispatch devoted nearly a full column to the story. Harold Brauer filled part of the story: “Concordia Scores First, Brauer opened the scoring of the first half by dropping in a short shot after less than a minute after the opening whistle.” Another statement read: “Brauer and Werling, the two tall boys of the Concordia team then each tipped in short shots during successive scrambles under the Iowa basket boosting Concordia’s lead to 16-7.” After describing how Iowa tied the score at 19-19 early in the second half, the reporter commented: “Brauer added another field goal to give the locals the lead again at 27-21."
St. Louis City Championship
The next year, 1930, the basketball team played St. Louis University and Washington University because the local media pressed to have Concordia Seminary included in the schedules of those schools, in part to establish a city championship.
Concordia did not play Washington U in 1929-30, but did in 1930-1931. The records show that Concordia Seminary beat Washington University in the one encounter, 35-32.
Thursday, February 12, 1931: Page 14 fullwidth headline: Concordia Establishes Claim to City Cage Title by Beating Bears. The story headline read: Preachers Win In Final Minutes of Contest, 35 to 33. The story sub-headline read: Brauer Is Individual Star as Seminarians Register Thrilling Victory. The story included: “The Preachers today are giving thanks for the rule that made Mr. Horse Brauer, a very long, narrow young man, eligible for play during the second semester. Mr. Brauer, specializing in totally inexcusable shots at the basket, represented the difference between victory and defeat for Concordia last night. Without him in the way the Bears would have won nicely. Due largely to his dizzy one-handed field goals, the Preachers inkled out in front in the final seconds of play Battle is Close. Brauer wasn’t the only star, although he was the brightest....”
Thursday, February 12, 1931: Page 24 full-width headline: Concordia Wins From Bears, 35- 32. The box score showed Brauer as the high scorer with 11 points (5 baskets and 1 free throw). The story stated: “It was anybody’s game until the last few seconds when Brauer’s field goal settled the argument and gave the Seminary five a three-point decision.”
Harold sat out the fall semester of the 1930-31 season because he got a C+ in Propadeutics class (office organization, etc.). It was below the required B to be able to play sports for the seminary. He returned as a starter on January 1, 1931. His team went on to beat both St. Louis University and Washington University. He recalled that his team beat St. Louis University by a score of 25- 24. However, the records show that Concordia split with St. Louis U. Concordia lost on January 10 by the score, 26-18, but won on February 3 on a close score, 20-19.
Sunday, February 28, 1932. A sports headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, February 28, 1932, a year after Harold played, continued the idea of a “City Championship.” The headline read: Washington Keeps in City Title Race by Beating Concordia.”
Other Post-Dispatch Basketball Reports
Here are a few other clips from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at various times during 1930-1931:
Sunday, January 12, 1930. Headline: Concordia Gains 37-20 Victory Over McKendree. “Beginning of the second, half the Concordia forwards went on a rampage and scored field goals with ease.” The box score showed Harold Brauer with 5 field goals and 3 free throws for a total of 12 points, the high score for both teams. He also had 1 foul. The storyline included: “An injured ankle did not stop Brauer, speedy Concordia forward, and he topped the scorers with 12 points.”
Saturday, January 18, 1930. Headline: Concordia After Third Victory in Contest Tonight.
“Concordia Seminary, victor in the first two basketball games this season will meet the Central Wesleyan College five of Warrenton, Mo, tonight. The game will be played at the Armory, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Coach Eber Simpson, although handicapped at the beginning of the season by injuries to the various first string members of his squad, has developed several stars among the new men and plans to start an entire sophomore team.
...At the forward positions will be two sophomores, Brauer, regular left forward, and Hartman in Maehl’s place.”
Wednesday, January 22, 1930. Story headline: Green Concordia Team Dark Horse in City Cage Race. Story line included: “Four Sophomores on Team. “...and Brauer, the other forward, also is a sophomore. Brauer, playing his first season of varsity competition, has proved the star of this offense thus far, heading all his team mates in scoring.”
There was also a storyline statement: “Concordia does not meet Washington University this season, so the city title may not be clearly decided....Last year St. Louis defeated both Washington and Concordia, leaving the Billikens with a clear claim to the championship.”
Sunday, January 26, 1930. Headline: Concordia Wins Over Drury for Third Victory. The report included: “The play was very close throughout the entire first half. Drury jumped to a 4-0 lead to start the contest but Brauer and Werling showed a sterling offense for the Preachers and tied the score at 7-7. However, Brauer scored just one field goal in the game.
Friday, January 31, 1930, Page 25. Headline: Varsity Cagers Renew Activity This Week-end. The storyline includes:
“The St. Louis University’s revitalized Billikens are scheduled to resume the unfinished business of defending their city title tomorrow night. They will meet Concordia in the first game of a three-contest series at the St. Louis gymnasium.
Concordia was third best in the city race last year, but the Preachers have been improving all season, and with all their regulars in the lineup they are likely to give the Billikens fifty-two varieties of trouble.
Three Concordia stars who have been handicapped by injuries will be ready to play, “Cow” Werling, center, has been in and out of the lineup all season but is ripe for this game....They probably will be assisted by Hartman or Brauer at the other forward berth and Spitzenpheil at guard.”
Friday, January 31, 1930, Page 30. Story Headline: Concordia Five Beats Louisville in Rough Game. The box score showed Brauer with 2 field goals and 2 free throws, 6 points. It also showed him with 4 fouls out of the team’s total of 10. The storyline read:
“In a game featured by plenty of rough play, the Concordia Seminary five last night defeated the basketeers from Louisville University, 35-22. The game, played at the St. Louis U. gymnasium, was attended by about 700 persons. While play, especially in the first half, was consistently close, some of the interest was taken away by the close guarding of two man-to-man defenses. At the half Concordia led, 18-14.
...Brauer of Concordia was the first “fouler.” Later in the game this same Brauer went out on four personal fouls, as did his teammate, Hartman.”
The story included a couple of comments about the Concordia cheerleaders: On the backs of the Concordia cheer-leaders’ jerseys is the plea, “Get Hot.” They did, several times. The Concordia cheers are the longest in college captivity. They last three times a long as the ordinary “rah.”
Sunday, February 2, 1930. Headline: Concordia Defeats St. Louis U., 29-27, in Overtime Game. Story Headline: Brauer Counts Two Free Throws in Extra Period for Victory. The box score showed Brauer, right forward, with 3 field goals and 5 free throws for 11 points and no fouls.
Sunday, February 23, 1930. Story Headline: Concordia Wins Over Kirksville Teachers, 33-26. The storyline states: “...”Hoss” Brauer, who played a nice floor game, scored three times from scrimmage and once from the foul line.” The box score also showed he had 2 fouls.
Saturday, March 1, 1930. Headline: Billikens Face Concordia Five in Second Game. In describing the players and strategy, the reporter stated: “(Coach) Simpson will have two men who measure 6 feet 3 inches in his starting lineup. They are “Cow” Werling, regular center, and Harold Brauer, regular left forward.”
Sunday, March 2, 1930. Headline: Billikens Beat Concordia By Single Point. The game report included: “Harold Brauer of Concordia was high point man with two field goals and eight free throws to his credit.” The box score listed him at right forward.
Thursday, January 29, 1931. Headline: Concordia Star Will Play in McKendree Game Tonight. The article begins: “With Harold Brauer, star forward of the 1929-1930 season who was ineligible during the first semester this year, back in the lineup, the Concordia Preachers will meet the McKendree College five of Lebanon, Ill., at the Washington fieldhouse tonight. Concordia will be seeking her second victory of the season. Brauer, a forward last season, is expected to go in at center in Eber Simpson’s revised lineup, with Rueter and Hartman at the forward berths. Etzler and either Lehmann or Hageman will start as guards. McKendree, which lost a one-sided game to Concordia last year, is conceded a good chance of evening the score this time. The Bear Cats have won six out of ten games thus far. Following tonight’s game the Preachers will prepare for their scrap with Butler University of Indianapolis at the fieldhouse Saturday evening.”
Friday, January 30, 1931, Page 22. Headline: Concordia, Beaten by M’Kendree, to Play Butler Five. The story states: “Indications are that Butler, undefeated in ten starts, will provide the Preachers with their hardest game of the season. Simpson’s squad is improving steadily, however, and with the addition of Brauer, last year’s star forward, who was ineligible during the first semester, Concordia has become a dangerous opponent.”
Friday, January 30, 1931, Page 24. Headline: Two M’Kencree Stars Score 26 Points to Beat Concordia, 31-29. The box score showed Brauer with two field goals and two free throws for 6 points. The story stated: “Harold “Hoss” Brauer, who was the regular center last year, made his debut by scoring six points. Brauer gave the Preachers some confidence and should work well with the team when it plays Butler tomorrow night.”
Saturday, January 31, 1931. Headline: Concordia Five Plays Butler in Game, Tonight. The storyline comments: “It is probable that Coach Eber Simpson will start the same lineup that was defeated, 31 to 29, by the McKendree College. Al Kellermann and Capt. Billy Rueter will be the forwards; Harold “Hoss” Brauer, the center and Herb Etzler and Gil Lehmann, the guards. Brauer made his initial start as a member of this year’s team against McKendree and should do better against Butler.”
Sunday, February 1, 1931. Headline: Butler’s Late Spurt defeats Concordia Five. The report states: “In the second half the Preachers rallied and tied the score at 15, all when Gil Lehmann and Harold “Hoss” Brauer countered from the floor...” The box score showed Brauer playing center and scoring 3 field goals and 2 free throws for 8 points, the high score for his team.
Wednesday, February 4, 1931. The Post-Dispatch Basketball Scores listing showed: Local: Concordia 20, St. Louis U. 19.
Saturday, February 7, 1931. Headline: Concordia and Kirksville to Meet, Tonight. In a comment that runs down the starting players for Concordia, the article states; “Coach Eber Simpson will use...Harold “Hoss” Brauer at center...”
Sunday, February 8, 1931. Full Page Width Headline: Concordia Five Defeats Kirksville in Overtime Contest, 31-27. Story Headline: Herb Etzler, Offensive Star, Leads Scorers With 11 Points. The Box Score showed Brauer, center, with 2 field goals and 4 free throws, 8 points, and 2 fouls. The storyline included: “Concordia Seminary gave the Kirksville Teachers College a 31 to 27 lesson in the art of winning a basketball game, but it took the Preachers and extra five minutes to do it.” In the second half Concordia was up by a score of 22-21. “At this point, Harold “Hoss” Brauer tossed a one-hand shot through the hoop, but Carl Pettigrew kept Kirksville in the running with a field goal....The victory was Concordia’ second straight and the third of the season.”
Thursday, February 12, 1931. This story was covered under the St. Louis City Championship section above.
Saturday, February 14, 1931. Headline: Concordia Will Play Maryville Quint Tonight. The story line includes: “The addition of Harold “Hoss” Brauer, rangy center, has done much to improve the Preachers in the last two weeks. Concordia has defeated St. Louis, Kirksville and Washington University. While Brauer’s work has been of the dependable kind, it is Capt. Billy Rueter and Herb Etzler who have been largely responsible for the creditable showing made by Concordia.
Sunday, February 15, 1931. Headline: Maryville’s Giants Crush Concordia, 44-16. The storyline stated: “The game completed the season for Concordia, the Seminarians winding up with a record of four victories and seven defeats.” The box score showed Brauer playing center with 3 points, 1 field goal and one free throw, and 1 foul.
Basketball Coverage in the Concordia Campus Newspaper: Alma Mater
Alma Mater, December 15, 1929.
The article reviewed the season-opener win for the Seminary team against the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, MO by a score of 38-20. Harold got a mention. The box score showed he was high scorer with 13 points. In a side article, there were a couple of comments by the writer: “If only Brauer could learn to leave his feet when under the basket.” and “Brauer’s failure to miss set-ups brought on an earlyRolla time-out. This “Hoss” person is going to do lots of damage this year–if he doesn’t contract spinal curvature from looking down at the net-draped ring.”
Alma Mater, February 15, 1930. In this game Concordia beat the University of Iowa, 41-32. The game summary gave Harold a couple of mentions: “Brauer announced that he was planning a big night for himself by dumping in a set-up in the first minute of play.” and “The Iowa forwarads began breaking up the Werling-to-Brauer tip-off, but Spitz and Rueter soon had these men body-checked.” He had 6 goals and 2 free throws for 14 points and was the high scorer for both teams.
Alma Mater, February 15, 1930. Concordia defeated Evansville College 38-29. Harold had 4 points and did not start at forward. The win gave the team a 6 and 1, win-loss record.
Alma Mater, March 1, 1930. Concordia defeated Kirksville (MO) Teachers College 33-29. Harold scored 8 points on 3 baskets and 2 free throws. He had 2 fouls. An interesting part of the game narrative stated: “Barton and Bigsby counted three for Kirksville, but Brauer came back with a field goal and added a free throw when he was fouled while shooting. Protiva made it 7 to 7 when he was fouled by Brauer. (The foul was charged to Hartmann, however, the referee missing the culprit.)”
This issue of Alma Mater included a photo of five members of the team (Harold is second from right):
The same issue of the Alma Mater covered a second game.
In a hard-fought game against St. Louis University, Concordia lost 25-24 when a lastsecond shot fell from the rim. The half-time score was 20-8 in favor of St. Louis U, but a second half surge made the game close. Harold must have been a target, since he had two baskets, eight free throws and 3 fouls. He had tied the game with only a couple of minutes left when he made a free throw. It was a rough, defensive game because 14 of Concordia’s 24 points were free throws and 13 of St. Louis U’s 25 pints were free throws.
Alma Mater, February 15, 1931. This issue of the school paper covered five games. Concordia lost to McKendree College, 31-29. Harold played center, while in the previous year he played forward. The report states: “Kellermann and Brauer, the reclaimed center, were the stars of the initial session, snaring baskets and intercepting passes with the ease of professionals.” Harold scored 6 points. The term ‘reclaimed center’ reflected the fact that Harold could not play basketball during the fall semester because he got a C+ in the spring semester of the previous year. One had to have a B or higher to play.
In the second reported game, Concordia lost to Butler, 30-23. Prior to this game, Butler had attained 9 victories. Harold played center, scored 8 points and had 3 fouls. Concordia shot 24% on 10 of 41 shots, while Butler shot 31% on 12 of 39 shots.
The third game was against St. Louis U. Concordia won 20-19. Harold had two free throws and two fouls.
In the fourth game, Concordia beat Kirksville, 31-27. Harold played center and scored 8 points.
In the fifth game, Concordia defeated Washington University 25-32. Harold was high scorer for the game with 11 points, on 5 baskets and 1 free throw and 3 fouls. A comment in the article stated: “Although ‘Hoss’ Brauer carried off the scoring honors with five baskets to his credit, it must be said that the team as whole did most of the starring. The pass-work was excellent compared with that of former engagements.”
Spalding’s Official Basketball Guide
The Concordia Seminary team got significant coverage in one issue of this national publication.
1929-1930, Spalding’s Official Basketball Guide
Concordia Seminary was listed only within the scores of St. Louis University during the previous season. They lost to St. Louis University twice: 44 to 28 and 34 to 21. Harold Brauer was not at Concordia that season.
1930-31, Spalding’s Official Basketball Guide
This 345 page publication included Concordia Seminary in two places. On page 212 there is a listing of the school’s basketball scores from the previous season (1929-1930). The record was 8 wins and 2 losses.
On page 264 there is a collection of six team photos with the player names from each team listed below that collection. An enlarged image of the team photo appears on the next page. The player listing for Concordia Seminary included:
Concordia Seminary, Clayton, MO
1. Wittmer, Mgr.
2. Dr. Eber Simpson, Coach
9. F. Reinke, Asst. Coach
11. Mehl, Capt.
Sports After Ministerial Career Begins
After finally achieving his goal of being ordained and serving in a parish, someone got him started in the game of golf. It was a game he continued until he was in his 80's.
When he first played golf in the arid portions of Colorado, there were no grass greens. The greens were oiled sand. When someone hit the ball on the green, there was a section of steel pipe with a long handle available for player use. A player pulled the device between the ball and the hole to create a smooth surface. After creating the smooth surface, one could try to putt the ball into the hole.
When his ministry took him to Ogden, UT he participated on the church’s basketball team in a league involving other churches of the community. The chapter covering newspaper reports includes a few box scores for his team and his performance. Refer to the chapter of newspaper clippings and those from the Ogden Standard Examiner.