MCBRIDE, ARTHUR B. "MICKEY" (20 Mar. 1888-10 Nov. 1972), founder of the CLEVELAND BROWNS, was born in Chicago and moved to Cleveland in 1913 as circulation manager of the CLEVELAND NEWS. In 1930 McBride went into business for himself, in 1931 buying a majority of Zone Cab Co., which later merged with Yellow Cab Co. McBride also owned taxicab companies in Akron and Canton and real estate in Chicago and Florida.

McBride founded the Cleveland Browns in 1944 after unsuccessfully trying to purchase the CLEVELAND RAMS in 1942, helping organize the All-American Football Conference and holding the Cleveland franchise when the league was announced in 1944. McBride spent 1945 organizing and promoting his team, hiring Paul Brown as head coach, and building fan support with a team-naming contest and advertisements. When the AAFC collapsed in 1949, McBride arranged for the Browns to join the NFL. He introduced the "cab" or "taxi" squad for reserve players, so named because they went onto the cab company's payroll (but did not actually drive cabs) when not needed for actual play. In June 1953 McBride sold the team for about $600,000.

Not everyone believed all of McBride's ventures were entirely legal. In Jan. 1951, McBride testified before the Senate Crime Investigating Committee, which questioned his Continental Press Service, a nationwide distributor of racing news, and his alleged ties to organized crime. McBride denied connections and claimed he never broke the law. He was never charged. Congress later passed legislation making such wire services illegal. McBride married Mary Jane Kane. They had 3 children: Arthur B., Jr., Edward, and Jane. McBride died in Cleveland and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Article Categories