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Old 01-31-2020, 11:28 PM   #1
DD Martin
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FABL - Cleveland Foresters Mediocrity at its worst

GM DD Martin's office

The 1929 season just finished. To say it was a disappointment is a huge understatement. The season started off with several of the prognosticators in the baseball world feeling that the Foresters would compete for a Continental Association title with the defending champions, the Philadelphia Sailors. The Sailors ended won 103 games so (103-51) which was 1 game better than the previous season when the won the World Series. Some had thought the Sailors might slip, but they didn't. How did the Foresters do? Well let's just say it was a season to forget. We finished an alarming 39 games behind the Sailors. My 4th year in the GM office in Cleveland had not produced a championship. In fact it produced more questions than answers to be sure.

Now there were reasons why our record was so bad. In late June as we were treading 500 at 34-34, it was painfully obvious to me that 1929 was not going to be our year. We were already behind the high flying Sailors by double digits. We could have stayed the course and maybe we would have finished in the upper division. But our pitching staff was really failing us. SP Wayne Robinson would was the runner up last season for the Allen Award had a rough spring and just never got it turned around. He wasn't terrible but he wasn't good either, and he was getting older. My concern was that he had crossed that point at 31 where he was going to go downhill and maybe faster than normal. Robinson was 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA (Spring ERA was over 6.00) in 12 starts (15 games) before the trade.

The other pitcher in question was a Cleveland Icon, for a city that has never won a world series that isn't saying much. But Bob Lawrence had been with the Cleveland organization since December 1915 when he signed a minor league contract. He had been the first pick in the 2nd round of the draft by the Philadelphia Sailors just a day earlier, but was released immediately over what some said where "philosophical differences". Cleveland signed him the very next day. He made his Foresters debut in 1920 at the age of 23. He went 13-12 that year and it was the last year the Forester's made the playoffs. When he was traded in June he had a lifetime record with the Forester's of 151-110 with a 3.58 career ERA over 2400+ innings. The concern with Bob was age as he was 33 and would likely not be around when we got back into contention again.

On July 1st, 1929 we struck a deal with the high flying Detroit Dynamos who were in a 3-way battle at the time for the Federal Association title, or the league that would likely lose a World Series to the Sailors for the 2nd straight season. The deal saw us send the two veteran SP for the following package:

1st Round Draft Pick
3rd Round Draft Pick
2B Hank Clark (23 A league) 465-557-760 16 HR's
SP/C Al Howell (23 A league) 8-2 2.86 ERA 88 innings and hitting 352 with 10 hr's

So we picked up a couple of prospects who were not highly rated (Howell was #158 in the FABL ratings) and the draft picks.

How did Detroit do after the trade? Well on June 30, the Dynamo's had stretched out to a 4 1/2 game lead over the Chicago Chiefs with a record of 45-26. The race got much more interesting as and closer at least with the Chiefs, but in the end the Dynamo's ended up 91-63 with a 2 game margin. So they went 46-37 after the deal. We on the other hand went 30-55. For us the wheels fell off completely.

How did the trade go, well at this point depending on who we draft and how they pan out I feel pretty good. Detroit got innings out of both Lawrence and Robinson, but the results after the trade were rather...well see for yourself.

Wayne Robinson (#1 in the Dynamo's rotation) went 5-8 in 15 starts with a rather ugly 5.52 ERA. His numbers across the board were worse than they were in Cleveland.

Bob Lawrence (#3 SP) was 8-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 16 starts (1 relief appearance). His numbers too were not as good in Detroit as they were with Cleveland, but he gets a chance at the World Series. It might be a long shot but I hope he helps Detroit win a Championship. The Dynamo's last won the world series 3 time over a 4 year span (1916-1919).

Something that Cleveland has never done once.

The other thing that turned our season upside down besides shipping off our top 2 SP's happened the day after the trade. SP Jimmy Wilson had a catastrophic arm injury that was initially suggested he would be out for 20 months. Unfortunately while in surgery, the doctors found the damage to be much more severe and that Wilson would never pitch again. This was a huge blow that really took any air we had left in us, out. Wilson was slated to be our #1 starter going into 1930 and at only 26 had a bright future in front of him. Wilson's career ended in his 3rd season (but 1929 was to be his first full season at the big league level) with a record of 24-19 with a 3.77 ERA. The numbers might not have screamed #1 starter, but for the first 3 months of the season he was looking to be a very good young SP.

3 SP's gone in 2 days and that was basically the end of any hopes of finishing 500 this year.

The Forester's have had a run of bad luck with SP's and injuries the last 3 seasons. Last year the team was in the race with Philadelphia but then 3 SP went down and out for the rest of the season. Bob Lawrence had also end the last 2 years (27-28) on the DL in the last week or two of the seasons and might have been the difference in 27 when the Forester's missed out by 2 games of the title.

The World Series is set to begin and once again we are not in it. While the season is played out between the Dynamo's and the Sailor's we will look at the 4 seasons of GM Martin's tenure in Cleveland. So far the jury is out on Martin, he has had the team in the upper division of the CA for 2 seasons, and fighting for the #1 draft pick in his 2 other seasons.

The Mediocrity continues into the off-season where there will be a lot of changes.

ooc: Thus begins the long talked about and often delayed diary of the Forester's. Much like so many of the real world Cleveland teams (other than King Jame's Cavs for a few years), this appears to be a typical Cleveland organization.

We will do quick recaps of the last 4 years while the series plays out and then head straight into the off-season.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:29 PM   #2
DD Martin
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My Start in Cleveland

So how did I get my start in Cleveland. When I went to Cleveland in late September of 1925, it was to visit my best friend Richard "Ricky" Marshall. Ricky and I had been friends for years growing up in the San Diego area of California. Ricky's parents were originally from Cleveland and when we both went to college his parents moved back to Cleveland to be back with family. You see Ricky's Grandfather was Harold Marshall, the elderly owner of an FABL baseball team in Cleveland. The elder Mr. Marshall had lost his wife to illness years ago and he was in his mid-late 80's (Ricky wasn't sure just how old he was).

The Forester's were in a pennant race tied with the New York Stars for the Continental Association lead with 7 games left in the season. Ricky and I were going to attend the games that were in Cleveland that final week. Ricky was even going to try and get me a gig with the team as a West Coast scout. You see I was a baseball player, and played ball in high school as a dual position player. I pitched and also played 1st base. I was a better pitcher than I was a traditional 1st baseman, so when I went to the College of San Diego. I just loved the weather in San Diego and the team there was generally competitive. My freshman year I was primarily a reliever and while I didn't pitch a lot I got in a few games. We went 29-21 in 1919 and finished 2nd behind the Travis College Bucks.

My sophomore season went really well for me personally and on the field. I met my future wife Lynn and I moved into the starting rotation for CSD. I ended up the season 4-2 in 9 starts with an ERA under 3. Unfortunately the team finished in 6th with a 23-27 record. But I was getting noticed and was preparing for my Junior season in 1921.

Looking were looking up as Lynn and I had really grown close. My best friend Ricky had moved back to finish up his college at CSD and my baseball career was looking promising. Our pitching coach told me if that I worked really hard I might even get drafted after the season, maybe a mid to late round pick. It sounded too good to be true and as most things are, it was. The team was terrible that season and part of it was that I blew out my arm and would require surgery. What I didn't know was that the damage was greater than they had feared and will he never admitted it, I believe the surgeon screwed up. I needed someone to blame, but fate handed me the news that my career was over.

Fortunately for me, Lynn stood by me and I finished my college degree. Ricky finished his as well and was the best man at my wedding. We all stayed in SoCal and I got a good regular job, but I was missing baseball. I would attend games and even did some "scouting" or at least that is what I called it. I'd write up notes and keep folders on players. One night while we were having friends over, I showed Ricky what I was doing with the baseball stuff and he said he wanted to show his Dad this work. That his Grandfather's team needed a part time scout on the West Coast and that I might have a good eye for talent. So that is why we were in town that week in Cleveland.

Well long story short, I got to meet Ricky's Grandfather with his Dad and him there. We went to the games and they asked me what I thought. I was surprised at the whole thing honestly. I hit it off pretty good with Ricky's grandfather but as the week kept going, the Forester's kept losing. They finished the season in 1925 with a 81-73 record, but they lost the last 7 games of the season and finished 6 games behind the Stars and lost out on the CA title. The elder Mr. Marshall was crushed, he really thought that was his team to finally get him a World Series title.

I went back to San Diego after that week, and Ricky said that his Grandfather would like for me to come back out eventually. He wanted to talk to me more about baseball. I figured it was to be a scout, like Ricky had mentioned. Little did I know my world was about to change.

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Old 01-31-2020, 11:29 PM   #3
DD Martin
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Moving to Cleveland (late November 1925) to pre-Spring Training 1926

I couldn't believe it when I received a telegram from Mr. Harold Marshall. He was inviting me back out to Cleveland after Thanksgiving to meet with him and his son Elmer Marshall (Ricky's dad). He provided tickets for both me and my wife Lynn to come out. I accepted the invitation and would leave on the first Monday in December. What happened next was not what I was expecting. That weekend before I left, the I read in the paper that the Forester's had fired their GM. Reports were running wild about who the next GM might be but it seemed like nobody knew which direction the team would go.

Once we arrived in Cleveland I was already missing San Diego. It was freezing outside, and snow. A lot of snow everywhere. For a Southern California kid, this was really something new for me to see. Lynn wasn't shocked since she was from Eastern Washington originally. We checked into the hotel and then I was notified that I needed to head to the Foresters offices which were just a block away. Once I was there, Mr. Marshall greet me, asked me how our trip was and then stated that he wanted to get down to business right away. For a man that was 87, he sure seemed to be in awfully good health with a lot of energy.

We talked a lot about scouting and talent development and evaluation and I figured we were getting to the point where he would offer me the job as the Forester's west coast scout. What he said next, I don't exactly remember. I fell out of my chair and hit my head. After I came too, he apologized for startling me, but again made the offer.

Mr. Harold Marshall - "Young man I would like for you to be the next GM of the Cleveland Forester's"

Here I was 25 years old, a broken down college pitcher, part time scout and full time accountant from San Diego about to be the GM of the Forester's. I told him that I would need to talk it over with Lynn, as moving to Cleveland would be quite the change. I wasn't sure I could handle the winter's but he reminded me spring training took place in Florida and that I would be spending all of February and March down there. After talking to Lynn, who again was very supportive, I agreed to the job. Mr. Marshall offered me a 4 year contract so I got ready to get down to work. The amateur draft was coming up and I wasn't prepared.

Lynn and I returned to San Diego to prepare to pack our things. I went back out to Cleveland to met my front office staff and the manager of the team. I didn't have a lot of time to get to know people but me and the Scouting Director Billy Culbreth (age 61) just didn't seem to get along. I don't know if he didn't like me because I was so young and the previous GM was his friend or what. But I could tell it just was not going to work. Now there was another guy working in the front office and that was Ollie Moses (46). He seemed to have a good head on his shoulders and was well prepared. He did scouting for the team as well but was basically shut out by the previous GM and this Culbreth guy. The arguments continued right up until the draft and that sneaky Culbreth sent in the pick for the guy he wanted in the draft (more on the draft later and who the player was).

You see back during the off-season in late 1925, the draft was not held in New York or other suitable spot. The league office would give precise instructions and the picks would be telegraphed in. This was the last draft that would be handled like this, but it was too late for us. Our first pick was sent in and it was the last move ole Billy made in Cleveland. I fired him right there on the spot, but it was too late for the pick. Culbreth went upstairs to Mr. Marshall's office probably to complain and get me fired, but about 10 minutes after he went upstairs I saw he was being escorted out of the building. Mr. Marshall came down, apologized and stated that if I needed to make anymore changes that I had free reign to do so. I promptly hired Ollie Moses to be our new Director of Scouting and we finished the draft.

Ollie and I spent hours going over the players in the organization but a disturbing trend in some of my reports kept popping up. I decided that I need to meet with all my managers and coaches at each minor league level to talk about the players we had. Who had potential, who was a good minor league guy for life and who had no hope. I also had other questions. Since players reported to spring training in late February, I held the meetings in Florida the first week of February. We had a lot of players and discussions to have with each level.

Last edited by DD Martin; 02-03-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:29 PM   #4
DD Martin
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1926 Season Meetings, Spring and Season

Prior to the meetings that I was going to hold I reviewed the teams records the last several seasons.

AAA - Cincinnati Steamers
1925 Record 65-75 4th Place
1924 Record 74-66 3rd Place
1923 Record 55-85 6th Place (Last)
1922 Record 70-70 3rd Place
1921 Record 55-85 6th Place (Last)

Based on my review the Steamers winning percentage over the last 5 years was 319-381 .456 and the reports I got from the players and other office management was that the coaching staff was a joke. We cleaned house in Cincinnati appointing an entirely new coaching staff. My commitment was to creating a winning culture in this organization and it would start at every level of the minor leagues. I gave the coaches very clear details of what I wanted them to find out about the players, weeding out any bad seeds along the way.

What I found in our AA affiliate in Toledo was something completely different. Manager Joe Johnson was a crusty, but loveable old sort and he didn't take a lot of crap from players. It was his way or the highway, but he didn't feel he got a lot of support from the home office in Cleveland. I promised him that would change and he basically told me it better.

[BAA - ]Toledo Tornado's[/B] past 5 year record prior to my taking over.
1925 Record 84-56 1st Place
1924 Record 87-53 3rd Place
1923 Record 83-57 2nd Place
1922 Record 81-59 1st Place
1921 Record 85-55 1st Place
Totals 420-280 .600

Say what you will but Johnson was a winner and was putting a winning product on the field and getting players ready for the big leagues was his goal. I need more men like this, although maybe without the salty attitude.

Finally was the Class A affiliate Reading Coal Barons. Prior to the 1925 season they were fairly competitive, but they were a complete disaster in 25 going 56-84. Again we were starting with a brand new coaching staff and so I again laid out the vision for the big league club and what we wanted at each affiliate level. With the new Class B league team starting in 1926, Reading was not just a rookie league team anymore. I expected to see talent develop and improve and I expected it to be the Forester's way. I will have to be honest, we were rushed when we had to fill the coaching staff vacancies for the Reading team. The staff that was hired was decent, but none of them would be around for more than a season or two.

Reading Coal Baron's - Class A Affiliate
1925 Record 86-84 8th Place (last)
1924 Record 79-61 2nd Place
1923 Record 66-74 6th Place
1922 Record 72-68 4th Place
1921 Record 71-69 6th Place
Totals 344-356 .491

I knew it was not realistic for every club to win its league, but we did set out to have winning teams that finished in the top half of their divisions each season. I wanted us to develop our guys and I wanted a winning culture in the organization. I also wanted good citizens on our teams. Unless you are a consistent All-Star level performer and going to be something special, I do not tolerate slackers, self-absorbed, jerks in my organization. In 1926 we identified those types and quickly moved them along....and there were a lot of them.

Spring Training was my first real look at our big league club Manager Sam Van Glider. Sam seemed like a decent enough guy but there was something that just didn't set well with me. It might have been the players and how they were acting. I am not sure what it was, but in my mind Sam wouldn't likely be guiding the team in 1927.

Cleveland Forester's last 5 season
1925 Record 81-73 2nd place
1924 Record 72-81 6th place
1923 Record 82-72 3rd place
1922 Record 77-77 4th place
1921 Record 80-73 2nd place
5 year win percentage .510

The team had some respectable finishes but the 2nd place record last year was the best showing of the 5 seasons. So they came in the upper division 4 of the 5 season but were just kind of a treading water team.

We survived the spring but I could already see the cracks in the foundation. The team was looking old, slow and uninspired. I don't know if this was a hangover from the collapse at the end of last season or what. By May my first season was over as far as if we were going to make the playoffs. But I had a plan and it was that plan that I talked with Mr. Marshall about. He could see that I was enthusiastic about it and he was eager to let me see what I could do.

By early June Sam Van Glider was fired with the team spinning its wheels at 21-35. I hired a young manager off the street with little experience. This latter proved to be a mistake but I like the guy. Dave Adams would finish out the 26 season going 35-63. When I brought Dave in, I let him know that I would be making some changes on the team and they quickly started happening.

We traded starting pitchers George Davis (NY Gothems) and Mose Smith (Brooklyn Kings) both for first round picks and minor league players. In the Davis deal we picked up young CF Felix Bradfield and in the Kings deal with picked up SP Rube McCormick. Both have played for the Forester's as Bradfield was a main player for a couple of seasons before being moved and McCormick was a youngster who is on the fringe of the 40 man roster in Cincinnati. He might be a AAAA player but this upcoming season (1930) will be his chance to shine or way or the other.

We also started making a lot of waiver claim pickups and drops. I was shedding veterans who couldn't play anymore and minor leaguers that either didn't have what it takes or were just bad apples. We signed over 25 minor league players to contracts that summer along with our rule 5 draft pick that we did prior to spring training. We also picked up over 10 players on waivers and released our fair share as well.

1926 was a bitter disappointment, but it was a stepping block to something better and we had the #1 pick in the draft that December.

Cleveland Forester's 1926 Organization Record Review
FABL Cleveland Foresters 56-98 .364 8th in the CA (last)
AAA Cincinnati Steamers 70-70 .500 4th in the Union League 10 GB
AA Toledo Tornados 80-60 .571 3rd in the Eastern Association 5 GB
A Reading Coal Barons 80-60 .571 2nd in the Heartland League 21 GB
B Savannah Privateers 4-2 .667 T-3rd in the Southeastern League 1GB
Minor league totals 234-192 .549

None of our minor league teams won titles in 1926, but none finished below 500 either. The Southeastern League ran into problems during that first year with being able to get umpires at games. So a lot of unofficial games were played that year and only 6-7 games were official. The FABL got the umpire issue sorted out and the league played a full official schedule in 1927.

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Old 01-31-2020, 11:30 PM   #5
DD Martin
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Current season (1929) interlude

ooc: While we are going over the history of the Foresters since the 1926 season we will move next to the 1927 season. But before we do that the current season is in the post season so we will do a quick update before moving on with the history.

While the Foresters season ended and was frustrating, the post season is under way. We did not stop working just because the World Series was about to kick off.

I met with Manager Joe Johnson (67) who had been with our organization for years. Joe was a highly successful manager mainly at AA Toledo and also at AAA Cincinnati before spending the last two seasons guiding the Foresters. Joe had hoped to manage a couple of seasons and then see where he was at and where we were at, so his contract was coming up in a few days (after the World Series). We discussed the high hopes we had for the season just past and how it didn't pan out the way any of us had thought and hoped. We got around to talking about next year and Joe said that he was leaning towards retiring unless the right situation came along. But he was clear that he did not want to partake in a lengthy rebuilding process and both he and I knew that the Foresters would not likely be contending in 1930. He said this past season with the losing had really taken a toll on him. I completely understood where Joe was coming from, it had taken a toll on me and I wasn't even half his age.

The conversation then with Joe turned to who the team should hire to replace him. I trusted Joe's experience and his integrity so I was honest with him about things and I wanted the same honesty back from him. He knew the plan was for him to mentor Dave Adams (his current bench coach and former Foresters manage for a season and a half). I asked Joe if he felt Dave was ready for the challenge. Dave was 49 years old and kind of a vanilla sort of guy. His personality didn't cause any trouble but then again Joe wasn't sure he could inspire either. Joe was pretty frank that he didn't feel Dave was the right man for the job because while he sat under his learning tree for the last 2 years, he hasn't had any other managing or coaching experience. Joe did state that because the Foresters would likely be in a rebuilding mode that Dave might be ok, but Joe wasn't sure that Dave would be the guy to take them to contender status despite his (81-73 record in 1927. His overall managing mark with the Foresters is 116-136 .460). I then threw out some names of other managers that I knew were available but Joe stopped me. He said do you remember what I told him when I promoted him from Cincinnati two years ago? I thought and then I remembered saying that I should have promoted him (Joe) when I fired Sam Van Glider in the middle of the 26 season. That the best manager for the team was sitting right under my nose. Joe smiled and said good, what has changed with that scenario? The best man for the job I believe is in Cincinnati. You should bring him up and talk to him, but since you asked me I'm telling you Hank Leitzke is the right man for this team for many years to come.

As the meeting wound down, I stood up and shook Joe's hand and then I even gave him a hug. I wished him and his wife Amy the best and if he ever wanted a job in the organization scouting or anything else he had one, when he wanted it.

With that the Forester's had a managerial opening once Joe's contract expired at the end of the World Series. Joe had 4 world league titles in his brilliant managerial career. Three with Toledo in the Eastern Association and 1 in his only season in Cincinnati with the Steamers. His career minor league record as a manager was in our organization 1194-938 at Toledo and 84-56 in Cincinnati. He record in Cleveland was 150-158 in 2 seasons but this past season was not Joe's fault. I pulled the plug on it and the injuries we had didn't help. He also started out his managerial career with the Indianapolis Hoosiers (Union League) where he spent one season (1911) with them going 71-69. They let him go and while it took the Foresters a year to find him, we are glad we did. The man was 1 short of 1500 wins in his career going (1499-1221 with 4 League Championships).

We will bring up Steamer's manager Hank Leitzke for an interview, but actually I will go to Cincinnati to meet with him so as not to let anyone know what is potentially going on.

On the trade front, the Forester's have let it be known that just about anyone on the roster was available save for Moxie Pidgeon and Joe Perret. The Chicago Cougars GM was one of the first to come calling and we quickly struck up a conversation about SP Max Wilder. Max was 32 now and would turn 33 during the next season in the summer. He started out well for us this year as the #4 SP in our rotation. Through June he was 7-4 with an ERA around 3.50 on the season. After the trades of Robinson and Lawrence, and the horrific injury of Jim Wilson he was thrust into the #1 role without any veterans really around him. The 2nd half of the season was rough as he went 5-10 in July, August and September (0-5 in September) with an ERA around the mid 4's. He turned it around in October to win 2 games in relief to even his record at 14-14 on the season.

The price I was looking for was a decent prospect and a 3rd round pick. Chicago was a little reluctant to part with the pick as they had some high hopes for this draft and granted their 3rd rounder was like a late 2nd based on their record last season. So I began going through their minor league system with Scouting Director Ollie Moses. While we were talking on the phone with Chicago the GM mentioned they needed a SS. Again I stated that anyone on our roster was available and we had several SS on the roster, he went to Russ Combs. Russ had a down year with the bat in 1929 and so we were okay with trading him. I believe his bat will be fine next year and he should fit in well with the Chicago roster. Finally we struck a deal so the trade while it can't be official until after the World Series looks like this.

Cleveland sends SP Max Wilder (14-14 3.97 ERA) and SS Russ Combs (289/345/772 7-59 with 32 SB's 22CS) to the Chicago Cougars for

FABL 1B Luke Nixon and minor league players C Ben Richardson, SP Harry Parker and SS Pat Schuring.

The fans will hate Combs leaving us, he was wildly popular with the younger females in the stands but that's how it goes. I will have more on this trade after the World Series and the thinking behind it.

Oh and how is the World Series going? We the surprising Detroit Dynamo's have split the first four games with the heavily favored Philadelphia Sailors. Game 5 will be in Philly, but then the series shifts to Detroit for games 6 and if necessary game 7. Who ever would have thought Detroit would be going back to its home stadium to play games in this series, I sure didn't but it has been entertaining to listen to on the radio.

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Old 02-03-2020, 06:20 PM   #6
DD Martin
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The 1927 Cleveland Foresters - a big rebound and an even bigger Tease

During spring training and talking with our Manager Dave Adams we had hopes of hanging around. Nobody looked like a sure fire thing in the CA this season. Little did we know how right we were. The season ended up much better than the ill-fated 1926 season. We actually finished with a remarkable 25 game improvement going from 56 wins in 26 to 81 wins in 27. Was it enough to win us and Mr. Marshall that elusive CA Championship? The answer was a tease. We hung around all season and even led the thing for the first 2-3 months. But things slowly slipped away. A managerial change in Brooklyn where the Kings fired one of their all time great players Powell Slocum midway through the season. It turned out being the right call and the Kings shocked the world and won the CA by 1 game over both Philadelphia Sailors (who made a run and was about to embark on a brilliant rise in the near future) and the Toronto Wolves. How did we do? Well again I said the season was a tease and we finished 4th in the CA, 2 games behind the victors and 1 game behind the 2 teams tied for 2nd.

It was a fun finish, but the truth was it was a bit of a mediocre season for the CA teams. Taking away nothing from Brooklyn and their great run to the top, no team really stood out from the crowd. And honestly in Cleveland we were thinking what if.....what if Bob Lawrence hadn't been out the last two weeks with injury and we missed his last 3 starts. Bob won the most games in the CA that season going 22-12 with a 3.20 ERA in 36 starts and amassing 289.2 innings pitched. If he could have gotten to 310, we might have been celebrating something. Lawrence was 2nd in the Allen award that season behind former teammate Mose Smith. Personally I think Lawrence got jobbed that season but Smith was solid at 19-14 3.40 8.0 WAR in 302 IP. But if Lawrence could have stayed healthy down the stretch, I think he would have won the Allen Award and we might have ended up in the World Series.

The truth was we also lost SP Wayne Robinson for the most of the month of the August and for about 10 days in September as well. We had acquired a veteran SP right before the trade deadline that July named Carl Mellen. We traded a 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh for him and had hopes he would stabilize the bottom of the rotation for us. Of course Carl would pitch in exactly 1 game for us. On that ill-fated afternoon Mellen pitched all of 2/3 of an inning before blowing out his elbow. It looked bad and a couple of days later it was announced that Carl Mellen would never pitch again. Those 3 injuries to our SP's, a huge side note to the Forester's late 20's teams really did us in. We could have handled 1 or maybe even 2 of them, but 3 was too much for any team to handle.

By the way the 3rd round draft pick we traded for Mellen. He is a high school kid by the name of Brooks Meeks. He's a right handed hitting 2B who can play 3rd and SS and played the 29 season in both Class B Spokane and Class A Gary. He hit 382 in Spokane and a solid 328 in Gary. Brooks is currently rated the #3 prospect in the Pittsburgh system and #43 overall in all the FABL. Figures our luck with pitching.

The Brooklyn Kings went on to play the Philadelphia Keystones (no not the Sailors as Phily has 2 teams, one if each league) in the World Series that season. Of course all everything King OF Doug Lightbody disappeared in the series and the Keystones went on to win the 27 series 4 games to 1.

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Old 02-03-2020, 07:45 PM   #7
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1928 Season - Almost the best in franchise history but it was the beginning of the Philadelphia Sailors "Dynasty" and the passing of a remarkable FABL Legend.



What a great start to the 28 season. Just like the previous season we shot out of the gate fast and were leading the CA after the first month. The 16-3 start really had gotten my hopes up that it was our time to shine and get that League title and then go to the World Series.

Through Memorial Day we were 29-17, so we had treaded water, but we were still 2 games up on the NY Stars and 3 1/2 up on the Brooklyn Kings. The Sailors who many had thought might be the winner were off to a very cool start at 21-23 in 6th place.

By Mid-June we were still bobbing along and at 40-27 (but only 24-24 since the hot start) our lead was down to 1 over the Stars and 3 over the Kings. But someone had woken up the beast in Phily as the Sailors had gotten red hot going 14-6 and had climbed to 4th place and just 3 1/2 games back. I was starting to feel the sweat.

At this point, in reviewing the team, we had some concerns. In May we had our first significant (of several more to come) injury to a SP. We had such high hopes for SP Harvey Tully who we had made an off-season acquisition with an independent league team. I felt he had a lot of raw potential and he had come out of the gates really pitching well in the first month plus. Unfortunately, Tully who was 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 5 starts had torn his labrum in his pitching shoulder and would be out for 14 months. That put him back in Cleveland by around July of the 1929 season. We purchased the contract of young SP Jim Wilson who at 25 would make his big league debut. Wilson had climbed the ranks sort of below the radar a bit. We always liked him but we weren't sure what he would become. He didn't pitch poorly, but being thrust into the rotation of a hot pennant race was a lot to ask.

In June we started adding players who had been waived, hoping to find some diamonds. We found little that would help us for very long. At the end of June we were hanging onto the slimmest of leads. New York had gotten hot and were just about to overtake us and Philadelphia had also crept to within 2 games. Brooklyn was fading and 6 1/2 back at the end of the month so it didn't look like the Kings would defend their title.

Then on July 2nd tragedy struck in Cleveland. The man that had given this best friend of his grandson a chance. The man who started this franchise in 1880, passed away peacefully in the night on July 2nd, 1928. I was devastated, not at just my best friends grandpa passing, but a gentleman that I very much admired and who I had failed to bring home a championship to. Mr. Marshall died at the age of 91.

In the days after his passing, panic and desperation overtook me and I made a trade I would later very much regret. The defending champion Kings had decided to throw in the towel on the 28 season. I wanted to very much win now for Mr. Marshall so much that I fell into a trap. A trap of my own doing. On July 9th a trade was announced between us and the Kings. Looking to shore up our pitching staff and our infield I traded 23 year old SP Mickey Beavers, 23 year old RF Charlie Powell and a 4th round pick. In return we got veteran SS Lloyd Carter (32) who I felt could maybe shore up the defense a bit and maybe coach young Russ Combs to be a better defender. We had seen some injuries to our bullpen in 27 and some performance issues in 28, so we got veteran RHRP Dick Dover (30) to close for us. Also included was former ace SP Mose Smith (35) who the year before beat out teammate Bob Lawrence for the CA Allen Award in a close contest (and one I felt Bob was robbed in despite Smith's WAR). In my desperation I didn't pay attention to Powell's unbelievable power numbers in the minors. He could have been a real big time player for us in the future, but I thought that with the breakout of Joe Perret this year, and what I was sure was a breakout in Moxie Pidgeon soon to follow. I swallowed hard and made the deal for the veterans.

RP Dick Dover actually worked out well for us. He saved 8 games for us down the stretch and had a 1.07 ERA in 25 innings.

SP Mose Smith who had been much less than he was the previous season was still 10-6 with a 4.40 ERA in Brooklyn. So a solid innings eater. But then he came back to Cleveland and he simply lost it. He went a disastrous 3-10 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 starts. (As a side note on Mose we brought him back and tried him as a closer in spring. He ended up a reliever for us but by mid-summer he was done. We released him as our season started to slide).

Last but not least was SS Carter. Carter was never a great offensive player although he hit 343 1 season (25) with Brooklyn. He was hitting 282 before coming over on the 28 season. Of course once he did come over he went on to hit 202 with us and his defense slide as well. Carter would be DFA during the off-season but played for in the minors during the 29 season at both AA Portland and AAA Cincinnati. He never did grace the dugout for Cleveland as Manager Joe Johnson just blistered him and the Cleveland press calling him the biggest trade bust of the GM Martin regime.

They were right, over the trade was a bust from my standpoint.

August say an injury to Wayne Robinson. September had the now usual SP Bob Lawrence injury. But also we added injuries to replace SP Max Dowless who would be out for 8-9 months (torn elbow ligament) and also SP Karl Clasby who in 1927 went 20-12 and was doing a respectable job in 28 going 6-6. Clasby would also not be back until mid-way through the 29 season.

That many injuries was too much, but in all honesty would not have made a difference. New York was in first for a bit but then finally Philadelphia just went ballistic, blowing both the Stars (9 games back) and Foresters (16 games back) off and running away with the CA. Even with us going through a long road trip to end the season we came within 1 game of the best Forester record of all time of 87 wins. We finished 86-68 so hopes were still high for the next year, but those pitching injuries that we had heading into the off-season were a significant factor.

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Old 02-03-2020, 07:46 PM   #8
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1929 - High Expectations and the usual Cleveland results. GM throws in the towel in early July.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:16 PM   #9
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ooc: note we will go on with the past summaries above but since the World Series ended and I have a story I figured I'd jump right into it. In a note above I had a conversation with our Manager Joe Johnson who was stepping down and maybe retiring. The last part of the conversation is below.

The World Series of 1929 and the end of the 29 Season

As Joe turned to leave the office, he stopped and said he had 1 more thing to ask of me. I told Joe sure, anything. Joe Johnson (like a Dick Williams) was a stern, tough manager who expected a lot of his players but what happened next I had never expected.

Joe - DD I want you to do me a personal favor. Talk to the kid, (SP) Jimmy Wilson. He is just heartbroken about his career ending. He got married last year, his wife is pregnant, and he is really down.

Me - Sure Joe I will talk to him (figuring that since I was young, married and had 2 little ones that maybe he wanted me to talk to him about fatherhood etc. Since I had suffered an arm injury in college).

Joe - He reminds me of my Grandson. The one that was killed 5 years ago while in high school. I generally do not get close to my players, but Jimmy Wilson was the exception. He needs help and I hope you can give him some.

Me - Sure Joe what do you want me to do, I'll talk to him.

Joe - You see I think he has the drive, determination and ability to relate to players. I would like you to offer him a job. I know you had an opening in Ottumwa, give him a chance to be the pitching coach there. I think you will like what he can do. He's a great kid who got a real tough break. I'd like to see him get that opportunity to continue in the game he loves.

Me - (taken aback by Joe's emotion, I had never seen that out of him). You think he has what it takes? Yeah Joe, I will talk to him and I'll even offer him the spot. He is a good kid, and I got a 2nd chance to be involved in this game, so I can repay it by giving him that chance and hope. I know how it is losing your career like that, and he was on top of the mountain.

That afternoon I called Jim Wilson into my office. I talked to him about what he wanted to do. He said he would probably go back to California, finish his degree and then maybe try and coach high school ball. I said Jim, Joe Johnson has recommended you for our pitching coach job in Ottumwa next season. He believes you have what it takes to climb the coaching ranks and maybe even manage someday. I willing to offer you that chance to stay in the Forester Family, with the coaching job. I give you a 3 year contract and the organization will pay for you to finish your degree. If after 3 years you decide it is not for you, then it will be your choice. But Joe thinks you have it in you to be great, and after talking to you I think you will be a fantastic coach here in the pro ranks.

The Kid shook my hand and thanked me. He said he would talk to his wife but said that he was sure to take the opportunity. That he wouldn't let me, Joe or the organization down.

You know what....I believe him. Welcome Jim Wilson, the new pitching coach at Class C Ottumwa and who knows maybe he will be a future manager.

World Series 1929
In one of the most startling upsets that I can remember, the Detroit Dynamos won both game 6 and game 7 at home to win the World Series over the heavily favored Philadelphia Sailors. Game 7 wasn't even close as Detroit won 8-3. A 4 run 7th inning aided by an error by 3rd baseman Bob Clements turned a 3-1 Detroit advantage to a 7-1 advantage and the Dynamo's coasted home with the Championship.

World Series MVP was Detroit 3B Frank Vance who erupted on the scene with a fantastic season hitting 372/416/1050 with 41HR's and 143 RBI's. He hit 344 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI's to win the MVP of the World Series and will likely get the league MVP as well. Congrats to Detroit and I am happy to my two former players SP Wayne Robinson and especially to SP Bob Lawrence on winning. Both pitchers played huge roles in the Dynamo's winning the series with 27 innings of really solid work between them. Hopefully my end of the trade will work out as well down the line.

Now we are officially headed to the off season and I had some decisions to make regarding our field manager next season.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:42 PM   #10
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The start of the Off-Season

Now that the Season is officially over, we need to turn our attention to several things. First off was the fan reaction to our trading of SP Max Wilder and SS Russ Combs. They were not thrilled and while I understand it from that perspective here it is from mine.

In a realistic sense we will likely not contend next season. Philadelphia is too strong and we are a very young ballclub heading into the spring. It is why I traded Robinson and Lawrence in the summer and it is why I traded Wilder now. At the age of those pitchers, they likely would not be a dominant force, when we return to prominence. So we got what we could for them and I think we got some nice young players and a few draft picks between those trades. We will be looking to do more trades this off-season as we take a serious turn towards youth, much like Brooklyn has done.

Now to answer the question on Russ Combs. Yes his average was down some from last year but the real concerning issue actually cropped up last season. There was a reason why we made the trade down the stretch last season that added SS Lloyd Carter to our roster. Carter was not a great hitter, but he was a very slick fielder, something that Combs does not seem to be. We tried Combs at 2B late last season a bit and in the spring but this year I decided I had seen enough. His defense with us was simply not acceptable. He made 54 errors this last season between SS and 2B with 48 of them at SS. He made 50 the year before with similar ratios. His zone rating was negative at both positions as well. It was just too many mistakes that hurt our pitching and with us likely having young starters on the mound next season, I decided we couldn't afford it. Russ is a great kid, we picked him up in as a rule 5 choice and he was highly rated as a bat first infield. It was just too much bat first and not enough D that sent him out of town. I hope he turns it around in Chicago. They have some good young players and are screaming to get into the upper division of the CA. Maybe Russ can help them do that, but they need to get him with a great fielding coach to iron out those issues.

One of the first players that will be on the trade block is 1B George Simpson (313/370/830 9-66) . He was brought in to shore up first base and be a leader. He had a fine season and is still on the right side of 30, but with Nixon coming in he will be our starting 1B next season for better or worse.

Next I need to make a decision on the manager of our club for next season. Will I hire Dave Adams who was the manager for a year and a half before I brought Joe Johnson up from Cincinnati. Or will it be Hank Leitzke, the current manager of the Cincinnati Steamers. I don't believe I will look outside the organization and I will chat with Hank today while I'm in Cincinnati on "organization business and player review", and then will return to chat with Dave. I received a very strong recommendation from Joe on which direction I should go.

The draft is coming up and I am talking with our Director of Scouting Ollie Moses about it. He has done a lot of work on the draft, and overall has done a solid job. The issue with Ollie is he doesn't like pitchers. He almost never comes up to me with any pitchers in his top 25 and one year had 2 in his top 250. It has led to a lot of very loud discussions although we have a very good relationship. I might be having another meeting in Cincinnati to discuss the front office while I am there. Ollie has talked about wanting to move up the front office chain, and I do have an opening in the Asst GM chair. We will see what happens, and who is available.

I will also have to find either a new bench coach if Dave is promoted or a new manager in Cincinnati if I choose Hank to guide the Foresters. With the announcement that Ottumwa has a new pitching coach in young Jim Wilson, those are the only openings in our organization. Of course if there is an out of this world candidate out their I might have to bring them in as well. I don't think that if Hank is giving the managing job that Dave will want to go to Cincinnati although it would be the best thing for him to gain that experience. If I hire Hank and depending on Dave's reaction if I go that direction, I will let Hank decide if he and Dave will work well together.

Once the off-season starts we will really begin working the phone lines to see if we can work out some trades. Then review the organization and make 40-man roster selections. We currently have 3 40-man spots available if we keep everyone but we also have some kids that deserve a spot and some we might want to keep protected from the rule 5 draft. We cleared some space already on the 40 man and we will likely cut lose or trade a few more of those spots.

We are always active in the Rule 5 as I believe that the last man or two on the team can ride the bench and not be a significant hindrance to the big league club. It is a great way to acquire some talent who we might have missed on in past drafts or are highly thought of and just waiting for that chance. Cleveland might well break their record for Rule 5 picks this coming season. Last year we had 3 players, SS Marty Smith, 2B Bob Baker and CF Leon Drake. Baker wound up being our primary 2B in 29 hitting a respectable 276 with a 1.9 WAR. His OPS+ left a little to be desired at 77 but I think he will get better. He can also play SS but he seems most comfortable at 2B. He had a positive zone rating of 6.4 and Eff at 1.032. Drake and Smith were players we wanted but didn't get a lot of chances. Now that they are in the organization they will like both be starting in Cincinnati next year getting lots of PA's

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Old 02-08-2020, 03:45 PM   #11
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The Draft is a coming, but first some business besides drafting.

With Manager Joe Johnson leaving the organization we had a hole to fill in at Manager in Cleveland. I was up in Cincinnati and interviewed Steamers Manager Hank Leitzke. The interview with Leitzke (52) went very well and he is a very knowledgeable manager with a solid track record. He won the last two Century League Championships with the Steamers going 185-95 in two seasons since replacing Joe Johnson. He has worked a lot with the kids that will likely be making their debuts with us next season and he has a winning career record and has won over 1100 games in the minors. His reputation is excellent and it showed in the interview. He is a strong candidate to replace Johnson as the Foresters Manager in 1930.

While I was in Cincinnati, I met with a scout by the name of Hal Bean. I had talked to Bean briefly last week to set up the meeting. His price was going to be high to bring in. I wanted Oliie (Moses) to continue with us as Assistant GM and be the head of our minor league development while bringing in Bean to put more time in scouting. His asking price was around $12,000 which dwarfed any salary I had in the front office. In fact none of the players were making that much either. We got together in Cincinnati and had a very good conversation. His knowledge was amazing and he didn't seem to have some of the biases that Ollie has shown in the past. As the conversation turned toward a contract he let me know that several other teams had gotten into the mix as well. He said now that he was looking for a contract of 5 years worth $125,000. This was a significant commitment and one that I would want to run past our owner Elmer Marshall. The team has been very profitable the last several years but with the recent events in the economy I was concerned about doling out that sort of a deal. I said that I would talk with Mr. Marshall but if he green lighted the price I would have the contract drawn up.

As I returned to Cleveland I needed to bring in bench coach Dave Adams who was our Manager in the 2nd half of 1926 and all of 1927. He sat under Joe Johnson's learning tree and wisely stayed out of Joe's way. I believe he did learn from Joe, but I really wanted him to take the Cincinnati job and get some more manager experience. Dave interviewed well and I really like him. I told him I would make a decision on the job in the next day or two and let him know.

While I was in Cincinnati our hitting coach with the Steamers Henry Butterfield decided he was calling it a career. I will have to look at replacing him once we get the manager situation settled.

When I returned to office in Cleveland the next day, I received a call from Hal Bean. I hadn't yet talked with Mr. Marshall yet in regards to his contract. Hal let me know that he had received an offer that not even he had expected to receive and he was informing me that he was going to take it. I inquired about which team had gone over $25,000 a year for 5 years and what deal he got. He let me know that he was going to sign with the Chicago Cougars and that he was getting over $200,000 for 5 seasons. I dropped the phone.....$40,000 plus a year. I said I couldn't blame him for taking that because there was no way I was going to take to Mr. Marshall about that sort of a deal. I wished him well.

I went to talk with Scouting Director Ollie Moses who was busy as usual with his group of scouts. They were pouring over papers and numbers. Each scout talking about a particular player they were high on from the region they covered. I told Ollie that Hal Bean would not be coming on board but that I still planned to change his title. I said that we would go over some draft items tomorrow and then get prepared over the next day or two to be ready to pick #3 overall.

The last thing on my list was a message from Jim Wilson. I had offered him the job in Ottumwa to be the pitching coach there at our class C facility. I called Jimmy and was expecting him to agree to the offer, but he said his wife got a job offer in Savannah that was a dream job for her. He didn't want to be apart from her and while he appreciated the offer he didn't think he could accept. He did inquire about our Class B team there, but knew we had a pitching coach. I said I would see if I could work out the details of letting him have the Savannah job. I really wanted to keep this kid in the system. The true was that I hadn't offered the job to Billy Martindale who was our pitching coach at Ottumwa. I was going to but I was too busy with the job of finding our new manager. So I renewed Martindale's contract at Ottumwa where he had done a good job and gave him a 100% increase. He seemed happy with that and now hopefully I can get Jim Wilson signed to be the pitching coach at Savannah.

Next: A crazy day before the draft

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Old 02-08-2020, 04:23 PM   #12
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A Crazy Day Before the Draft

It had been known that the Forester's would consider moving the #3 overall pick in the draft for some time. As the big day approached I had sat down with Ollie Moses (Scouting Director) and discussed who we would take. Ollie stated it was well known that everyone's #1 pick (everyone but Ollie's) Tom Barrell would be grabbed by the Chicago Cougars at #1. The Cougars and us battled for last place in the CA the last several weeks of the season. The Cougs had a stranglehold on it until the wheels fell off our season in late July. We weren't purposefully trying to tank to get the top pick but going into the last week of the season just a game separated us and the Cougars and played 4 games in our home park in the last 5 games. (Off the record) I admit that we took SP Max Wilder out of the rotation for the last week of the season and put him in the bullpen. Figured if Chicago took 3 out of 4 from us that we would end up with the #1 overall pick and Barrell. Well we of course split those two games with Wilder picking up a win in relief. That meant the last game of the season against Toronto we'd have to lose and Chicago would have to win to forge a tie. Well of course we won and Chicago lost so Barrell goes to Chicago. Wilder of course got a win in that game as well. The fact he won two of the 5 games that week while not starting had no bearing on his subsequent trade to the Cougars.

The player behind Tom Barrell that I really wanted was Rainier College (Washington) SP Chick Stout. For me Stout checked all the boxes on paper and in the scouting report that I read. Little did I know that I did not read all of the report, but would later. #3 on our board was power hitting OF Vic Crawford who hit over 30 home runs this last season. If we didn't move the pick, Crawford or Stout would be our choice. I quickly left the meeting with Ollie and went to my office.

I really wanted Stout for some strange reason. Maybe it was because my wife was originally from the Seattle area and I had always liked the Rainier school. If I hadn't gone to the college of San Diego I would have likely ended up at Rainier. I began to make a couple of calls. I had received a call from a GM inquiring about the #3 pick. I called him first (the call was with the Montreal GM) and he made me a respectable offer for the #3 overall pick. Of course I countered and we had a loose understanding that we would swap picks (Montreal had the 9th overall choice) in the first round and we would get a 5th and SP Al Allen. He also offered another deal without Allen in it and if we had made the trade I would have taken the other offer he threw out. I told him I'd think about it and review his minor league system and get back.

I then called the NY Gothams GM as they had the #2 pick in the draft. If I could swing a deal with him for the #2 pick then I could grab SP Stout. I made an offer of swapping our first round picks (so we'd go up from 3 to 2) and in return I throw in our 3rd round choice. Pricey but I really wanted Stout. I also let him know that Montreal was hot after a player and would likely be interested in the 3rd pick and that they could likely make a trade. Within minutes both trades went down. We moved up from 3rd to 2nd and Montreal moved up from 9th to 3rd. Everyone was happy...except

I went back to Ollie office and told him the good news. He gave a weak smile to me and then asked if I had read the entire scouting report on Stout. I stated that I thought so but asked him to give me the report. When I looked over the report before I only saw 1 page, what he gave me was a small pamphlet and I quickly looked over it. I then looked at Oliie and said "no one from his team attended his birthday party.....What's wrong with him." I then continued to read that Stout's intangibles and character were everything I loathed in a ballplayer. He was in my mind going to be a selfish, greedy, disruptive factor on the team. I thought long and hard about it and then quiet let it be known that if anyone had a knockout offer, the #2 pick could be had.

Later that day as I debated about taking Vic Crawford with the #2 pick that I could have had at #3 most likely I received a call from Pittsburgh Minors GM who had the #8 pick. He was interested in Stout so he was inquiring what it would take. Now if we did this we would have to get at least what we gave up (a 3rd round pick) and a little bit more for dropping down 5 spots from our original #3 overall. So he made an offer, I stated what I needed to get back and after some back an forth when I wouldn't pull the trigger we hit a deal.

I traded the #2 overall pick that we had for a couple of hours to the Minors. In return we received their #8 overall pick, a 3rd round pick, a 5th round pick and a prospect. That gave us 3 of the first 19 picks because of the trade with Detroit netted us the #16 overall pick, and then 5 of the first 48 picks through the 3rd round. The 5th rounder made up for one of the picks we traded in the spring last season. Oh and the player was the Miner #3 prospect (#43 overall) 2B Brooks Meeks. Meeks was someone I had tried to get in a trade earlier and I really liked his ability. It was also a position need in the organization. Overall I felt pretty good about the wild and crazy ride that this draft pick trading day had gotten us.

Although I heard from the league office that I had sent too many telegrams regarding trades while they were setting things up and that the Commissioner was not pleased and would be calling Mr. Marshall about his renegade GM.

Next - The Draft
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:35 PM   #13
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The Draft - 1st Round

The morning of the draft had the usual excitement going through the office. Mr. Marshall had come back from his trip to Europe with a glum look on his face. Apparently some of his holdings took a beating in the market, but then I presented him with his ownership check from this past season. While the on field product was much less than we had all hoped as far as wins and losses, the ownership profit was substantial still. He was in a much better mood after he took the $479,000 check. Granted this was $150,000 less than last season's profit check but still it was a good chunk of change and with all the chaos that was going on, the Foresters were a very good investment.

I let him know that with the poor season we had on the field, that I was dropping our ticket prices 4% for next season. I wasn't expecting our record to be much better honestly, but who knows the kids that I am planning to play could surprise us. We chatted some more and he seemed genuinely enthused about all the trades and the rebuilding of the team. He asked why I soured on Chick Stout and I gave him the reasons on his personal character were not something that I wanted. He tended to agree with me as he remembers the 1925 and 1926 teams that were riddle with problems and not just in the big leagues. He said after the draft he wanted to go through a full organizational review so we agreed to a time next week. He then left the office to with check in hand. The bank would love to see him come in and deposit that, but knowing Mr. Marshall he was likely to be finding some investments to buy while they were low.

The draft got off very quickly with the announcement that Chicago had indeed taken SP Tom Barrell out of Georgia Baptist. Next up with their #2 overall the Minors didn't shock any either with their pick of SP Chick Stout from Rainier College. I have to admit that with the Stout announcement if I had made the right choice. As with all draft picks only time will tell, but I had already taken a beating in one Cleveland newspaper.

Next up was Montreal with the 3rd choice that was originally ours. They quickly ended all speculation of who they were going after when they took RF Vic Crawford out of Commonwealth Catholic College. So far in my mind the draft had played out the way I saw it. But Ollie was scratching his head a bit. He had Crawford at #19 on his listings but agreed with most that he should be higher and didn't offer a reason as to why he was listed so low. I then started looking through the rest of Ollie's rankings. I asked Ollie where he had Chick Stout. He muttered that he was in their somewhere. After going through 3 pages of prospect names and none of them were pitchers, I jokingly said "oh you gave me just the batter list, where is the single sheet of pitchers". You see Ollie Moses hates pitchers, he wished the game would do away with pitchers completely. I always tell him that without pitchers you can't even have a game and he calmly says "sure you can, just either use a tee or get some sort of contraption out there that throws the ball over the plate at 90 mph. Problem solved."

I dearly love Ollie, but it is one of the reasons where I was discussing a position with Hal Bean. I need someone to be a little more objective on pitching.

Next up in the draft was St. Louis who once again had a new GM. This ownership and team had wasted arguably one or greatest players ever in Max Morris. Max was closing in on 500 home runs and might get it this season with another typical Morris effort. Most don't realize but Morris was drafted by us with the first overall pick in the 1913 draft. He played parts of 7 seasons in Cleveland, and no I am not the GM that traded him. I went back to look at the history books to see what we got for Morris in that trade and here is the deal.....

Cleveland Trades Max Morris (24) to St. Louis for the following during the off-season
1.) $10,000
2.) SP Milt Sexton (23) who was 15-8 2.86
3.) RF John Hill (26) who was hitting 291/317/392 1HR 25SB
4.) 3B James Gerhardt (23 class A) 337/398/452 10 HR 1SB
5.) 3B Jim Cator (25 AAA) 378/439/649 3 HR

So we traded an in his prime future hall of famer for at lease Jim Cator who was a fairly decent player for the Foresters. To be fair Morris had only hit 47 of his career homeruns by this point. Now after bashing the ball for the Pioneers for the last 10 years he is at 473 career home runs. Is it the ballpark...hmmm doubt it.

Anyway besides Cator I was familiar with James Gerhardt. I shipped his unmotivated lazy but out of town (DFA) in 1926. He wound up playing with some independent teams and is currently with the Houston Bulls.

RF John Hill was also in the organization when I arrive and was also DFA and released in August of 1926. He retired the next day.

SP Milt Sexton spent most of his time in Cincinnati with the Steamers but did get a shot in Cleveland in that ill fated 1926 season. I made 11 appearances for us pitching in relief with a 4.63 ERA. Another player with little ability and a bad attitude that I shipped out in June of 1926. He is playing today in San Diego Conquistadors who won the 1929 GWL title (AAA).

Rumor has it that the elder Mr. Marshall (Harold Marshall) took the $10,000 and bought a new fancy car, a new boat and a large house for one of his grandkids (and no it was not Ricky).

Wow anyway St. Louis took SP Tom Blalock with the #4 pick. A solid choice and 3rd pitcher taken so far.

With the 5th Pick the Toronto Wolves selected 2B Sam Orr. Orr was one of two players who I was hoping would be available at #8.

Boston grabbed CF Dan Fowler who we had down a little farther between 10-15 overall on our list.

Then came the Brooklyn Kings. Man do I hate drafting behind the Kings. They always seem to grab who we had next on our list. Fortunately for most of the draft we will be picking ahead of the Kings in the round. And of course never to disappoint, the Kings took the guy I would have taken with the next pick. This time it was 2B Jake Shadoan. I am not sure why I was so much in love with the 2B guys in this draft, especially since we had picked up Brooks Meek in the trade with Pittsburgh.

Finally it is our turn. I really was torn on who to pick. Ollie had an OF on his list that was #1 on his board, but not on anyone else's obviously. I reviewed our ratings, and then also reviewed some of the other publications that had ratings out. I decided that even thought we didn't have a screaming need for a CF, that we would draft one of the top guys on the board (even Ollie's). We selected CF Amos LeBlanc out of George Fox who was another college kid. It has been a run on college guys in this draft..

We will review all our top draft choices after the first 5 rounds in more detail.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:22 PM   #14
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The First Round Continues

After our pick the next 7 picks went as follows before we get the last pick of the first round at #16.

9. New York Gothams SP Phil Newcom
10. Washington Eagles LF Bill Kirby
11. Baltimore Cannons 2B Ray Barnes
12. Philadelphia Keysones RF Bobby Many
13. New York Stars LF Nellie Dawson
14. Chicago Chiefs SS Joe Foy
15. Philadelphia Sailors LF Lou Williams

Which means we are on the clock to wrap up the 1st round of this draft. We had 4 names on the list that we were looking at. Foy was the fifth name that was at the top of the list. If we stick to the list we will get 2 of the 4 players on this list since we have the 3rd pick of the 2nd round. So the decision was to try and take the player who we felt would not be there at the end of the 4 pick sequence. With that said, we top arguably a top 5 talent (too bad he isn't a top 5 character). It is those drawbacks that likely have kept him on the board, but the truth is we could use a good SP in this draft. So with a little less risk than the #2 pick would have been, we decided to go against the grain a bit (for us) and we selected

The Cleveland Foresters select, RHSP Ben Bernard (18) out of Mobile HS. He walked a few more batters in his senior season than in previous seasons but still had a WHIP below 1.00 (0.86) and an ERA of 1.13. At the end of the day we just couldn't pass on what we felt was a great value at #16. Hopefully with the very good character guys we have in this organization we will help Bernard keep his tongue in check and he will learn to not speak his mind so freely. If not, then he might be in a different uniform in a few years.

In the 2nd round we had 1 pick, our own selection at # (#19 overall). We added another name to the list and began to debate who would be our choice when we were up.

Before we are up in the 2nd round, we get a call from the NY Gotham's GM. We had posted that several of our players on the 40-man roster were available. New York was inquiring about UIF Don Ward. Ward had burst onto the scene in the 1927 season hitting 301/351/788 with 9-82. At the start of the 28 season we had picked up Rule 5 draft pick Russ Combs who had a lot of prospect capital and talent and actually won the starting SS job. Wanting to keep Ward in the lineup, we moved him between 2B and when Jay Moore got injured at 3B we tried him there. He actually handled the duties defensively fairly well, but broke his kneecap fairly early in the 28 season and was sideline for 7 months. He played 131 games in the 29 season but had seemingly lost his mojo a bit with the bat hitting 277/323/702 2-49 which was a far cry from his 27 season rookie season.

We decided to make a deal with New York trading them Ward for a 6th Round pick as we try and recapture some of the picks we lost during last years off season.

The other players on the current trade block are
1B George Simpson
RF Bill Grunwald
3B Jake Moore*
CF Bobby Allen

*Moore is likely to be retained but could be moved

Other players are available as well as the Foresters begin their process of reviewing the 40-man roster. None of these players are in danger of being DFA, but they could be odd men out on next year's 23-man roster that will break Spring Training Camp and head to Cleveland.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:32 PM   #15
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On to the 2nd Round of the Draft

None of the players on our list were taken, but since we don't pick until midway through the 3rd round I doubt any of the remaining players will still be there. So the choice honestly came down to a pitcher who we thought about long and hard and two infielders. After the rough display of defense the last year or two, the Foresters elected to side with defense and go with your SS George Dawson out of Knoxville High School. The SS has little to no power but hit for a 447/484/1078 line this past season. But where he really shines is his defense. His zone rating was 14.1, his RF was 5.58 and his Eff was 1.173. He only made 7 errors in 40 games so for a young SS that is a solid season at the hardest position to play.

He will likely be sent to Class C Ottumwa with his age as we don't want to overmatch his batting skills. If he can hit 300 in the bigs with the D he plays, he will be a steal down the line.

Its been a long day and we have a lot of work to do before we get 2 choices in the 3rd round. Ollie's #1 on the board and #3 on the board are still there after 19 picks so we will take a long hard look at them. I am going through the pitchers and there are several on the radar. Once we get to the end of the next round we will look to take a few flyers especially after the 5th round.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:53 PM   #16
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Onto Day Two of the Draft

We have 2 picks in the 3rd round at #8 and #16. Before we get to the picks we have some other business to attend too.

Trade with the NY Gotham's
The Gotham's traded their 6th round choice for our utility infielder Don Ward. Ward is not just a utility player as he is a very good SS but we also played him at 2nd and 3rd base the last two seasons. The 28 season was cut short with an early season injury (busted kneecap) that kept him out of the lineup after mid-May. Last year he bounced between 2nd and 3rd but his hitting suffered. Not sure if it was the change in defense or if he was just a flash in the pan in his rookie season of 1927. He was solid but we had decided to move on.

Manager Hired
We officially hired Hank Leitzke to be our new manager for the Foresters. Hank had Joe Johnson's endorsement and he interviewed very well and knows the players in the system. His coaching staff has been retained including bench coach Dave Adams.

We pulled in a late interview candidate for one of our open positions. We spoke with former Kings Manager Powell Slocumb. I really wanted to add him to be our next Manager at Cincinnati but Powell was only interested in the FABL job in Cleveland. Too bad he would have made a great manager at Cincinnati as we attempt to win the Union League for a 4th straight year. Barring a miracle, we do not see the Foresters contending for the CA crown this year.

It's official Wilson agreed to a contract with Class B Savannah
Jim Wilson after having his career cut short accepted the Foresters offer and will be the new pitching coach at Savannah. Wilson will be the youngest coach in the whole Forester's system and some pretty high expectations are he could become a great pitching coach or might even try his hand a managing someday. We are excited to have Jimmy continue his career now as a coach with us.

Scouts are Staying Away from Cleveland
Once again the Forester's were spurned in their attempts to hirer a lead scout. Johnny Robards decided not to come to Cleveland after the Forester's offered him a 5 year deal worth $12,000 per year. Instead Robards in a shrewd business move accepted the Boston Minutemen's offer of also 5 years for substantially less money. Yes you read that right, Robards will be making $5,000 per season. Congrats Johnny, I guess.

GM Martin will continue his search for a Lead Scout with Ollie Moses becoming the team's new Asst GM. With his top 2 choices gone, it is anyone's guess who will be next?

Draft Round 3
The Forester's had 2 picks in this round. The first was at number 8 in the round where they took 1B Jake Johnson out of Lubbock State. Johnson hit a ton in his last season in college hitting 422/506/1207 with 14 homers and 50 RBI's with 70 runs scored. If his hitting ability can translate to the pro's he might find his way to the big leagues some day.

The Forester's 2nd pick in the 3rd Round was the last pick in the round (#16/#48 overall) With that pick the Forester's went pitching and selected SP Fred O'Dell from the Portland (Or) High Lumberjacks. O'Dell was a flashy 7-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 82 innings while also picking up a save.

The Forester GM DD Martin seemed very pleased with how the first 3 rounds unfolded. He will be having an interview later this week with the Cleveland Dispatch's own Michael J Kiely, much to the chagrin of the Cleveland Post-Intelligencer's "Angry" Ronald William Apter.

Apter has been after the GM ever since he set foot into Cleveland and last season's performance by the team hasn't quieted the controversary columnist.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:25 AM   #17
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The Draft Summary

We as a team felt very positive about the draft. True we lost a player that we would have liked to have gotten (more on that below). Here are the picks of the first 10 rounds for the Foresters.

Round 1 Pick 8
Amos LeBlanc CF (21) R out of George Fox Reds (Yale)

His speed can be a difference maker and we hope that is true since we don't have blazing speed in our organization. We have a fairly loaded CF situation, but while he doesn't project to have much power, he does project to have a good eye and has a shot at being a 330 hitter. His defense is something that we really covet and was one of the reasons we went with him.

Draft year line 443/506/1121 6-34 69R 25SB

Round 1 Pick 16
Ben Bernard SP (18) R Mobile Commodores HS

In our view Bernard was a top 5 talent but was held back some by some character issues. SP who throws 4 pitches with his signature 89mph fastball. He also throws a curve, slider and has a change up. He will need to work on his command as he sometimes pinpoints the ball too much. Hopefully with a solid clubhouse, pitching coach and manager at his minor league destination, he will flourish both on the field and also off.

Draft Year Line 5-1 1.13 ERA 72.0 inn 33HA 3.6 BB/9 12.1 K/9 292 ERA+

Round 2 Pick #3 (Overall #19)
George Dawson SS (18) R - Louisville Titan HS

Has a strong lean frame standing 5'11 and weighting 150 lbs. Again another player with elite speed and has tremendous range to be able to cover a lot of ground at the SS position. The question is will he be able to hit in the pro ball, although he did have a tremendous senior year in high school.

Draft year line 447/484/1078 0-34 36R 9SB

Round 3 Pick #8 (Overall #40)
Jake Johnson 1B (22) L- Lubbock State Bobcats (Baylor)

We were looking for a complete infield in the early rounds of the draft and we happy that Johnson was available. Standing 6ft 2" and weighting 215, he has ample raw power. He has shown improvement in his pitch recognition as well which should allow for above average power. His contact ability is of biggest concern.

Draft Year Line 422/506/1207 14-50 70R 1SB

Round 3 Pick #16 (#48 overall)
Fred O'Dell SP R Portland Lumberjacks HS

We took a chance here and thought we could corral this youngster. He wants to go to college but in our conversations prior to the draft felt that we could get him to sign. His agent indicated it would take in excess of $9,000 in a signing bonus to secure him. We offered him $12,000, but in the end the decision to go to college was too much and money wasn't going to sway him after all.

Did not sign

Round 4 Pick 3 (#51 Overall)
Vince Burkett 2B (21) R - Bayou State U Cougars (LSU)

Continuing the trend in the infield we took the young 2B with above average power potential. He has good range and put up solid defensive stats in college. Like Johnson before him the concern is where he can hit a for constant batting average.

Draft Year Line 282/355/1026 22-62 43R 2SB

Round 5 Pick 8 (#72 Overall)
Randy Fargo 3B (21) S Boulder State Grizzles (Colorado)

Another infielder pick as we snag Fargo. Another athlete with elite speed and has the strength to hit for big league power. He is a steady infielder at 3B

Draft Year Line 303/377/846 10-39 51R 19SB

Round 6 Pick 2 (#82 Overall)
Dick Miller C (21) R - Dickson Marons (Harvard)

Has an above average eye and power. He is only considered average defensively behind the dish. His arm is less than average as he struggled only throwing out 31% of would be base stealers. Drafted for his power bat, but defense will decided if he makes it past AAA Cincinnati.

Draft Year Line 307/395/883 8-49 30R 0SB

Round 7 - No pick traded

Round 8 Pick 9 (#121st Overall)
Leo Jordan SS (18) R - New York Eagles HS

Excellent defender with above average skills. Has average speed but is solid in his knowledge of when it is time to run. Exceptionally high baseball (and other) IQ. Again the concern is whether he can consistently high pro pitching.

Draft Year Line 267/357/723 1-18 14R 3SB

Round 9 Pick 3 (131st Overall)
Steve Flow SP (18) R - San Antonio Warriors HS

A large pitcher at 6'5 and 180 lbs. He has a pretty mean forkball and 4 other pitches. He might end up a reliever unless he can get 2 of those other 4 pitches into a average or above average level. His strikeouts were drastically reduced in his senior year from 9 to 1.1. We will look to see why that occurred but if we can get his straightened out he could be a steal.

Draft Year Line 3-4 2.77ERA 68.1 inn 70HA 2.2 BB/9 1.1 K/9

Round 10 Pick 3 (#147th Overall)
Vic Shirley SP (21) L - Northern Cal Miners (Cal)

Small stature probably held him back. Standing only 5'7 and weighing only 145 (maybe). He doesn't have a huge power fastball to rely on. He has a plus knuckleball that will test our catchers in the minor leagues. His stuff is elite and should get better as he matures. He will need to work on his secondary pitches and continue to learn to control the knuckler, but he could be an above average reliever if starting doesn't work out.

Draft Year Line 7-2 2 saves 2.61ERA 72.1 Inn 64HA 4.1BB/9 10.7 K/9

Other notable picks (based on organization top prospects)
RD 11 - Pete Thomas CF (18) R - Trenton Titans HS (Cleveland prospect #12)

RD 13 - Buzz Baker P (21) L - Chicago Poly Maroons (Chicago U) (Prospect #19)

Overall the class hasn't impressed the BNN Baseball Scouts but we feel pretty comfortable with the class and the young players (C Richardson 2B Meeks and others) we acquired in trades since the season ended.

Next up Rule 5 Draft
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Old Yesterday, 12:27 AM   #18
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The Rule 5 Draft

Historically this has been a fairly big day in Cleveland since GM Martin took over the reigns after the 25 season. With this being his 5th Rule 5 Draft it appears they have targeted some players that they would like to bring into the Forester Organization.

But first a look back at previous Rule 5 Drafts

December 1925
Our first Rule 5 Draft


We hadn't been in Cleveland long when this Rule 5 Draft came about so we went looking for a need. If we didn't find it then eh we would just pass and honestly I was about to pass, but a funny thing happened on the way. Folks in the office had mentioned this one kid, that the Foresters had drafted out of college in 1923 in the 26th round. He then was released by the Foresters and wound up in the Toronto organization in 1924. Then before the trading deadline of the 1924 season he was traded by Toronto and headed to Detroit in a deal packaged with SP Toby Runlon in exchange for SS Joe Allen. 3 weeks later Detroit in a shrewd business move (before human GM) released him 3 weeks later. He had been with 3 organizations in 7 months after being drafted. In spring of the 1925 season St. Louis signed him but then a week later was released a week later. 4 organizations in basically 1 year is not a great start to a career.

Continuing on, he was then on the radar of the renegade San Diego Conquistadors and got on their merry go round signing and then getting released several more times (Wish OOTP would fix the AI on that). Then he finally found a home briefly with the Philadelphia Keystones and finished out the 1926 season in their organization. In all that movement in 2 seasons he actually got over 500 PA's between all those teams. Since he had been drafted signed and released multiple times he was Rule 5 eligible and someone long since gone suggested that we pick him and he would fill a utility role with us.

1925 Rule 5 Draft Choice - Cleveland SS Jim Carroll
Jim spent the 1925 season as a deep reserve with us appearing in just 44 games and garnering 98 AB's. He hit 235 1-8 but played several positions in the infield for us.

He then would play in our minor league system to get him some more PA's in the next several years and did make another brief appearance in Cleveland in 1928. Unfortunately Jim just couldn't hit major league pitching at an acceptable rate and was released from AAA Cincinnati in May 1929. He was picked up by the unaffiliated Portland Green Sox of the GWL where he still is today.

We lost a SS that year in the Rule 5 draft as well. SS Ed Ezell was drafted by the other Phily team as he went to the Sailors but was released in 1928. He ended up being a teammate of Jim Carroll on that Portland team and was just released last week.

1925 Rule 5 Grade - meh C-

1926 Rule 5 Draft
Saw us again take another SS. Once again raiding the Philadelphia Keystones and selected SS Pete Asher. Now Asher was a fairly good player and he could hit a bit unlike Jimmy Carroll. He appeared in just 30 games though and got just 59 PA's hitting 264 0-5. He played in Cincinnati in 1928 even though he could have probably been in with the Foresters. But in spring training he shot off his mouth and Manager Joe Johnson took an instant disliking to him. He hit 332/419/871 7-69 with the 28 Steamers. He was then traded in spring training because Joe just said no, and he went to Pittsburgh with a 6th round pick in a deal that brought us 1B George Simpson

We lost SP Cotton Taylor to the Chicago Cougars in that draft. He has been a part of the Cougs rotation the last 3 years appearing 79 and making 65 starts. He is 21-32 with an ERA in the upper 4's on some fairly bad Cougar teams. Not terrible but probably would not have ever made our starting rotation.

1926 Rule 5 Grade - C+ Asher is a solid player who likely would have had a home in Cleveland if he could have learned to shut his mouth. He did net us a 1B in Simpson in a deal who was pretty good for us. SP Taylor was a non-consequential loss as he likely would have been stuck in AAA Cincinnati.

1927 Rule 5 Draft
So far we had taken only 1 player each of the first two seasons but that would change in 1927. That year we selected 2 Rule 5 players in again another SS Russ Combs and 1B Ron McDougle. For the 3rd straight year we raided the Keystones (something I hadn't realized) with McDougle while Combs came from St. Louis Pioneers (who have had some serious issues in team leadership over the years).

Combs (23) was rated the #17 prospect in all of the FABL so his acquisition was quite the steal. He was even selected in the 2nd round of the draft so everyone passed on him at least once. Due to an injury to SS Don Ward, Combs became the surprising starter and he didn't disappoint with the bat. He hit 293/353/827 16HR 79 RBI's. The town loved him, but there was an issue. While he hit great for a SS he didn't field quite as well committing a whopping 50 errors in 1928. Still the bat was good so he went into 1929 as the starting SS even with Ward returning from injury. The bat cooled off a bit (289/353/827 7-59) and the fielding didn't get any better as he committed 54 errors last season. He was recently traded to the Chicago Cougars in the off-season along with SP Max Wilder for 1B Luke Nixon and 3 minor league players.

McDougle (23) as saw some quality playing time in the 1928 season. Getting 48 starts and appearing in 70 games. He is a great contact hitter and hit 313/382/781 with 1-57. With the acquisition of 1B George Simpson for the 1929 season he went to Cincinnati to get more playing time. He hit a whopping 361/431/893 with 3-64 while also getting some time in the corner OF spots along with 1B. The though is he could be a very reliable part time start, pinch hitter with Cleveland for years to come. The problem is he isn't generating much power and he plays a power position. But still a very solid bat to have and doesn't hurt you with the glove.

The league determined we didn't have anyone in our organization worth drafting in 1928 so we didn't lose anyone.

1927 Rule 5 Grade - B Of our first 3 drafts this was one that was better than the previous two. We haven't ever really been hurt by anyone we have lost over the 3 years and we have found 3 out of 4 solid productive players (not including Jim Carroll in that).

1928 Rule 5 Draft
Maybe the biggest draft yet for us. We ended up drafting SS Marty Smith (23), 2B Bob Baker (24) and then another theft in CF Leon Drake (20).

CF Drake is a stud and was again a top 20 prospect that fell threw the cracks of the Chicago Chiefs. He shouldn't have been eligible yet for the draft but a clerical error in the Chicago office saw him released and then quickly resigned. It was a mistake that some former kid in the office made, but there was no going back. We have real high hopes for Drake who will go to either AAA Cincinnati or AA Portland for the 1930 season. He rode the bench most of the year but got some playing time down the stretch with the Foresters not contending. He struggled with the bat but that was to be expected. We look for big things in his future.

2B Baker (selected from the Washington Eagles) ended up playing a surprising role with the Foresters in 1929. His bat cooled down the stretch but he put up respectable if not spectacular numbers playing more 2B than was thought he would during the season. Baker appeared in 132 and got 471 AB's and hit 276/335/698 3-57 for the season. He was over 300 during the first half but appeared to wear down a bit with the grind as the summer wore on. Still he looks promising and will be in the mix for the 1930 squad.

SS Smith was the 4th straight SS we have selected in the Rule 5. We got him from, yep you guessed it the Philadelphia Keystones (4 straight years). I am expecting a call from the Keys GM to ask that we quit raiding his minor leagues. Obviously this position has really been a glaring hole for the Foresters throughout the 20's so we keep trying to address it. Smith played minimally appearing in 34 games and 82 total AB's. He is pegged to start the 1930 season in AA Portland and hopefully he can improve on the small sample size of 195 avg. Still he has some spirit and I think he will be back in Cleveland again someday.

We lost 2 players in CF Joe Davis (24) to the Chicago Cougars. Joe hit a respectable 296/331/793 with 2-26 in 169 AB's in the 1929. He was a solid player but was stuck behind a long list of guys in our organization.

We also lost RP Boyd Harper to the New York Stars. Harper went 1-1 6 saves with a 3.36 ERA in New York. Solid numbers in his big league debut and based on what happened with our bullpen last year, he could have gotten a shot and maybe helped.

1928 Rule 5 Grade A- I'm going to say that this draft was our best. Easily with CF Drake, 2B Baker and SS Smith these guys could make up a solid nucleus in the future. Davis and Harper were solid players who could have played a future role, but if I was making a trade with the Rule 5 we got over the ones we lost, I'd say in the long run we will win.

Next up - The unspectacular 1929 Rule 5 Draft

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1929 Rule 5 Draft - Lots of players but not a spectacular haul.

The Rule 5 Draft has been something that we have targeted every year while in Cleveland. We look at it as a way to upgrade our overall talent pool at a very small cost. Overall over the last several years in particular I think we have been very successful with the draft. We will see how this years draft goes shortly.

Again this year we didn't lose anyone in the draft. Not sure if that is because we moved the best players onto the 40-man roster or we just don't have that much talent in the minor leagues. We did make some moves before the draft in crafting the 40-man roster.

The following players we DFA before the Rule 5 Draft -
RP Wilbur Hawkins (35)
CL Jake Young (33)
C Jimmy Bremer (30)
SP Karl Clasby (30)
RP Cat Spanos (28)
2B John Mallory (29)


Why did these guys get the boot? Primarily age and some ineffectiveness last season. 2B Mallory had been up several times but was stuck in the minors after not making the most of his previous opportunities. Mallory was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cougars. He's a solid bench bat and has a positive attitude so he might get a shot in Chicago.

RP Hawkins and Young had lost their spots in Cleveland and were in Cincinnati most of last season. We decided that there were younger options for us that we wanted to see in Cincinnati.

C Bremer was the 4th catcher on the 40-man roster and we decided that he was expendable.

SP Karl Clasby has always overachieved but struggled mightily after a severe injury in the 1928 season. We DFA him but then brought him back (Only player from the above group that we did bring back) and he will likely start in Cincinnati and will be invited to spring training. Who knows Karl might make it back, we will certainly give him that chance.

RP Spanos was a waiver addition late last season. He just didn't impress and after watching him pitch at the end of the year we understood why he was DFA and decided to do the same.

We moved several players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Those players were:
RP Ethan Scott (23)
RP Otto Howard (24)
1B Joe Smith (26)


The day of the draft we decided to protect CF Mickey Crawford (25) as a late addition.

Why did these guys get moved up besides that might have some talent? Smith was an easy one as he has hit the ball well at every level in our organization but not with tremendous power. He is able to steal a base which we haven't had much of the last few years on our team. He could be an interesting bench option and in a battle with 1B Ron McDougle was a bench spot on the 30 squad.

Crawford was added to an already crowded CF equation in our organization just because he might be someone who is either traded or moves up if we trade anyone from that mix. He hit roughly 330 between AA Portland and AAA Cincinnati with 9-90 HR/RBI numbers. We had room and just felt he would get selected.

The two relievers (Howard and Scott) were added because well, with all the trades an injuries we are pitching depth depleted. While I am not sure either guy will ever make it to Cleveland I decided to buy them some more time to make their cases.

Onto the Draft -

We had a #1 target who we really wanted with our first pick (#3 overall in this draft). Unfortunately the team that owned him must have had second thoughts much the way we had with CF Crawford above. The player had been placed on the 40 man roster the night before the draft. We were disappointed as he was someone that we saw in Cleveland for a long time.

Round #1 (pick 3) Foresters select 2B Russ Franklin (23) (St Louis). Franklin has played the last 2 seasons at Class A and while hitting well asking him to make the jump to the big leagues is a tall order. He will battle it out with 2B Bob Baker (last years rule 5 draft pick) for a spot on the roster. Depending on spring training and what happens with 2B Meeks that we acquired in a trade, this might be the first Rule 5 player we return.

Round #2 (pick 3-#19 overall) Cleveland selects CL Ed Smith (25) from the Detroit Dynamo's organization. Pitching is a clear need for us this year (and every year it seems) and we hadn't focused one pick in previous years in the Rule 5. So we liked what we saw from Smith as he pitched in both class A and AA with the Detroit organization. His low 3's ERA impressed us enough to see what he could do in our rebuilding season of 1930.

Round #3 (pick 3-#35 overall) - The Foresters select SP Felix Dent. For the 2nd straight year we went with 3 players and this time we took our first player projected to be a SP (at least at some point) in Felix Dent (23) who came over from the Washington Eagles. He seems to have righted the ship the last 2 years after a rough start in his career in class A. He certainly tosses a lot of innings and has an ERA of around 3.43 over those two seasons. Again a huge step up in level here and he will likely spend most of the year in the bullpen.

Grade - TBD Way too early to tell although I am not feeling as good about this group as I have the last 2 groups.

And that is the 1929 Rule 5 Draft. On our 23-man roster we will let both Dent and Smith have roles. If we follow our usual 9 man pitching staff, that leaves 7 more spots to battle for. It should be an interesting spring in Florida for us. Also I'll probably keep 2B Franklin as a backup much like we did with SS Marty Smith last year. We aren't expected to be a serious contender and will likely finish next to last or last in the CA.

But this again is a year to rebuild and we will see who can go and who must go.

Next up - The Winter Meetings and a cleanout of the organization roster
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