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Old 05-22-2019, 02:10 PM   #41
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1906 - No money, No problem

The Boston Minutemen had reached what manager (and part owner) George Theobald termed an "untenable financial situation." By this he meant that his team, winners of four straight Federal Association pennants, was nearly broke. All that talent was expensive, so Theobald, with the blessing of his co-owners (including majority boss Steve Cunningham, who at 72 was turning more and more of the running of the club over to Theobald), started making trades.

The first came in early January - stellar pitcher Bill McDaniel and outfielder Jim Underwood were shipped to the New York Gothams for RF Dave Paine and P Johnny Doctor, plus $2000 in cash. That money was earmarked towards keeping Woody Trease for at least another couple of seasons. Not quite three weeks later, with the seismic waves not even settled down, Theobald swung a second deal, sending 2B Ike Stokes to Detroit for CF Francis Houston. The third and final deal (for now) took place in early February and saw SS Charlie Coller (who had the highest salary on the team) and 1B Allen Perkins head to Washington with young SS Arch Johnston (recently purchased by the Eagles from Wilkes-Barre in the ECA) going to Boston.

When the dust settled, the newspapers (and therefore the fans) were in an uproar and the face of the Minutemen was vastly changed. The main piece from the dynasty who remained in place was Woody Trease. Theobald rightly feared torches and pitchforks on Boston Commons if Trease were sold or traded away, so he stayed. Surprisingly, the club did not fall apart. Trease was outstanding, posting a league-best 34-14 record as he shouldered an increased workload with aplomb, finishing with a 1.69 ERA that was third-best in the league. Arch Johnston, the "cheaper" alternative at SS, finished 2nd in the batting race (.311) and young catcher Jack Clark turned in a good season in his rookie campaign, finishing 3rd in the league in both homers (5) and RBIs (72). All that angst and furor amongst the newsmen and fans? Gone - amazing what a 90-64 record and fifth-straight pennant could do. Those who in March wanted to run him out of town were now calling Theobald a genius.

The Cleveland Foresters also made a big-time trade in the offseason, stealing stellar LF Tom Van Zeeland from the Philadelphia Sailors (who had just purchased him from KC in the Century League where he had hit .426 in 1905) in return for P Al Goodwater and rookie OF Obie Keenan. Van Zeeland turned in a good season with a .295 average and Jack Arabian did his usual batting-champion thing (.331 - which was actually only good enough for 2nd place thanks to a .340 campaign by New York's Bill Craigen) but it still wasn't enough to knock the Stars off the Continental Association throne as they finished 96-57, 12 games ahead of Cleveland.

Lest you think things were static (and you'd be forgiven for thinking that given that the Minutemen & Stars apparently had things on lockdown), there was movement in the standings. The regularly dismal Brooklyn Kings made a return to the first division with a surprising 82-70, 3rd-place finish thanks to Joe Brownfield (25-17, 2.06) who was picked up from the Sailors and an emerging star in CF Frank McLerran (.311-1-69) at age 22. The Chicago Cougars were fourth and the Sailors fifth. Baltimore, which had looked like a contender, fell off in the second half despite a brilliant sophomore effort from RF Powell Slocum who hit .328 (3rd in the CA) with a league-best 37 doubles. Toronto was a surprising seventh and even though his team was not good, Allan Allen continued to pitch very well, tying for the league-lead in wins with a 26-18, 2.19 effort. Montreal was last - again - and there were grumbles about the team needing to leave Canada to draw fans and thereby increase revenue and maybe find better players. They were in kind of a chicken-egg situation.

The Fed race, though won by Boston, was contentious through most of the summer. Chicago finished second, just 1.5 games back of Boston with George Wilson (who had been released by Boston as part of Theobald's cost-cutting measures - a dead arm may have had a little to do with it) posting a league-best 1.39 ERA though he was limited to 34 appearances due to his arm issues. The veteran lefty got by on wits and more than a few spitballs. St. Louis finished third and looked like a club on the rise. Washington, who had been the favorite when everyone was thinking Theobald had lost his mind, finished fourth. Coller hit .223 and though Allen Perkins was ok (.260) it was thought it'd be a while before Washington would again make a trade with Boston.

The bottom half of the Fed table had Detroit (75-78), another team with high hopes that did get another outstanding season out of Bill Temple (26-10, 1.45, 258 Ks) and its offense overall (league-best 605 runs scored) but very little from any pitcher not named Bill Temple and gave up the 6th most runs in the league; Pittsburgh, which had finally collapsed after nearly a decade at or near the top of the standings and the Gothams and Keystones, still stuck in the basement and trying to climb out. The Gothams' trade with Boston didn't pay off as well as they'd hoped: Bill McDaniel was good (22-23, 2.23) but not great and Jim Underwood was only slightly above-average (.254-3-57). They did unveil a new shortstop named Ed Ziehl, who hit .319 and was just 19 years old, so there was a small glimmer of hope in New York. Philly was still looking for the game-changer they hadn't had since Zebulon Banks left town in 1897.

The home team didn't fare very well in the 1906 World Series. Boston hosted the first two games and dropped them both by narrow scores - 3-2 in game one and 4-2 in game two. But Boston returned the favor in game three with a 3-2 win on the Stars' home field. Game four was the first to break the trend as New York seized the chance to put a stranglehold on the series with a 4-1 win - the second time they'd beaten Trease in this series (he was now 0-4 against them in the past two WS). Boston's pride powered them to another road win, 9-0 in game five. But the road victory trend bit them in turn in game six as New York won 8-3 to clinch and become back-to-back champs.

New York's pair of standouts each had great a great Series. SS John Waggoner hit an even .500 on 10-for-20 with 4 RBIs while regular-season batting champ RF Bill Craigen hit .417. Jack Stahl posted a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA after having emerged as the Stars' best pitcher mid-season.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Minutemen		90	64	.584	-	559	470
Chicago Chiefs			87	64	.576	1½	485	409
St. Louis Pioneers		81	68	.544	6½	559	532
Washington Eagles		79	71	.527	9	500	464
Detroit Dynamos			75	78	.490	14½	605	574
Pittsburgh Miners		69	76	.476	16½	506	515
New York Gothams		60	89	.403	27½	466	601
Philadelphia Keystones		60	91	.397	28½	464	579
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Stars			96	57	.627	-	641	475
Cleveland Foresters		83	68	.550	12	528	470
Brooklyn Kings			82	70	.539	13½	528	493
Chicago Cougars			81	71	.533	14½	560	546
Philadelphia Sailors		76	77	.497	20	437	465
Baltimore Clippers		70	81	.464	25	549	544
Toronto Wolves			68	82	.453	26½	483	533
Montreal Saints			51	101	.336	44½	441	641
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:03 PM   #42
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1907 - Back to the Future

1907 is memorable for a few reasons, one of them being that it saw both the resurgence of a former power and the rise of a new one. The former power returning to glory was the Pittsburgh Miners who had won four Federal Association pennants over the span of 1898-1901, then had a string of three straight 2nd place finishes from 1903-05, bottoming out with a 69-76, 6th-place finish in 1906 before coming back in a big way in '07. The new power was Continental Association pennant-winner Baltimore. The Clippers had won one pennant, back in 1890 as part of the Peerless League but had finished as high as 2nd only once since and had a lot of 5th and 6th place finishes on their resume, including - like Pittsburgh - a 6th-place standing in 1906. But boy oh boy did they put on a show in 1907.

Managed by a former minor league catcher in Walter Love, who had been skippering the Clippers's ship since 1893 (and was about halfway through an exceptional managerial career), Baltimore's rise can be traced directly to the arrival over three seasons of three outstanding young players, two of whom would be future Hall of Famers. The first to arrive was LF Jimmy Whipple, who was signed in 1905. He was soon followed by RF Powell Slocum, purchased from the Dixie League's Birmingham club later that season. The final big piece came in 1907 when the club signed 19-year-old pitcher Mike Marner. This trio of extremely talented youngsters (Whipple was 23, Slocum 20 and Marner 19 at the start of the '07 season) had the Clippers seemingly set for the foreseeable future. Baltimore posted a FABL-best 102-46 record as Whipple (.305-0-63) got things going from the leadoff spot, third-place hitter Slocum won a batting title (.387-2-101) and Marner destroyed all opposition to lead the league both in wins and ERA with a 34-12, 1.47 season. The team was young top-to-bottom with five regulars 24 or younger and another newcomer, 26-year-old Jimmy Redpath, as the second starter (he went 25-7, 1.63 in 34 games). Baltimore led the CA in runs scored (560) and fewest runs allowed (382) and won the pennant by 17.5 games over the defending-champion New York Stars.

The Stars got another top-notch performance from SS John Waggoner (.369-1-83, both average & RBIs second to Slocum) and Bill Craigen (.326) and was 2nd in both runs scored and allowed, but as the standings attest, were nowhere near as good as Baltimore. The Cougars finished third with rookie CF Smith Mazzotta hitting .344 with 6 HRs and 72 RBIs and Jack Long continuing to be the best-kept pitching secret in the league at 27-17, 2.07 for the year. Cleveland made a big move just before opening day by making a trade with Toronto for Allan Allen. The now-40-year-old Allen wanted to be closer to his Ohio home (and also be on a contender, which Toronto no longer was) so he was swapped for P James Wigfall and OF Bill Price (ironically both Price and Wigfall would later be released by Toronto with Wigfall going back to Cleveland and Price catching on with the powerhouse Clippers). Allen was still pretty good and finished 22-19 with a 1.82 ERA for the Foresters (who honestly just needed more hitting to be contenders with Jim Cathey and his 22-22, 1.90 ERA attesting to that fact). Montreal was finally starting to improve and finished tied with Cleveland at 74-79. Brooklyn (66-82), Toronto (68-85) and Philadelphia (54-100) rounded out the CA standings table.

On the Federal side, the Miners finished a relatively quick rebuild via a trade (with the Chicago Cougars for 2B Spencer Harding and LF Ike Armstrong) and some shrewd purchases from the minors. The biggest of the latter was the purchase of Canadian-born catcher Sam Goslin from Richmond of the Dixie League. Goslin hit .357 but didn't qualify for a batting title as he only appeared in 97 games. The team also got a bit lucky - they were 3rd in the circuit in runs scored (532) though they led the league in hitting (.266) and were second in runs allowed (435) despite the lack of a true ace (27-year-old rookie Al Parker's 21-12, 2.17 season was the best on the team) and the guy with the best ERA on the team (John McKenna, 1.88) was released by the team the day after the World Series. Still they finished 88-57, 7.5 games ahead of second-place St. Louis.

The Pioneers relied on the Federal Association's best offense (league-best 589 runs scored) to overcome a middling pitching staff (516 runs allowed, 5th in the FA) to post an 84-68 record and finish second. The third-place Detroit Dynamos made a big splash with a midseason trade for Woody Trease. Yep, Boston's "never gonna be traded" young ace was dealt on July 7 by George Theobald who realized that his team's time had passed and it was time to focus on the future (which meant being cheap and dealing the highest-paid pitcher in the league). Trease was 12-10, 2.16 with Boston but really turned it on for Detroit, going 18-9 with a 1.22 ERA. Overall his 30-19, 1.64 ERA was tops in the Federal Association. Detroit also had Bill Temple who went 22-18, with a 3rd-place 1.84 ERA - and unsurprisingly, the Dynamos allowed a league-low 412 runs. Detroit's problems lay with the lineup which had a pair of regulars hit below .200 on the season.

The Chicago Chiefs finished fifth - the biggest story there was that 40-year-old Fred Roby - who had joined the Chiefs midseason in '06 after he found retirement "boring" - was productive at SS, where he hit .262 and didn't embarrass himself defensively either. Unfortunately, aside from Roby and double-play partner Johnny Cashmere (.290), there was no offense which wasted another standout season from George Wilson (28-17, 2.11). Philadelphia was attempting to rise from the ashes of the basement and finished at .500 with a 74-74 mark. They had the hitting (2nd in runs at 537 for the season) but the pitching was mostly awful aside from Pep McCormick (12-8, 1.82) who wasn't on the field enough to make a difference.

Theobald's Boston club dropped to sixth place, which was where they were before dealing Trease, so that didn't (seem to) harm them. The good news was that the 21-year-old they got for Trease, John Thornton, was their best pitcher (22-22, 2.38) and SS Arch Johnston won a batting title with his .320 average. But there was a lot of bad news too as two of the regulars couldn't reach the .200 mark and the pitching was pretty much a shambles aside from Thornton. Bostonians were left to wonder if Theobald would be able to work his magic with this bunch. New York continued to be bad (64-86) but manager Frank Trease (yep, uncle of Woody) had a good youngster in 2B Ed Ziehl to build around. Unfortunately, the team's best player in '07 was probably SS Calvin Kidd (.297-0-38) who was 37 years old and wouldn't be around when the 20-year-old Ziehl hit his stride. Last place went to the Washington Eagles who bottomed out after a brief spell in the first division. The sad part was that Washington had a great young pitcher in Bill West (22-24, 2.04) and good, young CF in Jim Disinger (.292-0-42) but didn't have much else.

The minor circuits had their own bit of drama before the season - the FABL organization welcomed a couple of new circuits to the fold as the Middle Atlantic League and Union League signed on. The drama came from the shuffling of clubs that resulted from the two new circuits and the growing ambitions of the East Coast Association, which renamed itself the Eastern Association and branched out to the west with two clubs in Ohio and another in Michigan. The MAL picked up some of the abandoned areas of the former-ECA while the Union snapped up teams from the Dixie and Century leagues and moved into markets abandoned by the ECA. The Union League also brought back the Cincinnati Monarchs - somewhere James Tice was probably smiling (or maybe not, he was a grouchy guy).

The World Series looked lopsided on paper - the Clippers had thoroughly dominated their pennant race while the Pittsburgh Miners hadn't led their own league in anything but victories (which did count most, after all). Still, the young and hungry Baltimore club was expected to walk over Pittsburgh. It didn't - quite - happen that way. Pittsburgh showed their mettle in a 15-inning 6-5 win in game one, a nearly-five-hour marathon that was arguably one of the best games the postseason had yet seen. Baltimore's Mike Marner pitched into the 13th inning before leaving the game and ironically, losing pitcher Henry Wells had started the season in Pittsburgh. Game two was also an extra-innings affair; but this time the Clippers came out on the winning end by a 2-1 score with both Jimmy Redpath and Al Parker going the 11-inning distance.

With the scene shifting to Pittsburgh for the middle games, the Clippers seized the advantage in game three, scoring all their runs in the last inning to claim a 4-1 victory and 2-1 advantage in games. Game four saw the Miners shell Marner in a surprisingly easy 9-3 victory to square things at two apiece. But that was all the Miners could do - the Clippers came back to claim game five 7-4 and then wrapped up the title with a 7-3 victory in game six.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Pittsburgh Miners		88	57	.607	-	532	435
St. Louis Pioneers		84	68	.553	7½	589	516
Detroit Dynamos			82	70	.539	9½	484	412
Chicago Chiefs			78	73	.517	13	444	475
Philadelphia Keystones		74	74	.500	15½	537	536
Boston Minutemen		65	84	.436	25	458	535
New York Gothams		64	86	.427	26½	449	494
Washington Eagles		64	87	.424	27	441	531
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Baltimore Clippers		102	46	.689	-	560	382
New York Stars			84	63	.571	17½	546	434
Chicago Cougars			82	70	.539	22	526	474
Cleveland Foresters		74	79	.484	30½	450	444
Montreal Saints			74	79	.484	30½	459	483
Brooklyn Kings			66	82	.446	36	449	553
Toronto Wolves			68	85	.444	36½	406	500
Philadelphia Sailors		54	100	.351	51	358	484
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:11 PM   #43
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1908 - Motor City Madness

1908 was a big year in Detroit. Not only did the fledgling Ford Motor Company produce the car that would make it a powerhouse (the Model T), but the long-suffering baseball fans of the city finally got a pennant from their hometown team when the Detroit Dynamos, who had finished as high as 2nd only once in their 19-year-history (and had just two 3rd-place finishes too) put together a season to remember.

The Dynamos had made a splash the year before with their pitching, thanks to the acquisition of Woody Trease from Boston. In theory this gave Detroit two aces, as Bill Temple had long been established as one of the game's best hurlers, albeit one with a drinking problem that was the worst-kept secret in baseball. Still, the Trease-Temple tandem was fearsome. But in '07 the hitting had let them down and the team finished third (which still marked their best finish since a 2nd-place finish in 1896). So the fans were cautiously optimistic when the 1908 season opened with new faces at several positions on the field. And the changes actually worked this time, as the club finished 2nd in runs scored (505) and the pitching was just as good as it had been in 1907 - Trease was tremendous (31-12, 1.29 - both league bests) and Temple managed his hangovers well enough to go 20-14, 1.69. This equaled a 97-57 record and the first pennant in club history.

Second-place (in a surprise) went to the Boston Minutemen. George Theobald's reputation continued to grow as he took a cast of relative no-names to an 89-65 record. He dealt one of the few remaining pieces of the dynasty before the season, sending pitcher John Bigness to the Gothams for a shortstop (Jim Broudy) he promptly shipped off to Wichita for cash. Rookie pitcher Bob Allenbaugh became the de facto ace and lived up to the role, going 27-14 with a 1.64 ERA. But it was the hitting that powered the club - SS Arch Johnston was still there and still producing (.302-1-29) and a quartet of rookies all played big roles on a club that led the league in runs (536). 1B Charlie Roat (.308) was purchased from San Diego, CF Fred Huffman hit .273 as a 20-year-old fresh off a town team in New Jersey and Bim McMurtrie came from a so-called "bandit" league (ie, not affiliated with FABL) in Iowa, went to RF and hit .285 with 24 doubles and 12 triples. Theobald was still an ace at finding hidden gems.

Defending pennant-winner Pittsburgh dropped to third, even after shoring up their pitching weakness by adding Ike Campbell from St. Paul where he had spent two seasons after washing out of the Montreal Saints pitching staff. Campbell was really good - he won 31 games (tied for tops in the league with Trease), lost just 13 and had a 1.82 ERA. Everyone else was fairly average, however, and that doomed the Miners' chance at a repeat. Washington bounced back from a dismal '07 to finish fourth, largely due to their pitching: Bill West (23-19, 1.80) and George Burger (22-18, 1.48) were great - the offense finished last in the league in scoring. The Gothams showed signs of shaking off their decade-long doldrums to finish fifth and St. Louis fell from 2nd to 6th by being mediocre all-around. Philadelphia was still bad and Chicago fell like a stone, winning 19 fewer games than they had a year earlier.

Gothams' 2B Ed Ziehl won his first batting title with a .344 mark that was far ahead of second-place Charlie Roat of Boston, who hit .308 - and was the only other player in the entire league to top the .300 mark (George Reid of NY was third at .299). Calvin Kidd, depending on whom you asked, moved into either 2nd or 3rd place all-time in hits. The "if" in that calculation came because he spent the first two years of his career in the Border Association - if you counted his 344 hits from that time, he had 3166 and was second to Zebulon Banks all-time. If you didn't he was third behind Banks and Thomas Watkins. Today, we place him 2nd, but at the time, this was something of a controversy among Banks supporters who feared the 38-year-old Kidd would hang around long enough to catch their hero. And you know how Philly fans can get....


Calvin Kidd

In the Continental Association it was no surprise that Baltimore repeated as pennant winners. The Clips cruised to another 100-win season (100-54 to be exact) and had a tidy 15-game edge on second-place Toronto. They had the batting champ in Powell Slocum (again) at .343 and the ERA and win champ in Mike Marner (again) with a 36-9, 1.41 effort this time around. 2B Charlie Venema, a rookie in '07, improved significantly and led the league in 94 RBIs as if Baltimore didn't already have a ton of young talent. The hitting was so good that they led the league in everything except home runs (which no one cared about at the time anyway).

Toronto was a bit of a surprise in 2nd place. Allan Allen was gone, but the pitching was still pretty good. There were two 25-game winners (Aaron Wright and Mike Robinson) and they collectively allowed the second-fewest runs in the league (to Baltimore, of course). The offense was decent with Rich Rowley still producing (.280) and a new rookie 1B, Bob Henry, who hit for .338-4-87 at age 19. The Cougars and Foresters finished in a tie for third with identical 82-72 records. Both had some good players, but both had some holes too. Allan Allen continued to roll along - now 41 years old, he posted a 22-16, 2.03 season and notched his 500th win near the end of the year (he then dropped three games before winning #501 in his next-to-last start of the year). Some were wondering how long he'd be able to keep going. For his part, Allen said his arm felt fine at year's end and he'd be back in the spring after wintering on his farm.

New York was fifth at 79-75. John Waggoner hit .340 to finish just behind Slocum in the batting race and continued to be an extra-base-hit machine, churning out 38 doubles and 16 triples (he had hit an incredible 31 triples - a record - in 1907). Bill Craigen had an injury-riddled season and hit .293 and was literally the only other good hitter in the Stars' lineup. Alvin Hensley and Jake Vermillion both pitched well (Hensley won 29 games despite a 2.66 ERA) but the team was still 7th in runs allowed. Montreal had a top-notch rookie in 3B Joe Ward (the younger brother of incumbent Saints SS Billy Ward - Joe was a much better player) and a decent pitcher in Bob Johnston (20-23, 2.12) but was still trying to become a contending club. Philadelphia and Brooklyn finished at the bottom.

The World Series matchup looked good on paper and turned out to be even better than good on the field. Detroit, who posted a 97-57 record, was a good match for Baltimore's juggernaut and the teams alternated one-run victories through the first four games: Baltimore won games one and three by identical 3-2 scores and Detroit took games two and four by 7-6 and 2-1 margins. Game five was a turning point: Detroit blew it open with a 7-3 victory behind Bill Temple (Marner and Trease had split their starts and were both 1-1 thru game four). Game six saw Baltimore return the favor with a lopsided 9-1 win. The first game seven since 1896 was a classic. A full-house was on hand in Detroit's Thompson Field for the rubber match between Mike Marner and Woody Trease. Both guys threw goose-eggs for the first five frames. Then the Clippers got on the board with a single run in the sixth and that 1-0 score held up til the ninth. Baltimore scored another off Trease to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Detroit put up a valiant effort, scoring one and having the tying run at second, but the game ended in dramatic fashion when Clipper CF Bill McCollum gunned down Phil Thompson at the plate for the final out in a 2-1 win and repeat championship for Baltimore.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			97	57	.630	-	505	387
Boston Minutemen		89	65	.578	8	536	473
Pittsburgh Miners		81	72	.529	15½	487	472
Washington Eagles		77	75	.507	19	438	414
New York Gothams		75	78	.490	21½	485	482
St. Louis Pioneers		71	81	.467	25	472	505
Philadelphia Keystones		63	91	.409	34	441	515
Chicago Chiefs			59	93	.388	37	440	556
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Baltimore Clippers		100	54	.649	-	640	420
Toronto Wolves			85	69	.552	15	490	444
Chicago Cougars			82	72	.532	18	486	463
Cleveland Foresters		82	72	.532	18	476	457
New York Stars			79	75	.513	21	528	527
Montreal Saints			69	85	.448	31	423	505
Philadelphia Sailors		65	89	.422	35	462	509
Brooklyn Kings			54	100	.351	46	406	586
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Old 05-25-2019, 03:18 PM   #44
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Your messages are full.

But to answer your question it’s 2 d’s at the beginning, the rest is correct
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:10 PM   #45
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1909 - Dead Ball Dynamos

By 1909 what we today call the "dead ball era" was in full swing. Batting averages were down, the bunt, stolen base and hit and run were the preferred offensive tactics and pitching was king. And no team better exemplified the era than the 1909 Detroit Dynamos, who lifted the "pitching first" credo to an art form.

Detroit's offense was very much run of the mill - they finished seventh in average at .236 and had the fifth-best runs scored total in the league: not very impressive. The only batting category they led the league in was home runs - with 23. But they excelled defensively and they really, really excelled at pitching. With a staff headed by Woody Trease that also featured the never-boring Bill Temple, plus youngster Jim Golden and bush-league veteran Dan Tyler, the Dynamos allowed just 434 runs and had a 2.05 ERA, both tops in the league (and they also committed the fewest errors in the league as well).

Things didn't all go their way: Temple's drinking was a continuing problem and after he punched out manager Norman Walton for refusing to allow him to pitch inebriated, he was dealt to Boston despite a 1.92 ERA (he ended up having an erratic season, going 4-9 with a 2.95 ERA in Boston and posting a season ledger of 14-21, 2.34 with a career-worst 129 walks and the fewest strikeouts (183) of his career). With Temple gone, the team was forced to rely on the unproven Golden and Tyler who both came through. Trease was, as usual, excellent, appearing in 46 games with a 28-15 record and a 1.82 ERA. Tyler made 32 starts, went 18-12 with a 1.95 ERA and Golden, at just 20 years of age, made 36 starts and went 23-12 with a 2.14 ERA.

The Dynamos won the pennant in a tough race that saw four different clubs hold first place during the summer: the Dynamos, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington. The Keystones returned to the pennant race and ended up just short, three back of the Dynamos with an 85-66 record. They had the league's batting champ in 30-year-old rookie LF Earl Smith (.337) who edged out New York's emerging star Ed Ziehl (.335) and Washington's Charlie Campbell (.328). The Keystones led the league in runs scored, but still needed to find a true ace - all of their three top starters posted ERAs north of 2.70 and that wasn't going to get it done. Third-place Chicago ended just a half-game back of Philly and they did have good pitching, with ace George Wilson (24-17, 2.16) finally getting a quality sidekick in Tommy Woodlin (21-14, 2.16). The Chiefs also acquired SS Bill McCaskey from Baltimore and he hit .322 at the top of the lineup and helped Chicago post the league's 3rd-best runs scored total.

The Washington Eagles were a study in contrasts, looking outstanding for stretches of the season and clueless in others. They ended up fourth, 6.5 games behind Detroit despite a good lineup led by 2B Charlie Campbell, and SS Charlie Coller (.260, 38 steals) and a stud pitcher in Bill West (30-16, 2.10) who led the league in wins and strikeouts (266). The Gothams finished two over .500 at 77-75 with a lineup featuring three hitters over .300: Ziehl (.335), CF Jim Elkins (.315) and 1B Wash Berentsen (.311). Ziehl also stole 86 bases and played a great defensive second base. But, like the Keystones, the Gothams pitching was weak and it showed in their record.

Boston came out of the gate very poorly, and though they played better in the second half of the season, never really recovered and finished sixth at 65-86. They also had to deal with Temple's issues though it was hoped Theobald could work his magic on baseball's preeminent headcase. Pittsburgh was seventh with a 64-89 mark and St. Louis finished dead-last with a 60-90 mark.

The Continental Association season held a surprise. Everyone assumed that the Baltimore Clippers, with the league's best hitter (Powell Slocum) and best pitcher (Mike Marner) would march to yet another pennant. No one expected the Toronto Wolves to shock the nation and finished 3.5 games better than the Clips, but that's what happened. Toronto went 91-61 to claim the pennant with an outstanding all-around season. The Wolves' topped the pitching charts thanks to the return of Charlie Sis. The 25-year-old Sis had been a sensation in 1905, posting a 32-13, 1.48 season for the St. Louis Pioneers. Unfortunately, he also burned out his arm and missed the next three seasons before signing on with the Wolves and making a dramatic return to form with a 30-18, 2.12 effort. Toronto got a half-season of brilliance from Don French as well - he was 15-4 with a 1.86 ERA before suffering a broken elbow in August that cost him the rest of the season. Toronto's offense featured SS Al Stout (.329) in the leadoff spot and 1B Bill Harris (.314) hitting third and posted the 2nd-best runs scored total in the CA.

The Wolves finished 3.5 games up on Baltimore, whose offense surprisingly sputtered a bit, tallying 593 runs, which was only fourth-best in the Continental. They did get another truly outstanding season from Powell Slocum. The 22-year-old from Ragland, Alabama was now firmly established as the CA's premier player. He led the league in hitting for the third-straight season and just missed out on a .400 campaign, finishing at .398 while also leading the league in RBIs (91) and stolen bases (83) in a deadball-era Triple Crown season (he only had 1 home run but did have 30 doubles and 14 triples). Unfortunately, Slocum didn't get much help - Jimmy Whipple was good (.304-0-57) and new 1B Dixie Ranscomb (.300-1-62) looked promising, but they just didn't score as many runs as they should have. The pitching was very good - Mike Marner had the "worst" of his three seasons, but that was still better than almost everyone else: 31-17, 2.07, and Bill DiTommaso dropped off a bit in his second season (18-12, 2.37) but the Clips still allowed the second-fewest runs in the league.

Brooklyn was a strong third with an 80-73 mark as they improved by 26 games over their last-place finish in 1908 thanks to an offense that led the league in runs scored, despite being fourth in batting average. If anyone believed in clutch hitting, they would definitely use the 1909 Kings as a prime example. The Chicago Cougars and Montreal Saints tied for fourth at 77-76. For Montreal, it was just their second winning season of the 20th century (the other one was right at the start in 1901). Former powerhouse New York dropped to sixth - John Waggoner was still a stud at age 35 (.337-2-73), but the rest of the offense sputtered (6th in runs scored and batting average) and the pitching, while pretty good (3rd overall in ERA and runs allowed) didn't have a true ace.

The Sailors were seventh and the most informational tidbit of their season was that their ace turned out to be a 32-year-old journeyman who they picked up midseason after he was cut by the Indianapolis club of the Century League (Aaron Frantz - who posted a very solid 12-5, 1.64 mark - the best ERA in the league, albeit in just 170.1 innings). Cleveland, which had been a contender as recently as 1906, bottomed out in last place. They also saw the stellar career of Allan Allen come to an end. The 42-year-old was having a relatively poor season (13-23, 2.56) when he went out with a broken kneecap. Allen finished with a slew of "not gonna be broken" records, headed up by an astronomical 514 wins.

The World Series matchup featured a series of nailbiters with all but one of the six games being one-run affairs. Detroit opened up with a 2-1 win in Toronto with Woody Trease outdueling Charlie Sis. Dan Tyler was the loser the next day as Toronto evened it up with a 2-1 win of their own. Jim Golden won a 3-2 decision in game three back in Detroit, but once again the Wolves bounced back as Charlie Sis shutout the Dynamos 3-0 in game four. Detroit won the pivotal game five 4-3 in twelve innings. Game six was another nailbiter with Jim Golden pitching another gem in a 2-1 win that made the Dynamos champions for the first time in club history.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			89	64	.582	-	528	434
Philadelphia Keystones		85	66	.563	3	624	515
Chicago Chiefs			85	67	.559	3½	572	493
Washington Eagles		82	70	.539	6½	579	498
New York Gothams		77	75	.507	11½	541	583
Boston Minutemen		65	86	.430	23	527	589
Pittsburgh Miners		64	89	.418	25	503	616
St. Louis Pioneers		60	90	.400	27½	495	641
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Toronto Wolves			91	61	.599	-	616	476
Baltimore Clippers		88	65	.575	3½	593	509
Brooklyn Kings			80	73	.523	11½	620	579
Chicago Cougars			77	76	.503	14½	609	588
Montreal Saints			77	76	.503	14½	559	606
New York Stars			73	80	.477	18½	516	563
Philadelphia Sailors		64	88	.421	27	487	583
Cleveland Foresters		61	92	.399	30½	490	586
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:56 PM   #46
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1910 - The Ripper Gets Rolling

Powell Slocum was 23 years old and already starting his sixth year with the Baltimore Clippers when the 1910 season opened. Slocum, "the Ragland Ripper" had long-since established himself as the game's premier hitter with three straight batting titles and four straight seasons with at least 200 hits. So when he went out and put together a .400 season, few were surprised - and this being the deadball era when .400 had been topped as recently as 1903, it didn't seem like as big a deal as it turned out to be in hindsight because of what Slocum did subsequently. Unfortunately for Slocum, a fierce competitor who hated to lose, his team did rather poorly, tumbling all the way to 5th place in the standings after winning two championships in 1907-08 and finishing a close second in 1909.

The Clippers' fall from grace was a bigger story than Slocum's great season. Slocum's team mate, pitcher Mike Marner, had himself another outstanding season as well, going 32-13 with a 1.55 ERA and 295 strikeouts. Surprisingly, only the 32 wins topped the Continental Association as Charlie Sis also had a great season (29-14, 1.54, 308 Ks). The Clippers got very little out of their supporting cast (especially the pitching) and that more than anything else, contributed to their surprisingly mundane season.

With Baltimore a faded power, the pennant chase evolved into a two-horse battle between Sis' Toronto Wolves and the Chicago Cougars. The Wolves had the pitching - with Sis leading the way, Toronto posted a league-best 479 runs allowed, 2.49 ERA and a strikeout total (886) that was far ahead of all others' totals. But Toronto's offense was pretty pedestrian - and Chicago's was not. The Cougars had the league's best hitter not named Powell Slocum in John Dibblee, a 22-year-old from Hubbard, Ohio who hit .392 and had a ridiculous 40 triples and 111 walks giving him an on-base percentage of .495 and a slugging percentage of .599 - he was a bonafide star. The Cougars were 2nd best in both runs scored (642) and allowed (547) and that was good enough to finish 6.5 games ahead of Toronto for the pennant.

Brooklyn (84-70) and New York (83-70) were the mix as well, but tailed off and finished third and fourth respectively. New York still had a powerful lineup led now by Bill Craigen (.328-1-89) as John Waggoner was beginning to fade (.299-2-52) with age. Overall the Stars' lineup was the league's third-best (as was their pitching). Brooklyn had returned to contention after a long absence the year before and scored a league-best 666 runs with an offense centered on the circuit's best third sacker in Jim Gerhart (.311-0-66) and a good, young lefty ace in 23-year-old Phil Miller.

The bottom of the standings was populated by Montreal (still struggling to find their footing), Cleveland (nearly bereft of talent after trading Jack Arabian to the St. Louis Pioneers) and Philadelphia, who came out of the gate strong in April, but faded badly in May and June and finished last after being 2nd the year before. The Sailors were having a series of wild swings, going from 7th in '08 to 2nd in '09 and into the basement in '10.

Over in the Federal Association, the Gothams and Eagles had themselves a good old fashioned pennant race that was driven on both sides primarily by hitting (they were fourth and fifth in pitching for the season). The Gothams had young star Ed Ziehl whose .342 average topped the circuit, plus George Zimmerman and Wash Berentsen who tied for the lead in RBIs with 85 apiece and Jim Elkins, who led off, hit .296 and swiped 90 bases (tops in the FA). Washington had a young Texan named Buck Trujillo turn in a .323 season out of the leadoff spot, plus Martin Bosick (14 HRs with 83 RBIs) and Billy Porter who hit .316 and stole 63 bases. Bill West's ERA was average (2.42) but his won-loss record was not (30-13) as he led the league in victories.

Washington had a late surge to win the flag by 3.5 over New York who faded in the last week, dropping five straight after entering October tied for first with Washington. Detroit was third at 81-71 and Chicago fourth (81-72). Detroit still had Woody Trease, and he posted a 29-18, 2.33 ERA for the Dynamos while the Chiefs had the ERA champ in Tommy Woodlin (28-14, 1.89) who was emerging as a star himself. St. Louis finished fifth - the acquisition of 2B Jack Arabian helped the offense - Arabian finished second in the batting race (.329) and the Pioneers were first in team batting average (.269) and runs scored (640) but were also last in runs allowed (674) and finished just over .500 (78-76). Pittsburgh, now in full rebuilding mode, was sixth, followed by Boston (likewise) and Philadelphia, which seemed perennially stuck in rebuild mode.

The World Series opener pit Bill West against Chicago's Isaac Meyer with West coming out the better in a 4-1 win for Washington. George Burger was even better in game two, dueling with Chicago's 21-year-old Eddie LaRose in a 1-0 Eagles win to give them both games played in their home in DC.

When the scene shifted to Chicago, the Cougars got in the win column with a tough 6-5 win with a four-run eighth that erased a 5-2 deficit to keep the team's championship hopes alive. With some momentum, the Cougars won the rematch between West and Meyer by a 3-1 margin to tie the series in game four. Pivotal game five was a wild game that entered the ninth with Cougars up 4-2, saw the Eagles tie it with a pair of runs and then lose it in the bottom of the ninth when Jake Lowe, who had hit .159 in the regular season, rapped a base hit off John Ozga (who came on for Burger after he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the 9th) to drive in the winning run and give the Cougars a home sweep and 3-2 series edge.

The home team had won all five games thus far, so the Eagles could have been expected to snap the string and win game six to force a game seven. But it wasn't to be: Chicago scored in the first, and again in the fourth to lead 2-0 and cruised from there, plating four in the seventh and another in the eighth while Walt Snider kept the Eagles' bats quiet in a 7-0 Series-clinching victory.

The championship was the Cougars' third, but first since their back-to-back titles of 1899 & 1900.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Eagles		88	63	.583	-	609	573
New York Gothams		86	68	.558	3½	618	570
Detroit Dynamos			81	71	.533	7½	601	506
Chicago Chiefs			81	72	.529	8	579	526
St. Louis Pioneers		78	76	.506	11½	640	674
Pittsburgh Miners		69	81	.460	18½	538	556
Boston Minutemen		64	89	.418	25	525	642
Philadelphia Keystones		62	89	.411	26	553	616
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Chicago Cougars			95	59	.617	-	642	547
Toronto Wolves			88	65	.575	6½	587	479
Brooklyn Kings			84	70	.545	11	666	635
New York Stars			83	70	.542	11½	617	556
Baltimore Clippers		74	79	.484	20½	591	567
Montreal Saints			69	85	.448	26	609	673
Cleveland Foresters		62	92	.403	33	496	641
Philadelphia Sailors		59	94	.386	35½	499	609
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Old 05-30-2019, 10:06 AM   #47
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1911 - Never Say Die

he World Championship Series was not yet even 20 years old so when history unfolded in the 1911 Classic, few understood just what the Toronto Wolves had accomplished. The Continental champs dropped the first three games (two of them at home) to the Fed champion Detroit Dynamos... and then came back and won four in a row to claim the championship. While this impressed fans at the time, no one really understood just how rare an occurrence this would be in professional sports over the next century-plus.

But before we get to the Wolves' miraculous comeback, let's look back at how they got there in the first place. To say Toronto was battle-tested before the Series would be a fair statement. They had weathered a tough, four-team pennant race, holding off the Baltimore Clippers, New York Stars and the defending World Champion Chicago Cougars. The Wolves were Charlie Sis' team and the big right-hander won his third ERA title (1.92) en route to a 29-13 record (good for 2nd in the league). Not bad for a guy who missed three entire seasons with a dead arm. Backing him up as the #2 starter was Don French (21-11, 2.39) a fine pitcher forever in Sis' large shadow. The Wolves offense was average, but consistent, and packed with fast players who used their speed intelligently and well. It worked well enough for a 90-59 record.

The Baltimore Clippers returned to the race after a poor campaign in 1910 behind great years from (surprise!) Powell Slocum (.402-10-109, 65 steals) and Mike Marner (35-10, 2.05). Jimmy Whipple turned in a respectable season (.301-6-77) and the offense clicked along at a league-leading pace. Unfortunately, aside from Marner, the pitching was a bit of a mess and that cost them the pennant. The New York Stars finished third behind a strong showing from Ray Mathews, a 30-year-old who had never before been an ace, but turned in an ace-like performance (29-8, 2.23) to lead the loop's second-best staff. Unfortunately, John Waggoner was now 37, and though still playing SS, wasn't the killer at the plate that he had been (.266-3-66), and Bill Craigen didn't repeat his performance of 1910, turning in a .293-1-77 ledger. Still, there was some upside: rookie LF Ray Moore showed signs of being the next "Star" of the Stars with a .325-2-75 season and 3B Gordie Robertson (now 27 years old) had evolved into a solid run-producer (.300-6-92).

The defending champs from the Windy City were in the race most of the way, but folded in mid-September and finished fourth, 8.5 games off the pace. 23-year-old CF John Dibblee out-Slocumed Powell Slocum and led the league with an insane season that saw him hit .422 with 112 runs, 240 hits, 38 doubles, 37 triples, 103 RBIs, 88 walks and 77 steals. The runs, hits, doubles, steals and of course average all led the league. With Dibblee killing pitchers from the three-hole, the Cougars finished second in scoring despite being 5th overall in batting average. The pitching was ok, and that wasn't enough - Isaac Meyer was 23-12, 2.65 but two of the 1910 World Series heroes (George Hill: 17-21, 3.22) and Eddie LaRose (9-10, 4.12) were not up to snuff.

Brooklyn was fifth - they had some talent but the Continental was very top-heavy in 1911 and they weren't on par with the powerhouses yet. Montreal and Cleveland were bad and Philadelphia... was awful (46-108).

The Detroit Dynamos battled with the New York Gothams, but had the Federal's best pitching and won the race by 4.5 games. Jim Golden (29-13, 2.36) was the top pitcher for Detroit as Woody Trease had the worst season of his career (20-16, 3.59) and didn't even make the rotation for the World Series. He did win his 300th game, a 5-hit shutout of the Chicago Chiefs on September 2nd. He later revealed that his arm was sore all season long and it would turn out that his career was essentially over. Detroit worked a trade with Boston before the season that played a large role in their pennant win: they picked up 3B Bernie De Bello, who was a benchwarmer in Boston, but turned out to be a very good player when given a chance. De Bello led the club in all three Triple Crown categories with a .333-6-116 season. The RBI total tied him for the league lead with Boston's Paul Shaffer.

New York won 92 games and finished second with a potent offense built around a trio of great players in 2B Ed Ziehl (.354-2-92), LF Harry Dunn (.342-4-88) and RF George Zimmerman (.314-15-103) and a staff with two good pitchers in Huck Lucas (18-13, 2.17) and Ike Wetzel (28-15, 2.67). 1910's pennant winners from Washington finished third thanks to a lack of offense and fairly pedestrian pitching. Boston rose to a fourth-place finish as 23-year-old LF Fred Huffman continued his evolution into one of the game's finest hitters with a league-leading .360 average (plus 111 RBIs), 1B Paul Shaffer tied De Bello for the lead in RBIs (116) while hitting .282 with 13 homers, CF Bill McMurtrie hit .346 and 3B Frank Betts (the reason De Bello had been buried on the bench in Boston) hit .324 - the guy they got for De Bello, SS John Mecklenburg, was a bit of a hitting disappointment (.245) but he was brought in for his glove and he delivered there.

Pittsburgh finished fifth and Chicago sixth. The Keystones got out of the basement - by finishing seventh - five games ahead of St. Louis, whose pitching was pretty bad.

FABL's managing commission created an award to be handed to each Association's "Most Valuable Player" at the conclusion of each season, and dubbed the award the "Whitney Award" in honor of founder William Whitney. The first winners of the award were New York Gothams 2B Ed Ziehl in the Federal Association and Chicago Cougars CF John Dibblee in the Continental Association.

Detroit came into the World Series looking good - they had a 96-57 record and had held off a very good Gothams team. So when they came out and won game one 2-0 behind Dan Tyler and then took game two 10-5 and game three 5-4 no one was really surprised. Though, in hindsight, the game three win was largely helped by a costly error in the home ninth that extended the game and allowed Detroit to plate three runs to comeback from a 4-2 deficit. Toronto, which had every reason to be downhearted, was anything but - they were angry at the game three loss and determined to show their quality in game four.

Game four was a classic - a 1-1 tie through nine innings, Charlie Sis still on the hill for the Wolves while Tyler had left after seven. In the 11th, Toronto scored twice and there was no way Sis was going to let the Dynamos come back. That 3-1 victory could have been a blueprint - the next day's game five was also a 1-1 tie through nine, but this time the Wolves scored in the tenth and John Ozga replaced Don French for the tenth. Ozga was shaky, allowing a hit and a walk, before getting the third out to make it a 3-2 series.

With game six shifting back to the friendly environs of Toronto, the Wolves finally won a game in nine innings, scoring three in the first and one in the third, then holding on for a 4-3 victory to knot the series. The decisive game seven was scoreless through five frames with both Sis and Tyler cruising. But the Wolves broke through for two in the sixth, one in the seventh and two more in the eighth while Sis kept throwing up zeroes. Toronto won 5-0, completing the unlikely comeback and making history.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			96	57	.627	-	729	556
New York Gothams		92	62	.597	4½	745	669
Washington Eagles		79	75	.513	17½	664	662
Boston Minutemen		76	77	.497	20	823	754
Pittsburgh Miners		74	77	.490	21	635	683
Chicago Chiefs			72	79	.477	23	645	621
Philadelphia Keystones		63	89	.414	32½	626	774
St. Louis Pioneers		58	94	.382	37½	733	881
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Toronto Wolves			90	59	.604	-	653	515
Baltimore Clippers		89	62	.589	2	694	573
New York Stars			88	64	.579	3½	654	566
Chicago Cougars			84	70	.545	8½	661	594
Brooklyn Kings			77	73	.513	13½	605	621
Montreal Saints			69	84	.451	23	587	681
Cleveland Foresters		65	88	.425	27	547	647
Philadelphia Sailors		46	108	.299	46½	494	698
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:56 PM   #48
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1911-12 Interlude: A Draft Blows Across the Farm

As of 1911, the Federally Aligned Baseball Leagues' Managing Commission was comprised of League President Robert Owings (representing the tie-breaking vote) and four owners (two from each Association): Tim Hillyard (Baltimore), Rich Tanner (Montreal), Jefferson Edgerton (Philadelphia) and Steve Cunningham (Boston). Three of the owners (Tanner, Edgerton & Cunningham) were in their 70s and very much conservative and what we'd today call "old school" and while Hilyard was not young (66), he was progressive in his thinking and set forth a two-pronged proposal that would radically change the way FABL did business: the addition of a draft to "fairly allocate talent" and directly affiliating the FA/CA clubs with one minor club at each level (then consisting of AAA, AA and A). Cunningham (with George Theobald whispering in his ear) was the first to get on board. Tanner and Edgerton were more reluctant, but eventually Edgerton saw the light and agreed. Tanner wouldn't budge, but with 3 of the 4 members in favor, his nay was overridden and the measure passed. Both the amateur draft and the "farm system" were born.

Initially, the affiliation of minor clubs was not what it is today, but more limited. The FABL clubs could assign players to their affiliated club as a "loan" and recall them if they desired. The minor clubs were able to sign their own players outside the parent's player pool and these players were available to the parent club for purchase. In other words, the parent club did not completely control the affiliate's roster as is the case today. This system actually only lasted 15 years before the agreement was amended to what we have now prior to the 1926 season.

The first draft was held in December of 1911 with the 16 FABL clubs selecting 28 amateur players apiece. The players were high schoolers and collegians who had finished school in 1911. With this influx of talent, the second piece of Hilyard's proposal immediately bore fruit as these young players were (in almost every case) not ready for Fed or Continental play, so having affiliated "minor" clubs on which to stash them was key.

The first player drafted was Mark Robinson, a centerfielder from Berkeley High School in California who was chosen by the Philadelphia Sailors - a team desperately needing an infusion of talent. Robinson was nowhere near ready to play for the Sailors, but he seemed talented and looked like he'd be a player... someday. And that's what the draft was all about.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:15 AM   #49
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1912: Attack of the Killer B's

1912 was a surprising season. There was one good pennant race and one not-so-good race, but the teams winning those races were among the bigger surprises. Three FABL clubs were based in cities whose name began with the letter 'B' and all three were involved in the pennant races. Boston, the one-time powerhouse that had fallen hard after manager-personnel man George Theobald sold off his expensive talent, was back in a big way, winning 97 games and the Fed pennant by a cushy 12-game margin over Pittsburgh (another former power on the rebound). In the Continental, perennial contender Baltimore was at it again (they still had both Powell Slocum & Mike Marner after all) but the shocker was the Brooklyn Kings. The Kings hadn't sniffed a pennant since their last win way back in their Border Association days in 1891 but they won the 1912 Continental flag by two games over Baltimore in a major shocker.

Brooklyn was solid at the plate and good in the field and on the mound but was a team without a "superstar" (unlike, say, Baltimore who had two of them). Mel Hancock, the team's shortstop, was probably the best player on the team and he had a stat line of .309-0-80 with 31 steals: good, but not outstanding. Hancock was supported by other solid but unspectacular players like C Paul Tattersall (.277-13-84), LF Jake Hooper (.292-11-83) and RF Bill Inscoe (.305-1-54). Hooper suffered an elbow injury late in the season that kept him out of the World Series unfortunately for Brooklyn. The sum was better than the parts - Brooklyn led the CA in runs (738) and was 2nd in batting average (.275). The pitching was third in the league but had two solid pitchers in Phil Miller (25-16, 2.79) and Danny Goff (23-12, 2.39).


Danny Goff

Baltimore, the runners-up (again) got a third-straight .400 season from hitter-non-pareil Powell Slocum, delivering a .404 season with 244 hits, 40 doubles and 115 runs scored (all tops in not only the CA, but FABL). It was his seventh straight 200-plus hit season and his fifth season with an average over .385 - his lifetime average now stood at a sterling .376 and he had 1704 hits at the ripe old age of 25. Similarly spectacular was Mike Marner. Though he failed to win 30 games for the first time in his six-year career, the now-25-year-old still led the league with a 26-15 mark and also topped the ERA charts with a 2.09 mark. His career record at the end of 1911? 194-76 with a 1.77 ERA. With the retirement of Allan Allen and the injury-related fading away of both Bill Temple and Woody Trease, only Charlie Sis could possibly compare to Marner's single-minded dominance on the mound (and Sis had a bad year himself). Still, Baltimore's 88 wins was two fewer than Brooklyn's and they finished second for a third time in four seasons.

Chicago star John Dibblee had a big dropoff from the heady heights of the season before, but he did finish second in the batting race to Slocum with a .354 average. The Cougars were again doomed by a lack of top-notch pitching - their lineup produced 678 runs, but they allowed 623 and that slim margin did not equal anything more than a third-place standing. The Stars were fourth and the most news they made was when they swung a midseason trade with the crosstown Gothams, swapping aging star SS John Waggoner for the Gothams' 24-year-old SS Jim Broudy who looked pretty good with a .273 average for the Stars. The Wolves fell to fifth with Charlie Sis having - for him - a terrible season (22-20, 3.07) as part of a staff that finished next-to-last in runs allowed. Montreal was sixth, but won 72 games, and there was some hope in Quebec that things might - at long last - turn around for the Saints. Philadelphia was seventh and Cleveland was last.

Baltimore's Henry Whitney hit 16 homers and drove in 103 RBIs to lead the CA in both stats. Montreal's Charlie Firestone led the league in strikeouts with 262 and it was hoped that the 24-year-old would become the Saints ace. They grabbed him from new affiliate Nashville and he posted a 22-18, 2.87 ledger in his first season in the big time.

Over in the Fed, there wasn't much of a race - Boston was simply too strong for the competition, thanks to an offense that scored 821 runs and simply clubbed opponents into submission (read: the pitching isn't that good so let's score as much as possible). Leadoff man CF Bill McMurtrie hit .323 and drove in 83 runs, star LF Fred Huffman hit .334 with 7 homers and 100 RBIs, 1B Paul Shaffer hit 11 homers with 99 RBIs in the cleandup spot and 3B Frank Betts finished second in the league with a .362 average (and drove in 90 runs). They hit .291 as a team and the only thing they didn't do at an elite level was steal bases (they were sixth with 190). The best pitcher was George Johnson whose 25-15, 3.31 season wouldn't impress too many observers. Those same observers would point out that this team winning the pennant was a prime example of George Theobald's genius: when he had the pitching he rode that, when he didn't, he loaded up on hitting.

Pittsburgh finished second - a return to the prime time for the Miners who had last competed back in 1907 when they won the most recent of their five pennants. Fifth-place just a year ago, the Miners might have won the pennant with their top-rated pitching had they had Clyde Burns (16-5, 2.31) all season long. Burns pitched the first half of the season in Minneapolis and was not purchased until June. He did lead the league in ERA and one can only wonder if having him for the full season might have put Pittsburgh in striking distance of Boston. Maybe not, but baseball is a great sport for what-ifs and rehashes.

Another surprise took place in Detroit where Woody Trease, expected to retire with a dead arm after 1911, returned. He probably wished he hadn't - he no longer had any zip on his pitches and the batters took advantage as he finished 21-23 with a 3.92 ERA before retiring right after the World Series and joining his father in Peoria as the older Trease's pitching coach, starting a second career at the young age of 32. Trease finished his career with a record of 325-185 and an ERA of 2.24, leaving behind a great legacy in which he was arguably baseball's best pitcher over the period of 1903-1909.

Washington was the best of five Fed clubs who failed to make the .500 mark, posting a 75-77 record. Harry Rowell hit .322 and Buck Trujillo .321, but the rest of the offense was poor and even though the Eagles were 2nd in pitching, the offense was 7th and they couldn't overcome that. The Gothams picked up John Waggoner in a midseason trade and hoped that he'd provide some veteran leadership (and hitting) to a club that had finished second in both 1910 and '11. But it wasn't to be: Waggoner was 38 and a shadow of his former self. He did hit .273, and formed a nice double-play combination with batting champion and star 2B Ed Ziehl (.366-5-91) and though Harry Dunn (.341-2-76) and Wash Berentsen (.310-5-85) were also solid hitters, the team had a lot of bad luck, losing many close games. They were 3rd in hitting and 5th in pitching and probably better than their 75-78 record would indicate.


Ed Ziehl

The Chiefs were sixth - they had a star at 1B in Conrad Gardner (.329-12-101) and an ace in Tommy Woodlin (25-16, 2.34) but not much else and were 72-82 on the year. St, Louis again had dismal pitching, sinking the chances of a decent lineup and they posted a 71-83 mark for a seventh-place finish. Philadelphia dropped into the cellar with a 59-93 mark and had to console themselves with having a great prospect in 1B Ed Fisher (.346-11-69) and the top pick in the next amateur draft.

The World Series was a bit of a downer for many. Brooklyn had captured the hearts of many baseball fans with their rise from the ashes. Boston, on the other hand, had six pennant and a trio of World Championships already. But the underdog just wasn't up to snuff and the Kings only managed a single win: a 2-1 victory in game two of series in which they lost game three 15-1 and game four 14-5. The Boston lineup was just too powerful: four of the Boston regulars hit .400 or better in the Series with Fred Huffman going 9-for-19 with a homer and 7 RBIs.

Ed Ziehl won his second straight Whitney Award as the Federal Association MVP while Powell Slocum picked up his first in the Continental (only an otherworldly season by John Dibblee prevented Slocum from winning in '11).

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Minutemen		97	55	.638	-	821	648
Pittsburgh Miners		85	67	.559	12	719	619
Detroit Dynamos			77	76	.503	20½	653	642
Washington Eagles		75	77	.493	22	609	642
New York Gothams		75	78	.490	22½	694	655
Chicago Chiefs			72	82	.468	26	649	703
St. Louis Pioneers		71	83	.461	27	691	790
Philadelphia Keystones		59	93	.388	38	609	746
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Brooklyn Kings			90	63	.588	-	738	617
Baltimore Clippers		88	65	.575	2	712	593
Chicago Cougars			83	67	.553	5½	678	623
New York Stars			75	77	.493	14½	613	581
Toronto Wolves			75	78	.490	15	646	681
Montreal Saints			72	79	.477	17	669	657
Philadelphia Sailors		65	86	.430	24	519	618
Cleveland Foresters		60	93	.392	30	592	797
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:30 AM   #50
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Player Profile: Zebulon Banks


Zebulon "Hawkeye" Banks

Zebulon Banks was baseball's first superstar; although that term would not be used for quite some time, Banks checked off all the boxes we today would use to measure superstardom. He was the elite player of his era, which covered the entire 19th century portion of professional baseball history, was well-known throughout the country and set a slew of records that the greats of the future, playing a different style of baseball (and with longer seasons) would eventually surpass. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa on February 19th, 1856, made his debut as a member of the Philadelphia Centennials (today's Keystones) at the age of 20 in 1876 and played until 1898. He earned the nickname "Hawkeye" both for his Iowan-roots and for his discerning eye at the plate, where in his 23 seasons as a player he failed to hit over .300 just three times and finished with a career .328 average.

He retired as baseball's all-time hits king with 3423 (later surpassed by Powell Slocum) and held most other batting records, including runs (1877) and RBIs (1584) which would be his longest enduring records. Often cantankerous, Banks was a prideful player who recognized his standing as the game's premier player and took full advantage of that role, becoming one of the first players to endorse products not directly tied to baseball (a list which included laundry soap and Coca-Cola - which he invested in and which made him wealthy beyond his baseball days).

As a child, his father moved his family from Des Moines shortly after Zebulon's birth, settling eventually in eastern Pennsylvania where the elder Banks (Edward was his name, though everyone called him Ned) found long-term employment as a land surveyor and also operated a general store in the family's new hometown of Springfield, just outside Philadelphia. Zebulon was the middle of three sons of Ned and Jeannette Banks between Samuel (two years his senior) and Barnabas (one year his junior). Zebulon took after his father, a large and strong man and the younger Banks would eventually stand 6 feet tall and weigh over 220 pounds. As a boy, Zeb and his brothers were often in trouble for not giving their schoolwork much effort (or attendance) and could often be found playing baseball. Ned didn't help much - he liked the game and joined his sons as the centerfielder of the Springfield Ponies, a town team where Zebulon's true talents came to light.

The Centennials' owner, Jefferson Edgerton, had been born in Springfield and though he now lived in Philadelphia, kept tabs on his former hometown. With the Centennials forming as part of the fledgling Century League in late 1875, Edgerton approached the Banks family about Zebulon joining the team. His father initially sought to have his other sons join the team as well, and to his credit Edgerton offered them trial spots with the club as they began training in the spring of 1876. Neither Sam nor Barney would be good enough however, and only Zebulon was with the Centennials when they started the first Century League season.

Banks played every game of the 1876 season (60 of them) and hit .364, leading the entire Century League with 59 runs batted in as the Centennials third baseman. Over the next few seasons, he played more first base than third, and first would ultimately become his main position; regardless, Banks would always be known more for his hitting than his fielding.

Banks was among the larger players in the Century League and strong as an ox - it was said he often would lay his bat out and rely on his strong forearms and wrists to flick the ball - on a line - into the outfield. Whatever his technique may have been, it worked for him. After back-to-back sub-.300 seasons in 1879 and '80, he began a run that would see him top the .300 mark every season until his final campaign in 1898 at age 42.

Off the field, Banks courted and eventually married a niece of Jefferson Edgerton, Vera Knowles. They were married in 1880 when he was 24 and she was just 17. The marriage produced seven children, but only three daughters survived to adulthood. Those closest to him noted that the deaths of his three sons, all at young ages, affected Banks deeply though he never spoke of it.

In 1882, there were rumors that Chicago Chiefs owner William Whitney had approached his friend Edgerton about acquiring Banks for the Chiefs. Chicago had won the pennant in 1881, and Whitney, as always cognizant of great talent, wanted to add Banks to his club, even offering his own third baseman John Martin. Edgerton, of course, refused and noted after the 1882 season (one in which Martin hit .390) that he had no regrets about holding on to Banks. Edgerton, had in fact, to sweeten the deal for Banks in Philadelphia, made him the field manager for the 1882 season. This played to Banks' oversized ego, and it worked out well for both parties as the Centennials went 61-24 and won the pennant. For the remainder of his time with the Centennials/Keystones, Banks would be the playing manager of the team, winning a second pennant with a 101-38 mark in 1892.

Ironically, though his team mates considered Banks a bit of a prude (he refused to drink alcohol and was ferociously devoted to his wife) and a braggart (he would often remind his team of his own status as the game's best player), they generally liked playing for him - it probably helped that he lived up to his self-styled billing. Though he only won those two pennants, Banks' teams were almost always competitive and only finished out of the first division four times in his 15 year run as Philadelphia skipper.

The years 1886-88 were the best of Banks' career. He hit .341 in '86, .366 in '87 and .363 in '88 - and led the league for the only time that season. He continued to hit over .300 and notched a career-best .373 in the heady-offensive days of 1894 at the age of 38. Even in his last year with the Keystones as a 41-year-old, he hit .342 (though in less than a full season).

In gratitude for his refusal to join the Border Association, Banks had been given stock in the Keystones club in 1885 (the club switched names in 1884) by Edgerton and he owned about 15% of the team by the 1890 season. Fiercely loyal, Banks was openly critical of both the Border Association and, especially, the Peerless League as competitors of the Century League. Though he was approached regularly by both opposing leagues, Banks would not budge. It was therefore disappointing to him when he discovered (and this has never been independently confirmed) that Edgerton was holding back profits from Banks in 1897. The two men nearly came to blows (despite Edgerton being significantly older - and smaller - than Banks) and Banks was traded to the Pittsburgh Miners. Angry, Banks refused to play for Pittsburgh, though he did serve as manager (he referred to himself as "retired" as a player). His retirement was short-lived however as he moved to Brooklyn for the 1898 season and returned as a player in addition to managing the Kings.

Banks remained as manager of the Kings in 1899 though he was now officially retired and would not play again. He failed to lead Brooklyn to any success and was fired after the 1901 season. He then joined the Boston Minutemen, working as a hitting coach for legendary manager George Theobald, a role he held for the 1902 and 1903 seasons. Next was a move to the minors, working for the Knoxville Aces in the Dixie League from 1904 to 1910, the last five of those seasons as manager, and twice winning the Dixie League pennant. He left Knoxville for Memphis in 1911 and managed them until 1916 when he retired from the game for good. His composite record, both major and minor, as a manager was 2085-1939, a .518 winning percentage.

During his time in the "wilderness" of the minors, Banks' anger at Edgerton dissipated. After leaving Memphis, he returned to Philadelphia and would sometimes be spotted in the owners box at Keystones games, sitting first beside old Jeff Edgerton even as the latter entered his 80s and approached 50 years as a club owner and then later beside Edgerton's son Malcolm, when the younger Edgerton took over as owner of the club.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:56 AM   #51
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1913 - Third Time's The Charm

The end of the road finally came for Bill Temple in 1913. The once-dominant lefty's years of hard drinking had begun to catch up to him in 1909 when he wore out his welcome in Detroit and was shipped to Boston. Legendary manager George Theobald wasn't able to work much magic with Temple's increasingly tired arm and after a third straight 20-loss season in 1911, Temple was banished to the minor-league Worcester club. Even lower-level opposition didn't make him look any better and so at the end of the 1913 season he was released by Worcester and retired. His FABL resume was a strong one: a 284-230 record, 2.31 ERA and 3131 strikeouts, over 700 more than any other pitcher in history.


Bill Temple

While Temple was making his final appearances on a professional field, the FABL pennant races rolled on without him. And those races were both very good in both the Federal and Continental Associations. In the Fed, the defending-champion Boston Minutemen lost the pennant on the season's last weekend, dropping three straight to Washington and finishing two games behind the Eagles. Also right there were the New York Gothams and Detroit Dynamos with just 2.5 games separating the top three and Detroit just five back at the end.

Boston's offense was nearly as good as it had been the season before and again led the Feds in scoring (707) but the pitching was just sixth-best. Star outfielder Fred Huffman came back to earth a bit (.314-3-94) and that was also true of all the other Minutemen hitters. This opened the door for Washington, who won a lot of close ballgames. The Eagles were led by RF Buck Trujillo (.307-0-56), SS Mel Hancock, picked up from Brooklyn via trade (.304-1-59) and C Jim Smith (.301-1-67) on offense and the top pitcher was still Bill West (23-12, 2.66) a solid hurler who never seemed to get the respect he deserved.

Third-place New York was probably more talented than any other Federal club - certainly their best hitter (Ed Ziehl: .320-0-85) and pitcher (Ike Wetzel: 28-13, 2.47) were better than the other teams' top guns. But despite being 2nd in runs scored (693) and third in runs allowed (593), New York lost games they should have won. Detroit had arguably the Feds' best pitcher in Jim Golden (31-13, 2.50) and some decent hitters but their lineup didn't really click (they were 5th in scoring, 6th in average) while leading the league in fewest runs allowed (557). Pittsburgh was fifth with a 72-81 mark and got a great year out of LF Lem Rodgers (.350, tops in the FA) who they had acquired the year before from Montreal.

Sixth-place Chicago had a 27-year-old rookie become their ace (Rip Golden: 25-15, 2.03) but the poor season by former ace Tommy Woodlin (17-25, 3.05) pushed them to 2nd in runs allowed and their mediocre (to say the least) offense saw them finish with a 70-82 mark. St. Louis was seventh - they had one good player in RF Rudy Powell, whose .338 average was 2nd in the league. Philadelphia finished last again after rising to 7th the year before - they had added former NY Stars outfielder Bill Craigen, but he didn't make much difference (he hit .287), second-year 1B Ed Fisher still had good power (12 homers, tied for 2nd) but only had 64 RBIs as the team just didn't have a well-balanced lineup.

The Continental race was one by Baltimore, who finally broke out of their rut of second-place finishes to edge out Chicago by four games, a rising Montreal club by 5.5 and Brooklyn (the defending league champs) by seven. Powell Slocum hit .435 - a new career high (and 20th century record) with 257 hits (also a record) - amazingly those were the only categories in which he led the league. No other Clipper topped .300 with Jimmy Whipple's .296 coming closest. The pitching was solid - Mike Marner (26-18, 2.50) had a lot to do with that of course.

Second-place Chicago had their own tandem of stellar hitter/pitcher with CF John Dibblee hitting .382 (good for a distant 2nd in the batting race) and Isaac Meyer going 21-7 with 2.15 ERA in an injury-shortened campaign. Even better for the Cougars was the possible emergence of a second star pitcher as Tom Guarneri, a sophomore righty, went 24-14, 2.54 and had a lot to do with keeping the Cougs in the pennant race during Meyer's injury. Montreal was definitely (and finally) a team on the rise: they had a good young star in 3B Joe Ward (.352-2-99 - tops in the league in RBIs) a solid second banana in LF Lou Cobb (.296-6-95) and thanks to a trade with the Chicago Chiefs: a third star in 1B Conrad Gardner who wasn't quite as good as he had been for the Chiefs, but posted a respectable .292-5-88 season in his first season in Quebec. They also had the league's top winner in pitcher Charlie Firestone who went 31-13 with a 2.43 ERA and a league-best 312 strikeouts (he tied with Chicago's Guarneri).

Brooklyn dropped to fourth largely due to an offensive lag that saw them end up fourth in runs scored. The pitching was very good - the team acquired ace George Burger from Washington and he went 24-13 with a league-leading 2.06 ERA and won his 200th game on September 3rd. Toronto's Charlie Sis got his groove back and went 29-14, 2.10 as the lone bright spot for the fifth-place Wolves. New York was attempting to rebuild without a complete teardown as the crosstown Gothams' success had them looking to cut costs, trading Bill Craigen to the Keystones cutting ties with the last piece of their 1906 champions, and finishing sixth at 75-76. Philadelphia was still looking to get out of the basement as was Cleveland, both caught in a cycle of poor personnel decisions.

The World Series between the Baltimore Clippers and Washington Eagles was expected to go to the Clippers - they had the game's best hitter and probably it's best pitcher too. But even though Powell Slocum out-hit everyone to the tune of a .474 average, the Clips dropped the series in five games, winning only game two thanks to great pitching by Bill West and Al Bachman and good hitting by Harry Rowell who topped Washington with a .421 average, the series' lone homer and six RBIs. This was Washington's third trip to the Championship Series - and the first time they'd won it.

Unsurprisingly Powell Slocum won the Whitney Award as MVP of the Continental Association for a season that included a .435 average, 25 doubles, 28 triples, 90 RBIs and 110 runs scored. The Federal award went to Jim Golden of the Dynamos - the first pitcher to win the award (and first guy not named Ed Ziehl to win the award in the Federal Association). Golden's 31-13 record with a 2.50 ERA saw him throw 396.2 innings and hold opponents to a .228 average.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Eagles		88	66	.571	-	677	608
Boston Minutemen		84	66	.560	2	707	622
New York Gothams		85	68	.556	2½	693	593
Detroit Dynamos			82	70	.539	5	603	557
Pittsburgh Miners		72	81	.471	15½	608	593
Chicago Chiefs			70	82	.461	17	539	583
St. Louis Pioneers		65	88	.425	22½	586	681
Philadelphia Keystones		63	88	.417	23½	539	715
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Baltimore Clippers		88	63	.583	-	645	527
Chicago Cougars			85	68	.556	4	638	550
Montreal Saints			83	69	.546	5½	654	629
Brooklyn Kings			80	69	.537	7	629	577
Toronto Wolves			75	75	.500	12½	615	573
New York Stars			75	76	.497	13	603	618
Philadelphia Sailors		64	85	.430	23	521	644
Cleveland Foresters		54	99	.353	35	567	754
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:35 AM   #52
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1914 - The Rematch

Their ballparks were less than 40 miles apart, but because they played in different associations the only time they faced off was an occasional exhibition.. or in the World Championship Series. So when the Washington Eagles and Baltimore Clippers got together for the 1913 Series, it was great for fans of both teams who could attend the away games with relative ease. That 1913 series was a bit of a downer (unless you were an Eagles fan) as Washington won it in surprisingly easy fashion. And when both teams repeated as pennant winners in 1914, the scene was set for one of the best Series thus far.

Both the Eagles and Clippers had to hold off strong challenges in their respective pennant races - the Boston Minutemen and Montreal Saints were both strong clubs (though in radically different ways).

For the Eagles, they had to climb out of a hole as they were buried in third place with half the season gone. They relied on the team's best player, pitcher Bill West, who finally got a quality sidekick as former Great Western Leaguer Al Bachman blossomed in his second season with Washington and went 29-9, 1.72, even better than West's 26-13, 2.16 season. Those two led the way for a club that allowed just 460 runs with a Fed-best 2.22 team ERA. The lineup did well too, finishing 2nd in runs scored, but just seven fewer than Boston's league-best 627. No one truly stood out, though CF Billy Porter (.294-2-63) and SS Mel Hancock (.290-0-64) were the best hitters on a solid, all-around cast. It added up to a 98-56 record and repeat pennant for Washington.


'Big Bad' Bill West

Boston posted a strong 93-60 record with their league-best offense led by CF Bill McMurtrie (.323-0-59) and 2B Frank Betts (.296-0-51). The pitching was 2nd-best to Washington (though by a fairly wide margin) and a lefty-centric rotation featured southpaws George Johnson (26-18, 2.47) and Bob Allenbaugh (24-9, 2.87). The New York Gothams were third, finishing strong with a league-best 20-11 record after September 1st, but doomed by a barely-over-.500 season prior to their stretch run. They featured the league's two top hitters in 2B Ed Ziehl (.338 - his fourth batting title and he also had his fifth straight season of 100+ walks as he had the league's most discerning eye at the plate) and RF Harry Dunn (.325 with a league-best 91 RBIs). Huck Lucas (17-10, 2.16) was the best pitcher on the Gothams, but he missed six weeks with a July shoulder injury.

Detroit placed fourth - they had the winningest hurler in the Fed with Jim Golden (31-15, 2.56) but also had a pitcher with the fourth-most losses in Bob Young (16-24, 2.79). Fifth-place Pittsburgh (74-78) had 1B Sam Egbert (.324-0-69) who was third in the Fed in hitting and two other .300 hitters in 2B Frank Roberson and C Dave Cokely, but were done in by mediocre pitching. The Keystones finished sixth with a 70-84 record, their best finish since their surprise runner-up performance in 1909 - they lacked pitching but did have a cornerstone player in 25-year-old 1B Ed Fisher (.320-10-64). St. Louis (62-91) was seventh and in full-on rebuild mode. The basement-dwelling Chicago Chiefs (56-98) had Jim Golden's older brother Rip as their ace, but the offense was so bad he posted a league-leading 27 losses with a 16-27 record despite a respectable 2.74 ERA.

The Clippers went 97-56 with Powell Slocum winning another batting crown, albeit with his first non-400 season since 1909 and his lowest batting average (.365) since 1908 when he hit .343 (and still led the league). In all, Slocum had now won seven of the last eight batting titles and boasted a lifetime average of .381 and had topped 2000 hits while only 27 years old. Mike Marner shook off arguably his worst season and came back with one of his best as he led the league in wins (33-12) and ERA (1.52) and was third in strikeouts (278). Despite all this, the Clippers entered September a half-game behind the surging Montreal Saints.

The longtime also-ran Saints posted their best season since a second-place finish in 1890 and were looking like they'd be a good time for a while thanks to some good, young talent. There was 3B Joe Ward, who hit .329 (but missed the last two weeks of the season with a hamstring injury), 1B Conrad Gardner (.308-4-66) and CF Hal Eason (.273-13-93) and a legitimate one-two pitching punch in lefty Charlie Firestone (28-11, 1.74, 362 Ks) and righty Bob Johnston (21-16, 2.43). Firestone was second in all three pitching Triple Crown categories. The Saints posted a 92-62 record - their first 90-win season - and ended up 5.5 games back... and had a serious what-if for the season because of Ward's injury.

The New York Stars were a distant third with a 79-75 record while the Philadelphia Sailors made a rare first-division appearance, tied for fourth with Chicago at 73-81. 38-year-old Tom McCarthy turned in a solid season with a 2.19 ERA, but the Sailors offense was so inept that his record was 21-23. The Cougars looked like a shadow of their former pennant-winning selves and rebuild looked to be in their near future. Toronto was similarly lackluster, turning in a sixth-place finish and 70-83 record. Brooklyn was a half-game back of Toronto in seventh. The last-place Cleveland Foresters posted a 61-93 record but still felt pretty good about themselves as they had a drafted a star-in-the-making in the 1913 draft, first overall, a true two-way player named Max Morris who came up from the minors and posted a 4-9 mark with a 2.29 ERA in 15 games. He also appeared in 41 games as a hitter (playing in the outfield) and had a .324-1-13 line in 111 at-bats.

The World Series lived up to its expectations this time around as the teams alternated victories and the battle went the full seven-game distance. Mike Marner outdueled Billy West in a 2-1 Baltimore win in game one (Marner actually helped his own cause with a leadoff double in the third, coming around to score what would turn out to be the winning run). Game two had an identical score with the teams flipped and Washington winning on a walk-off single by Jim Smith after the Eagles entered the ninth down 1-0 to John Jones. And why break up the pattern? Game three was another 2-1 classic with the Clippers winning as they had in game one. Jim Williams outpitched Washington's Sam Alexander and the Clippers scored the winning run in the home eighth with the rally started by Powell Slocum who singled, stole second and scored on Jim DuShane's single.

Game four was a bit of a surprise - it was still a one-run game, but not the pitching duel one would expect with Marner and West as the starters. West was battered for 14 hits and six runs and didn't make it out of the sixth, but Marner couldn't hold the lead and was out of the game after the eighth in a 7-7 tie. Washington scored the winning run in the top of the tenth off Len Rush with a pair of singles and a walk. Both Powell Slocum and Washington's Billy Porter recorded two triples in the game. Game five was the first game not to be a one-run affair as the Clippers won 5-2 to take a three-two series lead to Washington's Capital Park for game six.

The Eagles fell behind 2-0 in the first inning of game six but Sam Alexander shut down the Clippers after that and the Eagles' hitters scored four times off Jim Williams to earn a 4-2 win and set up a winner-takes-all game seven the next day.

Game seven set up as another match between Marner and West. The teams had split the previous meetings (though neither Marner nor West got a decision in game four). Game seven was over almost as soon as it began - West's team mates let him down with a pair of errors - the first on a leadoff single by Jim Hoskin that sent Hoskin to second and then allowing the very next batter to reach on an error bringing Powell Slocum up with two on and none out. He naturally took advantage with a double to score Hoskins. Things got worse when the next hitter, Henry Whitney, hit a home run to plate three more runs for a 4-0 lead. That was more than enough for Marner who allowed just two runs while his team mates scored seven in total and the Clippers won game seven 7-2 to take the Series. It was the third title for the Slocum/Marner-led Clippers and first since 1908.

Slocum won yet another Whitney Award as the Continental's MVP - this was his third straight win. Similary, Ed Ziehl again captured the Federal's Whitney Award - it was his third win as well. The award had only been around four seasons and each player had only failed to win it once apiece.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Eagles		98	56	.636	-	620	460
Boston Minutemen		93	60	.608	4½	627	514
New York Gothams		82	71	.536	15½	670	596
Detroit Dynamos			78	75	.510	19½	552	536
Pittsburgh Miners		74	78	.487	23	579	571
Philadelphia Keystones		70	84	.455	28	533	605
St. Louis Pioneers		62	91	.405	35½	497	628
Chicago Chiefs			56	98	.364	42	423	591
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Baltimore Clippers		97	56	.634	-	597	443
Montreal Saints			92	62	.597	5½	630	530
New York Stars			79	75	.513	18½	554	546
Chicago Cougars			73	81	.474	24½	573	597
Philadelphia Sailors		73	81	.474	24½	488	540
Toronto Wolves			70	83	.458	27	549	573
Brooklyn Kings			70	84	.455	27½	568	602
Cleveland Foresters		61	93	.396	36½	478	606
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:50 AM   #53
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1915 - The Saints Come Marching In



They'd been around since 1882 as a founding member of the old Border Association. They had - sometimes - been relatively good (but usually not so much). They had a good, strong fan following and were seen by most other fans as lovable losers. They had never finished in first place. So it took a long time - much too long if you'd asked any of those long suffering fans of the team - but the Montreal Saints finally reached the promised land by winning the 1915 Continental Association pennant.

The Saints had been showing signs - a third place finish in 1913 was followed by a second place finish a year later (they were 5.5 games out of first in both years). Their 92 wins in 1914 were a team record. So it wasn't a complete shock that they finally won a pennant in 1915 except for those Montreal fans who thought they'd never live to see the day. The club won 96 games, a culmination of five seasons of increasing victory totals. The first cog arrived back in 1908 when a 19-year-old third baseman named Joe Ward was signed off the Tell City, Indiana town club. In 1911, a centerfielder from Lemoyne, Pennsylvania named Hal Eason was signed at age 20. Perhaps the biggest piece showed up in 1912 when pitcher Charlie Firestone was purchased from Nashville of the Dixie League. A year later a trade with the Chicago Chiefs brought in first baseman Conrad Gardner, a solid, all-around - and proven - performer. This core would be the foundation of the 1915 pennant winners.

Joe Ward's .336 average was third-best in the league. Hal Eason's 11 homers and 94 RBIs were paced the circuit while Conrad Gardner turned in a sterling .333-8-83 stats line. But the biggest performance came from Charlie Firestone, who went 35-6 with a 1.86 ERA (both best in the league) while striking out 311 opposing hitters (2nd-best). As a team, the Saints hit .268 (1st) and scored 680 runs (also 1st) while allowing 501 runs (2nd). They ended up 10 games ahead of the runner-up Baltimore Clippers, who were the defending World Champions.

Speaking of the Clippers, they took a step back largely due to an offense that fell to fourth in runs scored despite the continued excellence of Powell Slocum. The game's best hitter won yet another batting title - with a .383 average - giving the 27-year-old outfielder eight of the last nine batting crowns. The pitching was the best in the league thanks to Baltimore's other insanely talented player Mike Marner. Marner had a bit of an off-year (by his outlandish standards) with a 26-20 record (despite a solid 2.22 ERA).

A big surprise was the third-place finish by the Cleveland Foresters. Second-year player Max Morris posted a 15-17 mark (and 2.90 ERA) as a pitcher. He also hit .312-8-33 on the year as he made 35 pitching appearances and 41 appearances in the Foresters outfield when not pitching. The club finished third in both pitching and hitting despite not having a truly outstanding performer in either department. Toronto finished fourth - Charlie Sis was still a killer, he went 25-14 with a 2.21 ERA and notched his 250th career victory. New York was fifth but did have a bright spot in 28-year-old rookie outfielder Johnny Robards (.333-2-60) who moved up from Los Angeles of the Great Western League where he had hit .385 in 1914. Chicago was just a half-game back of the Stars in sixth - John Dibblee was very much still a great player, finishing second in the batting race at .362 for the league's 2nd-rated offense, but the Cougars pitching remained terrible. Brooklyn (68-84) and Philadelphia (59-95) rounded out the rest of the standings table.

The Federal League pennant was won by George Theobald's Boston Minutemen, who had been 2nd the last two seasons. They had a legit star in LF Fred Huffman, who hit .320 with 84 RBIs, and several other good hitters such as CF Bill McMurtrie (.295), 3B John Dickinson (.294) and 2B Frank Betts (.283). But the pitching was very good with a trio of southpaws: George Johnson (28-16, 1.95), Bob Harris (19-14, 2.35) and Bob Allenbaugh (13-2, 2.21) - and when Allenbaugh was out with injury, Jacob Mueller (15-8, 2.31) filled in ably. The Minutemen won 95 games and everyone in New England was once again touting the "Theobald is a genius" mantra.

Just as Baltimore had in the CA, the defending Fed champs Washington Eagles dropped to second place. Billy Porter hit .322 and Bill West won 30 games with a 2.13 ERA, but the rest of the gang was off their pace just enough to send the Eagles to an 87-66 record. Detroit won 82 games and finished third: Jim Golden was great (29-18, 1.97) but they struggled to score runs. The Gothams, a team perennially picked to break out and win a pennant, finished fourth with an 80-74 record. Ed Ziehl was still hitting like a poor man's Powell Slocum and led the league at .335 and had a decent running mate in 1B Abe Loicano (.310). But the pitching wasn't great and the lineup wasn't deep so they underwhelmed.

Pittsburgh topped the second division at 75-77, largely thanks to some below average pitching because they did have some good hitters in the house, led by Frank Roberson (.328), Sam Egbert (.310) and Joe Chain (.304). Philadelphia was 68-83 stuck in the depths due to perennially poor pitching and a lackluster (aside from Ed Fisher) offense. Chicago was seventh and St. Louis finished dead last.

The World Series turned out to be another good one, again going the full seven games and ending in dramatic fashion. It didn't look good at the start - Boston romped in game one, a 10-6 win where they scored nine runs over the seventh and eighth innings and Bernie Trumaine had six RBIs on a 4-for-5 day. Charlie Firestone took the hill in game two and that was good enough to get the Saints even with a 2-1 win. Then things started going awry for the Saints as they dropped both games three and four in Boston to sit on the edge of oblivion.

Cue Firestone to the rescue: the 5'8 lefty did his thing again in game five, a four-hit shutout gem to keep his team alive with a 2-0 win. Game six was back in Montreal and the Saints took a 3-0 lead after the first, then held on to win a 7-4 decision to force a decisive game seven. Boston ace George Johnson, who had already won twice was on the mound for the Minutemen. Facing him for the third time was Montreal's Bob Johnston (and his 0-2 Series record). But Johnston was just a little bit better than Johnson this time, tossing a seven-hit shutout while Johnson allowed one run in the game and took the loss in a 1-0 decision. For the Saints, the celebration was extra sweet - Montreal would long remember the day that their beloved Saints finally cast off their lovable loser persona and laid claim to greatness.

The voting for the Whitney Awards takes place before the World Series and that probably kept Charlie Firestone from winning it. As it turned out, he was fourth in the voting with his team mate Joe Ward won the award thanks to his all-around solid play, beating out Powell Slocum and John Dibblee for the Continental edition of the award. The Feds' award went (again) to New York's fine second baseman Ed Ziehl who finished ahead of Washington's Billy Porter and Detroit's Jim Golden.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Minutemen		95	56	.629	-	615	450
Washington Eagles		87	66	.569	9	569	500
Detroit Dynamos			82	70	.539	13½	524	513
New York Gothams		80	74	.519	16½	629	563
Pittsburgh Miners		75	77	.493	20½	579	580
Philadelphia Keystones		69	83	.454	26½	529	623
Chicago Chiefs			67	87	.435	29½	502	555
St. Louis Pioneers		56	98	.364	40½	432	595
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Montreal Saints			96	56	.632	-	680	502
Baltimore Clippers		87	65	.572	9	572	484
Cleveland Foresters		83	71	.539	14	574	511
Toronto Wolves			74	79	.484	22½	567	606
New York Stars			72	80	.474	24	532	590
Chicago Cougars			72	81	.471	24½	575	620
Brooklyn Kings			68	84	.447	28	547	618
Philadelphia Sailors		59	95	.383	38	475	591
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:11 PM   #54
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1916 Solid Gold(en)

The Detroit Dynamos had become something of an enigma. After back-to-back pennants in 1907-08 (with a championship in the latter season) and another pennant in 1911, the team had bounced up and down in the standings - usually contending for portions of the season before ending up third or fourth. The one constant had been the stellar play of Jim Golden. Entering the 1916 season, Golden had thrice led the league in victories but was known mainly as a hard-throwing workhorse who had yet to really reach his potential. In 1916 he finally put it all together with a season for the ages. And that made a big difference for the Dynamos.


Jim Golden

Golden posted a 35-9 record with a 1.70 ERA, both career-bests. The wins topped the league while the ERA was fourth (and actually second on his own team). He also led the league with 211 strikeouts. The Dynamos also unleashed their first-round draft pick from 1912, big right-hander George Davis, who exceedingly all expectations with a great rookie season: 22-10, 1.65 with opposing hitters managing a league-low .231 average against him. Detroit won 95 games - 57 by their top two pitchers, no other pitcher on the staff with more than one decision had a winning record. The offense topped the league in runs scored as well, largely thanks to their outfield trio of RF Don Benford (.335-1-74), CF Manuel Zuniga (.290-1-66) and LF Bill Davis (.289-0-55) and 1B Danny James (.292-7-65).

The Chicago Chiefs made a rare appearance in the first division, finishing second with an 85-69 record after bottoming out at 56-98 just two years earlier and finishing seventh just a year earlier. Danny Wren posted the league's third-best ERA (1.68), Marty Jones was third in wins (25) and strikeouts (205) and the team overall allowed a league-low 429 runs. The Chiefs offense, however, still was a work in progress as they finished fifth in runs with 519. Boston was one game behind the Chiefs in third place at 84-70 with George Johnson again turning in a stellar season (31-11, 1.77 ERA, 207 Ks). Fred Huffman had an injury-plagued season, missing 50 games though he did hit .321 with 18 triples on the season (in 417 at-bats). The Gothams finished 81-73 in fourth to round out the first division with Ed Ziehl failing to win the batting title for just the first time in three years with a .314 average. He did however, pass the 2000-hit mark and drew a league-best 111 walks, his fifth straight season topping the league in free passes.

Fifth-place Pittsburgh finished under .500 at 74-79 but did have the league's batting champ in RF Joe Chain who hit .332. Washington finished sixth, Philadelphia seventh and St. Louis again finished in the basement.

The Continental pennant was a repeat performance for Montreal. The Saints used the same formula that had worked so well the year before with Charlie Firestone again providing stellar pitching (35-7, 1.88) and Joe Ward turning in an MVP-worthy performance (.328-2-81). His 81 RBIs tied Cleveland's Sam Leonhardt for the league lead. Hal Eason's 8 homes likewise was tied for the league lead (with Philadelphia Sailor Herb Fritsch). Firestone won the pitching Triple Crown and had passed Mike Marner in many fans' opinions as the best pitcher in baseball. The Saints 97-55 record put them 17.5 games up on their nearest competition and they led the race virtually wire-to-wire.


Joe Ward

Second-place was a tie between two up-and-comers in Cleveland and Chicago, both posting 80-73 records. Cleveland had two-way star Max Morris who started 41 games as a pitcher and 57 more as the right fielder; Morris went 24-15 as a pitcher (with a 2.80 ERA) and hit .304 with 15 doubles, 10 triples and 7 homers in 355 at-bats. Chicago was still John Dibblee's team - the hard-hitting centerfielder turned in a .340 average and recorded 33 triples as he specialized in screaming line shots into the gaps. His .340 average was 2nd to Powell Slocum in the batting race. And speaking of Slocum, he hit .343 for another batting title (his 5th in a row and 9th overall) - and he passed the 2500 hit plateau as well. His team did not do as well however, finishing 79-73 in fourth place (though to be fair they were just a half-game out of second). Mike Marner won 29 games, but his 2.71 ERA was the highest of his career thus far.

The Sailors were fifth with a 75-79 record which represented a 16-win improvement over the 1915 season. John Burrell, a 1912 3rd-round pick now in his 2nd big league season, hit .325 and looked like a possible cornerstone player (he was just 23 years old). Philly also had a 23-year-old pitcher who was a 1914 3rd rounder who turned in a rookie season that included a 22-14 record with a 2.46 ERA. Sixth-place Toronto had Charlie Sis (29-14, 1.96) and not much else, finishing seventh in runs scored. Brooklyn and New York were separated by just a half-game at the bottom of the standings. Brooklyn made a splash by trading ace Danny Goff midseason to the New York Gothams for 1B Abe Loiacano. The deal was interesting due to lingering bad feelings between the Kings owners and the Bigsby family who now owned the Gothams.

The World Series went six games as the Detroit Dynamos proved too much for Montreal. Maybe the Saints were in a prolonged hangover from their 1915 title, or perhaps the relative ease with which they won the pennant left them overconfident, but they often looked outclassed during the series. Firestone and Golden split their two games with Golden winning game one and Firestone game four. The Saints did not have someone to offset George Davis, however and the rookie beat them twice, including the series-clinching sixth game.

The 1916 Whitney Awards went to Jim Golden of Detroit and Montreal's Joe Ward, the second win for each of them.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			95	59	.617	-	624	440
Chicago Chiefs			85	69	.552	10	519	429
Boston Minutemen		84	70	.545	11	533	524
New York Gothams		81	73	.526	14	533	480
Pittsburgh Miners		74	79	.484	20½	539	568
Washington Eagles		66	87	.431	28½	516	597
Philadelphia Keystones		65	89	.422	30	432	584
St. Louis Pioneers		65	89	.422	30	497	571
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Montreal Saints			97	55	.638	-	696	509
Chicago Cougars			80	73	.523	17½	556	564
Cleveland Foresters		80	73	.523	17½	561	518
Baltimore Clippers		79	73	.520	18	583	589
Philadelphia Sailors		75	79	.487	23	530	535
Toronto Wolves			74	79	.484	23½	502	561
Brooklyn Kings			64	90	.416	34	526	588
New York Stars			63	90	.412	34½	484	574
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:21 AM   #55
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1917 - Long Time Coming

The Chicago Chiefs were the original professional baseball club, created in 1876 alongside seven other clubs; only they and the Philadelphia Keystones (who were then called the Centennials) remained. And while the Chiefs had often been good, they had not won a pennant since 1881. In the span of the 35 seasons that followed, the Chiefs finished second nine times and third seven more. Sure, there were some very lean years in there too, but in general, the Chiefs were a decent club that just couldn't get over the final hurdle and capture the pennant. In 1917, that finally changed.

Like virtually every pennant winner then and now, the Chiefs excelled in at least one facet of the game. In their case, it was pitching and defense. The 1917 Chiefs allowed just 408 runs, and posted an ERA of 2.07 - far below everyone else: the average amongst the entire FABL was 2.75 that season. Their defense was rock solid and the pitchers took advantage - they were only fourth in the league in strikeouts, but their fielders turned batted balls into outs. Chicago's top three pitchers were Bob Wilson (20-11, 1.67), Marty Jones (22-11, 1.94) and Denny Wren (24-11, 2.08). Their infield defense was led by the team's best player - a 27-year-old Mexican-born second baseman named Pedro Valenzuela. Using modern metrics, Valenzuela could have been the prototype for a Gold Glove middle infielder. He also led the team in batting average with a .268 mark: the one area in which the '17 Chiefs were not top-notch was hitting. They were sixth in both runs scored and batting average.


Pedro Valenzuela

Pittsburgh, who had finished fifth for four straight seasons and had last won a pennant in 1907, also had a resurgence, posting 89 victories and a second-place finish. They had the league's fastest player in SS Johnny Carlson who led the circuit with 82 steals while leading his team with a .306 average, which was fourth in the league (he was also the best defensive shortstop in the Fed, if not all of FABL). Boston finished third with their outstanding corner outfielders Fred Huffman (.319-2-72) and Bill McMurtrie (.316-0-57) again leading the way for the league's 2nd-rated run producing lineup (1st-place Pittsburgh was just six runs better). Boston was done in by a lack of pitching (again). Fourth-place New York had an all-around average season, finishing just over .500 and in the middle of the pack in both hitting and pitching. The Gothams' Ed Ziehl did win another batting title with a .323 average, just ahead of the Huffman-McMurtrie tandem in Boston.

The bottom half of the Fed standings had the defending-champion Dynamos falling to fifth as they won 21 games fewer than they had in 1916. The falloff was largely due to the pitching: the team allowed over 100 runs more in '17 than they had the year before, but the lineup dropped off too, scoring 54 fewer runs. Washington was a half-game behind Detroit in sixth place with the league's worst offense. Both St. Louis and Philadelphia were flatout bad again, but it looked like help was on the way as both had some promising youngsters down on the farm.

The Continental race went to another team that hadn't won in a long time: the Cleveland Foresters. Cleveland had one pennant on its resume, a 1901 flag that saw them lose the World Series in lopsided fashion. The 1917 edition of the Foresters posted the most wins in club history (87) though the '01 team had a better winning percentage. Still, Cleveland needed a one-game playoff victory over Montreal to claim the flag as each had finished with identical 86-68 records. That one-game playoff (the first in baseball history) was a great one, a 1-0 win by Cleveland that fans would long remember. The Foresters also had the most intriguing player in baseball in pitcher-cum-outfielder Max Morris. Morris, at age 22, was a good pitcher: he posted a 21-17 mark with a middling 3.17 ERA. But he really excelled at the plate where he posted a team-best .318 average (which would have been 3rd in the league if he had qualified) and led the league with 13 home runs: and he did it in just 371 at-bats.

The Montreal Saints were officially the runners-up thanks to that heart-breaking 1-0 loss that snapped their run as league champions. They still had a great team which led the Continental in runs scored (593) and produced an incredible 121 triples on the season. If only they had some pitching... the Saints staff allowed a league-high 571 runs and many of their victories were of the one-run variety. Still, the Continental as a whole was very even in 1917 - the Foresters' league-best pitching allowed 3.3 runs per game while the Saints & Sailors allowed the most at 3.7 and the average was 3.5 for the year. The Saints did have Charlie Firestone who went 28-18 (tied for league lead) with a 2.01 ERA (2nd in the league).

The Baltimore Clippers were arguably the most talented group in the Continental - after all they had the best hitter ever seen in Powell Slocum who had a season so far above everyone else that it almost sounds like mythology. Slocum hit a ridiculous .423 in a league in which the league average was .252 and he won the batting title by nearly 100 percentage points over runner-up John Dibblee's .339 average. Slocum led in runs (99), hits (236), total bases (332), doubles (38), was third in triples (26) and second in RBIs (74). He was in a word: unbelievable. And he had just turned 30 years old in a season that saw him go over 2800 hits for his career. Barring a catastrophic turn of events, there was little doubt he'd soon pass Zebulon Banks as baseball's all-time hits king.

A bizarre (to the fans) and sad story that had its start in the end of the 1916 season grabbed the attention of baseball fans early on in the 1917 season. Mike Marner, the tremendously talented Baltimore right-hander, began complaining of a dead arm towards the end of a 1916 season that saw him finish 29-16 with a 2.71 ERA. That dead arm didn't recover over the winter and in the spring, Marner's velocity was down. The stunner came on APril 29th. Marner had made one short two-inning outing for the Clippers when the team abruptly released him. He caught on with Detroit, pitched once for them - a 4-2 complete game victory - and then refused to make his next start because his arm was again dead. The Dynamos cut him on May 20th. In early June Marner was signed again, this time by Brooklyn. He spent the rest of the season with the Kings, going 9-16 with a 3.73 ERA in 28 starts, but it was obvious his arm was shot and it was unknown what the future would hold for a pitcher who had just turned 30 in June.

The Brooklyn Kings finished fourth with a 78-73 record in a season in which they scored and allowed the exact same number of runs (so they overachieved a bit in the win column). After three straight seventh place finishes, this was seen as good progress in Brooklyn. The Cougars finished fifth with a lineup that only outscored the league's worst team (New York) by a handful of runs, thanks the league's second-best pitching with ERA champ Luke Smith (1.81) leading the way. The Sailors finished sixth, just a game behind Chicago - their pitching wasn't good, but the lineup was showing signs of life. The Wolves still had Charlie Sis, and he was still pretty good (28-18, 2.31), but the rest of the team wasn't and they posted a 69-83 record, just two games out of the cellar, which was held down by the New York Stars who were done in by an anemic lineup that scored just 3.1 runs per game (the pitching was average so a bit of hitting would have made a big difference).

The World Series saw the Chicago Chiefs claim their first championship since the early days of the old Century League back in 1881 with a four-games to two win over the Foresters. Cleveland won only the games Max Morris pitched, which dampened some of the fervor of the growing number of people who wanted the Foresters to use Morris exclusively as an outfielder. Cleveland also may have blundered by not changing their standard practice of not playing Morris in the outfield on the days before he pitched, meaning he only started in four of the six Championship Series games (he pinch hit in the other two).

The Whitney Awards went to Pittsburgh SS Johnny Carlson in the Federal Association and to Powell Slocum (who else?) in the Continental.


Johnny Carlson

One major development in 1917 was the entry of the United States into the massive war taking place in Europe. While the war would not have much impact on the 1917 season, the same could not be said of 1918 (or 1919 for that matter).

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Chicago Chiefs			92	62	.597	-	497	408
Pittsburgh Miners		89	64	.582	2½	580	473
Boston Minutemen		80	72	.526	11	574	552
New York Gothams		79	74	.516	12½	565	537
Detroit Dynamos			74	80	.481	18	571	544
Washington Eagles		73	80	.477	18½	473	522
St. Louis Pioneers		64	90	.416	28	508	600
Philadelphia Keystones		62	91	.405	29½	480	612
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Cleveland Foresters		87	68	.561	-	583	508
Montreal Saints			86	69	.555	1	593	571
Baltimore Clippers		81	72	.529	5	573	537
Brooklyn Kings			78	73	.517	7	565	547
Chicago Cougars			73	81	.474	13½	493	517
Philadelphia Sailors		72	82	.468	14½	539	571
Toronto Wolves			69	83	.454	16½	528	563
New York Stars			67	85	.441	18½	476	536
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:07 AM   #56
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1918 - Home Front

What would later be called the First World War had, by the spring of 1918, been in full throat for nearly four years in Europe. The United States, which had entered the war in April of 1917, was finally mobilized and had recently sent the American Expeditionary Force under General John Pershing to France. In other words, the U.S. was now fully invested in the war, which had not been the case during the previous baseball season. While the impact in terms of player talent was still minimal in 1918 as most players stayed in their regular (baseball) uniform, the FABL Commission decided to shorten the season and the Fed & Continental campaigns would end a month earlier than usual.

One of the biggest stories of the season was the wholesale jettisoning of players by the Montreal Saints. Though the team had won the pennant as recently as 1916 and forced a one-game playoff in 1917, they were having financial difficulties. Thus when the team got off to a slow start in 1918, management began reshaping the roster by making five trades within a two-week span in July. Leaving were pitchers Bill Tanner and Jack Shannon (to the Gothams - in separate trades), 3B Cal Shank (to Washington), OF Lou Cobb (to Pittsburgh) and biggest of all, Charlie Firestone was dealt to the Philadelphia Keystones. That the Keystones, who had been a second division club for what seemed like an eternity, were trading for a high-priced, high-profile talent like Firestone also spoke volumns about where the Stones' management thought the team was heading.

The Saints - surprisingly - played better after the trade than before it, but they still finished sixth and 12.5 games behind the pennant-winning Chicago Cougars. The Cougars held off the New York Stars, Toronto Wolves and Philadelphia Sailors (yep, the Sailors) to claim their first pennant since 1910. The Cougs still had John Dibblee and though he was now 30 years old, the veteran outfielder was still performing his role as the Continental's best-hitter-not-named-Powell-Slocum routine. He was 2nd in average at .318, and modern research shows he posted the league's best WAR in 1918 (8.0). Jerry White, acquired via trade from the Gothams in February, was the team's best pitcher, though his record (18-18) didn't really indicate it. A combination of Pete Boyer (14-4, 2.18), Solly Peterson (18-8, 2.65) and George Hill (17-15, 2.39) rounded out the Cougars' staff. The went 75-54 on the truncated season and finished five up on the Stars & Wolves and six ahead of the Sailors.

The Stars probably outplayed their talent in '18 - Luke Smith (22-13, 2.26) was a bona-fide star (no pun intended) but the rest of the team was fairly pedestrian as demonstrated by their 7th-best (out of eight) batting average. Toronto's Charlie Sis (23-13, 2.29) and new 2B Eddie Montague, a 25-year-old from Idaho with the predictable nickname of "Taters" who hit .340 with 62 RBIs in just 365 at-bats (that average actually would have bettered Slocum's for the batting title had he qualified). The Sailors, though they finished fourth, were a team on the rise and in the race for the entire season. They had what looked like a legitimate anchor for their pitching staff in Rod Kratz (22-7, 1.78: best in the Continental), a 24-year-old drafted in 1913 in the third round. The offense featured a rookie first baseman (Davey Thomas, who hit .277), a second baseman picked up from Boston (Frank Betts, .302) and a holdover catcher (Bernie Baker, .286) who was the leader on and off the field.

Cleveland finished fifth with a 64-64 record. Max Morris (18-13, 2.57) was again a good pitcher and a good hitter (.307-5-29) and many Forester fans were clamoring for the team to just let him play everyday in the outfield - the club continued to spot start him there as they felt they needed his pitching and wanted to protect him. Montreal, as described above, was sixth. Baltimore fell all the way to seventh - the core of the old championship teams was gone with the notable exception of Powell Slocum, who won yet another batting title (that'd be seven straight and 11 of the last 12 for those keeping score at home). His average dipped to .339 - but his career mark stood at .379 and he ended the shortened season just 23 hits shy of 3000 for his career. He turned 32 on August 12, so it still seemed like a lock that he'd pass Banks' career hit record.

Brooklyn finished dead last with a dismal 44-82 record and were last in the league in batting average and runs allowed - they were just terrible. They had brought back the shadow of Mike Marner for 1918, but he didn't last the season in Brooklyn. Marner pitched just 5.1 innings for the Kings before they cut him loose.

In the Federal Association, the Detroit Dynamos bounced back from their disappointing 1917 season to reclaim the pennant with a solid 79-48 record. Jim Golden (17-12, 2.24) and George Davis (18-13, 2.77) led the pitching staff while the lineup featured a slew of left-handed hitters (seven of the eight regulars hit lefty), led by 3B Cliff Everett and his .311 average. The Gothams finished second thanks to a stellar lineup that produced a league-best 527 runs. New York's pitching was merely middle of the road - top pitcher Don Cannady was hurt for a chunk of the season and finished with a solid 20-8, 1.92 ledger, but his absence and the lack of solid replacements, left the Gothams out of the picture at the end of the season.

St. Louis, riding a wave of youth, finished third. The Pioneers' highly-touted shortstop prodigy, Rip Landry, finally made his debut and though he finished with a modest .257-2-31 line (in just over 300 at-bats), he looked ready to be the leader the club sorely needed. A trio of fellow rookies joined Landry: C Ed Simmons (.269), 1B Jason Hopkins (.304) and 2B Verdo Miller (.272) all made an impression. The Pioneers had a second Rip - Rip Humphrey, the team's new ace, and his posted a strong 17-12, 1.93 season while Buck Harris (17-15, 2.44) and Grover Bray (12-14, 2.86) also looked good. The bad times in St. Louis appeared to be nearing an end.

Chicago was fourth - their top-ranked pitching included a solid season from Jim Golden's brother Rip (there were a lot of Rips around in 1918). The older Golden went 18-13 with a 2.23 ERA for the Chiefs, teaming with Denny Wren (15-12, 2.39) to give Chicago a solid 1-2 punch. If only they could hit: the team was last in scoring (372 runs) and 7th in batting average. Boston was fifth, and just a tad over .500 with a 64-62 record. Fred Huffman's role as the star of the Minutemen was slowly being phased out as George Theobald sought to find at-bats for Billy Hammond and Glenn Box - his next generation of batting stars.

The Keystones, as mentioned above, swung a deal for Charlie Firestone giving them a legitimate ace. He went 20-15 with a 2.02 ERA in his combined Montreal/Philadelphia season. The Stones were hurt a bit when their young star 3B Jim Furr went down with a fractured wrist. He had been hitting a team-best .325 when the injury ended his season a month early. Washington finished seventh - they signed Mike Marner after he was released by Brooklyn and he posted a 6-4, 3.69 mark for them (he also spent some time in the minors trying to rework his approach now that he could no longer blow the ball past hitters). Pittsburgh fell all the way into the basement with a 49-79 record. The rebuild was fully on for the Miners.

The World Series of 1918 was a bit schizophrenic. The Dynamos came out like gangbusters, winning three straight before the Cougars took their turn at winning three in a row to tie up the series and setting up a decisive game seven at Detroit's Thompson Field. The Dynamos sent ace Jim Golden to the hill against Chicago's Pete Boyer; the pair had already squared off twice in the series, splitting the two matchups. Boyer, picked up in a trade from the Miners midseason, was Chicago's de facto ace: he had posted a very solid 9-2 record and 1.99 for the Cougars after the deal. Golden's resume was well-known. Chicago drew first blood, plating two runs in the second to deflate the capacity crowd, seemingly resigning them to their fate of seeing their team blow a 3-0 series lead. But the Dynamos scored a single run in the fourth with budding star LF Frank St. Pierre right in the middle of the action as he had been all series long. The 25-year-old had hit .342 after becoming a regular in midseason and led off the inning with a single, then stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Cougars' catcher Ruben Gillis. After Don Benford walked, and Danny James popped out, Cliff Everett singled to center, scoring St. Pierre and giving Detroit some life. The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth. St. Pierre singled again (he was 3-for-4 for the game) and then Don Benford hit the biggest home run in Dynamos history to give the hometown fans something to scream about as the score was quickly 3-2. Golden allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Ike Martie, but then James Richerson popped up a bunt attempt for the first out and Golden picked off Martie for the second out. A Ruben Gillis fly to center was squeezed by Matt Younger to make the Dynamos champions for the second time in three years.

Detroit's Cliff Everett was named the Federal Association Whitney Award winner. The third-sacker hit .311 for the champs and played a very solid defense at the hot corner. The Continental's award went to Max Morris, the two-way phenom who edged out John Dibblee of the pennant-winning Cougars and multiple-winner Powell Slocum of the Clippers.

Before the calendar had even turned to October, the Pittsburgh Miners began their rebuild in earnest. They dealt 2B Frank Roberson, one of their best players (but 30 years old) to St. Louis, getting some of the young Pioneer prospects in return: a pair of 22-year-olds in RF Bob Garrett and 2B Dick Vantrease. They followed that up with a deal with the Chicago Chiefs for Rip Golden, who though 32-years-old, was a solid pitcher they hoped could anchor their staff during their rebuild.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			79	48	.622	-	509	423
New York Gothams		70	56	.556	8½	527	438
St. Louis Pioneers		64	58	.525	12½	447	418
Chicago Chiefs			64	60	.516	13½	372	403
Boston Minutemen		64	62	.508	14½	500	487
Philadelphia Keystones		59	64	.480	18	441	455
Washington Eagles		53	75	.414	26½	456	514
Pittsburgh Miners		49	79	.383	30½	429	543
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Chicago Cougars			75	54	.581	-	493	411
New York Stars			67	56	.545	5	448	447
Toronto Wolves			70	59	.543	5	476	463
Philadelphia Sailors		67	58	.536	6	414	427
Cleveland Foresters		64	64	.500	10½	499	448
Montreal Saints			60	64	.484	12½	457	486
Baltimore Clippers		57	67	.460	15½	431	457
Brooklyn Kings			44	82	.349	29½	425	504
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:02 PM   #57
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1919 - Versailles, The Flu and Mighty Max

1919 was a momentous year: the Treaty of Versailles was signed after much wrangling, ending one World War and setting the stage for an even bigger one for the next generation; the Spanish Influenza struck and killed millions around the world; and Max Morris finally got to show what he could do at the plate as an everyday player (it turns out that it was quite a bit). Oh, and both the Federal and Continental had great pennant races too - in yet another truncated season (this time it was due to the flu epidemic).

Max Morris had shown flashes of his hitting ability while primarily employed as a lefty pitcher for the Cleveland Foresters. By the start of spring training for 1919, Morris had let management know that he'd prefer to simply be an outfielder. The club was foundering a bit and Morris was - by far - the biggest draw and best player on the team. So manager George Merritt (who had won three titles over the course of his career and was considered both a good manager and a good guy) acquiesced to his star's request. For 1919 Max Morris would be an everyday right fielder.

Morris almost pulled off a Triple Crown - he did lead the league in home runs (13, tied with Montreal's Hal Eason) and RBIs (89) and finished second to Powell Slocum (naturally) in batting average with a very strong .342 mark (and he led the league in hitting for most of the season before Slocum's metronome-like stroke pushed the Ragland Ripper ahead in late August). Unfortunately for Morris, his efforts probably seemed wasted since his team was atrocious. The Foresters finished seventh, barely ahead of the New York Stars who everyone acknowledged to be an awful squad. That the Foresters were so poor overall would play a role in subsequent events but for now, Morris had arrived on the scene.

While Morris was attracting national attention, the Continental race itself was a really good one between the circuit's defending-champion Chicago Cougars and the erstwhile champs from Montreal. The Saints had made a slew of trades the previous season and had a chaotic campaign that saw them fall all the way to sixth after winning the pennant in both 1915 & '16 and losing a one-game playoff for the flag in '17. In 1919, they were back in the race. The retooled lineup was fantastic with headliner Joe Ward leading the way with a .319 average for the Continental's top-scoring outfit. Hal Eason hit 13 homers to tie Morris at the top of the charts (he also managed a meager .228 average), 1B Conrad Gardner hit .300 and RF Woody Pike hit .305 - it was the pitching that was a bit of a letdown. One-time ace Charlie Firestone was gone and what was left wasn't up to his usual standards. Joe Myres (19-10, 2.66) was the ace (or at least the best of the bunch) but as a unit, they were only fifth-best in the league. Still, that was good enough to finish one game ahead of Chicago.

The Cougars had the pitching; it was their offense that wasn't quite good enough. Chicago's pitching staff was deep, but without a standout performer. The lineup, still built around star centerfielder John Dibblee (who hit .321) had a solid second-banana in LF Alfie Barr, who hit .320 and led the league with 31 doubles. Despite this, the Cougars were only fourth in the league in runs scored. Toronto was third, ten games back, and Charlie Sis, at age 35, turned in a pitching Triple Crown with a 21-9, 2.02 and 140 strikeout season. Even with Sis powering a 2nd-place finish in runs allowed, the offense could muster only five runs more than they allowed and the team was a flat .500, despite the third-place finish. Baltimore was a half-game behind the Wolves at 62-63 - they had never found even the shadow of a replacement for Mike Marner (who could?) and their pitching was 5th best. But the offense was even worse (6th) despite the presence of Powell Slocum, who hit .356 to lead the league in batting again (this was becoming as reliable as the rising of the sun: Powell Slocum would lead the league in hitting every year). The 33-year-old now had 3147 career hits: 60 behind John Waggoner, 144 behind Jack Arabian and 276 behind Zebulon Banks. ETA for the record base knock appeared to be as soon as 1921.

The Sailors were fifth with a 62-67 record. They were very one-dimensional, even more so than the teams ahead of them: the Sailors could hit (.271 team average, best in the league and 533 runs, 2nd). They couldn't pitch though. Paul Martin (16-13, 2.83) was decent, but no one else was particularly good. The offense saw RF John Burrell burst out in a big way, improving by nearly 100 points in batting average to finish with a .341 mark, third-best in the league. 1B Davey Thomas hit .321 and 2B Frank Betts .313, so they could definitely hit. Brooklyn headed up a trio of flawed clubs at the bottom of the standings - they had a trio of .300 hitters in RF Jim Ross (.311), 1B Al Daniel (.306) and C Paul Tattersall (.304) and a part-timer who looked like he might become a good one too (2B Garland Fuller, .351). Jackie Marshall (17-10, 2.49) and Stu Pick (15-16, 2.83) looked like they might become good pitchers. So there was some positivity - again - in Brooklyn despite the 59-64 finish. Cleveland was seventh, as previously mentioned, and New York last. The Stars' top pitcher, Luke Smith, had a terrible season in 1919 posting a 12-15 record and 3.75 ERA, though Pete Scanlon, a 26-year-old former Detroit Dynamo, emerged as a solid starter with a 20-13, 2.48 effort. Stars manager Dave Marks was fired at season's end and replaced by former Stars' standout Bill Craigen.

Speaking of Detroit, the Dynamos won another pennant, this time holding off the vastly improved St. Louis Pioneers by a 1.5 game margin to do so. RF Don Benford hit .352 and LF Babe Spencer .300 - both in part-time duty and though racked by injuries, the pitching quartet of George Davis (17-12, 2.33), Jim Golden (10-9, 2.86), Ken Murphy (11-9, 2.17) and Franklin Rivers (10-8, 2.15) were uniformly good-to-great. The Pioneers' star shortstop requested he be called by his actual first name (and not Rip or Ripper): regardless, Roger Landry hit .309 and played outstanding defense once again. St. Louis excelled at winning close games when their airtight infield defense could really shine. The Philadelphia Keystones were third, 4.5 games back despite a big fade from Charlie Firestone who went 11-14 with a bloated 4.29 ERA. Unfortunately he was somewhat representative of the staff as a whole and the Stones were seventh in runs allowed. The offense made up for it - a bit - thanks to the league's top batting average (.270) that produced the second-most runs in the circuit. 3B Jim Furr (.319), CF Frank Wallace (.312) and 1B Fred Sampson (.306) and developing youngsters in RF Mike Bernardin (.314-1-14) and 2B Newell Winn (.310-1-35) made Philly a tough opponent on most days.

The Chiefs were fourth, 5.5 games back with a 62-60 record. Mexican-born 2B Pedro Valenzuela was the star of the team, hitting .309 with 78 RBIs, but the team scored the league's fewest runs. The pitching was very good with the top three starters all posting sub 2.50 ERAs and the team allowing the fewest runs in the Fed Association. Boston, at 64-64, was fifth, though they probably should have been better. They featured the league's top run-producing lineup. Though no one really stood out as a true star, the Minutemen were solid from one through eight. The pitching was only two deep however, with George Johnson (20-9, 2.59) and Dan Ralston (14-9, 2.44) needing a capable number three to make Boston a contender again. Pittsburgh was sixth; 1917 Whitney winning SS Johnny Carlson had a bad year with a meager .218 average and Rip Golden, picked up to give the Miners a solid number two behind Willie Couillard (16-12, 2.42) was average (13-15, 3.12). The Gothams dropped into seventh place and Washington was last in what was a very even year for the Fed as only thirteen games separated the Dynamos from the Eagles.

With the World Series again taking place in early September, the teams gathered in a seasonably warm Montreal for games one and two. The first tilt went to the hometown Saints by an 8-4 margin as neither pitcher looked good, but Montreal's bat simply hammered Detroit ace George Davis. Game two saw Jim Golden harness the old magic and limit the Saints to five hits in a 5-1 win (Montreal's cause was not helped by three errors). With the scene shifting to Detroit, the Dynamos took game three by a narrow 7-6 margin with a late rally. Game four was another Dynamos win - this time they jumped out to a five-run lead and held on for a 5-3 victory. This put them on the verge of the title with one game left at home to sew it up.

The Saints wouldn't let it happen with a 3-1 victory in a pitcher's duel between George Davis and Joe Myres. The return to Montreal meant Jim Golden would get a shot to close it out for Detroit while John Bennett would try to force a game seven for Montreal. The game was a great one, a pitcher's duel that saw each hurler throw zeroes on the board for seven innings. In the eighth, Detroit's George McDermott doubled to deep center, but was inexplicably thrown out trying to steal third, Naturally, after the caught stealing, Babe Spencer doubled as well. Don Benford took the goat horns off McDermott by singling to drive Spencer home with what turned out to be the game's only run. Golden threw up three more shutout innings and the Detroit Dynamos were world champs for the third time in four seasons.

Pittsburgh 2B Eddie Andrews won the Whitney Award after winning the batting title with a .357 average - the 26-year-old Iowan came to the Miners in a trade with the Keystones who felt Newell Winn was a better player. Winn was indeed pretty good, but it looked like a blunder for the Stones.

The Whitney Award for the Continental Association went to Max Morris who, like Andrews, played for a team that finished well down in the standings. Morris' near Triple Crown resounded with the voters and he edged out Joe Ward of Montreal for the award.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Detroit Dynamos			70	57	.551	-	493	437
St. Louis Pioneers		67	57	.540	1½	466	476
Philadelphia Keystones		65	61	.516	4½	499	502
Chicago Chiefs			62	60	.508	5½	425	411
Boston Minutemen		64	64	.500	6½	513	481
Pittsburgh Miners		60	68	.469	10½	462	452
New York Gothams		59	67	.468	10½	468	519
Washington Eagles		55	68	.447	13	442	490
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Montreal Saints			74	54	.578	-	563	519
Chicago Cougars			71	55	.563	2	495	442
Toronto Wolves			62	62	.500	10	467	462
Baltimore Clippers		62	63	.496	10½	487	507
Philadelphia Sailors		62	67	.481	12½	533	555
Brooklyn Kings			59	64	.480	12½	494	483
Cleveland Foresters		56	68	.452	16	508	557
New York Stars			58	71	.450	16½	470	492
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:59 AM   #58
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1920 - The Trade Heard Round the World

Though the full story wouldn't come out for years, the biggest trade in baseball history (to that point, at least) was triggered by the player himself. Max Morris was a supremely talented, supremely confident young man who wanted to play for a title. When his club, the Cleveland Foresters, couldn't accommodate his wishes for a winning ballclub, he went to management and demanded to be traded. This was unheard of in an era in which all power resided with the club and not the player. But Morris claimed he would not play for the Foresters. Enter the St. Louis Pioneers who were both good and had a ton of young talent. The Pioneers sent infielders Jim Cator and James Gerhardt, their RF John Hill and SP Milt Sexton, plus $10000 in cash to Cleveland for Max Morris. Mighty Max would get his wish - but ironically, the trade would end up helping both teams in a big way.


Max Morris

For St. Louis, the acquisition of Morris accomplished two things: first, it gave them the player they needed to finally have a shot at supplanting Detroit at the top of the Federal Association. But nearly as important, it also gave them the game's biggest gate draw. Morris had a vicious uppercutting swing that, when it connected, could send balls soaring higher and farther than anyone had before done. Batting practice at Pioneer Field became an event. Of course, the games meant more, and Morris lived up to his billing - he finished with a .359 average, 26 home runs and 79 RBIs - and he missed two months of the season due to an achilles problem. His average would have led the league and his RBI total was fifth despite playing just 97 games (and for the first time ever, he didn't pitch a single game - although he did while with Oakland on a rehabilitation stint after his injury). With Morris leading the way (most of the time at least), St. Louis posted a 95-58 record and claimed the pennant for the first time since 1890. And they did it by 11.5 games over Detroit which made it all the sweeter.

Morris wasn't the only Pioneer to have a big season: the entire team played tremendous baseball. Four other regulars topped the .300 mark, Roger Landry didn't but did hit .293 with seven homers and 70 RBIs while starring defensively. The team scored 746 runs (by far the best in the league), hit .298 as a team (ditto) and led in virtually every other offensive category (except stolen bases). The pitching was third-best in the Fed with Rip Humphrey leading the way (22-9, 2.31). The Pioneers were a very good team indeed. Detroit was second at 84-70, a good record, but not in the same neighborhood as St. Louis. Chicago finished third with their usual mix of good pitching and poor hitting. Fourth-place New York looked like a team on the rise, but that had been said before - and wrongly. Boston, Washington and Pittsburgh followed with Philadelphia turning in a last-place finish after having looked like a team on the rise (see New York in previous years).

Detroit's Don Benford won the batting crown with a .341 average with Pittsburgh's Eddie Andrews (.336) and Sam Egbert (.329) finishing two-three. Ed Kurwood of the Keystones based 20 homers to finish second to Morris in that category. Benford also won the RBI crown with 89 ribbies, just ahead of Boston's Bill McMurtrie's 88. Washington had the ERA champ in Clint Harris (2.14) with Chicago's Danny Wren (2.16) just behind and Rip Humphrey (2.31) third. Humphrey posted the most wins (22) and Detroit's Ken Murphy struck out 162 batters to lead the Fed in that category.

The Morris trade injected the Cleveland Foresters with a much-needed boost of four solid young players. Sure, none of them was Max Morris, but who was? The Foresters shocked everyone by going out and winning the Continental pennant with a team-wide thumbing of the nose at their former team mate over in the Federal Association. It wasn't easy; they had to edge out the resurgent Baltimore Clippers and the still strong Montreal Saints to do it, but they did it. Morris' replacement in right field, Danny Clark had a monster season with a .350 average and 88 RBIs. 2B Carl Martin, in his first full season, clubbed 16 home runs and led the league with 105 RBIs. 3B Jim Cator, the key acquisiton in the Morris deal, was a stud, with a .339 average in his first big league campaign. Overall, the Foresters scored 759 runs (2nd in the league) and also allowed the second-fewest runs in a suddenly-run-happy Continental Association (the league ERA was 3.70, up almost a half-run over the 1919 mark of 3.26.


Danny Clark

Powell Slocum hit .386 to lead the league for the ninth straight season and 13th time overall. He missed about four weeks to injury and injuries to Alex Arredondo (who hit .348) and Joe Reid (.328) likely cost the Clippers the pennant. The pitching was there this season for Baltimore as they led the league in runs allowed thanks to good seasons from Phil Miller (22-17, 3.23), Moxie Nelson (17-11, 2.90) and Carl Mellen (18-15, 3.49). Montreal, the defending champs, fell to third. 3B Joe Ward (.323-4-89) 89), 1B Conrad Gardner (.303-14-79), CF Hal Eason (.275-14-71) and RF Woody Pike (.321-6-85) gave the Saints the league's best lineup and they had a pair of 20-game winners in John Bennett (20-13, 3.21) and Joe Myres (20-11, 4.20) but honestly, that was mostly because the offense could often simply outscore the opposition. Toronto was fourth with a flat 77-77 record with Charlie "The St. james Sizzler" Sis recording his 13th straight 20-win season (20-13, 3.31) to run his career mark to 384-227 (with a 2.15 ERA).

The Cougars finished fifth at 75-79 but did have the ERA champ in Pete Boyer who posted a 2.33 ERA with a 21-10 record. Brooklyn was sixth and they had the Continental's home run champ in 1B Paul Tattersall who hit 26 dingers and a solid RBI man in Hugh Luckey who turned in a solid .325-2-89 line with 38 doubles and 12 triples thrown in for good measure. The Kings could hit, but as usual, pitching was an issue. The Stars climbed out of the basement and into seventh but their offense was lackluster and the pitching not much better. Last-place Philadelphia's lone bright spot was pitcher Rod Kratz who finished second in ERA (2.81) and led the league with 121 strikeouts.

The World Series had some extra intrigue with Max Morris facing off against the team he had spurned in the winter. Cleveland looked like they had a bit of extra motivation in game one, a 4-3 win on St. Louis' home field despite a 2-for-3 effort from Morris who had a run and an RBI (and two walks) for the Pioneers. The momentum shifted in the next game and would stay in the Pioneers' corner the rest of the way after a 6-0 game two whitewashing. Morris again was key for St. Louis with a 2-for-4, 2 RBI game.

Game three was back in Cleveland where Morris was roundly booed by the Foresters' faithful. The game itself was a wild one, which the Pioneers won by an 11-7 margin. Game four went to the Pioneers as well as Jimmy Clinch turned in a solid pitching performance in a 6-2 victory. Game five went badly for Cleveland early as the Pioneers plated four in the second inning and it looked like a coronation the rest of the way in a 4-1 win that gave the Pioneers their first World Series title. For the series Morris was a solid 7-for-20 with 5 RBIs, but the best player for St. Louis was LF Cy Lynch who hit .455 and also had 5 RBIs. Jim Cator, the former Pioneer farmhand, hit .500 for Cleveland for the Series.

Despite not playing the full season, it wasn't really a surprise when Max Morris was named the Whitney Award winner. He now had won the award two straight years and once apiece in the Continental and Federal Associations. His former team mate, Cleveland's Danny Clark, who had played backup to him with the Foresters, won the Continental's Whitney award, beating out fellow Forester Jim Cator.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
St. Louis Pioneers		95	58	.621	-	746	619
Detroit Dynamos			84	70	.545	11½	633	585
Chicago Chiefs			79	75	.513	16½	618	599
New York Gothams		79	75	.513	16½	641	651
Boston Minutemen		74	79	.484	21	652	689
Washington Eagles		68	84	.447	26½	611	664
Pittsburgh Miners		68	86	.442	27½	643	691
Philadelphia Keystones		67	87	.435	28½	629	675
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Cleveland Foresters		86	67	.562	-	759	655
Baltimore Clippers		83	69	.546	2½	678	618
Montreal Saints			82	72	.532	4½	778	692
Toronto Wolves			77	77	.500	9½	653	689
Chicago Cougars			75	79	.487	11½	672	705
Brooklyn Kings			73	81	.474	13½	674	699
New York Stars			71	82	.464	15	634	695
Philadelphia Sailors		67	87	.435	19½	609	704
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:23 AM   #59
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1921 - A Whole New Animal

There had never been anyone like him so everything he did was eye-popping in general, but what he did in 1921 has stood the test of time as one of the greatest seasons by any player in any year. Max Morris finally had a season in which he both played right field regularly and avoided injury and boy-oh-boy did he have a season for the ages. He won a Triple Crown but did it with eye-popping, record-setting numbers: a .411 average, 53 home runs, 149 RBIs, 153 runs scored and 121 walks. He had a .511 on-base percentage and a .785 slugging percentage (he had 32 doubles & 13 triples for a total of 456 total bases). And his team, naturally, won the pennant again.

The St. Louis Pioneers, with Morris driving the boat, went 92-62 and won the Federal Association by 8.5 games over second-place Washington (more on them in a sec). Not content with their championship run in 1920, the Pioneers got even better for 1921. They swung a deal with the Stars for a new leadoff man in CF Billy Elson (.276-3-31), made Pinky Howard their starting leftfielder and he hit .319 with 7 homers and 65 RBIs out of the two spot. Roger Landry went down in April with an injury and didn't come back until September, but Eddie Hannah stepped in at shortstop and hit .326 in his place. They scored 831 runs, hit .305 as a team and just flat out killed opponents with their batting. The pitching was okay: Jimmy Clinch led the league with 22 wins against 10 losses (he had a 3.13 ERA, not great, but not bad). They allowed a lot of runs, but were able to generally just outhit the opposition and won a lot of 6-5 and 7-6 ballgames.

Washington entered the '21 campaign on a long and poor run that had seen them finish no higher than sixth since their 1915 second-place finish (that followed back-to-back pennants). But a steady influx of good, young players (with more on the way) had the Eagles flying high again in 1921. They had a reliever who did not make a start but still won 20 games, threw 197 innings and finished first in the league in both ERA (1.87) and strikeouts (130). Third-year 2B Jim Carreon arrived in a big way with a .342 average and 106 RBIs and young CF John Cobb chipped in with a .316 average and 81 runs driven in.


Jim Carreon

Third place Chicago had the pitching with a league-best 3.53 ERA despite not having a single pitcher win more than 17 games. 1B Rube Cross led the Chiefs with a .328 average, 7 homers and 98 RBIs. Boston finished fourth, their best finish since George Theobald left the club after the 1917 season (Theobald was now running the Detroit Dynamos). The Gothams were fifth, and New York now seemed mired in a perennial middle-ground, not able to escape the middle of the standings table. Detroit, now retooling under George Theobald (who was now a part-owner as well as manager) - in typical Theobald fashion, he unearthed a new gem in C Dick York who hit .364 in his first full-time action while 3B Cliff Everett had the best season in his career with a .332 average. And 1B Danny James also blossomed, hitting .288 with 25 home runs and 95 RBIs. The pitching for the Dynamos remained very much a work in progress.

Pittsburgh was seventh as they too sought to retool around new ace Willie Couillard (20-12, 2.98). The Keystones, last again, had some of the game's highest rated prospects, but none of them appeared ready to join the big stage, so Philly remained a poor team.

The Continental Association had probably the best pennant race in its history in 1921. Six clubs were grouped within four games in the standings at season's end. The season was a rollercoaster with Montreal, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Philadelphia trading first-place amongst themselves with Baltimore and Chicago frequently within a game or two of the top as well. Ultimately, the Saints won the pennant by one game over Cleveland with Brooklyn 1.5 back in third, Philly two back, Baltimore three back and Chicago four back.

The Saints relied on an offense that scored 914 runs to power their club because the pitching (aside from reliver Stan Waters and his league-best 2.40 ERA) was mediocre. C Sam Sanderson became a sensation, hitting .333 with 26 homers and 104 RBIs. Team-leader 3B Joe Ward hit .363 with 95 RBIs and 2B Norm Baker chipped in with a .332 average and 89 RBIs. Cleveland had lost one star in Morris, but promptly found another in 2B Carl Martin whose sophomore effort was even better than his previous season's Whitney-Award-winner as he hit .280 with 33 homers and 121 RBIs. Brooklyn had a star too in catcher Paul Tattersall. The 29-year-old Iowan blasted a league-best 37 homers and tied Martin for the RBI lead at 121. The Sailors didn't have any real standouts, though their pitching was their strength.


Sam Sanderson

Baltimore got its usual stellar effort from Powell Slocum who hit .401 and shot past Zebulon Banks to take over as the game's all-time hits king. At season's end his total was 3549 hits and at age 35, he probably had a few more seasons to push that number towards 4000. Pitcher Phil Miller led the league with 22 wins (against 17 losses) and had a 3.76 which was good enough to be an ace as the dead ball era crumbled in the face of the Morris-led power revolution. Hitting had taken over to such an extent that sixth-place Chicago, with a pair of .330 hitters in their lineup, finished last in the league in scoring. Sadly for the Cougars, not among those hitters was John Dibblee who, now 33 years old, had his second straight injury-plagued campaign - he hit .360, but only played 61 games.

The last two spots in the Continental belonged to the New York Stars, stuck in baseball purgatory and Toronto, who had bottomed out and was now looking like a long-term rebuilding project.

The World Series went to the Saints, who outlasted St. Louis in seven games to claim their second World Championship. Max Morris had three homers in the series and Jimmy Clinch had an ERA of 1.00 for his two starts for St. Louis, but the Saints had just a little more firepower even without Conrad Gardner who was limited to two at-bats due to injury. Red Henry posted a .444 average and Joe Ward hit .370 with 5 RBIs to lead Montreal's championship effort.

The Whitneys went to players from the pennant winning clubs with Sam Sanderson winning the Continental Whitney Award and Morris repeating as the Federal winner (it was three straight for Morris going back to his 1919 win as a Cleveland Forester).

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
St. Louis Pioneers		92	62	.597	-	831	754
Washington Eagles		83	70	.542	8½	715	683
Chicago Chiefs			81	73	.526	11	722	655
Boston Minutemen		79	75	.513	13	688	699
New York Gothams		76	77	.497	15½	755	767
Detroit Dynamos			74	80	.481	18	728	746
Pittsburgh Miners		69	84	.451	22½	693	690
Philadelphia Keystones		60	93	.392	31½	704	842
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Montreal Saints			81	72	.529	-	914	803
Cleveland Foresters		80	73	.523	1	742	682
Brooklyn Kings			79	73	.520	1½	788	787
Philadelphia Sailors		79	74	.516	2	725	736
Baltimore Clippers		78	75	.510	3	757	778
Chicago Cougars			77	76	.503	4	681	751
New York Stars			70	84	.455	11½	711	714
Toronto Wolves			68	85	.444	13	765	832
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:00 PM   #60
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Max Morris produced a second-straight Triple Crown season and Powell Slocum continued to astound with another .400 season but both Morris and Slocum played for teams that didn't factor into the 1922 pennant races. And while the Federal Association race was a great one, the Continental's was not and that was because the biggest story of the season was the Chicago Cougars.

The Cougars had long been John Dibblee's team. Heck, when you're the only guy in 15 years to beat out Powell Slocum for a batting title, that says something about you and Dibblee was just that sort of guy. But that batting title came back in 1911 and Dibblee was coming off two straight injury-ravaged seasons. In 1922 he turned 34, but proved that he still had some magic in his bat. He hit .360 with 34 doubles and 21 triples (and six homers, but he was old school and wasn't into this whole "home run" fad that Morris was promoting). He only led the league in OPS, which wasn't even a stat back then, but he was the definitely still the team's leader. Ample support was provided by shortstop Jack Gray, who hit .365 with 43 doubles, 15 homers and 131 RBIs. 2B Charlie Carr hit .341, 3B Jack Peal hit .330 - you get the picture. The Cougars could hit - .306 as a team (best in the league) and 894 runs scored (also tops). The pitching was pretty good too - 2nd in runs allowed but didn't have a 20-game winner on the staff. Didn't matter - the team won 93 games and finished 12.5 up on second-place New York.


John Dibblee

Wait... the Stars were second? Yep, you read that right. The team that had been seventh the last two seasons had a solid year and was second. That was mostly due to their pitching which was tops in the Continental. Luke Smith was mostly back - he had a flat 3.00 ERA, much improved over his three previous seasons and that made a big difference. Brooklyn was third for the second straight season, with 79 wins - the same total they had in 1921. Kings catcher Paul Tattersall led the league in home runs with 36 and was third in RBIs with 128. The RBI crown went to Cleveland's Carl Martin, who also hit 32 homers (2nd) for the fourth-place Foresters. Montreal fell to fifth - an off-year for the Saints who had only six fewer wins than their pennant and championship winning team of the year before had.

Powell Slocum hit .401 but his team, the Baltimore Clippers, still finished sixth. The Clippers both scored a lot - along with Slocum they had 1B Danny Singleton who hit .317 with 27 homers and 108 RBIs and C Jim Black (.323-11-98) but they gave up almost as many with 800 for and 794 against. Oscar Jefferson, a midseason pickup from Pittsburgh, won 19 games between the two teams and looked like he might be the ace the Clips needed. The Sailors were seventh but did debut 1920 1st overall pick David Merchant, a 23-yea-old centerfielder who hit .298 with 16 homers and 97 RBIs in his debut season. Toronto was last, and though they also had some promising youth, they were too far down the chain to be of use in 1922.

The Federal's race was - as mentioned earlier - a really good one. Five teams were in the race and the fifth-place finisher was just five games out as season's end. The flag was won by the Washington Eagles who edged Detroit by a single game after winning seven straight (and six of those were three consecutive doubleheaders!) to close out the season. Detroit dropped their season finale to the Gothams thereby missing out on an opportunity to force a one-game playoff. Third-place Pittsburgh dropped out of first place - thanks to being on the losing end of those three-straight doubleheaders with Washington. They lost six games in three days and went from first-place to third, three games out - a tough end for the Miners. Fourth-place Boston was four out and missed out on their shot thanks to Washington being so red-hot at the end. Chicago was fifth, but fell out of the race two weeks earlier when they dropped 11 games in 15 days.

The Max Morris-powered St. Louis Pioneers were not mentioned above, because they dropped out of the race in August and finished sixth, nine back and with a losing record (74-80). Morris had another eye-popping season: .376 average, 59 home runs and 161 RBIs. He won the batting title by 24 points, had 37 homers more than the runner-up (Danny James of Detroit) and 61 RBIs more than Chicago's Jim Shelton. He was truly in a class by himself. But even with Morris leading the league's best lineup, the pitching was the league's worst, allowing 853 runs (25 more than the league-leading offense scored). The Gothams were 73-81, 10 back in seventh and the Keystones were last with a 67-87 record.

Boston's George Johnson led the league with 24 wins and 110 strikeouts. Chicago's Denny Wren had a 3.08 ERA to lead the league in that category.


Danny Wren

The World Series was a bit of a letdown, unless you were a Cougars fan. Chicago took games one and two, at home, lost game three and then took games four and five to win the title. LF Art Panko hit .350 with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs for the Cougars all of whom's victories were by at least three runs except for a 3-2 game two.

Morris won his fourth-straight Whitney Award in the least surprising development in the award's history. The Continental's Whitney went to Jack Gray of the Cougars. John Dibblee? He got another ring and went home to Hubbard, Ohio with a smile on his face and a championship paycheck in his pocket.

Federal Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Eagles		83	71	.539	-	764	691
Detroit Dynamos			82	72	.532	1	778	766
Pittsburgh Miners		80	74	.519	3	749	761
Boston Minutemen		79	75	.513	4	777	744
Chicago Chiefs			78	76	.506	5	768	696
St. Louis Pioneers		74	80	.481	9	828	853
New York Gothams		73	81	.474	10	771	814
Philadelphia Keystones		67	87	.435	16	687	797
Continental Association
Code:
Team				W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Chicago Cougars			93	61	.604	-	894	720
New York Stars			80	73	.523	12½	682	667
Brooklyn Kings			79	75	.513	14	814	797
Cleveland Foresters		77	77	.500	16	721	753
Montreal Saints			75	79	.487	18	788	810
Baltimore Clippers		73	80	.477	19½	800	794
Philadelphia Sailors		70	84	.455	23	727	803
Toronto Wolves			68	86	.442	25	696	778
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