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Old 10-09-2014, 11:03 PM   #1
Lafayette53
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"Many attend, few understand" - The Baltimore Bombers (1946-)

“Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”
― Leo Durocher

Chicago, Illinois

After the war ended I, like a lot of fellas, I didn't really know what to do with myself. My job managing arms construction for my fathers company had gone smoothly, but orders would die down soon and I'd be entering the world with nothing besides that experience and a lousy degree I'd gotten more through nepotism than competence. Well I had a lot of other things going for me that other people didn't. One I hadn't spent the last two years dodging bullets in some god forsaken ditch in Europe. Two? My father had business associates all through the United States. Nevertheless the first two months after V-J Day I felt pretty lost.

I had little to do around that time so I went to every World Series game in Chicago that year. The games were good enough- about 90 percent of the players had been allowed to keep playing despite the war being on and the first all-Chicago series drew a good crowd. The Colts eventually defeated the Packers in a pretty thrilling seven games, but I won't spoil the whole thing if you haven't seen the newspaper accounts yet.

I'd always loved baseball, but I'd never been any good or, to be frank, very involved with it at any level. So imagine my shock when, while talking to an associate of my Fathers, I got offered a job in Baseball to be General Manager of the Baltimore Bombers of the Federal League. Rick Andrews Jr. was both the the associate and the man making the offer. To be straight with you it wouldn't have been a very tempting offer if I was already a baseball man, the Bombers were one of the worst teams in the CBA[1], but at the very least I'd give it a shot and see if I had the skills for success on the business side of the game that I'd never had on the diamond itself. I was getting too old to keep relying on my fathers charity anyway.

Worth a try, right?

- Henry Berg

[1] The CBA is short for the Continental Baseball Association. The CBA is essentially a legally entrenched cartel that governs relations between the two major baseball leagues in the continental United States. The two major leagues are the Federal League, which dates to the Federal Association in 1882, and the United League which was founded by disparate interests opposed to the continued dominance of the Federal League at the turn of the century.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:46 PM   #2
Lafayette53
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Mission Statement and Settings

Welcome!

Essentially the CBA, and later this dynasty, grew out of my strong desire the last few months to create a fictional-historical league (fictional teams and players, but in a historical setting) complete with uniforms, logos, etc. for the different eras it would go through. As i went along I started to really enjoy some of the potential storylines OOTP had set up for me, so I figured why not write a dynasty? I looked up the worst team and decided to take them over to see if I can turn them around. I will be playing out every inning of every game in one-pitch mode, but I will not be posting box scores and the like for every game to keep the clutter down. My format for results and the like will mostly be based on Even the Braves.. an old classic dynasty from the Baseball Mogul forums.. so if you happen to be familiar with that dynasty then you should know what to expect. I can't promise the same quality, but I hope to create something enjoyable at least

I am god in this dynasty when it comes to running everything. That means when to expand and the like will be decided on my own timetable behind the scenes, but the dynasty itself will be written from the perspective of the GM/Team.

Currently the setup is the classic eight teams to a league with the champions of each league meeting in the championship series, but I haven't decided where I'm going to take it when the league expands further. We could end up with something that looks a lot like MLB, something that's superficially different, or we could end up with something that's considerably different.

Settings:
- Ratings/Potential: 2-8 scale
- Overall ratings: Stars
Scouting: Low
- Injuries: Low (will switch to Normal at an undecided point in the future)
- Three Levels of Minors for now (AAA-AA-A)
- Trading - Hard/Neutral
- The Reserve Clause is on for now
- The Draft is currently on, but at the moment teams pick in order of finish to discourage parity
- Stats are set to 1946 settings with some slight personal tweaks to the modifiers. I am undecided on how long I'm going keep following along with the historical league totals, but for now that's what we'll do.

Authors Note/Disclaimer: Some language used by characters and or the narrator in the course of this dynasty may come off as slightly outdated or even offensive to modern sensibilities. I am using such language only to illustrate the reality of the time and world in which this universe takes place rather than gloss over it, which I feel would be wrong in a dynasty that is attempting to have some living, breathing characters. If you would like to discuss the use of such language or are offended in any way you can PM me and I'm happy to discuss it with you. Be assured that the ideas some characters or even the narrator may express are not my own, I merely see them as potentially realistic views for a person to hold given the time and place, though I make no claim to always being right about that in any given situation.

Last edited by Lafayette53; 10-19-2014 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:41 AM   #3
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Interlude: The Federal League (1 of 2) - The Best

Cincinnati Redbirds


Former Names: Cincinnati Outlaws (19th Century)
Pennants: 11 - 1904, 1906-10, 1917, 1924, 1925, 1942-43
Columbia Series: 3 - 1909, 1924-25

For the last half of the first decade of the twentieth century the Cincinnati Redbirds were the class of the Federal League, winning five consecutive pennants when all was said and done behind all-time greats SS George Klima and 3B John Engram. Unfortunately the success was too much for the other owners to accept- in 1911 the Federal League owners banded together to force the ownership of the Redbirds out. Within a few years most of the players were sold, retired, or traded.

They've had some success since then, particularly in the twenties when they captured two Columbia Series crowns and more recently when they traded for all-time great LF Bill Sistrunk, but its been slim pickings for Cincinnati since the Federal League broke up their dynasty. As such Redbirds fans aren't big fans of the rest of the league and have a reputation for hurling invective at visiting fans.

Due to several meetings in the Columbia Series the Redbirds maintain a strong rivalry with the neighboring Cleveland Green Sox of the United League and a less interesting Pennsylvania rivalry with the perennially unfortunate Philadelphia White Sox.

Brooklyn Atlantics


Former Names: None
Pennants: 9 - 1901, 1929-30, 1932, 1937, 1939-41, 1944
Columbia Series: 6 - 1901, 1929, 1932, 1937, 1939, 1941

After winning the inaugural Columbia Series the Atlantics would spend nearly 30 seasons chasing the phantom of a Pennant. During those years the Atlantics lost one hundred games four times and Washington Park was almost always empty while the New York Grounds in Manhattan could barely contain the crowds.

When the stock market crashed, the Atlantic's fortunes finally turned. Its a good thing they turned around then too, because the league was beginning to discuss relocation of franchises to help them weather the depression at that time. Over the last two decades the Atlantics have been basically the only baseball act in the big apple worth cheering for.

The Metros-Atlantics rivalry is a fierce one, but lately the Atlantics dominance has made it a bit too easy for Atlantics fans to hold their heads up high in the other boroughs. That may be finally changing, with the Atlantics having recently fallen to fifth place in the eight team circuit.

New York Metros


Formers Names: New York Metropolitans
Pennants: 8 - 1902, 1912, 1914-16, 1918-19, 1921
Columbia Series: 6 - 1902, 1912, 1914-16, 1921

For a decade the Metro's, then called the Metropolitans, ruled New York City from their perch in Manhattan. Then in the twenties teams started trying to hit home runs and the Metropolitans were slow to catch up with the times. Stubbornness in the front office meant the Metros were still stealing everytime they got a man on years after the baseball gods had declared the dead ball era over.

After five consecutive second places finishes from 1922 to 1927 the Metro's fell into the second division and they've yet to capture a pennant since.

Before the war there were strong murmurs that the Metros were going to try to revive their fortunes on the West Coast. Indeed Los Angeles interests had even put together an ownership group to bring the highest level of baseball to the Pacific Coast, but the war put a kibosh on any plans for the time being. Nonetheless longtime fans worry that the Metros may run for the West Coast if they don't turn it around soon.

Boston Indians

Former Names: Wilmington Blue Wings (19th Century) Boston Blue Wings (19th Century)
Pennants: 6 - 1905, 1913, 1920, 1922-23, 1938
Columbia Series: 4 - 1905, 1913, 1920, 1923

Once the team of Bostons proud upper classes, the Indians have fallen upon hard times in their city. Years of losing to the Trolleys at the gate have turned them into more of a novelty act- both on and off the field. The legacy of seating policies that greatly benefited the Indians Brahmin fanbase at the expense of Boston's working classes has left the team with a bit of a generational stink. Nonetheless in recent years the Indians have developed a solid following from the city's Black community due to their owner publicly calling for integrating the game several times during the war.

With the Indians years removed from success many in the media have speculated that the Indians are actively seeking to leave Boston, mainly due to the ownership arguing stoutly against expansion to the Pacific Coast too soon, but so far the ownership has kept its cards close to their chest.

Last edited by Lafayette53; 10-10-2014 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 10-10-2014, 01:35 AM   #4
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Interlude: The Federal League - The Rest

Detroit Robins

Former Names: None
Pennants: 5 - 1911, 1926-1928, 1936
Columbia Series: 1 - 1927

For the 50 years of the CBA's existence the Robins have mostly been content to fine tune their roster a bit and finish in the second division. Aside from a very solid dynasty during the late twenties the Robins have been a mediocre product on the field and Detroit has largely been content to ignore them. Nonetheless its important not to mistake the lack of fans during the lean years for lack of a potentially loyal support base- during the late 1920's the Robins almost became the second team to draw one million fans in a season three times. Nonetheless for the last decade or so Detroit has been forced to pay more attention to Hockey than Baseball.

Some of the interests involved in Detroit's ownership have begun advocating relocation to Milwaukee or Kansas City as potential cures to their woes on the field and at the gate. The Federal League owners as a whole have been firmly against allowing this, as they worry abandoning a strong market like Detroit for one of considerable less influence could trigger Congress to take action against the league. Nonetheless some believe the end of the wartime travel restrictions may open the minds, and wallets, of Federal League ownerhship to the prospect of the Robins leaving town.


Chicago Colts


Former Names: None
Pennants: 5 - 1903, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1945
Columbia Series: 3 - 1903, 1933, 1945

The Colts are the oldest team in Chicago, with team history placing their founding in the early 1880's. Nonetheless the Colts have not adapted well to the modern era. After a stretch of bottom dwelling from 1906 to 1930 which allowed the crosstown rival Packers to overtake them, the Colts are clearly the second favorite of the city despite having existed for nearly twenty more years.

Recently the Colts have begun to have a bit of onfield success and many believe this could be an important turning point for them as millions of young men return from the war hungry for good baseball to watch.

Behind the scenes the Colts ownership group is known to be influential in league politics. Supposedly they were the hand that stopped the Federal League's former St. Louis Saints from moving to Milwaukee and cutting into their potential fan base.

Philadelphia White Sox

Former Names: Philadelphia White Stockings (1900-1903), Philadelphia Stars (1904)
Pennants: 1 - 1934
Columbia Series: 0
The Philadelphia White Sox are different from the other bottom rung teams. They've consistently finished in the top division year-after-year, but have only one pennant to show for their dedication to actually fielding competitive teams.

Luckily for the White Sox their crosstown rival Keystones have been even more hapless, but the complete lack of success has led ownership to consider selling the team to West Coast interests in hopes of reversing whatever hex was placed on their team. Recent sliding up and down between the fourth and fifth place hasn't inspired confidence for the Philadelphia faithful either.

Baltimore Bombers

Former Names: St. Louis Maroons (1901-1915), St. Louis Saints (1916-1928, 1931), St. Louis Lions (1929-1930), Baltimore Canaries (1932-1933)
Pennants: 0
Columbia Series: 0

The former Federal League St. Louis entry spent years tanking at the bottom of the league without even a prayer at a Pennant. In 32 seasons in St. Louis under a variety of monikers their highest finish was third place.

In 1931 the team slipped to eighth yet again and drew just 136,940 fans with the the fruits of Hooverism in full force. With the team potentially being forced to fold the league took the Saints into receivership and relocated them to Baltimore for the 1932 season. After finding new ownership in a new city the Bombers have put together several first division finishes, but still have yet to capture that elusive pennant.

Last edited by Lafayette53; 10-10-2014 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:51 PM   #5
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I arrived in Baltimore in mid-October eager to get to work. I introduced myself to Phil Broadus, the scout in charge, and got to work. Phil didn't like me much bBeing a baseball man he was furious that he was passed over for the job, but like all baseball men these days he was a company man first and foremost so we both resigned ourselves to dealing with the situation.

I may not have known much about playing the game from first hand experience, but I had been an avid baseball watcher since I was nine and knew all the statistics on the back of baseball cards inside and out. Even still I was a bit taken aback when I was shown the records from last season. Sure the basic stuff was all there, but we had a team statistician with the ability to look up everything. How many doubles did a guy have in Warr Field last season? How many stolen bases did we have at home? That sort of obscure and arguably useless thing.


Roster Review
- The Hitters



Catchers

C Rick James
- was the starter and despite his advanced age is still a solid defender (42.1% CS in 1945). With the ba he doesn't do anything well (.236-2-44) besides selecting which pitches to watch sail by, but with the current crop that's enough to earn him the starting job

C Justin Breton - (currently handles backup duties. His weak defense and complete inability to play passable offense means he may lose his job if he doesn't have a good spring.

C Marin Struck - My gut is to go with Struck as the backup for next season since he has better defensive ratings then Breton according to Broadus and neither of them can hit worth a damn (both have a 4 contact rating on the 2-8 scouting scale). The other potential issue is that Struck missed the last two years due to the war.

Henry's Notes: Rick James is getting old, but his defense makes him our best option at the moment due to the difficulty of upgrading this position. If Breton doesn't make the team we will stash him at AAA St. Paul or cut him outright.

Corner Infielders

1B Jay Hamilton -Phil Broadus is in love with the guy, but I'm less enamored since all I've got to go on is numbers. He certainly has more skills then a lot of our guys, but he excels at nothing and his complete inability to hit right handed pitching will likely stop him from being a starter. I will try to find him a platoon partner in the offseason.

1B Louis Gitch is just a year removed from hitting .342 in an extremely limited role. Gitch is unlikely to win the job, but if his bat comes alive again I can see him getting some playing time in a part-time role or shipped away before his value declines.

3B John Mauney - (.283-6-64) is now a few seasons removed from being a star, but remains one of the least anemic hitters in our lineup. Despite his decline he still plays a solid hot corner, but his salary is high enough that we may have to consider trading him if the right offer comes our way.

3B Calvin Williams - Is also on the 40-man, but he's unlikely to make it without a big spring as he isn't any kind of prospect at his advanced age (32). He came over in a trade with the Atlantics before the war.

Henry's Notes: Mauney's play just doesn't justify his salary anymore. I know we are very thin in terms of hitters on this team, but I'd love to trade him if its possible. We can of course cut him without too much of a loss, but I'd prefer to get something in return.

At first Williams either needs to learn to hit righties or get a platoon partner. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for left-handed first basemen over the winter.

Middle Infielders

2B Don Ellis - Ellis was our best infielder last season (.301-5-57), but his skills are already suffering a decline at 31 years of age. Broadus still seems to like his swing and defense, but its worth noting that Ellis had by far the worst defensive season of his career last year if we measure it by fielding percentage and defensive efficiency.

SS/2B Bill Curran
- Curran was made our main shortstop last year and responded by putting up a very solid .295 batting average. He also put up very respectable defensive numbers (305 assists, 70 double plays). At just 24 he's got room to develop further and is one of the few players without a question mark hanging over their head coming into this season.

SS/2B Steve Pellegrino - Pellegrino was our primary backup at shortstop and second base, ultimately appearing in 86 games and accumulating 337 at bats. Unfortunately, while a good defender all year, Pellegrino showed no apptitude for hitting and batted just .223 in his limited role. He's only 25, but until he learns to hit big league pitching or randomly gains the ability to run this is an area we can upgrade in.

Util Inf/LF Sam Kinney - Kinney doesn't do anything well, but he can play every infield position besides shortstop and left field. Definitely an option to consider if we want the added roster flexibility.

SS/3B Rudolf Mueller - At just 23 Mueller is likely a year off from being able to hold down a starting job or a bench spot, but he's put up encouraging numbers in Single A and Double A since being drafted.

Henry's Notes: Between Curran and Ellis I'm much happier about this group then the rest of the team. The only question with Ellis is when his decline starts, but until we see the solid evidence of that we won't jump the gun.

We will look to upgrade at the backup spot and see about finding Ellis's future replacement.

Outfielders

LF Harry Margolies
- Harry was our best hitter last season (.312-15-81) by far. Only problem? Broadus, our scout, hates him with a passion. His scouting report is full of notes likw "he chases bad pitches" and "theres a hole in his swing bigger than Texas" and the like. Well I do trust my scout, but there's no way a guy who hit .315 last season and runs pretty well isn't going to get a shot next year. Potentially worrying, however, is his 1944 where he hit .223.

CF Pierre Cavan - Just 25 years old, the Canadian Cavan had a breakout season hitting .294 and collecting 34 extra base-hits. Defensively we could upgrade, but for now Cavan has the job secured.

RF Joe Lovgren - Lovgren was second among right fielders in assists with 15, but like many of the young players on this team had a very forgettable year with the bat. He'll need to show us something or he may be forced into a platoon again this season.

RF/LF John Reed - Reed had a very solid season for the Bombers last year in an extremely limited role. He batted .312 and showed good gap power (30 non-HR extra base hits in very limited time), so I'll likely give him a chance to win the job this spring.

Henry's Notes: Beyond the four we just covered we are extremely thin should anybody go down to injury.

We can almost certainly upgrade over Covans defense, but it would have to be a significant upgrade to be worth the loss of his bat.

On the farm we have stud prospect RF Randall Mills who hit 21 homers between Single A and Double A last season. He's just 21 and probably a year or two away from manning the corners in Baltimore, but both Broadus and I are hoping he develops into the franchise player we expect he can become.
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Old 10-10-2014, 06:46 PM   #6
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Player Review - The Pitchers



The Pitchers

P Travis Kahl - Kahl put in an average season for us last season, ending the year 16-17 with a 4.16 ERA. He doesn't strike a bunch of guys out, but he takes the ball every fourth day and gives us a solid performance. With that said he's far from an ideal ace.

P Lonnie Brown - Brown was terrible for us last season and added to the list of twenty game losers in CBA history to boot. Hopefully we can move him back in the rotation as soon as we find a replacement.

P Dick Gander - Gander wasn't much better than Brown and ended up at 6-18. He has a better history to fall back on, but needs to prove he's more like he was in 1944 than last year if he wants to keep his job.

P John Gulliot - He injured his shoulder and missed several months last year. He's been consistently either good or terrible, so I guess we have to hope he finally makes up his mind and becomes good. Broadus hates him, but with his history he'll have a chance at the rotation or a relief spot.

P Anis Brun - Brun has no business starting in the big leagues with his control. Still, if you put him in front of a good infield, its possible he could turn in a solid season for you.

P Brian Masse - Masse started 13 games for us last season and managed a 9.07 ERA. I don't give a **** if he got lucky, I think my first act as GM will be giving him his outright release.

P Ted Theroux - He came over in a deadline deal with Philadelphia for prospect Elliot Keene. We mostly used him as a reliever, but he didn't look so bad in 11 starts with the Keystones that we're opposed to using him as a spot starter.

P John Humbert - Humbert got most of his use last season as a long reliever, but Broadus says he could definitely start in a pinch if necessary. With this group pretty much anything is worth a shot.

Henry's Notes: The pitching just flat out stinks. Its almost certainly the worst staff in the entire Federal League. Improving it is going to have to be our #1 priority for this offseason and, in all likelihood, the next one.

On the bright side Kahl will likely make a fine fourth or fifth starter for us when we're contending again.

Did I mention the Bombers play in one of the least hitter-friendly parks in the league? That's how bad our pitching is.
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Old 10-10-2014, 07:36 PM   #7
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1945 in Review

1945 Standings



League Leaders

Batters
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Pitchers
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Old 10-11-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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(* * *)

After the World Series the league shot back to life again. Commissioner Jay D. Wilson announced that all baseball leagues would be back to full strength again by next April with the cessation of hostilities during WW2. The journalist-jackals were all over the commissioner about expanding the league or relocating the Robins, but to his credit Commissioner Wilson, powerless figurehead that he was, kept them at bay without making any promises. Still I couldn’t help but think baseball had moved too slowly with expansion for the rest of the United States. If the leagues didn’t get their act together we could see ourselves losing our market share to College Football or even Basketball.

My offseason goal was incredibly simple: Get some damn Pitching. I’ll admit that maybe it was just a matter of letting some of the younger guys develop and our park and defense would conquer all woes. Still I didn’t want to have management on my back about having the 8th worst ERA in the Federal League while playing in one of the worst parks to hit in, so I was determined to make some trades.

(* * *)

Award ceremonies come pretty quickly while I spend ten hours a day on the goddamn phone trying to find us some pitching to little avail.

FL Pitcher of the Year Award: Ernie Mandel, Chicago Colts. Man has fluke season thanks to war. League goes nuts.

FL MVP: Bill Sistrunk, Cincinnati Redbirds. Big Bill hit 50 home runs for the fourth time in his career and his OPS cleared 1000 for the 15th time. The best player of all time still has some gas left in him afterall.

FL Rookie of the Year: Cary Dark, New York Metros. Fresh out of the Pacific Coast League (authors note: signed as an independent free agent) Cary bats .296 and swipes 21 bases. Easy choice.

UL Pitcher of the Year Award: Bob Churchman, Chicago Packers. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Churchman returns to form to win 30 games, pitch 300 innings for the first time in his life, and lead the Packers to the pennant!

Ul MVP: Bill Gibb, Chicago Packers. Gibb batted .321 and managed a .861 OPS during a down year in the league. I still think they were just giving it to him because he was on the Packers.

UL Rookie of the Year: Oswald Miskin, Boston Trolleys. In a year without standouts they give it to a guy because he played in 150 games. Pass.


Bill Sistrunk won his league record 13th MVP Award


FL Sterling Defenders
P Steve Sims, Boston Indians
C Mel Goldberg, Chicago Colts
1B Kenneth Jarmon, Chicago Colts
2B Cary Dark, New York Metros
3B Charles Atholl, Chicago Colts
SS Bill Curan, Baltimore Bombers
LF Harry Margolies, Baltimore Bombers
CF Randy Hardy, New York Metros
RF Barry Wacker, Detroit Robins

Notice a pattern with the Columbia Series winning Colts and second place Metros? Defense wins championships folks.

UL Sterling Defenders
P Dave Kasper, Philadlephia Keystones
C Jason Gallagher, New York Knights
1B Nathan MacClaments, Chicago Packers
2B Charlie Schneider, Cleveland Green Sox
3B Bill Murnahgan, Chicago Packers
SS Tony Dashwood, Cleveland Green Sox
LF Terry Heigel, Chicago Packers
CF Jeff Ahner, Pittsburgh Rebels
RF Norman Ochs, Boston Trolleys

A much more even spread between the teams in the UL.

(* * *)


And then a bombshell was dropped.

It was drowned out a bit by the news that Nazi war criminals were going on trial at Nuremburg, but the New York Metros organization signed a 20 year old black second baseman from the Negro Leagues named Sammy Brown to a minor league deal. I’d long considered myself a proponent of integrating the sport, some of the black teams I’d watched over the years were every bit as talented as I’d seen, but not all the owners felt the same way including our own. Some had even expressed deep outright opposition to it at the last annual winter meetings. Now I wouldn’t call Mr. Andrews Jr. prejudice, but it’s disappointing when a man only takes interest in operation of the club when the prospect of us signing a black player comes up.

“Henry,” he told me in a phone call when the news broke. “I don’t want you signing a black player until we are sure this thing can work. We can’t be responsible for a guy getting beaned in the head and ticketed to the hospital instead of first base.”

I accepted his so-called wisdom, despite my misgivings, and told him that we wouldn’t make such a move without receiving the go ahead from him first. Nonetheless at some point I knew I’d have to confront him. The simple fact is: the talent level of the league is going to rise rapidly and if we don’t get in on the ground floor with black players we’re going to pay for it on the field. Do you know how many black men fought for this country during the war? The country does and it isn’t going to stand for an old boys club like baseball, god bless it, passing the buck to the next generation on this issue. Baseball is already a diverse game: we’ve got everything from Czechs to Jews to French Canadians in the league. Do people really think the league won’t accept Blacks too?

Not to be outdone, just a few days later the St. Louis Brewers signed a 17 year old black pitcher by the name of Harry Griffin. Our scout John Broadus said he boasted a solid fastball, but it was his Palm Ball that would make him the money I was told. I didn’t much care how he made his money, but I knew if the Brewers were getting in on the ground floor that the color line was not long for this world.

(* * *)

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Old 10-11-2014, 04:43 PM   #9
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(* * *)
November 17th, 1945

After nearly a month of running around begging other GM’s by phone I manage to put together a couple of trades on the same day.

Trade #1:
Packers get: 3B John Mauney, 3B Dan Bottoms (minors), SS Clay Mays (minors)
Bombers get: IF Eric Barron, 1B Rob Thompson, $8,000

The papers will be livid that we sold off a potential future hall of famer in Mauney, but he’s 35 and his salary just isn’t justified anymore. Clearing him off the books gives us room to raise the scouting budget to the league average and go after some real pitching. In addition Barron is the potential platoon partner we wanted for 1B Jay Hamilton and was 4th in the league in defensive efficiency last season in his limited time.

The other downside? We’re probably going to sell even less opening day tickets than we were before.

Trade #2:
Indians get: RF Ray Kempa, RF Fred James (#37 Prospect), RF William Fuchs (minors), 2B Kent Webb (#66 Prospect), 3B Bob Hahn (#86 Prospect in 1944)
Bombers get: SP George Brewer, SP Ralph Marshall (#31 Prospect)

This trade on the other hand will likely piss off the scouting department more than the papers. Kempa is a solid hitter (.305 career, 5 time batter of the month), but he has an extensive injury history and having missed a couple of years due to the war how can we be sure he’ll come back strong? Unfortunately, much like Mauney, he has a huge fan following here in Baltimore so the calls for my head from the press will only get louder no matter how smart a move it is. Losing the prospects James and Webb hurts a lot and Hahn looked like he could potentially have become a major league regular if things broke his way.

With that out of the way I couldn’t be happier with the return I got in this deal. Brewer is a bona-fide #2 starter at just 26 years old and led the Federal League in shutouts last season. Pitching in spacious Memorial Stadium you better believe he’s going to have a good season for us. Marshall on the other hand projects as a #3-#4 pitcher, but already has better scouting reports than any guy on our staff. What’s even more interesting to me is that he’s a flyball tossing knuckleballer, so he’ll also fit in nicely within spacious Memorial Stadium.

(* * *)
November 25th, 1945

The CBA draft was created by the non-New York teams to break up the dominance the Metros and Knights had during the teens and twenties. It’ll be just like professional football, they thought, and will give other teams a fighting chance. Well it helped break the dominance of the New York teams, but it fueled the rise of Brooklyn and baseball’s refusal to abandon the best record picks first meant it did very little to help parity in the league like some had hoped it would. Personally I didn’t mind it. Parity is for losers anyway, but even I have to admit I’d rather have the third pick this year than the fifteenth.

As such we had the 14th pick.

1st Round: SP Mike McChesney, 20 Yrs old – California sinkerballer. Broadus says the kid has a good forkball, but a low overall ceiling of 4th starter. Nonetheless we hope to move him quickly if at all possible.

2nd Round: OF Tommy O’Fahy, 23 Yrs old – Advanced college prospect who’s pretty much fully developed as is. A mediocre hitter, but an incredibly fast runner and sound defender I could see him making the bench out of spring training.

3rd Round: RF Weldon Hedges, 19 Yrs old – Hedges was probably the steal of our draft. He possesses a good work ethic, above average raw power, and runs well enough to swipe a few bags. There are concerns about his defense and ability to make contact, but I could definitely see him developing into a major league regular with a few lucky steps forward.

4th Round: SP Mike McLarnon, 21 Yrs old – McLarnon is a below average talent, but is a smart kid and pitched deep into games throughout his college career. An extra pitch or some good coaching will likely get him to the bigs.

5th Round: LF Robert Ogburn, 19 Yrs old - Similar profile to Hedges according to Broadus; tremendous raw power and speed, but with the added bonus that he plays league average defense and sees the ball incredibly well (.500 OBP against average competition and a 4/7 rating from Broadus for his eye).

We also selected a shortstop in that years rule five draft by the name of Larry Milligan. We hoped to switch him to second base fulltime in spring training and take advantage of his excellent speed tools (7 SPD, 8 STL according to Broadus). I know the stolen base isn’t in vogue these days, but adding that dimension to our offense this year might help when you consider that we stole just 23 bags all of last season.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:14 PM   #10
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Authors Interlude #3

Link to 1945 Almanac if you are interested for some weird reason

You can download via the upper right hand corner.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:04 PM   #11
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March-April, 1946

* * *

The next few months til' baseball season blazed by. The newspapers were full of stories about the black teenagers and when they were going to get to the majors. I saw them both play in spring training and in my opinion they were at least two years off. I wondered, though, if either team would wait that long if the press coverage continued non-stop as it currently had.

Before I took over our owner had managed to snag Cliff Waldron to be our new manager. Cliff, who had spent eight seasons in the majors as a player, had been fired in the offseason by the Pittsburgh Rebels after a contract dispute. Cliff was something of a dinosaur in today's baseball world; he was an advocate of the running game due to his days as a deadball era first baseman. The problem was pretty much every team was just trying to put men on and swat home runs these days. The stolen base was seen as a trick play, much like the hit and run, and not something to rely on as part of an offensive attack.
Still I figured Cliff would be a decent fit, since he'd won the Columbia Series before, and if not managers are pretty damn easily replaceable.

He managed a respectable spring training. Our team put up a 12-12 record which, while it didn't mean much, was a promising sign for things to come. Nonetheless the papers remained less than impressed, picking us to finish seventh of eight. Baseball Monthly, the one media publication worth a damn when it comes to baseball, had its picks as follows:

Federal League
1. Philadelphia White Sox
2. New York Metros
3. Cincinnati Redbirds
4. Boston Indians
5. Chicago Colts
6. Brooklyn Atlantics
7. Baltimore Bombers
8. Detroit Robins

United League
1. Cleveland Green Sox
2. Pittsburgh Rebels
3. Chicago Packers
4. St. Louis Brewers
5. Boston Trolleys
6. Philadelphia Keystones
7. Washington Wasps
8. New York Knights

It seems the poor Keystones can never catch a break from the media or the fans.

****
Our 1946 Opening Day Rosters (stats are from previous season)!

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CF Pierre Caron was injured on the last day of spring training and will miss a month and a half of playing time. It sucks to lose him, but it gives both Washington and Tegliacci a chance to prove themselves against big league pitching.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:48 AM   #12
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April, 1946

Its Opening Day!


We open on the road against Philadelphia, the team the papers seem to think is going to capture the Pennant this season. I know baseball is a funny game and what your team looks like on paper doesn't always translate, but I couldn't help but feel I'd stood a bit too pat in my first off-season. Yeah we'd improved the pitching, but I had serious doubts about moving into fifth place, let alone the first division. Worries aside I just can't help but be happy that the snow has cleared and baseball is in the air again.


April 16th-18th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (0-0) at Philadelphia White Sox (0-0)


Only 18,500 people show up to Northside Park plus myself. You think I'd miss the first game for my new job? The White Sox recently retired their former field, colloquially called the 'Irish Bowl' in favor of more spacious Northside Park, but apparently someone forgot to tell the fans they'd moved.

Well games like this one are exactly why I got George Brewer in the trade market, but I can't say this doesn't look tough.

April 16th: George Brewer pitches 8 Innings of three run baseball and we collect 8 hits to the White Sox six. Alas Cliff Waldron leaves Brewer in one batter too long and the Sox rally to win it in the ninth. White Sox 4, Bombers 3. I relay the message to Cliff: don't ever let that ****ing happen again in a game that counts.

At Trolley Park Pitcher of the Year Award winner Bob Churchman pitches the Packers past the Trolleys in a six hit shutout. Couldn't I have taken the train to Boston to watch that instead of this torture?

April 17th: We put together 15 hits, but settle for just five runs behind Travis Kahls complete game performance. Fortunatley Kahl only allows four and we squeak by with a scrappy victory. Bombers 5, White Sox 4. Don Ellis and Steve Pellegrino both homer off Dave Haberman, who left his "A" game in spring training.

April 18th: Our bats decide to take a day off and we narrowly avoid the shutout. White Sox 3, Bombers 1. Poor Ralph Marshall, the knuckleballing kid we just acquired this offseason, pitched a damn solid eight innings of baseball, but was left with the loss. We've still only drawn two damn walks! Either Philly has a bunch of control artists or our guys don't know how to not chase the outside slider in the dirt.

The good news? Ellis is smoking the ball again and our pitching kept us in all these games and even gave us one. But we easily could have taken two out of three if we'd done a little better.

Elsewhere in the world the League of Nations officially disbanded today, perhaps out of shame for being unable to prevent the war. If that is why then they ought to rethink it: international institutions only function as a check if the major players involved willingly submit to them. Is some bureaucrat in Geneva to blame for Japan invading the Chinese Coast? For Hitler being a megalomaniac? For the inability of the Western allies to decisively prepare in time to save France? I don't think so. Hopefully when the UN has its own failings people will remember that.

On April 19th we have an offday before a slew of homes games I'm looking forward to attending. Cliff has the entire team running drills to keep them in top shape for opening day.

* * * * *

"By god, Henry, there must be 30,000 people here!" exclaimed Cliff to me in the dugout before first pitch.

"Don't act so surprised," I replied. "The war is over and people are hungry for entertainment to help them forget about the whole thing, just like in the twenties when you last played. People want to watch the national game, not relive the past three years of hell."

"Still whenever I see this place in the papers its so empty-"

"Keep that one between me and you Cliff. Can you imagine the hornets nest you'd kick up if you said that to the press?"


* * * * *

April 20th-21st, 1946
Detroit Robins (2-1) at Baltimore Bombers (1-2)


April 20th: 30,000 people pour into Memorial Stadium to watch us take on the Robins, the one club the press is more down on than us. The D.C. press's sports page was full of idiotic jokes: "Toilet Series in Baltimore Today" exclaimed the Post. "Worst of Federal League start race to the bottom today" said Heart's rag the Times-Herald. Even the Sun could only offer in our defense that "the new brains in charge has made a number of key trades and made a real effort to change the attitude in the clubhouse." **** me, at least I'll never be short of linings for the office trash can.

Anyway the game? Well a couple of key errors from the Robins and solid pitching from Lonnie Brown sneak us by the Robins. Robins Starter Max Mateja walks seven of our hitters and, frankly, ought to consider himself lucky the score wasn't much worse than it ended up being. Bombers 5, Robins 3.

April 21st: Its doubleheader day in Baltimore! Players hate em, Owners and fans love em, and I don't know what to make of them since my goal is to get my team across the finish line. In the first game we tack Detroit Ace P Leif D'Angelo for eight runs, seven of which are earned, and walk all over their lineup. Bombers 8, Robins 2. George Brewer gave up nine hits, but pitched out of trouble several times.

In the second game our bats were quieted by sophomore sensation P Todd Lyon, who managed to go 8.2 innings. A late inning rally led by Don Ellis comes just short for us and the final is Robins 2, Bombers 1 as Detroit narrowly avoids the sweep. Philadelphia comes in by train next, so this is definitely not the note to end things on.

Elsewhere in the league 2B Darrell Lincoln of the Boston Trolleys tears his knee ligament sliding into second base. With 1500 career hits and .310 batting average the Boston faithful see their hopes dim yet again.

April 22nd-23rd, 1946
Philadelphia White Sox (4-2) at Baltimore Bombers (3-3)

April 22nd: Some losses just stink even if you had no expectation of winning all day. Ray Thompson came off the bench with a pinch-hit three run home run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the White Sox lead to 4-3. Then, like clockwork, the tragically named P Anis Brin comes in and allows five unearned runs after an error prolongs the inning.

Maybe the guys were just disappointed barely 7,000 fans showed up to watch them lose? White Sox 8, Bombers 3.


April 23rd: Ralph Marshall, clearly hungry for revenger after his last loss to the Sox, allows just one run in a complete game performance. He didn't strike many Sox out, but his knuckler made their best hitters look like ****ing idiots all day. Big Moe Spiegel was 0-4 and left four runners stranded. Bombers 3, White Sox 1. Our win puts the Metros into first place in the Federal League, but this early its still anybody's flag if someone gets hot at the right time. We are just 1 1/2 back from first at the moment.

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Emory Gram

Elsewhere the Pittsburgh Rebels have jumped out to a 9-1 start in the United League led by SS Emory Gram. Gram has always had 15-20 homer pop, but the kid's been hitting moon shots in a park that isn't very forgiving to his brand of tweener power. I look forward to seeing him if he makes the all star team this year and see if he's taking the steps forward we've all been expecting for years at 27 years old.


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Old 10-12-2014, 12:20 PM   #13
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April, 1946

April 24th-25th, 1946
Cincinnati Redbirds (2-6) at Baltimore Bombers (4-4)


The ice cold Redbirds come into town to face us. The Redbirds boasted some good players. Hell they boasted the good player in Bill Sistrunk, but they’d played like crap so far this season. Cliff thinks we can take both games against them. Me? I know we have the better record, but I still think we’ll be lucky to steal one.

April 24th: We get absolutely dominated by some no-name that goes by Eli Fox. Redbirds 6, Bombers 2. **** Cliff decides to start Brewer on short rest again and then acts surprised when he gets tagged for 5 runs in just 3.2 innings. To make matters worse the Redbirds have a field day on the bases against Rick James, swiping four bags before the umpire apparently called a stolen base mercy rule and called Sam Della Vedova out. Sometimes I hate this damn game.

April 25th: 6,199 on hand to watch a real thriller of a game. The lead changes hands three times. Our teams combine for four home runs in Memorial Stadium of all places. In the last inning Dick Gander gives up a run and runners are on second and third. He walks Ernest Nolan, who already had two home runs that day and then, by a stroke of magic, gets the switch hitting Jim Eden to groundout 4-3 on a 2-0 fastball down the heart of the plate. Bombers 8, Redbirds 7. It was sloppy as hell, sure, but this was the kind of game that reminded me why I got into it.

With that win we are 5-5 and now just 1 game back from the White Sox! Technically speaking we’re still in 5th place in an eight team league, but order of finish so far doesn’t mean much.

April 26th-28th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (5-5) at Detroit Robins (6-4)


Well the D.C. press doesn’t have much to joke about now. Both Detroit and my Bombers are sitting pretty at or above .500 so far.

April 26th: Kid sensation Todd Lyons once again holds us to just two runs in his 7.1 innings pitched. Our LHP Bret Jones throws eight innings of solid baseball, but we don’t put up enough offense and a rare costly error by SS Bill Curran just barely seals the deal for us. Robins 4, Bombers 3.

April 27th: Apparently Don Ellis hitting two home runs isn’t enough offense for our pitching staff. Robins 6, Bombers 5. Anis Brun ends up with the loss on a walk off sacrifice fly, but in his defense the runner only scored because of a throwing error from C Rick James earlier in the inning trying to gun the eventual winning run out at second base. ****!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I receive word of the game not long after it happens and Cliff calls me in my office. “I bet you’re pretty pissed, aren’t you Henry,” he asks.

“Pissed? No Cliff I’m just frustrated like you are. I think we were in a position to win both of these close games. I don’t know who the hell to blame here, Cliff, the players or the manager?”

He lets out a laugh. “You’ve got to learn to pace your damn emotions Henry. I know you aren’t used to sticking with something over the long haul, but if I had one word to describe baseball season it would be long. We’ve got a double header tomorrow. I hope you’ll get over it enough to listen on the radio.”


“I’ll listen, Cliff, but you go out and get me the series split!”

We said out goodbyes and he hung up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

April 28th: We score six runs in the first four innings, but the Robins manage back to back three run innings off poor Ralph Marshall. Then, just when I’m about to start tearing my damn hair out, in the top of the ninth Harry Margioles singles and promptly steals second base. Steve Pellegrino grounds him over to third like we practiced and Don Ellis doubles off the left field fence at Mitchell Field and we sneak away with the game by one run. Bombers 7, Robins 6. A good Sunday crowd of 18,346 watches our shocking victory.

The second game is much less interesting. Detroit Ace Leif D’Angelo once again can’t contain our bats. Bombers 7, Robins 4. The back to back wins put us back at .500. We have an off day, which I’m guessing the team will spend boozing. I’m okay with that, they’ve earned it.

In the United League the Pittsburgh Rebels have jumped out to a three game lead and are 11-2. They crush the Trolleys in a double-header of their own by a combined 13-2.

April 30th to May 2nd, 1946
Chicago Colts (7-5) at Baltimore Bombers (7-7)


April 30th: Four runs in the first is all we need. Lonnie Brown and Dick Gander combine for 9 innings of three run baseball. Bombers 4, Colts 3. This win places us at 8-7 on the year and tied for third place with Detroit. The Sox have jumped out to a two game lead over the second place Metros, but it’s hard to complain when we’re exceeding expectations so much.

May 1st: Attendance picks back up a bit for us as 10,000 come to watch our game against the reigning FL Champions. Sadly Home Runs from Harry Margioles and Bill Curran just aren’t enough to place us over the top. Colts 6, Bombers 4. Poor Bret Jones pitches well again, but is given his second loss in three starts.

In Detroit fans are in awe as Buford Martin of the metros shuts them out 4-0. He only strikes out one and allows eight hits, so frankly the fans have nobody to blame but their own team.

May 2nd: Travis Kahl goes complete and gives up just one earned run. Sam Vandyke goes complete as well, but being less perfect the score ends up Bombers 3, Colts 2. Thus far it seems all our wins and losses are pretty close. That could mean luck is working with us so far, but taking two of three from the reigning FL champions is nice no matter what.

The St. Louis Brewers stomp Pittsburgh 10-0. 2B Don Jackson comes off the bench and hits two home runs! Its only Pittsburgh’s 3rd loss of the season, but it could be signaling a momentum shift.
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:52 PM   #14
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April Stats

Batting

Quote:
1946 BattingTMGABH2B3BHRRBIRBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSSBCS
Harry MargoliesBAL17722551181056.347.390.486.87642
Don EllisBAL176826404141454.382.425.6181.04200
Steve PellegrinoBAL16682341161254.338.378.471.84900
Jay HamiltonBAL17671251185719.179.250.328.57800
Bill CurranBAL1762150012787.242.329.290.61900
Rick JamesBAL16498310461311.163.333.265.59900
Joe LovgrenBAL14431601312898.372.463.6281.09100
Ron WashingtonBAL124051013469.125.239.225.46400
John ReedBAL71651003021.313.389.375.76410
Benny TegliacciBAL41111002001.091.091.182.27300
Bill SteenstraBAL3810003201.125.125.125.25000
Louis GibschBAL2400000001.000.000.000.00000
Larry MilliganBAL3410000200.250.250.250.50020
Martin StruckBAL1400000001.000.000.000.00000
Ron ThompsonBAL3310013110.333.5001.3331.83300
Eric BarronBAL1000000010.0001.000.0001.00000
Jim McNicolBAL1000000000.000.000.000.00000


Pitching

Quote:
1946 Pitching TM G GS W L IP HA HR BB K ERA AVG WHIP
George Brewer BAL 4 4 2 2 26.2 26 1 10 12 4.39 .252 1.35
Travis Kahl BAL 4 4 2 1 33.1 37 1 13 9 3.51 .287 1.50
Lonnie Brown BAL 3 3 3 0 24 22 2 9 9 3.75 .239 1.29
Bret Jones BAL 3 3 0 2 24 17 0 10 17 3.00 .189 1.13
Ralph Marshall BAL 3 3 1 1 22.1 21 2 7 6 3.63 .244 1.25
Anis Brun BAL 3 0 0 1 8.1 9 0 10 4 1.08 .273 2.28
Dick Gander BAL 5 0 1 1 8.1 8 0 8 1 4.32 .308 1.92
John Humbert BAL 6 0 0 0 5.1 3 0 2 1 0.00 .167 0.94
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:59 PM   #15
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Standings

As of May 2nd, 1946

Quote:
Federal League



Team W L PCT GB
Philadelphia White Sox 11 4 .733 -
New York Metros 10 6 .625
Chicago Colts 8 7 .533 3
Baltimore Bombers 9 8 .529 3
Brooklyn Atlantics 7 7 .500
Detroit Robins 8 9 .471 4
Cincinnati Redbirds 6 10 .375
Boston Indians 3 11 .214


United League




Team W L PCT GB
Pittsburgh Rebels 13 3 .813 -
New York Knights 11 7 .611 3
Chicago Packers 9 7 .563 4
Philadelphia Keystones 8 8 .500 5
Washington Wasps 8 8 .500 5
St. Louis Brewers 8 9 .471
Boston Trolleys 5 11 .313 8
Cleveland Green Sox 3 12 .200
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:12 PM   #16
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Outstanding detail. Great prose. I'm engrossed.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:46 PM   #17
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May 3rd-4th
Brooklyn Atlantics (7-7) at Baltimore Bombers (9-8)


We remain at home for a two game series against the Brooklyn Atlantics. The Atlantics have the distinction of being the oldest team in baseball, having been an original member of the old Professional Association back in 1867. The surviving Club records go back even further than that, to the 1850’s, but they didn’t start paying their players until the winds of change forced them too. Of course our club technically could trace its history back pretty far, but we were in St. Louis then so it was a tradition we’d found it a bit hard to take pride in since moving to Baltimore. Besides our only tradition since the two major leagues formed the CBA has been losing and what the hell is the point in celebrating that?

May 3rd: What looks like a sure loss turns into a clean victory after we rally for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Bombers 6, Atlantics 2. Harry Margolies continues to impress me with his heads up defensive play and collects 3 RBI’s to boot. C Rick James is still only hitting .173. If he doesn’t get his bat going soon I’m going to have to demand that Cliff benches the big bastard.

Elsewhere, in a great day for Polish baseball fans, Moe Lewandowski duels and beats Walt ‘Big Red’ Johnson and the champion Chicago Packers 1-0. Credit to Moe, beating a pitcher that good in a duel is a serious test of reserve. Big Red, for his part, falls to 0-4 despite just a 3.00 ERA. Any run support in Chicago?

May 4th: The weekend crowd for this one is very good: over 21,000 people show up for the game! I wonder if the Atlantics are a draw or people just like weekend baseball. Either way it’s a good number.

Ralph Marshall pitches a sterling nine innings and allows just one run on a home run by Brooklyn catcher Dave Callahan. Bombers 3, Atlantics 1. Harry Margolies gets a minor injury sliding into second and has to leave the game. This nice little two game sweep puts us at 11-8 in second place and just three games back from the Philadelphia White Sox!

We stay at home for a double header against New York.


**********

After the game that day my secretary, Mary, gave me the news. Three convicts at world-famous Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay tried to break out. Two guards were killed, eleven marines and coast guard were wounded, and all three inmates attempting to escape were killed. At one point the Marines were even forced to use Mortars to clear out the convicts from the armory! Can you imagine that? Mortars and gunfire in beautiful San Francisco Bay. I know it’s a terrible time for a thought like this, but I guess we can be thankful that baseball isn’t on the west coast yet so this doesn’t affect attendance.


Mortars hitting Alcatraz Prison

Anyway these three men couldn’t have been the smartest. Even if they escape Alcatraz by some miracle where the hell do they go? There’s a good reason they built that place in the middle of the bay. Add to that the fact that one of them was apparently scheduled for a federal hearing investigating whether he’d have his confession beaten out of him and I’d say we have three bona-fide boneheads on our hands.

**********

May 5th-7th, 1946
New York Metros (10-8) at Baltimore Bombers (11-8)


May 5th: In game one Lonnie Brown lasts just four innings and allows five runs as the Metros show us they want second place from us. Rainy conditions put a further dour on the events as I watched from the press box. Metros 7, Bombers 5. We manage a three run rally in the bottom of the ninth, but come up short as pinch hitter Ron Thompson pops out with the bases loaded. I have to admit I was impressed with the Metros- every one of their hitters put together solid at-bats and when they got men on base they rarely left anyone there at the end of the inning. With that loss to the Metros, New York is now in second place.

Game two we jumped out to an early 4-1 advantage on the back of a Jay Hamilton homer in the second and a two run single by center fielder Ron Washington in the third. Alas the Metros explode for four runs in the sixth off perpetually unlucky Travis Kahl and pull ahead. Metros 5, Bombers 4. I wasn’t that upset with this loss because the Metros are a damn fine team and we kept it close, but Cliff told me he was worried the guys were getting demoralized. That’s a piece of wisdom I happen to agree with. Nobody likes to lose and losing tight ones is arguably harder than losing a laugher for morale.

**********

We have an off day before finishing the series versus New York that Tuesday. I relay the good news to owner Rick Andrews Jr. by phone: we drew over 30,000 fans total for the two game double header against New York in spite of rain in the first game. In fact our attendance as a whole is up a startling 69% over 1945. The entire league was experiencing an attendance surge of sorts, true, but given our low number of weekend games so far I was quite pleased with that.

“Good job Henry,” he told me. “I knew that you had the sense for this stuff. Baseball is a game, true, but it’s also a business and I think the other clubs are losing something by using washed out baseball men to sell their product.”

I knew Mr. Andrews had a reputation around the league as an aloof absentee of sorts and I was starting to see why. “I couldn’t agree more, sir. Baseball is selling a product. The results are secondary.”

The subject quickly changed.

“Did you hear the news about that little negro kid they have playing for St. Augustine… whats his name.. Brown?”

He filled me in on the details. I’d heard Sammy Brown was having a poor year for St. Augustine which had added fuel to the situation given that St. Augustine, being in the deeply segregated Deep South, wasn’t fond of him or the prospect of racial integration to begin with, and had been taking tremendous levels of abuse all season. Being forced to sleep in the team bus instead of the motel, teammates keeping their distance on the bench, that sort of thing. What I hadn’t heard was that it had spilled over into open violence- Sammy had been attacked by three men outside of the stadium and narrowly escaped with light injuries. The papers were all over baseball for sending the poor kid into the Florida State League without protection. The local chapter of the NAACP was giving livid quotes to the paper about the “cowardly, senile baseball establishment.”

“That’s horrifying, sir.” Was all I could muster in reply to his story. Truthfully I was beat, because I knew they'd never catch the goddamn bastards in that state.

“Now I know you want us to hire a black ballplayer at some point Henry, but I think this kind of thing shows that baseball just isn’t ready. You may want the world to think your way, but I’ve lived in the South. My father moved this team away from the south. So believe me when I tell you that people are going to have trouble accepting it. There will be riots and violence unseen in baseball since that horrifying summer of 1919.”

I shot back. “That may be true, sir, but the rest of the country isn’t Florida. Many thousands of white fans already go to watch Negro ball clubs in their own leagues in the North. The Baltimore Black Sox lease our stadium for big games and draw quite well from the entire populace despite our being below the Mason-Dixon line. I think our fans would accept it and grow to like it.”

I saw him grow tired of my speech so I brought my sermon in for a landing.

“Look I’m not saying we should be the team to do it,” I calmly said. “But we’re going to regret it if we don’t get in on the ground floor here. Let me take you to a Black Sox game and you will see.”

"I thought your job for me was to win baseball games, not solve race relations in this country."

After going a couple more rounds with me Mr. Miller agreed to attend a Black Sox game played at our home park before the summer was out. I had Mary pick a date and all was settled for us to attend later in the season.

**********

May 7th: Our Shortstop Bill Curran wins FL Player of the Week! Bill went 10-23 with 1 home run and 10 RBI’s, raising his season average to .260 on the year. Let’s hope he can keep it up because I sense a slump coming our way.

The last game against the Metros at home for a while and we hoped to get away with a game. Things looked good for us as we got 4 runs in the Bottom of the 1st off of a Metros defensive miscue. Unfortunately starter Eric Smith settled down and was excellent while our defensive flubs allowed four unearned runs to score. Metros 7, Bombers 6. Jay Hamilton hits his third home run of the year and we leave eight runners stranded in a one run loss. Tragic. Thankfully only 6,000 or so are there to witness it so who knows if it'll even make the papers.

Signs are our team is coming back down to earth. Sure we can squeak out victories from the likes of Detroit, but we may not be ready to hang with the big boys yet.

Atlantics hurler Gary Englert gets his 200th career victory at Northside Park today. Gary has never been a standout pitcher, but he’s been consistently average for his entire 15 year career and longevity is still worth celebrating in this league as far as I’m concerned.

May 8th-9th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (11-11) at Boston Indians (5-14)

May 8th: We head into last place Boston for a two game series with a three game losing streak. The Indians are 81/2 games back of the White Sox and have lost three straight. Hoping to right the ship I hear that Cliff is considering switching up the lineup some. Me? I’m not sure how much effect messing around with that has, but anybody who’s played will tell you there is something psychological about it.

After falling behind 3-0 very quickly home runs from Harry Margioles (2) and Ron Washington (2) put us back ahead and George Brewer combines with reliever John Humbert to close things out. Bombers 5, Indians 3. Worrying signs? We leave a ton of runners on base again and Jay Hamilton makes his fifth error at first.

May 9th: Today the bats fall silent. Ralph Marshall pitches a solid complete game and allows three runs only to be rewarded with his second loss. Indians 3, Bombers 1.

In New York, Packers star SP Bob Churchman gets his 250th victory at Trolley Park. He’s off to a rock solid start this year at 6-1 with a sub-2.00 ERA and despite his age (34) I think he has a real shot at becoming the 15th man to win 300 games.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkcloud4579 View Post
Outstanding detail. Great prose. I'm engrossed.
Glad you're enjoying it. I really love playing around with the blank canvas a fictional league gives me free of the expectations I have for things to be a certain way whenever I play regular historical leagues so...

I think with this style of writing so focused on an individual team and season it can be difficult to oversaturate the reader with details so if you or anybody else reading this has any feedback on that front I'm always open to it. I do realize that not everyone has my copy of OOTP in front of them and it can be a bit hard to get immersed into an OOTP Fictional league you can't see so I always try to include little contextual clues about the players I talk about and post stats every month for semi-convenient cross-checking.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:13 PM   #19
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May 10th-12th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (12-12) at Cincinnati Redbirds (9-14)


We go to Cincinnati for a three game series. The Redbirds, despite probably having 2-3 future hall of famers in their starting lineup, have looked just terrible so far this year and are chugging along extra slowly.

May 10th: We manage just one run on five hits. Once again our pitcher goes the distance and is rewarded with a loss. By the fifth inning I had turned off my radio out of sheer disgust. Redbirds 3, Bombers 1.

May 11th: We manage to get 12 baserunners, but only one of them crosses the plate all game. Now this, folks, is the team I thought I was taking over. Where the hell is the offense? Where the hell is the pitching? Our ****ing pitcher scored the only run of the afternoon. This is not good baseball. Sure Lonnie Brown is mediocre, but you guys aren’t giving him a chance. Redbirds 4, Bombers 1. 3B Don Ellis is 0-4 again and 1-16 in the last four games. This is something I’ll have to ask Cliff and Broadus to keep an eye on, because our best hitter declining would have serious repercussions for us.

Word comes from the Boston press that 2B Pete Ebersbacher has demanded a trade from the Trolleys due to his rapidly disappearing playing time. Ebersbacher's demand comes as a bit of surprise to the Boston fanbase, who have watched him hit more than 1600 baseballs past people in his career, and rumor has it he'd like to be traded to the Indians if at all possible. I admire the guts: demand a trade and then tell them where to send you. Still Pete might just get his wish: the Indians have a real need at every position on the diamond more or less and can you imagine the media firestorm if the Trolleys shipped him out of town forcibly?

May 12th: Finally some offense! We manage to draw eight walks and score six runs on just seven hits. Harry Margioles is still hot with the bat (.324), but Don Ellis is hitless again. Bombers 6, Redbirds 4. One of three is not ideal, but I’m beginning to think our team might be a bit worse than we looked early on so I’m okay with it. We’re back to Boston for two more next.

Mary informs me of the bad news later that evening. Apparently after the previous game apparently 3B Louis Gibsch got into it with a Cincinnati heckler outside of the ballpark and unleashed a “tirade of expletives”, as the Evening Sun puts it, and may have had to be restrained. Gibsch is probably in the right to some extent: we’re playing badly and hecklers are sad people, but when I asked Cliff about it he told me the Gibsch had a reputation as a bench jockey who had, as bench jockeys do, spent his entire career yelling epithets at the opposing team to take them off their game. In fact a newspaper description in the Sun circa 1940 I had Mary look up had said Gibsch was so vulgar to the other team that he was worth “4 or 5 wins a season based on the recollections of the pitchers he’d raddled.” What a world! A grown man who plays a children game is paid good money to shout things at other men from the bench. I’d see about fining him to get this issue to blow over.

May 13th-14th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (13-14) at Boston Indians (7-17)



May 13th: Boston absolutely smokes us with a final line of Indians 10, Bombers 3. Apparently we can’t beat a damn team that’s 7-17 with our ace on the mound? Ron Washington in Centerfield is hitting just .134 so that’s somewhere we’ll improve when Pierre Caron returns in a couple of weeks.


May 14th: We collapse in the late innings again and give up a game we should have had in the bag. Don Ellis is 0 for 4 again and begging for a lineup demotion. Anis Brun is the goat of the game and takes the loss. Indians 7, Bombers 5. At least we can’t blame this on our starting pitcher?

In Philadelphia, Keystones fans have yet another distinction to be ashamed of as 33 year old minor-league journeyman Rich Bortz shuts them out on four hits at Northside Park. Rumor has it the Stones owner is going to have to start giving out tickets outside the stadium to get people to watch his product. Inviting the much better looking White Sox into the same part of town for some paltry rent money may have been a mistake.

With a 5-3 victory of Cincinnati the Metros are now just 1 and 1/2 games out of first place in the Federal League.

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Old 10-14-2014, 08:56 PM   #20
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May 16th-18th, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (13-16) at New York Metros (18-11)


This time I decide to take the train up to New York to watch our boys in action, though I decline to tell Cliff that I’m headed up there. I figured I could also use the series to get my mind off Baseball for a bit and catch a play or two on Broadway. The New York Grounds itself is nice and spacious, sitting 55,000, and is practically begging to host a World Series game this year with the Metros playing so damn well. Cloudy and rainy conditions muck up the field before the first game, but I really enjoy watching games here.

May 16th: The game I attend is an absolute heartbreaker. In the fourth inning Bill Curran puts us ahead 2-1 with a two run homer off Nick Kostika. Unfortunatley they immediately tie it up and walk it off with a single in the ninth with two runners on. Metros 3, Bombers 2. Ralph Marshall again pitches well only to be saddled with the loss.


May 17th: Instead of attending the game I take the day off and see both parts of King Henry VI on Broadway. I’m not a big literary type, let alone a big Shakespeare type, so I admit I was pretty unimpressed with the production. On the other hand Margaret Leighton put in a good performance as Lady Percy and I could see her doing well in the pictures someday if that's the route she wants to take. I admit, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn't know I was missing a game for it.


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Margaret Leighton as Lady Percy, 1946


Of course, eventually I get the news via the evening edition that I didn’t miss much of a game. Apparently New York jumped out to an early advantage and we only managed one run on seven hits. Cliff shifted Don Ellis from 3rd to 2nd in the lineup and he responded by going 0 for 4 again. Baseball: always more art than science. Metros 5, Bombers 1. Lonnie Brown falls to 3-3 with a 4.74 ERA. Since Dick Gander has pitched well as a Change Pitcher, Cliff wants to give him a chance and try Brown in the bullpen. I have no objects, since we've been playing so poorly that I'm willing to throw just about anything at the wall to see if it sticks.

May 18th: We find ourselves in a 4-0 hole early and despite having plenty of chances to comeback, we just plain don’t. Metros 7, Bombers 4. We can’t get the hell out of New York quickly enough.

May 19th-21st, 1946
Baltimore Bombers (13-19) at Chicago Colts (17-14)


The road trip from hell continues as we go to Chicago for another one of those bizarre series where we play a double header, have an off day, and then finish the series. Well, actually, there’s nothing bizarre about it. Owners like that double headers draw bigger crowds so the CBA accommodates them with as many as possible. Still it’s rough on the players, having a break in the middle of the series like that. It lets their guard and mental preparedness down.

I arrive back in Baltimore and turn on the radio to the sweet soothing voice of radio broadcaster Theo Han. Han spent several years with the St. Louis Saints before coming to Baltimore with the franchise in 1932. His best years were behind him by then, but the team hired him to provide analysis on radio broadcasts for the 1940 season when he found himself out of work. He proved so popular with fans that he took over the main broadcaster role and has spent the last several years single handedly fighting the bad ratings by putting on an excellent broadcast. Mary and some of the other people in the front office didn’t think much of Theo personally speaking, apparently the guy has a bit of a drinking problem, but the man can call a game and the loneliness helps the broadcaster in my opinion.

May 19th: The first game of the doubleheader is another disaster as ace starter George Brewer gets tagged for 10 hits in 6 innings of work. Our offense continues to treat being on the road as valuable vacation time. Colts 6, Bombers 3. Some 21,000 people show up to watch us, which almost certainly has more to do with it being a weekend then the draw of our 6th place ballclub.

The second game goes much better at first. We strike first for an early 2-0 lead on singles by Jay Hamilton and Ron Washington. Unfortunately we blow it again and the Colts win with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th. Colts 3, Bombers 2. We’ve now dropped seven in a row. Maybe Louis Gibsch’s little media rout has cost us more than I thought? With that loss we fall to 7th place and 10 games behind the league leading Metros. Obviously if this continues we’re going to have to make some deadline deals so our future looks a little brighter in the next couple of seasons.

I tell Cliff to take the off day to make sure the guys recuperate and come in focused for the third game. I don’t want to see them get swept again.

May 21st: Our guys come in thinking of today as a must-win and it shows. Travis Kahl pitches a complete game 3-hit shutout. Jay Hamilton hits an inside-the-park home run on a ball into the gap. How often do you see both those things in one game? Travis Kahl helps himself and takes advantage of the weak Colts infield defense with a successful squeeze bunt in the seventh. Its only one win, but with how the team has played on this road trip it’s a very satisfying one indeed! Bombers 4, Colts 0. Cliff said he’d buy the guys a drink if they didn’t have to be in Brooklyn the next day. I told him I’d let him if I didn’t care about winning.

I don't know who in gods name is responsible for this schedule, but the genius has us going back to Brooklyn for two games. Wouldn't it have been easier to just schedule those games when we were already in New York, trains and all?

May 22nd-23rd
Baltimore Bombers (14-21) at Brooklyn Atlantics (15-19)


May 22nd: In the 11th Inning Brooklyn left fielder Brendan Washington breaks up a 6-6 tie with a double into the right field gap off Anis Brun, well as much as there is a right field gap in Washington Park, and sends us home. Atlantics 7, Bombers 6. Its Anis Brun's third loss of the season for the Bombers as one of our supposed "firemen".

May 23rd: Bret Jones goes nine innings and allows only one run while striking out nine unlucky Atlantics. Bombers 6, Atlantics 1.

In the battle for first place the Metros defeat the White Sox in a thrilling 12 inning contest at the New York Grounds on a walk-off Sacrifice Fly.
This puts the Metros 1 and 1/2 games up over the White Sox and gives them the momentum going into the dogged days of midyear when most Pennant races are decided, despite fans in some places tuning out until September.From the view here in Baltimore it looks like the Metros are going to run away with this Pennant if the White Sox don't get some games scheduled against us soon.

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