All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (2024)

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July 2, 1951

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (2)

JULY 2, 1951


The Detroit Dynamos, desperate to upgrade their offense in order to remain competitive in a tough Federal Association race, turned to a familiar face in an effort to add more firepower to their struggling offense. That would be former Dynamos third sacker Mack Sutton, who was re-acquired today by the Dynamos from the New York Stars just over five years after the Detroit ballclub moved Sutton to the Big Apple.

The trade sees one of Detroit's many talented young pitching prospects head to a New York club that has had its struggles on the mound this season. The prospect would be Hub Armstrong, a 22-year-old 1947 sixth round selection who has prospered as he progressed through the Detroit system. Now getting his first taste of AAA, where Armstrong is 5-5 with an impressive 3.20 era through 11 starts, the #36 prospect as ranked by OSA appears to be not far away from being ready for his big league debut.

In Sutton, the Dynamos hope they have added a righthanded power bat that will jump start an offense that has for the most part struggled since his departure five years ago. That is not to say Sutton's absence was the reason for Detroit's offensive failures - it is an immensely talented group he is joining with names like Edwin Hackberry, Stan Kleminski, Del Johnson, Dick Estes and the latest acquisition Pat Petty. However, it is also a group that many feel has underachieved and seems to have too much talent even prior to adding Sutton to sit dead last in the Federal Association in runs scored.

A new hitting coach is also rumoured to be arriving in Detroit as Jim Webb, who has held the job since 1938, is said to be on the way out. Regardless of who ends up coaching the hitters, for this trade to be successful the Dynamos will need Sutton, who is batting .293 with 17 homers and 48 rbi's this season, to be the missing piece needed to get the Dynamos scoring runs. With Detroit's Thompson Field having short leftfield porch it seems tailor-made for a pull hitting uppercut swinger like Sutton. However, most observers also expected more production out of Pat Petty and he has struggled since joining Detroit, almost as if there is a general malaise that takes over when hitters put on the Dynamos lightning bolt.

Dynamos brass says it has several other irons in the fire and may not be done dealing yet as the club, sensing a window to compete even with the year-long absence of injured pitching ace Carl Potter, looks to be making a hard push to snap the longest streak without a pennant win in the Federal Association, one that goes back to 1929.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (3)
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The winningest active FABL pitcher just became the 27th player in league history to collect 250 victories on the mound. Lefty Allen, the 37-year-old New York Gothams southpaw, had plenty of run support as he pitched 7 and a third innings before giving way to the Gothams pen in a 13-3 drubbing of the Chicago Chiefs that improved his season mark to 5-6.

Allen, who owns two Whitney Awards and five all-star game selections from his days with the Pittsburgh Miners, joins Charlie Stedman and Denny Wren in a tie for 25th all-time in victories. Only 13 pitchers have ever reached the 300-victory plateau.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (6)


Here are my choices for the starters for next week's FABL All-Star Game.

[size="4"]Federal Association[/zie]

Catcher: For as long as I remember, and likely for the next decade, you can pretty much pencil in the last name "Cleaves" when voting for the Federal Association All-Star catcher. Like the 12-times before, George Cleaves (.280, 10, 29) is the obvious selection, leading all balloted catchers in WRC+ (141) and WAR (2.6). He's shown no signs of slowing, but sooner or later Roger Cleaves (.226, 12, 42) will snag a selection away from his half-brother, and Arlie Smith (.286, 3, 36) deserves some recognition for his surprising season that has helped the Pioneers hold the Fed lead.

First Base: If you have 20 homers before the All-Star break, like Red Johnson (.300, 20, 64) does for the Gothams, it's hard to not vote them as an All-Star starter. Like his teammate George Cleaves, he leads balloted players in WRC+ (158) and WAR (2.6), but it shouldn't take away from the great seasons from Dick Estes (.300, 10, 57), Tim Hopkins (.261, 15, 42), and Rudy Minton (.287, 10, 46), but they just can't match what "Big Timber" has done so far.

Second Base: One of the toughest positions to pick, there are about five guys I think you could consider here. Tom Jeffries (.305, 5, 42) may deserve it, but I just can't keep giving nods to the third place Gothams. I'd call you crazy if you said that Frank Kirchner (.304, 2, 38), not Jim Adams Jr. (.270, 5, 28, 8), would have the highest WAR (2.2) from the big Foresters/Pioneers trade, but he's hit .304/.397/.400 (105 OPS+) with a 118 WRC+, 18 extra base hits, and an impressive 43-to-12 walk-to-strikeout ratio. It was either him, Jeffries, or Del Johnson (.286, 4, 25, 15), and I gave the slight edge to Kirchner for being the better defender then Jeffries and the better hitter then Johnson. Baseball is funny sometimes, isn't it?

Third Base: Yes, Hank Koblenz (.226, 17, 49) has been one of the most feared sluggers for years, but like a lot of Keystones he's not playing up to his potential. This makes it a lot easier to select Ed Bloom (.273, 4, 25, 9), who has the best combination of offense and defense among third basem*n so far. Just 23, Bloom has legit star potential, featuring a 127 WRC+ and 3.1 zone rating (1.030 EFF) at third. It should be the first of many selections for Bloom, who's on pace to draw 140 walks in a 5 WAR season.

Shortstop: The margins between Harry Barrell (.311, 1, 24, 9) and Stan Kleminski (.333, 2, 26, 5) are razor thin. Both are well above average hitters and fielders, the fielding edge to Barrell and the batting edge to Kleminski, and you could even make the case that Irv Clifford (.344, 2, 34, 7) deserves the starting spot because his 144 WRC+ is something you just don't see from shortstops. But since his defense has been below average and Kleminski's WRC+ isn't far off (139), Clifford's offense isn't enough to push him over. The final decision between Barrell and Kleminski came to Barrell's ten previous selections, and this season was a perfect year to give the breakout Kleminski his first selection.

Left Field: If you hit .329/.431/.619 (170 OPS+) with 16 doubles, 6 triples, 13 homers, 46 RBIs, and a 180 WRC+, you deserve to be an All-Star. I don't care how good Larry Gregory (.299, 11, 57), Jesse Alvarado (.284, 19, 66, 6), and Paul Williams (.317, 12, 48) have been. Ben McCarty should be starting in left for the Fed.

Center Field: In a normal season, Ernie Campbell (.315, 2, 24) and his 128 WRC+, 2.6 WAR, and 32 extra base hits would be enough for the selection. But in 1951, he's not even close. The decision is between young star Edwin Hackberry (.284, 13, 46, 8) and veteran star Rats McGonigle (.325, 8, 34, 8) who have both been worth 3.1 wins above replacement. Both have been excellent hitters, but with a 174 to 140 WRC+ edge for Rats, "The Ringer from Stringer" gets the vote from me.

Right Field: I wish FABL regulations allowed us to vote for three outfielders instead of a specific, left, right, and center fielder, but instead I'm stuck picking between a group of middling right fielders while one of the many guys I listed already is stuck at home. A lot of this is caused by an early Bobby Barrell (.245, 3, 6, 2) injury, lasting just 27 games this season, so I'm going to go with a potential first time All-Star in Charlie J. Williams (.295, 8, 39). He's having a bit of a down season, but he has an elite 5.1 K% and is on a 39 double pace for the season.

Starting Pitcher: There's never enough spots for pitching on the All-Star rosters, and it's almost impossible to pick just three. The easy choice is Ed Bowman (9-2, 2.71, 63), who has been selected in each of the last eight seasons, and again deserves the selection this year. He's on pace for another 20-win season and he ranks top three in all three triple crown categories, including his Fed leading 63 strikeouts. Consideration went out to Wally Hunter (8-3, 2.87, 42), Buddy Long (11-3, 3.29, 29), Hiram Steinberg (8-6, 2.82, 42), and Juan Tostado (7-4, 2.73, 38), but I used the final two spots on John Stallings (7-7, 2.48, 57) and Hal Hackney (9-5, 2.69, 58). The poor record may work against Stallings, but he's been one of the most dominant pitchers this season, with a 11.2 K% and 1.27 WHIP. Hackney has been even better, with a 1.17 WHIP and 58 strikeouts that are second to just Bowman. I wish all these guys could get in, but there's never enough room.

Relief Pitching: Jiggs may not have voted for relievers, but that won't stop me! A lot of times there aren't deserving candidates, but the Pioneer's Russ Peeples (6-3, 9, 2.62, 23) is a clear exception. He's thrown 65.1 innings, a decent sized sample, and owns an excellent 167 ERA+, 2.77 FIP (63 FIP-), and is throwing at a 3 WAR pace. No one else has a candidacy as influential as him, but I'll use my second slot on Steve Groves (2-4, 6, 2.98, 17), who in 48.1 innings has helped keep games close for the Gothams. If only I could instead vote Juan Tostado...

Continental Association

Catcher: Last year Larry McClure (.260, 4, 36) rightfully ran away with the catcher spot in the Continental, but he's in somewhat of a sophom*ore slump that leaves the field wide open. You could still make the case for McClure, Solly Skidmore (.281, 4, 32), or Dan Smith (.269, 9, 42), who are all having solid, if unspectacular, years, but I'm going with the Saints Jess Garman (.225, 10, 36). The average might be low, but he's walking (35) twice as often as he strikes out (16), and his 10 homers lead all Conti catchers. It's more impressive when you consider the 24-year-old plays half his games at the spacious Parc Cartier, as he's the only Saint to hit double digit homers the week before the break.

First Base: This might have been the easiest choice for me to make. Sure, Chuck Collins (.303, 13, 46) is having a re-breakout and reigning home run leader Bill Barnett (.274, 12, 39) is on pace for another 25 home run season, but neither can match Cougar slugger Red Bond (.338, 17, 45). He ranks third in homers and OPS (1.023) in the CA, and his .338/.417/.606 (167 OPS+) batting line leads all first basem*n. It's crazy that this year's selection will be only the 4th time Bond has represented the CA in the midsummer classic.

Second Base: Okay, I lied. This is the easiest choice. The Sailors' Al Farmer (.360, 11, 45) is the main reason they may enter the break up double digits, as the 25-year-old has more then double the WAR (4.6) of any other second basem*n. He's been an extra base machine, contributing 15 doubles, 13 triples, and 11 homers, scoring 67 times, driving in 45, and drawing 30 walks. He's two points off the batting title and leads the CA in slugging (.619) and OPS (1.041) and looks to be the runaway Whitney winner for 1951. It also helps that no other second basem*n is really standing out, though Joe Austin (.270, 5, 29, 10) and Jim Urquhart (.298, 1, 31, 16) could earn the nod in a weaker year. Charlie Rivera (.275, 3, 27, 6) would have a case too if he played more.

Third Base: Considering he was just traded to the Dynamos, it feels weird picking Mack Sutton (.294, 18, 51), but he leads Conti third basem*n in nearly every important category. Only Lloyd Coulter (.299, 11, 37) has a higher batting average, as Sutton has the highest OBP (.407), leads all third basem*n in slugging (.558) by over 100 points, and has more homers, RBIs, and WAR (3.4) with the best WRC+ (157). I still can't believe the Stars moved him, but their pitching is weak, and the 39th ranked prospect Hub Armstrong is a potential #2 they could insert into their rotation today if they wanted to. For those who wouldn't want to vote for someone in the other association, Coulter or Luke Weaver (.267, 8, 49) are deserving candidates.

Shortstop: At shortstop, you really only have two choices. There's former #1 prospect Ralph Hanson (.328, 3, 22, 11), who's hit great in his first full season as a starter, but he's been awful defensively and will miss the game with a high ankle sprain anyways. And then there is 8-Time All-Star Skipper Schneider (.248, 2, 28, 16), who hasn't really hit, but is tied for second with 16 steals and is in the midst of another otherworldly defensive season at short (11.1 ZR, 1.097 EFF). If Hanson was healthy, I'd probably go against the player I covered for many years in Chicago, but we want to see guys who can actually play in the game. Cleveland fans may point to Eddie Morris (.323, 4, 28), who's been productive in the eight spot, but he's a similar hitter to Hanson and an even worse defender. I see the case for him, but shortstop is a position where defense really matters, and with no standout candidate, give me the elite glove over the above average bat!

Left Field: The CA is absolutely loaded with outfield talent, and seven of the eight teams offer a representative with a WRC+ above 120. There are even two above 140, the Cannons Mike T. Taylor (.333, 14, 48, 15) and the Forester's Joe Wood (.309, 9, 49) ,and it's almost impossible to pick between them. Taylor has an elite power/speed mix while Wood actually knows how to take a walk. But this is an All-Star game, and the fans want homers and steals, not walks, so I have to go with the veteran Taylor. His 151 WRC+ is hard to ignore, and the 33-year-old has a chance to break many personal bests this season. Wood, who's just 23, probably has a chance to make it as a reserve, but the early Kellogg favorite will have no shortage of opportunities to add an All-Star game selection to his trophy case.

Center Field: This could have been a three horse race had Frenchy Sonntag (.311, 12, 43) stayed healthy, as even though he'll return in time for the game, he has just 180 PAs while the other frontrunners have 300 or more. That would be Billy Forbes (.323, 7, 54, 15) and Charlie Rogers (.362, 3, 37, 13), who both have WRC+ above 140 and are on a pace to surpass 8 wins above replacement. Both are even playing excellent defense, so I can't use that to break the tie, making this arguably the toughest call yet. In the end, I had to go with Forbes, who walks more and plays for the team leading the association. It's not fair to Rogers, sure, but it's just nice seeing the Sailors center fielder healthy and dominating, as he continues to show why he's one of, if not the best, center fielders in the game today.

Right Field: I'm not sure what's wrong with Ralph Johnson (.288, 12, 39), who has almost no chance of being the CA WAR Lord for a fifth consecutive season, but the 3-Time Whitney Winner is playing more like an average outfielder then the bonafide star we've grown to know and love. Even if he was, it's hard to outperform Sherry Doyal (.352, 14, 64), who has hit .352/.443/.585 (160 OPS+) with a 177 WRC+, 23 doubles, 14 homers, and 64 RBIs in his first season as a right fielder. It should be the second selection for Doyal, who may give Al Farmer a run for his money in the Whitney if the Foresters can somehow close the gap between them and the leaders.

Starting Pitching: Let's get it out of the way. I'm voting for Duke Bybee (8-4, 2.64, 50). I can't pass up the Cougars best pitcher this season, as he leads all CA SPs in WHIP (1.07), BB/9 (2.2), and quality starts (13), and he's top five in more things that aren't worth listing. I also have to go with reigning Allen winner Adrian Czerwinski (11-3, 2.72, 63), who's aiming for the elusive threepeat that got Tom Barrell into the Hall-of-Fame. "The Mad Professor" is the first CA hurler to double digit wins, and he's doing pretty much everything right as he's emerged as one of the best pitchers in the world. The hard part is picking a third, as it would have been Win Lewis (5-1, 2.83, 34) has he not blown out his elbow. There are too many guys who have been great, from Cougar co-aces Pete Papenfus (6-5, 3.04, 69) and Donnie Jones (9-4, 3.41, 66) to Jerry York (4-6, 3.34, 45) and Mickey Mills (5-7, 3.24, 48), who deserve far more than their records who. But I have to give it to a 1940 All-Star who has defied all expectations this season, Lou Robertson (7-3, 3.02, 41), as he's been lights out starting games for the first time since 1942. How many pitchers go from pen fodder on the waiver wire to a legit starter with a 3.02 ERA (145 ERA+) and 3.53 FIP (80 FIP-). I'm telling you, there's something in the water in Philly!

Relief Pitching: Rightfully, the CA save leader David Molina (4-7, 10, 7.42, 13) isn't eligible for the ballot, as he's walked 37 batters in 40 innings and allowed runs in 11 of his first 18 outings and 14 of the 34 in the season. He's who I would have expected to pick here, but instead, I can go with two swingmen who have actually started some games. Jackie James (2-4, 8, 3.00, 22) has been excellent for the Sailors, and like with Robertson, he came off waivers from the Brooklyn Kings this offseason. He has an even 3.00 ERA (146 ERA+) as both a starter and reliever, with most of his time coming out of the pen. The other is Pete Ford (5-4, 3.08, 38), who has started 7 of his 20 games for the Saints while functioning as either a shutdown reliever or a reliable starter. While a lot of the starters I listed above are far more worthy, at least James and Ford have both pitched a fair amount of innings and done well in the roles they were put in.


Looks like OSA, the league scouting service, agrees wholeheartedly with the Cincinnati Cannons that Charlie Barrell was the right choice at #1 in the FABL draft. The Noble Jones College three sport star, who turns 21 the day after the all-star game, quickly agreed to a minor league deal with the Cannons last week and was immediately slotted in as the fourth best prospect according to the OSA.

The Los Angeles born second baseman, son of late football star and movie Tarzan Joe Barrell, was a 3-time baseball All-American at Noble Jones College while also excelling on the basketball court, where he helped the Colonels to a perfect season and a national title his sophom*ore year. He spends his fall throwing pigskins as the quarterback of the Colonels grid squad. Rumours suggest part of the deal was that the Cannons would allow Barrell to leave the club in September and return to school for his senior season of football and basketball, but it is not known if that plan changes should Charlie make it to the big leagues by then. While a handful of players through the years have gone straight from the college campus to the majors, including pitchers John Stallings and Eli Panneton, it is not known yet whether the same is in store for Charlie or if he will begin his pro career at one of the Cannons minor league affiliates.

Three other early signings to manage to crack the OSA top twenty-five prospects led by New York Gotahms 16th overall selection Jim Allen, an outfielder from Opelika State-Montgomery who sits 7th on the prospect list this morning, Kentucky high school first baseman Dick Green selected 8th overall by the Philadelphia Keystones is 17th. At 22nd on the list is 18-year-old outfielder Hank Williams who was drafted with the fifth pick by the Brooklyn Kings and slotting it at #25 is Hugh Ferebee, an 18-year-old centerfielder from Texas that was the Chicago Chiefs first pick, 12th overall.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (7)

Here is a look team-by-team at some of the early signings.

BOSTON- Top early round signing so far is Roy Rogan, a centerfielder out of St. Francis (OH) College who was a fourth round selection. The Minutemen, already loaded with talented young outfielders, have to be happy to see Rogan listed at #78 on the OSA pipeline. First rounder Mike Quigley, a Chicago born high school pitcher, is also signed but ranks just outside the top 100 at #110 on the OSA list.

BROOKLYN- The big news in Brooklyn is first rounder Hank Williams is signed and the 18-year-old debuts at #22 on the OSA list. Second round selection Alex Hafer, an 18-year-old lefthander is also signed and ranks 178th on the OSA list. Also of note is 3rd round selection Howdy Bloom, an 18-year-old catcher who is signed and ranked at #194 by OSA while 8th rounder Charlie Davis, a pitcher out of a California high school is also signed and slots in at #253 on the scouting service list.

CHIEFS- As mentioned above 18-year-old San Antonio, TX. centerfielder Hugh Ferebee was the Chiefs first rounder selection and OSA has him as their 25th best prospect. Second rounder Jim Upchurch, a high school first baseman makes the OSA list at #122.

COUGARS- The Cougars have yet to come to terms with any notable draft picks.

CINCINNATI- The big news is Charlie Barrell is signed and #4 according to the OSA list of best prospects in the game. The question is where will Charlie make his debut and is skipping the minors and going straight to Cincinnati a possibility. Second round selection Tom Wood, a high school first baseman has not signed yet but third rounder Joe Schorr, an 18-year-old pitcher from Jackson, OH., is and ranked #225 by OSA.

CLEVELAND- Four Foresters draftees rank in the top 230 by OSA highlighted by first rounder Al Beck, a high school second baseman that is 48th on the scouting service list. Second rounder Bob G. Murphy, a shortstop is 140th and maybe overshadowed by third round selection Herb Mills. Mills, an 18-year-old first baseman cracks the OSA top 100 at #95. 6th rounder Joe Sutton, a high school outfielder, is 230th on the OSA list.

DETROIT- Detroit's top two picks are both signed, and both highly thought of by OSA. First rounder Dick Tucker, a shortstop, sits 27th on the scouting service list while second rounder Jim Norris, a college pitcher out of East Texas State adds to the Dynamos deep collection of pitching prospects with his appearance at #53 on the OSA list. Also of note is another college pitcher, Jack Knudson of the AIAA champion Carolina Poly Cardinals is 158th on the OSA list after being selected in the 8th round by the Dynamos. 4th rounder Freddy Barrell, son of the Toronto manager and former Brooklyn standout catcher Fred Barrell, is signed but was not ranked in the top 500 by OSA.

MONTREAL- Saints first round choice Bob Porter has not yet signed but high school pitcher Andy Loque, their second round selection is under contract and ranked at #238 by OSA. Third rounder Joe Morgan, fifth round pick Charlie Earl and sixth rounder Jackie Quinn are all signed but did not crack the top 500.

NY STARS- A nice surprise for the Stars is seeing Frank Brown, a high school pitcher from Philadelphia that they selected in the 7th round, debut inside the top 500 at #386 on the prospect rankings. The only one of their first five selections to sign quickly was third round selection George Bernard, an 18-year-old outfielder. Bernard debuted #171 on the OSA list.

NY GOTHAMS- The Gothams have to be thrilled to see first round pick Jim Allen, a college outfielder, join 1950 first overall selection Earl Howe inside the top ten. Third round selection Zeb Stevens, an 18-year-old righthander, is signed and #213 on the OSA list. Second round choice Art Becker and fourth rounder Joe Roettger remain unsigned.

KEYSTONES- Dick Green, an 18-year-old first baseman some are tabbing as the next Rankin Kellogg, is signed and the 8th overall pick has debut comfortably inside the top twenty five prospects at #17 on the OSA list. Second round selection Jack Cornell has not yet agreed to a contract but shortstop Tommie Williams, the Keystones third round selection, has signed and is #248 on the OSA list.

SAILORS- Perhaps some disappointment as pitcher Don Hillshire, the Sailors first round pick, debuts at only 251st on the OSA rankings. The news is somewhat better for catcher Dixie Williams as the Sailors second round choice slots in at #170 on the OSA list. The news is not all bad as Ray Hill, a centerfielder out of Alabama Baptist, cracked the top 10 at #96 despite being a 6th round draft pick and pitcher Bud Henderson, chosen in round three, is #102 on the prospect pipeline. 8th round selection Cliff Seiler, a catcher also cracked the top 200 at #184.

PITTSBURGH- No Miners draft picks have signed as of yet.

ST LOUIS- No Pioneers draft picks, including #2 overall Rex Pilcher, have signed as of yet.

TORONTO- The struggling Wolves desperately need an influx of talent and early indications are this draft will certainly help in that regard as each of their top two picks are signed and cracked the OSA 100. First round selection Jim Montgomery, a high school pitcher out of Michigan, slots in at 80th on the scouting service list while second rounder Larry Curtis, a college outfielder from West Goshen State, proves to be the big find as the 22-year-old is 31st in his first OSA ranking. The news was not so good on third round selection Bill Crawford as the high school third baseman did not crack the top 500 but 7th round Harvey Nimz, a centerfielder did at #462 on the OSA prospect pipeline.

WASHINGTON- No Eagles draft picks have signed as of yet.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (8)


The Chicago Cougars have announced that 82nd ranked prospect Elmer Grace will have his contract purchased from AAA Milwaukee for the coming week. The 24-year-old shortstop has excelled in the Cuban Winter League, and is hitting .290/.400/.435 (139 OPS+) with a 150 WRC+ in 57 games at Milwaukee. The former 4th Rounder added 12 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers, 32 runs, 39 walks, and 27 RBIs, and will enter the Cougars lineup as the everyday second basem*n.

This pushes George Sutterfield (.263, 6, 30, 12) to the hot corner, and ends the second stint in the organization for Hal Wood. Wood, recently 37, was acquired in a six-player deal with the Wolves last season, has seen his production completely plummet this season. He's hit just .235/.332/.296 (67 OPS+) in 64 games, a far cry from the .312/.401/.487 (125 OPS+) he post4ed last season. In 1,341 FABL games, mostly with Toronto, he owns a .294/.364/.388 (112 OPS+) career line with 1,280 hits, 234 doubles, 32 triples, 37 homers, and 553 RBIs.

The Cougars made early offers to only three of their draft choices, but none have agreed to terms as of yet. That is good news for the incumbent Class C Lions who have a little more time to show off why they deserve their roster spots. The Class C season gets underway tomorrow.

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Better Week For Wolves -The Wolves go 2-3 for the week to end June at 9-19 which is not good but better than the 6-24 record the team posted in May. The two victories came in a three game series while playing Cincinnati. First it was an 8-6 win on Monday to snap a 5 game losing streak in a game in which both Kirby Copeland, Hank Giordano had 3 RBI. Charlie Zimmerman was the winner helped by Zane Kelly who posted his FABL save. After losing on Wednesday 5-1 the bats came alive again in the rubber match of the series in a high scoring 7-5 win for the Wolves led by Wally Boyer's 5th HR of the year along with Tony Ballinger's 3 for 4 effort.

Toronto played host to CA leading Philadelphia for a short two game weekend series. In a story that is becoming all to familiar to the team, fans of the Wolves the game was tied 2-2 going into the ninth after George Garrison had worked out of continual jams through 7. Jimmy Gibbs pitched a clean 8th inning before giving up 3 straight singles uncorking a wild pitch then a 3-run homer to Cotton Dillon with 2 out to lose 6-2. Before heading out for a 21 game road trip that includes 3 twin bills, interrupted by the mid-summer classic, the Wolves were one hit by Charlie Gordon who ran his record to 9-5 with complete game 4-0 shutout.

There is news throughout the minors. The Wolves signed seven recent draftees. Pitchers Willie Banks and Herm Loncar both 21, along with 18-year-old Jim Montgomery, Toronto's first round pick, will begin their professional journey in Tuscaloosa along with 18 year old's 3B Bill Crawford, SS Phil Allen and college OFers in Harvey Nimz and Larry Curtis.

CF Carl Clark, 2B Dick Webb were named Player of Week in the Dixie and Heartland Leagues respectively. The biggest news is that first overall pick in '47 Les Ledbetter will join the Wolves staff in Cleveland. In his five seasons in the minor leagues, including two in the Cuban Winter League, Ledbetter has an overall of record of 38-51 with a 5.08 era. He has struggled in a season and a half at AAA until the past month in which he posted a 3-0 record win 5 starts with a miniscule 0.73 ERA mostly by cutting down his free pass rate. The move to the next generation continues in Toronto.

Manager Fred Barrell "With his start to the season all indications were that we would not see Ledbetter until 1952. Then in June things turned around in a very positive way for him. We kept getting reports that he has "finally figured it out" with his last start against Charleston on Thursday clinching the deal. He went into the eighth giving up only one run on 8 hits with 8 strikeouts but more importantly only 1 walk on 102 pitches. With our upcoming trip it makes sense for him to start his, hopefully long, FABL career on the road with a little less pressure on him. He will not be pitching on a contending team so he can find his way over the summer. I would caution fans that there will most likely be ups and downs for Les as he faces the best hitters on the planet, we have confidence he will find his way by improving over the summer. I expect to use him twice this week as starter in the backend of both doubleheaders Wednesday in Cincy then again Sunday to face the Sailors."

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (10)


It will be interesting to see if the newest Dynamo who also happens to be a former Dynamo is voted to the Continental Association All-Star team. That would be third baseman Mack Sutton, who spent some time in Detroit half a dozen years ago and now returns following a trade with the New York Stars. Sutton leaves the Stars as the current CA homerun leader with 20 and will be counted on to provide some much needed offense for the local nine.

The Dynamos also quietly made a hitting coach change, discarding Jim Webb after 14 years in the role - many of those with the Detroit offense getting the blame for the club's failure to compete for a flag. The blame, or credit with a little luck and maybe some big help from Sutton, will now rest on the shoulders of Andy Williams. Williams is 63 years old and a baseball lifer. He was never a great player but lasted over a decade in the big leagues as a third baseman despite a .235 career batting average. Most of his time was spent on the bench, watching and learning. After his playing days were done, he managed in the minors for a stretch, and won a Southeastern League title one year, before joining the Pittsburgh Miners as their hitting coach in 1939. He helped the Miners win a pair of pennants and spent more than a decade in Pittsburgh before being let go following the 1949 season. After a year and a half out of the game he is back and will be counted on to help get the Dynamos offense firing.

*** My Federal Association All-Star Ballot ***

The all-star game is just 8 days away as the best in the game are set to gather in Toronto, a city that lately has been home to the worst in the game, commonly known as the Wolves. Our Federal Association stars halted a 4-game losing skid with a win over the best of the Continental Association last year in New York. Here is who I feel should be in the starting lineup for the Fed at Dominion Stadium next Tuesday.

CATCHER: This might have been a more difficult choice had Boston's Bill Van Ness not been injured earlier this month but even if he was healthy I think I would still be taking Gothams great George Cleaves to lead my team. Cleaves (.280,10,29) is not having a great year but still gets my pick in a position that is sorely lacking in depth across the loop.

FIRST BASE: Our own Dick Estes, the Chiefs Tiny Tim Hopkins, Sig Stofer in Washington and a rising young star in Boston's Danny Taylor speak of the depth at this position but the pick has to be Gothams slugger Red Johnson (.300,20,64)

SECOND BASE:Call me a homer but I am going with the Dynamos Del Johnson (.286,4,25) as my selection although a case could certainly be made for a number of others like Tom Jeffries, Artie D'Alessandro and Frank Kircher, who has been a real surprise in St Louis this season.

SHORTSTOP: Harry Barrell or Stan Kleminski. A part of baseball royalty or the breakout season we have been waiting for from the 24-year-old Detroit shortstop. I want to pick Kleminski (.333,2,26) but who knows how many more chances Harry Barrell (.311,1,24) will get to start an all-star game. Kleminski is on the team but let's give the start to future Hall of Famer Barrell.

THIRD BASE: If I could newest Dynamo Mack Sutton (.294,18,51) would get a write-in vote but I can't so instead it will be another New York Gotham in Roosevelt Brewer (.346,1,32)

LEFT FIELD: Larry Gregory had a slow start in St Louis but is coming on, just not quick enough to supplant Boston' Ben McCarty (.329,13,46) from being my choice.

CENTER FIELD: Say what you want about Rats McGonigle in Washington or the season Ernie Campbell is putting up in Pittsburgh but the choice is obvious. Edwin Hackberry (.284,13,46) of Detroit is the clear pick in my mind.

RIGHT FIELD: Wish I could shift Gregory or McGonigle to left but based on the names on the ballot my choice is yet another member of those dreaded Gothams: Flipper Robinson (.305,5,47)

PITCHER: We are allowed to select three starting pitchers and it is a tough choice but I will go with a pair of Gothams in Buddy Long (11-3, 3.29) and Ed Bowman (9-2, 2.71) along with Detroit's Wally Hunter (8-3, 2.87) but there were at least 3 others I wanted to select.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (11)


First round pick Dick Green has signed with the Keystones, debuting at #17 on the prospect list. Offers have been made to the top five Keystones selections, with Green, third-round selection SS Tommie Williams, and fifth-round pick 1B Win Davis signing their deals and reporting to camp.

It is open speculation where Green will start his professional career, but Williams and Davis will be ticketed for Class C Beaumont. Green, like Williams and Davis, are fresh out of high school, but team officials have told us that Green will be on the fast track to the major leagues. There is an easy opening at first base in Bakersfield (B), but Allentown (A) is a likelier destination with New Orleans (AA) not being ruled out yet. The farm system has risen to #3 in the rankings on the strength of these signings, as well as CF Buddy Miller, who has moved from the 12th-best prospect in the league before the season to #2 in the latest rankings, only trailing Earl Howe of the Gothams.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (12)

Time for a change?

Floundering is not the right word. A team that's is in third place 3.5 games out as we near mid-season isn't floundering. However a team that has spend the past three weeks losing as much, or more, than they win, has issues. Getting swept by one of your close competitors is a sign of trouble. And there is one place to point all your fingers on this Gothams teams.

Pitching. Something has to change. Too many games have been given away. The team leading the FA in most hitting categories cannot win consistently.

Ed Bowman (9-2, 2.71) is having another stellar season. Buddy Long (11-3, 3.29) is having his best year since coming over from Brooklyn in 1948. Steve Groves is having his usual strong season in the pen. And that's about it. The Gothams can hit enough to cover Joe Brown's league average stuff, but too often Lefty Allen or Jimmy Maness surrender more than even the Gothams stacked lineup can handle. Then there's the remainder of the pen. Sam Jordan and Johnny Waits, surrendering leads, or Lou Eaker not setting up Groves. Something has to give.

Word I'm hearing is that moves will be made within the organization in addition to a strong effort to bolster the rotation via trade, before the deadline. Would the Gothams use some of that offense in a deal for pitching? With past GM Tom Ward back in the front office, anything is possible.

Notes - Lefty Allen did manage a win this week, number 250 for his career.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (13)

  • Rumours we are hearing is the Philadelphia Keystones were very close to sending veteran Hank Koblenz to Detroit before the deal fell through and the Dynamos turned to Mack Sutton of the Stars. Like Sutton, Koblenz has Detroit ties as he was drafted by the Dynamos fifth overall in 1935 but dealt to the Keystones while still a minor leaguer. The Keystones, desperate for young pitching, are said to still be shopping Koblenz as well as well as outfielders Charlie Enslow and Bill Heim in an effort to upgrade their mound prospects.
  • Big news out of Toronto is 1947 first overall selection Les Ledbetter will make his big league debut likely sometime this week after the Wolves promoted him from AAA Buffalo. Ledbetter, a two-time Adwell Award winner in high school, has struggled as a pro but has showed signs recently of finally putting it altogether and has been rewarded with a promotion to the majors.
  • It is hard to believe that Chicago Chiefs catcher Pete Casstevens is hitting just .149 at age 32 after the best season of his career last year when he batted .264 with a career best 38 homers. Casstevens does have 9 round-trippers through 50 games this season but his slash line was just .149/.229/.309 entering play last week.
  • Joe Rutherford is a different story for the Chiefs. the 28-year-old outfielder got hot in June: .337/.438/.579 (1.016 OPS). And has started July with more of the same: .444/.500/1.444 (1.944 OPS).
  • Detroit's two college pitchers signed this week will go straight to AA. Second rounder Jim Norris (OSA #53) and 8th rounder Jack Knudson, (OSA #158), who pitched for the AIAA champion Carolina Poly Cardinals, will move to the top two spokes of the Akron Wheels rotation. First rounder Dick Tucker (OSA #27) a high school SS, will debut in Class A Terre Haute but begin by playing 3B.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (14)
All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (15)


Expect there to be plenty of interest in a trio of now former Toronto Dukes as NAHC clubs begin to bid on players with expired contracts. That list of free agents is headed by Lou Galbraith, the 23-year-old first-team All-Star left winger who refused to sign with the Toronto Dukes. The Dukes are said to be still looking at making a last ditched effort to get the Winnipeg native who scored 53 points on Toronto's top line with Quinton Pollack and Les Carlson to return to Toronto but they will now likely face bidding competition from each of the five other NAHC teams.

Galbraith is not the only key contributor to the Dukes back to back Challenge Cup wins of a few years ago. Defenseman Clyde Lumsen and veteran center Bobbie Sauer also did not resign. Sauer is 36 and said to be contemplating retirement after an injury plagues campaign that limited him to just 24 games last season but will likely have teams lining up for his services should he decide to return. Lumsen, 25, was a 1945 fourth round pick who has patrolled the Dukes blueline for the past six seasons. Earlier in the week another experienced Toronto defenseman in Frank Featherstone was released. Both are expected to find employment with another NAHC club although the Dukes may also try to reenter the bidding for Lumsen.

Others available to the highest bidder are expected to be 35-year-old Boston defenseman Len Bentley, a 5-time Cup winner, and 34-year-old Bees winger Joe Morey who struggled this season with just 7 points in 30 games. Morey was a key contributors on 4 Challenge Cup winning Boston teams and was the NAHC's top point producer in the 1945-46 season.

Several veteran Chicago Packers are also now free agents including Wes Burns, older brother of Packers captain Tommy Burns. The 34-year-old Burns, who appeared in just 20 games for the Packers last season scoring 10 points, may draw some interest but -much like Morey and Sauer- his best days are clearly behind him. Chicago could not or decided against resigning 26-year-old defenseman Joe Fleming along with a pair of 27-year-old forwards in David Rankin and Chris Broeke. Fleming will likely draw the most interest as a steady middle-pair defender.

Detroit has not resigned a pair of forwards in Bob Kelly and Gil Corbeil. Kelly, 27, spent the entire year with the Motors but was in and out of the press box appearing in 39 games while tallying 8 points. Corbeil, the former New York Shamrock, was outright released last week after collecting 9 points in 39 games for Detroit during a season split between the big club and the Buffalo Bears of the HAA.

New York does not have any unsigned players testing free agency while Montreal only has minor league goaltender Pat Beliveau, a 26-year-old who was originally a 6th round pick of Detroit in 1944 and has primarily played for Syracuse of the HAA but did appear in 15 games for the Valiants between 1947 and 1949.

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (16)

All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (17)
All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (18)


  • Rising heavyweight star Joey Tierney watched his perfect record and possible title shot against Hector Sawyer go up in smoke when he lost a majority decision to Evan Rivers in his hometown of Detroit Friday evening. Tierney drops to 23-1 with the loss, which likely ends any chance of him facing Hector Sawyer in The Cajun Crusher's swan song in New York this fall. It was a wild evening that had the pro-Tierney crowd at the Thompson Palladium up in arms with the decision. The fight was a slugfest, going back and forth with Tierney knocking sending his opponent from Oklahoma to the canvas twice but Rivers also scored a knockdown of Tierney marking the second fight in a row that the 23-year-old Motor City native had been floored. In the end the scorecard's were tight with two of them giving Rivers a narrow 2-point victory while the third judge scored the fight even. Despite the clear objections of Tierney's fan base most impartial observers felt the decision was just.
  • Earlier in the week another young heavyweight contender might have moved to the front of the line to face Sawyer. Max Bradley, the New Jersey fighter with a 21-1-1 record scored a clear decision over Roy Madison when they met in Newark on Wednesday evening.


  • Tonight- Detroit, MI - middleweight contender Davis Owens (25-2) faces Michigan native Jimmy Noble (13-3-1)
  • July 10- National Auditorium, Washington DC: veteran welterweights Heinie Verplanck (23-6-1) and Danny Julian (30-3-2) meet
  • July 13- Cincinnati: World Middleweight champion Millard Shelton (31-5) makes his first title defense against Mark McCoy (24-2)
  • July 17 - Portland, ME: former middleweight champ John Edmonds (33-4) squares off against Calvin Collins (9-1)
  • July 19- Bigsby Garden, New York - Heavyweight contender John Jones (19-2-1) meets ring veteran Matt Price (42-12-4)
  • July 25- Memphis, TN: welterweight Ben Bishop (36-10-1) faces Mike Jennings (42-15-1)
  • July 27- Denny Arena, Boston: Middleweight Bill Boggs (23-4-1) meets Rip Rogers (25-5-1)

The Week That Was
Current events from the week ending 7/01/1951

  • President Truman told the nation the United States is ready to join in a "real settlement" of the Korean war "which fully ends the aggression and restores peace and security." While not labelled as so, it was an obvious reply to the Soviet call for a cease-fire agreement in Korea last week.
  • As the week came to a close Truman sent to his commander of the UN forces in Korea instructions for negotiating a cease-fire. However, their has been no Red reply as of yet to the peace talk offer and fighting is continuing.
  • US Secretary of State Acheson warned Congress of possible "disaster" in Iran and cited this as one reason for approving a requested $8.5 billon for foreign military and economic aid even if the fighting stops in Korea.
  • Britain is sending war ships to an Iranian port where 27 oil tankers are caught in a jam in a dispute over payments for oil.
  • The latest figures released show an eight-tenth of one percent hike in the cost of living in the month of April, which puts it at an all-time high.
  • A new temporary price control bill is awaiting the President's signature.

    All things Figment - from the pages of The Figment Sporting Journal - Page 49 (19)

Cliff Markle HOB1 greatest pitcher 360-160, 9 Welch Awards, 11 WS titles

Columnist- The Figment Sporting Journal



My History of Hockey Replay
Tiger Fan's Sporting News : the mid 1940's
Tiger Fan's All Sport Replay: The 1920s
History of Sports 1901-15
Historical Tutorial and Feedback League
My first fictional attempt
The HOB4: The last of my series of history of baseball replays that go back to OOTP2 and the old message board.

Last edited by Tiger Fan; 06-26-2024 at 03:03 PM.

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