The 1929 Figment season featured one good race for the pennant (and one not so good), saw the return to form of one of the game's all-time greats and brought the curtain down on another of the game's legends, while another seemed to just keep on ticking along.

The Continental Association was the circuit that did not have much of a pennant race. The defending champion Philadelphia Sailors came out fast and kept it up throughout the season. They really turned it on in June - on the first their lead was 3.5 games over the rising Montreal Saints, and by the end of the month their lead had ballooned to double-digits. Led by their 24-year-old superstar RF Tom Taylor (.351-38-138), the Sailors' offense was tops in the CA, scoring 900 runs despite being 5th in homers. The pitching was equally superb allowing just 631 runs, placing three players in the top 7 for ERA, including the ERA champ in Russ Reel who went 18-8 with a 2.93 ERA.

Other top performers in the CA included Baltimore ace Ken Carpenter who was one of two pitchers to top 20 victories as he went 23-13, 3.26 for the Cannons. Montreal's Charlie Stedman posted a 21-10 mark and was second in ERA as well with a 2.99 (the only other starter to post a sub-three mark in the league). The Cannons' young catcher Joe Welch hit .375 to win the batting crown while the aforementioned Tom Taylor led in both homers and RBIs (Welch was second in both with 36 and 128, respectively).

The New York Stars finished a distant second, 17 games back of the Sailors whose 103-51 record was the best in FABL by a large margin. Baltimore was third at 83-71 and Montreal was the only other .500 or better team in the CA, finishing with an even 77-77 ledger. Brooklyn finished fifth (72-82) followed by Toronto (69-85), Cleveland (64-90) and Chicago (62-92).

The Fed featured a much better race, as the Detroit Dynamos and Chicago Chiefs battled it out into the final weekend of the season before the Dynamos captured their first league title since 1919. Detroit's 91-63 mark was two games better than the Chiefs' 89-65. Detroit featured the league's batting champ in 3B Frank Vance (.372) and Vance might have won a Triple Crown were it not for a certain legendary slugger (more on him in a bit), as Vance belted 41 homers and drove in 143 runs - both second-best in the Fed. Roy Calfee was the ace of the Dynamos, leading the league as he went 26-8 with a 3.53 ERA. With RF Al Wheeler (.340-37-125) and LF Henry Jones (.330-40-131) joining Vance, the Dynamos top three were pure murder on opposing pitching and it was no surprise Detroit posted a league-best 926 runs scored.

Max Morris had, quite literally, hammered home the concept of the home run as a primary weapon long before the 1928 season dawned. But that philosophy also ran against a long-entrenched trend in the game favoring "inside baseball" which sneered at the homer in favor of bunts, hit-and-runs and stolen bases. The 1928 season marked a turning point in this philosophical battle as the players themselves began to embrace the power game.

The clearest example of this shift came in Chicago. The Chicago Chiefs boasted a particularly friendly park for power hitters. The problem had always been that the Chiefs' roster didn't feature anyone particularly fond of trying to hit the ball over the fence. That too changed in 1928.

Joe Masters, the Chiefs incumbent third baseman had been a fairly average player in his first six seasons in the Windy City. He hit close to .300 every year and had shown some middling power,reaching double-figures in all but one year (he had 9 that year) but topping out at 15 (which he did twice, including in 1927). Masters focused on improving his swing over the winter of 1927-28 and came to camp with an improved stroke aimed at putting the ball into the air. And it worked - big time.


3B Joe Masters, CHC

Masters stroked 56 home runs, drove in 195 runs (a new record) and hit .388 - numbers that would likely win a Triple Crown most years, but not in the Federal Association in 1928. The batting crown went to Masters' team mate LF Jim Hampton who was over .400 most of the season before settling for a .397 mark and the batting title.

With Masters & Hampton leading the way, the Chiefs were out in front most of the season, won 95 games and took the pennant by a nice round 10-game margin over the second-place Detroit Dynamos. Chicago was not one-dimensional, with a pair of 20-game winners - and a pair of 19-game winners as well, giving them the league's second stingiest staff to go along with their league-leading offense.

Second-place Detroit won 85 games and the '28 season saw the Dynamos finally bring up 1926 #1 overall pick Al Wheeler. The 20-year-old right fielder hit .306 with 18 homers and 101 RBIs but was second fiddle to breakout star Frank Vance, a third baseman who flirted with .400 most of the season before fading a bit and finishing tied for second with a .388 average.