1932 featured some intriguing stories as things evolved in surprising ways. There were big trades, some seriously poor luck, some tremendous individual (and team) performances (and some really poor ones too) and plenty of drama as well. Coming out of the 1931 season you would have been laughed out of the room if you suggested the New York Gothams would be a non-factor in the Federal League pennant race. And you would have raised eyebrows by suggesting that the Chicago Cougars would tamper with a pennant-winning recipe. But both those things happened in 1932.

Among the big trades was an Independence Day deal that sent Max Morris from the Gothams back to where it all began: the Cleveland Foresters. That made plenty of headlines, but one that certainly changed the trajectory of both parties came three weeks later in the form of a blockbuster deal between the Chicago Cougars and Brooklyn Kings.

We'll get to that Kings/Cougars deal in a moment. But we'll start with the New York Gothams and the strange scenario that brought about the deal with the Foresters. New York was riding high after two straight pennants and it seems likely that they might have actually won it all in the '31 Series if they hadn't been without the potent bats of Joe Perret and Bud Jameson. We'll never know, but the hangover of that bitter defeat seemed to infect the 1932 edition of the Gothams. They finished last after a season that could easily be described as a disaster. And for most of it, before the team gave up the ghost, the Gothams were scoring runs in bunches and losing close games at a clip far greater than they should have, statistically-speaking. Ultimately they posted a 69-85 mark, 17 games out and in the basement. Ace Jim Lonardo stumbled to a 14-15 mark with a 4.07 ERA following two straight Allen Awards. Joe Perret had another injury-riddled season, only playing about half the season. Though Bud Jameson was back and productive (.350-20-105), GM Tom Ward pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Max Morris (hitting .344 with 20 HRs through 72 games at the time) to Cleveland for a quartet of prospects, only one of whom (1B Alex Thompson) appeared for the Gothams in 1932. The consolation prize for the Gothams was the top pick in the 1932 draft, which they'd spend on one of the most promising arms in a generation in right-hander Curly Jones who had pitched in the team's backyard for Henry Hudson College. If Lonardo returns to form, he and Jones could form a lethal one-two punch in New York.

Switching gears to "that other big trade" - the one between the Cougars & Kings. Brooklyn was making a concerted effort to shake things up with quality young players. The Cougars were looking for a proven commodity to help them catch the surging New York Stars who were 62-36, three games better than Chicago's 58-38 at the time of the deal. Brooklyn, it should be noted was 42-57 and in 7th-place at the time of the trade. The details, when they were released to the press were astounding. Heading to Chicago were former #1 overall pick and workhorse ace Tommy Wilcox and star catcher Mike Taylor. The return to Brooklyn was jaw-dropping as well: another former #1 overall pick in pitching prospect Tom Barrell, along with his brother, established catcher Fred Barrell and a pair of young pitchers in Mike Murphy and George DeForest.

The fallout of the trade was interesting to say the least. At the time of the deal Wilcox was 9-9 with a 3.19 ERA for the Kings and Taylor was hitting .285 with 15 homers. Tom Barrell had made a few starts for the Cougars, going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA over three starts, while Fred Barrell was hitting .311 and neither Murphy nor DeForest had appeared in the big leagues. After the trade, Wilcox fell apart, apparently struggling to adjust to playing in Chicago - his 6-6, 6.70 ERA performance down the stretch arguably cost the Cougars the pennant (they'd finish two behind the Stars), though Mike Taylor was excellent: .343-10-44 in 54 games for the Cougars. But the biggest difference was in the play of the Brooklyn Kings, who finished 80-74, good for a third-place tie with Cleveland. After the deal the Kings went 38-17 and looked like a legitimate contender. Tom Barrell was great early and finished well with a 10-3, 2.58 mark for the Kings. Murphy joined the rotation and went 7-2 with a 2.53 ERA. And Fred Barrell was consistent, if not as spectacular as Taylor had been, hitting .291 but more importantly providing stellar play behind the dish and gunning down 51.7% of would-be base stealers.

It's far too early to determine the "winner" of the trade, and ultimately all of the players involved are likely going to be well-worth having on the roster. We'll need to wait until 1933 and beyond for the final judgement on both big trades.

As mentioned above, the New York Stars won the CA pennant with 99 wins, two games ahead of the defending champion Cougars. Charlie Steadman, acquired the year before from Montreal, went 14-5 with a 3.14 ERA, joining with incumbent ace Dick Richards (17-7, 3.40) to give the Stars the league's stingiest pitching. The offense was the league's second-best, scoring 876 runs with their infield of 1B Dave Trowbridge (.355-15-110), 2B Pete Layton (.343-20-91) and 3B John Lawson (.377-19-150) leading the way once again. For Lawson it might have added up to another Whitney Award, if not for a certain guy in Baltimore. Regardless, the Stars were back in a big way.

The Continental was a two-horse race. Brooklyn's late surge notwithstanding they still finished 19 games out, tied with Cleveland at 80-74. The Philadelphia Sailors (76-78), Baltimore Cannons (71-83), Montreal Saints (64-90) and dismal Toronto Wolves (49-105) rounded out the Continental table.

The Federal League pennant went to the Philadelphia Keystones (86-68) who held off the Detroit Dynamos (82-72) for the pennant with the Boston Minutemen (79-75), Chicago Chiefs (78-76) and St. Louis Pioneers (78-76) also finishing over .500 in a well-balanced Federal circuit. The Washington Eagles (73-81), Pittsburgh Miners (71-83) and New York Gothams (69-85) rounded out the Federal standings.

The Keystones were led as usual by Rankin Kellogg who hit .332 while tying Detroit's Al Wheeler for the home run crown (38) and finishing third to Wheeler in RBIs with 128. The aforementioned Al Wheeler, the 1926 first overall pick and still just 25 years old, finished with a .348-38-146 line and a second Whitney Award after previously winning in 1930. Other top Fed performers on the offensive side included New York's Bud Jameson, who was second in batting at .350, batting champion Bob Martin of the Chiefs who hit .351 and showed increased clout with 16 homers and 121 RBIs. Philadelphia's Bobby Barrell hit .306 with 31 homers (3rd best) as he continued to emerge as a superstar in his own right. And the Pioneers? The former cellar dwellers flashed a couple of standout performers of their own with 1931 #1 overall pick Freddie Jones hitting .349 to finish third in the batting race and RF Alex Ingraham posting a ridiculous season that saw him hit 26 doubles, 34 triples and 25 homers while driving in 130 runs.

On the pitching side, the Federal's Allen Award went to Jack Beach of the Dynamos who led the league in wins (20) and ERA (3.51), giving Detroit a sweep of the Federal awards for 1932. 35-year-old Dick Dennis won 20 for the Eagles with a 3.84 ERA and 24-year-old team mate Ed Baker finished third in the league in ERA with a 3.68 mark. Philly's Ed Baker was second in ERA at 3.64 while going 16-8 for the pennant winners.

The Continental's Whitney Award winner was Baltimore's Lou Kelly, who had played bridesmaid to John Lawson for two years before finally earning the nod at age 30 thanks to a season in which he hit .355 with a league-best 40 homers and also led the league in slugging (.637), OPS (1.060) and WAR (8.3). Unfortunately for Kelly, his team stumbled to a sixth-place finish. Other top performances included batting champ Lawson (.377) and his team mate Trowbridge (.355, 2nd). The Taylor boys in Chicago: Tom (30) and Mike (25) were 2-3 in homers and Tom's 139 RBIs were 2nd to Lawson's league-best 150.

A trio of hurlers won 19 games to tie for the league-lead in that category: Baltimore's Rabbit Day (who also won the Allen - his 2nd time winning the award), Philly's William Jones and Chicago's Dick Luedtke. Day's 191 strikeouts were far ahead of anyone else in either league. Luedtke claimed the ERA title at 2.79, with Jones (2.99) and the Stars' Steadman (3.14) finishing 2nd & 3rd respectively.

The World Championship Series was a wipeout as the Stars were just too much to handle for the Keystones and swept the Fed League champs. They took game one 8-2 behind Dick Richards' solid pitching and a 3-for-4 performance from CF Mike Mason. Game two was a comeback win by a score of 7-5 as Philly's bullpen wasted a strong effort from Ed Baker in a five-run eighth by New York. Game three was a lopsided 6-1 win for the Stars with Pete Layton (2-for-4) and Dave Trowbridge (2-for-3) leading the way. Game four was likely the wildest game anyone could remember. The Keystones thrilled the hometown fans with an eight-run second only to see the Stars roar back with eight runs of their own in the third, and then proceeding to tack on seven more over the next two innings and holding on for a crazy 15-10 win. Pete Layton was named the MVP of the Championship series thanks to his stellar 9-for-18 series that included two doubles, a triple and a homer, and a whopping seven RBIs over the four game series.

FEDERAL ASSOCIATION
Team			W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Philadelphia Keystones	86	68	.558	-	862	755
Detroit Dynamos		82	72	.532	4	779	707
Boston Minutemen	79	75	.513	7	780	789
Chicago Chiefs		78	76	.506	8	842	836
St. Louis Pioneers	78	76	.506	8	834	853
Washington Eagles	73	81	.474	13	723	800
Pittsburgh Miners	71	83	.461	15	694	774
New York Gothams	69	85	.448	17	813	813

CONTINENTAL ASSOCIATION
Team			W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Stars		99	55	.643	-	876	674
Chicago Cougars		97	57	.630	2	903	730
Brooklyn Kings		80	74	.519	19	744	746
Cleveland Foresters	80	74	.519	19	855	804
Philadelphia Sailors	76	78	.494	23	717	718
Baltimore Cannons	71	83	.461	28	712	834
Montreal Saints		64	90	.416	35	668	755
Toronto Wolves		49	105	.318	50	606	820