They called him the Memphis Mauler and though the Tennessee native was far from home, he certainly lived up to the "Mauler" portion of his moniker in posting one of the most impressive seasons in FABL history in 1933. The Mauler, of course, was Rankin Kellogg, the star first sacker of the Philadelphia Keystones. By '33 Kellogg was already a household name of long-standing but the 30-year-old upped the ante in a big way by batting .390 with 45 homers and 151 runs batted in. These were Triple Crown numbers, not only for the Federal Association, but for FABL as a whole. And riding on his coat-tails the Philadelphia Keystones copped a second-straight Fed pennant and a berth in the World Championship Series. An honorable mention must be given to his young team mate Bobby Barrell who posted an outstanding season of his own (.367-12-137).

Kellogg's heroics were just a part of what was a historic season for FABL. For the first time in history, the best of the best would earn a showcase in the middle of the season as FABL unveiled the "All-Star Benefit for Retirees and Widows' - which would soon become known as simply "the All-Star game." Devised as a way to put some money in the pockets of destitute ex-players and their families during what was the depths of the Great Depression, the game's inaugural affair was held at Chicago's Whitney Field on July 6th and was a tremendous success (with the Federal stars outdueling their Continental counterparts by a final of 8-5), with FABL President Robert Owings announcing a week later that it would become an annual event, with the host site alternating by league with an aim to eventually bringing it to every FABL ballpark. 

Fittingly, that first ever 1933 All-Star game featured Max Morris, the game's biggest star with the aging, but still dangerous, slugger entering the record books (again) with the first hit in All-Star game history. He also scored the game's first run, crossing the plate on Forester team mate Moxie Pidgeon's homer (also a first) to get the game off to a fast start. Morris, Pidgeon and the rest of the Foresters spent much of the season looking like a dangerous club before fading down the stretch in the face of a very strong Chicago Cougars club.

Those Cougars were something else too. One newspaperman may have hit the nail on the head when he described the Cougars as "more mechanically efficient than any assembly line in the nation." The Cougars were ruthlessly efficient - they pitched well, they fielded (extremely) well and they hit well. It was hard to find a flaw in their collective efforts and they ended up winning the Continental pennant with a 97-57 record, ten games up on the aforementioned Cleveland Foresters. With five All-Stars on the roster, headed up by the three-headed monster of ace pitchers Dick Lyons, Tommy Wilcox and Dick Luedtke, the Cougs allowed a full half-run less than any other CA team (3.4) and were nearly a full-run better than the league average of 4.2. The offense, headed up by C Mike Taylor (.282-21-76), OF Tom Taylor (.292-17-87) and 1B Bill Ashbaugh (.291-11-75) lacked a superstar of the caliber of a Max Morris or Rankin Kellogg, but was deep and dangerous throughout. And the defense, particularly in the outfield, was rock solid.

Cleveland, with Morris bashing a league-best 41 homers at age 38, was the only CA club to top 100 homers (they hit 109 as a team) with the aforementioned Pidgeon (17) and CF Dan Fowler (12) also reaching double-figures. Perhaps most impressive for Clevelanders was the emergence of a legitimate pitching staff, something of obvious necessity in the Continental Association. Roger Perry turned in an ace-like performance (17-9, 3.45 ERA) at age 25 and fellow 25 year-olds Ben Turner (14-14, 3.70) and Karl Johnson (11-8, 3.52) showed a lot of promise (though Johnson ended up being dealt for veteran catcher TR Goins). But the biggest reason for optimism on the banks of the Cuyahoga was 23-year-old Dean Astle who went 7-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts for the Foresters after coming up from AAA. Third-place went to the defending champion New York Stars who went 79-75 as the third (and last) CA team to top the .500 mark in 1933. The Philadelphia Sailors finished fourth with a flat .500 record at 77-77. 

Brooklyn, finishing fifth, continued to madden fans with another sluggish start and torrid finish, posting an enticing, but disappointing 76-78 mark. Montreal, which finished sixth at 75-79, rounded out the middling group of CA clubs that showed flashes of promise. The Baltimore Cannons finished seventh at 65-89 despite another stellar season for Rabbit Day (21-11, 2.77). The Cannons would embark on a true "tear it all down and rebuild" process in the offseason. Last place again went to Toronto who were again living up to what wag termed a reputation as the team that is usually "top of the map, but bottom of the standings."

Brooklyn's Jake Shadoan won the batting title with a .364 average. Morris led in homers (41) and RBIs (120). Chicago's Wilcox copped the ERA title at 2.58, and tied with Rabbit Day for the most wins (21). Day again led the league in strikeouts with 177.

The Whitney Award went to Max Morris of Cleveland, his record eighth time winning the award; Tommy Wilcox brought the Allen Award home to Chicago - his first time earning the nod as the league's top pitcher.

The Federal League, like the Continental, ended up not having much of a pennant race down the stretch as the Keystones simply had too much for the rest of the Fed to handle. Philly went 96-58 and though Detroit's 90-64 mark was deceptively close, there really wasn't much of a chance of anyone else winning the flag in 1933. The Stones put up 871 runs, good for 5.7 a game, more than half-a-run better than runner-up St,. Louis. And the pitching, though not overwhelming, was good enough, finishing third in runs allowed at 4.6 a game. As previously mentioned, the one-two punch of Kellogg & Barrell gave the Keystones a lot of firepower with the pair finishing 1-2 in average and slugging percentage as well as RBIs (and several other categories as well). The pitching was headed up by Ed Baker (19-5, 3.78) with veteran Bill Ross (14-9, 4.08), Art Myers (13-7, 3.86), Ray Rinehart (12-98. 4.81) and Al Robinson (11-13, 4.20) rounding out the rotation.

Second-place Detroit was led by RF Al Wheeler (.300-26-121) and LF Henry Jones (.300-19-96) giving the Dynamos the Fed's third-best offense. Detroit's league-best pitching was led by 36-year-old veteran Roy Calfee (18-12, 3.00), 34-year-old Wayne Robinson (17-11, 3.12) and 35-year-old Mel Strom (15-15, 4.11) - the biggest problem in Motown was the mileage on those arms. The New York Gothams and surprising St. Louis Pioneers finished tied for third with identical 81-73 marks. The Gothams suffered through another injury-riddled season with star 1B Bud Jameson (.314-9-61) again limited to barely 100 games (101 to be precise) and LF Joe Perrett (.307-12-77) also missing significant time. But NY did still have the Fed's best pitcher in Jim Lonardo. Lonardo (21-10, 2.87) copped his third Allen Award as the Fed's top arm, giving him three of the last four Allen trophies. With 20-somethings Hardin Bates, Jack Elder (only 22), Walter Murphy and Al Allen (the son of the guy the award was named for) on hand, the Gothams had pitching to spare in backing up the stellar Lonardo.

The Pioneers, who were supposed to still be rebuilding, served notice that they might be ahead of schedule in 1933. They had a bona-fide star on their hands in 23-year-old 2B Freddie Jones (.355-4-89, 112 runs) who proved his outstanding debut in '32 was no fluke. They had a legitimate slugger in 27-year-old LF Alex Ingraham (.274-22-111) and a solid second-fiddle to Jones in 1B Fred McCormick (.347-7-69) who came over in the Max Morris trade of 1930, a deal that was paying great dividends for St. Louis. 25-year-old Rule 5 pickup Sam Sheppard (17-14, 3.50) looked like he might prove to be that rare ace plucked off the scrap heap and Joe Shaffner (15-17, 4.12) and Brad Magnuson (18-12, 4.03) showed they could provide quality innings. The Pioneers' future looked very bright at the conclusion of the '33 campaign, a far cry from the depths of their 53-101 last-place record of just two years earlier (the finish that gave them the pick they used to get Freddie Jones).

The bottom half of the Federal standings was headed by Pittsburgh at 73-81. Like St. Louis, the Miners were in a rebuild and did have some nice young players around which they were building. 27-year-old Frank Lightbody (.307, 19 triples) was emerging as something more than "Doug's kid brother", 24-year-old 3B Ed Stewart (.292-21-88) and 28-year-old C Jim Pool (.274-15-69). The biggest promise lay in the minors, where catcher George Cleaves waited in the wings for his shot at the big time. With Pool and Curt Squillante (.322 in 64 games) already in Pittsburgh, finding at-bats for Cleaves presented a bit of a challenge, but it was expected that management would take care of that in the offseason.

Speaking of management, the Washington Eagles had a new boss and he wasn't going to stand pat. Among several moves made was one really, big one: dealing long-time franchise cornerstone catcher T.R. Goins. Goins was sent to Cleveland with the Eagles receiving promising pitcher Karl Johnson, catcher Ben Richardson and a first round draft pick that the team used on HS pitcher Tommy Trott. The jury's out on that one, but it seemed like a move in the right direction. The Eagles' cupboard was fairly bare, but the team did get promising seasons from 25-year-old CF Wally Flowers (.312-10-88) and 24-year-old pitcher Bob Sanders (7-11, 3.63). 

The two other rebuilding projects in the Fed, in Chicago (65-89) and Boston (60-94) were similar stories. The Chiefs had a promising 25-year-old pitcher in Jim Simmons (14-14, 3.45) and a couple of younger hitters (1B Bob Martin and SS Joe Foy) to support the franchise's two star players: 33 year-old 3B Joe Masters (.269-18-102) and 31-year-old LF Jim Hampton (.316-19-87). The Minutemen had an aging star of their own in 34-year-old Charlie Barry (.341-6-72) with a promising young catcher in 24-year-old Bobby Gentry (.338-4-41 in 84 games) and also had, but dealt, 25-year-old CF Dan Fowler (.285-14-58 with Boston, .298-26-94 overall with Boston & Cleveland) and a pitcher they hoped would evolve into a potential ace in 24-year-old Ed Wood, who came over from Cleveland in the Fowler trade and went 3-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 games after joining Boston. The Minutemen also received young SS John Wood, CF Pete Day and 3B Art Spencer in that Fowler deal, a good haul of youth possessing that all-important attribute: potential.

The World Championship Series which pit the opposing styles of the Chicago Cougars (outstanding pitching & defense with solid offense) versus the Philadelphia Keystones (outstanding offense with solid pitching & defense) was much anticipated following a stretch run that was as ho-hum as any in recent memory. In game one, the Cougars drew first blood with a three-run third and went on to a 7-3 victory in a battle of aces (Chicago's Wilcox vs Philly's Baker). Game two, again in Philadelphia, saw the visitors again win, this time the Cougars scratched out a 3-2 win behind Dick Luedtke. In their two road wins, Chicago had successfully "danced between the raindrops" preventing too much damage despite Kellogg (4-for-8) and Barrell (4-for-9) each having some individual success at the plate.

With games three, four and five set for North Side Grounds, the Cougars were likely feeling pretty good about themselves as they headed to Chicago. But the Keystones kept the visiting team streak alive thanks in large part to their big slugger as Rankin Kellogg went 4-for-5 with a double and homer to power a 9-5 win to get Philly back into the Series. The trend continued in game four as the Keystones won by a 4-1 margin to make it four straight wins by the road team. Kellogg again provided some fireworks with a two-run homer and Barrell pitched in with a three-hit effort for the Keystones.

The pivotal game five saw an interesting decision as Philly elected to not send Ed Baker out to start against Tommy Wilcox, instead going with game two starter Al Robinson. Both Wilcox and Robinson were a bit shaky in the early going and the game was knotted at 3-3 through the first three innings of play. Each team added a run in the sixth, making it 4-4 with two-thirds of the game in the books - and it remained that way into the 10th inning when, with Wilcox still on the mound, the Keystones get a three-run homer from CF Grover Lee and end up taking a 7-4 victory and 3-1 series lead back to Philadelphia. But again... would Philly feel secure in going home in a series in which the home team had yet to win a game?

If they did, it would have been a poor decision as once again the road team pulled out the win in game six. Now tapping Baker to return to the hill for the first time since his game one loss, the Keystones hoped to snap the streak against Chicago's Dick Luedtke. And it looked good in the early going as the Keystones jumped out 4-1 after two innings. But the Cougars cut it to 4-3 in the fifth and after Philly scored to make it 5-3, the Cougars came back again and tie it in the sixth. In the 8th, the Cougars score again, and make it hold up, eking out a 6-5 victory to keep the road win streak going and push themselves to the brink of a second title in three seasons.

Game seven - a dream scenario for baseball fans. This one would feature the Cougars ace, and eventual Allen Award-winner, Tommy Wilcox, going on short rest after his game five effort, facing off with former Cougar Bill Ross. In the third, the Cougars draw first blood thanks to an error and a double, to go up 1-0. The lead wouldn't be held though as the Keystones battle back to plate a pair of tallies in the home fourth to lead 2-1. Chicago answers right back, knotting the game at 2-2, That would hold into the bottom of the sixth when Cy Cox singles to bring up Bobby Barrell who belts a two-run homer to give Philly a 4-2 lead. That would prove to be the game's final score as Bill Ross mowed through the Cougars over the last three frames to give the title to Philadelphia.

Barrell earns the nod as Series MVP for his 14-for-29 efforts that included a pair of homers, six runs scored and six more driven in.