Both leagues featured good pennant races once again - and for the second straight year, the contenders were identical as well. As were, ultimately the pennant winners, though the World Championship Series' results were flipped this time around.

In the Federal Association, the New York Gothams and St. Louis Pioneers were the class of the circuit and the Gothams eked out the pennant by a two-game margin (after winning the '34 flag by five games over the same Pioneer club).

The perception around the Gothams has been that they have the best rotation in the Fed (if not FABL as a whole) with multiple Allen-Award-winning arms in the rotation. Rabbit Day, Jim Lonardo, Hardin Bates being the aforementioned men with the hardware joined by (for a limited engagement, another Allen winner in Milt Fritz - he was ultimately traded to the Chicago Cougars), highly touted prospect Curly Jones and Jack Elder. The rotation produced, as expected, and the Gothams allowed the fewest runs in the FA.

The Gothams got strong seasons from perhaps the most underrated receiver in baseball, John Wicklund (.329-23-101) as well as outfielders Moxie Pidgeon (.306-28-120) and Mahlon Strong (.343-24-116) as well as 3B Johnny McDowell (.338-2-67). That added up to the third-best run scoring lineup in the FA.

The #1 team on that list was the St. Louis Pioneers. With former Gotham farmhand 1B Fred McCormick (.369-27-161) and batting champ/Whitney Award winning 2B Freddie Jones (.389-8-89, 145 runs) leading the way, the Pioneers plated 959 runs, the most in either league. And the pitching was good too - with an Allen-Award-winning performance from Sam Sheppard (28-7, 3.13 over 41 starts and 336 innings) and a solid season from David Abalo (17-12, 3.92), the Pioneers were mid-pack in run prevention which meshed nicely with their outstanding lineup to power them to 91 wins, just two shy of the 93-win Gothams.

The Philadelphia Keystones were third, 83-71 and 10 games off the pace. LF Rip Curry (.370) was second in the batting race, 1B Rankin Kellogg (.338-45-165) and RF Bobby Barrell (.317-33-132) were their usual outstanding selves, helping Philly score 888 runs, 2nd to the Pioneers. The pitching was a somewhat weak spot, finishing fifth overall.

Fourth-place went to the Pittsburgh Miners, who had a somewhat surprising season with an 82-72 mark despite only outscoring their opponents by three runs 747-744 on the year. Those runs allowed were third behind the 731 allowed by both the Gothams and Boston Minutemen. The future looks bright for the Miners with catcher George Cleaves (.333-12-94) continuing his development and top pitching prospect Lefty Allen making a September appearance (1-2, 3.60 ERA in three games) that may presage a full-scale debut in '37.

The Chicago Chiefs (78-76) were fifth, and like Pittsburgh, seemed to be on an upward trajectory towards contention. Already in place is 1B Bob Martin (.361-9-83), one of the top batters in the league, 3B Len Jones (.338-11-101) and a solid RF platoon of Cliff Moss (.331-19-60) and Ron Rattigan (.314-8-38). The pitching remained a work in progress, but Ron Coles (14-16, 4.18) was solid in his first stint as a full-time starting pitcher and Charlie Bingham (15-9, 3.94) looked like a reliable anchor while the team awaits the arrival of Al Miller, who could be the ace the team needs.

The Boston Minutemen, like the Chiefs and Miners, are a work-in-progress. They finished sixth with a 75-79 mark, but any disappointment there has to be offset by the club's flashing of the single-most difficult asset to find: quality pitching. Boston tied the Gothams for the fewest runs allowed, thanks to a staff that may lack household names, but proved itself adept at run prevention. With 22-year-old Dick Higgins showing he was ready with a 15-15, 3.43 ERA campaign, the Minutemen's staff seems to be legit. There's good young talent in the OF led by Chick Donnelly (.338-13-81, 105 runs), Pete Day (.292-3-65, 92 runs) and Dave Henry (.300-11-66 in 84 games).

The makeover in Washington is ongoing and the team's seventh-place finish at 71-83 could be reasonably assessed as promising. The Eagles have an established, if underrated, star in 29-year-old 2B Andy Carter (.321-4-64, 15 triples) and a good young RF in Sam Brown (.332-17-82) with similarly young and promising pieces spread around the field. What let the Eagles down was the pitching, to the tune of 881 runs allowed, ahead of only the completely torn-down Detroit Dynamos. Still, the farm system is rife with promising arms and things certainly look bright in the nation's capital.

The same can't be said for Detroit. The Dynamos began a complete teardown and rebuild process before the '36 season, dealing away a slew of valuable players that included the Continental's Triple Crown-and-Whitney Award winner in Al Wheeler. The cupboard was left as bare in Detroit as anyone could remember anywhere and the results - a 43-111 mark - bore that out. The pain level is high, but the return on all those trades should hopefully bear fruit in the not-too-distant future. For now, Dynamos fans must simply play the waiting game and hope the front office hits on the draft picks and prospects acquired for Wheeler, Frank Vance, Roy Calfee, Jack Beach and the other established stars dealt away.

The Continental Association race, like the Fed's had a familiar look. Once again the primary combatants were the Cleveland Foresters and Brooklyn Kings and once again, the Foresters eked out the pennant win by a single game over the hard luck Kings.

We'll start with the runners-up here - the Brooklyn Kings made big moves to improve the club and win that elusive title. That it eluded them despite the acquisition of Al Wheeler (.362-34.130, Triple Crown and Whitney Award) and Frank Vance (.354-7-91) from Detroit boils down a key injury to the worst possible player in Tom Barrell. The Kings' workhorse ace was coming off a stellar '34 season that saw him win 29 games and the Allen Award. In '35 he was well on his way again, and ended up 22-11 with a 2.86 ERA (and a second straight Allen Award), but he missed several weeks with an abdominal injury, likely costing the club several wins, any one of which would have at least secured Brooklyn a first-place tie.

In Cleveland, the name etched on the Front Office glass had changed, but the performance on the field did not. With a new GM overseeing things, the Foresters' well-oiled machine chugged right along in '35, capturing its second straight pennant. Four Foresters (Leon Drake, Dan Fowler, Max Morris and T.R.Goins) clubbed 20 or more home runs, the pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in either league and the team, in general, was just as good as ever. Even with living legend Max Morris missing the stretch run, the Foresters were clutch and won whenever they needed a victory, much as they had done the previous year.

Third-place belonged to the Philadelphia Sailors. The Sailors posted a 78-76 mark, barely over .500 and 18 games behind the Foresters. With both Cleveland and Brooklyn sporting juggernaut clubs, there wasn't much left for the rest of the bunch in the CA. The Sailors actually allowed more runs (764) than they scored (754) so they could be considered lucky to some extent. Still they did get good performances from 1B Dick Walker (.299-10-80) and they have a trio of solid pitchers in William Jones (16-11, 3.58), Doc Newell (18-12, 3.62) and Herb Flynn (14-8, 3.48). Unfortunately for them, the staffs in Cleveland and Brooklyn are both star-studded and extremely talented too.

Montreal, also under new management, posted a 75-79 mark, good for fourth-best, held back by inconsistency more than anything else. There is some talent in 1B Vic Crawford (.337-14-103), 3B Hank Barnett (.289-18-85) and promising defensive whiz Pablo Reyes in CF. There's a potential ace in 25-year-old George Thomas (18-12, 4.01) but the Saints still have some growing to do in the top-heavy Continental if they're to contend.

The New York Stars were caught-in-between in 1935. The glories of championship seasons were not too far in the past for this group, but they were getting long in the tooth and that showed on the field. 3B John Lawson was the best of the bunch at the plate with a .343-12-77 stat line in 125 games (94 starts) that showed he still has it. But he turned 32 this season, and fellow infielders 1B Dave Trowbridge (36), 2B Pete Layton (35) and SS Bill Rich (33) are all on the wrong side of 30. The once-top-notch pitching fell off as well and the team allowed 881 runs, third-worst in the league.

Another former champion laid low in '35 was the Chicago Cougars. The Cougars aggressive management doesn't sit pat and changes were made during the season, so the clubs 68-86 mark, while disappointing, doesn't mean this isn't a group with a bright future: the Cougs' farm is bursting with potential, some of which made an appearance to rave reviews in 1935. One of those youngsters was RF Rich Langton who hit .344 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs in a mere 65 games. With all the dealing and shuffling going on, only three players (LF Doc Love, .340-22-105), C Mike Taylor (.260-11-62) and IF Bill Ashbaugh (.282-11-78) played in more than 100 games. The pitching was uneven and in flux as well althoughformer ace Tommy Wilcox (3-1, 4.72 in eight games) returned. A big chunk of the team's future fortunes ride on whether Wilcox can recover a significant portion of his vast talent before arm injuries laid him low.

The Toronto Wolves finished seventh, another season in a growing string of disappointing finishes for a club that has finished as high as sixth only once since 1927's third-place finish, and averaging 36.25 games out of first in those eight seasons. Still, new management is in place, there's a hotshot pitching prospect (Joe Hancock) getting ever close to debuting out of a minor league system that is improving. And there is 25-year-old Chuck Cole. The right-hander posted an 18-10 mark and 3.06 ERA for a team that won a total of 67 games. So there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if the tunnel still seems like it's going to go on for a bit.

The Baltimore Cannons, like the Detroit Dynamos in the Fed, are in the midst of a tear-it-down-to-the-studs type of rebuild. The Cannons were 65-89 and did flash a somewhat effective (and relatively young) lineup headlined by a trio of solid, mid-twenty-somethings in 1B Bunny Stapleton (.352-13-65), CF Whit Williams (.324-8-59) and LF Jim Mason (.343-11-67). The pitching was, to put it bluntly, bad. But there are a couple of top-notch arms on the farm in first round picks John Edwards and Rusty Petrick and the club's last-place finish earned them the honor of adding prized pitching prospect Rufus Barrell II to their organization. So pitching is on the way. Hopefully the good hitters the team has haven't aged out by the time it arrives in Baltimore.

As mentioned above, the Allen Awards were won by Brooklyn's Tom Barrell in the CA (his second straight win) and St. Louis' Sam Sheppard in the Federal. The Whitney Award in the Continental went - unsurprisingly - to Triple Crown winning outfielder Al Wheeler of Brooklyn (a feat made more impressive by his having spent the first month of the season in the other league). The Fed's winner was Freddie Jones of the Pioneers, who has emerged as the best pure hitter in the game, as well as an on-base machine with the game's best eye at the plate: Jones had 234 hits, 148 walks and just 22 strikeouts on the season.

The postseason featured a rematch of the 1934 World Championship Series as the New York Gothams and Cleveland Foresters squared off again. The Foresters were without Max Morris, who went done with a back injury on the last day of August. Whether that made a real difference is debatable as the Gothams had a tremendous series, winning impressively in five games to gain revenge on their loss in 1934. The Series win was the first for New York since 1896 ending nearly 40 years of misery.