1908 was a big year in Detroit. Not only did the fledgling Ford Motor Company produce the car that would make it a powerhouse (the Model T), but the long-suffering baseball fans of the city finally got a pennant from their hometown team when the Detroit Dynamos, who had finished as high as 2nd only once in their 19-year-history (and had just two 3rd-place finishes too) put together a season to remember.

The Dynamos had made a splash the year before with their pitching, thanks to the acquisition of Woody Trease from Boston. In theory this gave Detroit two aces, as Bill Temple had long been established as one of the game's best hurlers, albeit one with a drinking problem that was the worst-kept secret in baseball. Still, the Trease-Temple tandem was fearsome. But in '07 the hitting had let them down and the team finished third (which still marked their best finish since a 2nd-place finish in 1896). So the fans were cautiously optimistic when the 1908 season opened with new faces at several positions on the field. And the changes actually worked this time, as the club finished 2nd in runs scored (505) and the pitching was just as good as it had been in 1907 - Trease was tremendous (31-12, 1.29 - both league bests) and Temple managed his hangovers well enough to go 20-14, 1.69. This equaled a 97-57 record and the first pennant in club history.

Second-place (in a surprise) went to the Boston Minutemen. George Theobald's reputation continued to grow as he took a cast of relative no-names to an 89-65 record. He dealt one of the few remaining pieces of the dynasty before the season, sending pitcher John Bigness to the Gothams for a shortstop (Jim Broudy) he promptly shipped off to Wichita for cash. Rookie pitcher Bob Allenbaugh became the de facto ace and lived up to the role, going 27-14 with a 1.64 ERA. But it was the hitting that powered the club - SS Arch Johnston was still there and still producing (.302-1-29) and a quartet of rookies all played big roles on a club that led the league in runs (536). 1B Charlie Roat (.308) was purchased from San Diego, CF Fred Huffman hit .273 as a 20-year-old fresh off a town team in New Jersey and Bim McMurtrie came from a so-called "bandit" league (ie, not affiliated with FABL) in Iowa, went to RF and hit .285 with 24 doubles and 12 triples. Theobald was still an ace at finding hidden gems.

Defending pennant-winner Pittsburgh dropped to third, even after shoring up their pitching weakness by adding Ike Campbell from St. Paul where he had spent two seasons after washing out of the Montreal Saints pitching staff. Campbell was really good - he won 31 games (tied for tops in the league with Trease), lost just 13 and had a 1.82 ERA. Everyone else was fairly average, however, and that doomed the Miners' chance at a repeat. Washington bounced back from a dismal '07 to finish fourth, largely due to their pitching: Bill West (23-19, 1.80) and George Burger (22-18, 1.48) were great - the offense finished last in the league in scoring. The Gothams showed signs of shaking off their decade-long doldrums to finish fifth and St. Louis fell from 2nd to 6th by being mediocre all-around. Philadelphia was still bad and Chicago fell like a stone, winning 19 fewer games than they had a year earlier.

Gothams' 2B Ed Ziehl won his first batting title with a .344 mark that was far ahead of second-place Charlie Roat of Boston, who hit .308 - and was the only other player in the entire league to top the .300 mark (George Reid of NY was third at .299). Calvin Kidd, depending on whom you asked, moved into either 2nd or 3rd place all-time in hits. The "if" in that calculation came because he spent the first two years of his career in the Border Association - if you counted his 344 hits from that time, he had 3166 and was second to Zebulon Banks all-time. If you didn't he was third behind Banks and Thomas Watkins. Today, we place him 2nd, but at the time, this was something of a controversy among Banks supporters who feared the 38-year-old Kidd would hang around long enough to catch their hero. And you know how Philly fans can get....

In the Continental Association it was no surprise that Baltimore repeated as pennant winners. The Clips cruised to another 100-win season (100-54 to be exact) and had a tidy 15-game edge on second-place Toronto. They had the batting champ in Powell Slocum (again) at .343 and the ERA and win champ in Mike Marner (again) with a 36-9, 1.41 effort this time around. 2B Charlie Venema, a rookie in '07, improved significantly and led the league in 94 RBIs as if Baltimore didn't already have a ton of young talent. The hitting was so good that they led the league in everything except home runs (which no one cared about at the time anyway). 

Toronto was a bit of a surprise in 2nd place. Allan Allen was gone, but the pitching was still pretty good. There were two 25-game winners (Aaron Wright and Mike Robinson) and they collectively allowed the second-fewest runs in the league (to Baltimore, of course). The offense was decent with Rich Rowley still producing (.280) and a new rookie 1B, Bob Henry, who hit for .338-4-87 at age 19. The Cougars and Foresters finished in a tie for third with identical 82-72 records. Both had some good players, but both had some holes too. Allan Allen continued to roll along - now 41 years old, he posted a 22-16, 2.03 season and notched his 500th win near the end of the year (he then dropped three games before winning #501 in his next-to-last start of the year). Some were wondering how long he'd be able to keep going. For his part, Allen said his arm felt fine at year's end and he'd be back in the spring after wintering on his farm.

New York was fifth at 79-75. John Waggoner hit .340 to finish just behind Slocum in the batting race and continued to be an extra-base-hit machine, churning out 38 doubles and 16 triples (he had hit an incredible 31 triples - a record - in 1907). Bill Craigen had an injury-riddled season and hit .293 and was literally the only other good hitter in the Stars' lineup. Alvin Hensley and Jake Vermillion both pitched well (Hensley won 29 games despite a 2.66 ERA) but the team was still 7th in runs allowed. Montreal had a top-notch rookie in 3B Joe Ward (the younger brother of incumbent Saints SS Billy Ward - Joe was a much better player) and a decent pitcher in Bob Johnston (20-23, 2.12) but was still trying to become a contending club. Philadelphia and Brooklyn finished at the bottom. 

The World Series matchup looked good on paper and turned out to be even better than good on the field. Detroit, who posted a 97-57 record, was a good match for Baltimore's juggernaut and the teams alternated one-run victories through the first four games: Baltimore won games one and three by identical 3-2 scores and Detroit took games two and four by 7-6 and 2-1 margins. Game five was a turning point: Detroit blew it open with a 7-3 victory behind Bill Temple (Marner and Trease had split their starts and were both 1-1 thru game four). Game six saw Baltimore return the favor with a lopsided 9-1 win. The first game seven since 1896 was a classic. A full-house was on hand in Detroit's Thompson Field for the rubber match between Mike Marner and Woody Trease. Both guys threw goose-eggs for the first five frames. Then the Clippers got on the board with a single run in the sixth and that 1-0 score held up til the ninth. Baltimore scored another off Trease to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Detroit put up a valiant effort, scoring one and having the tying run at second, but the game ended in dramatic fashion when Clipper CF Bill McCollum gunned down Phil Thompson at the plate for the final out in a 2-1 win and repeat championship for Baltimore.