They'd been around since 1882 as a founding member of the old Border Association. They had, sometimes, been relatively good (but usually not so much). They had a good, strong fan following and were seen by most other fans as lovable losers. They had never finished in first place. So it took a long time - much to long if you'd asked any of those long suffering fans of the team - but the Montreal Saints finally reached the promised land by winning the 1915 Continental Association pennant.

The Saints had been showing signs - a third place finish in 1913 was followed by a second place finish a year later (they were 5.5 games out of first in both years). Their 92 wins in 1914 were a team record. So it wasn't a complete shock that they finally won a pennant in 1915 except for those Montreal fans who thought they'd never live to see the day. The club won 96 games, a culmination of five seasons of increasing victory totals. The first cog arrived back in 1908 when a 19-year-old third baseman named Joe Ward was signed off the Tell City, Indiana town club. In 1911, a centerfielder from Lemoyne, Pennsylvania named Hal Eason was signed at age 20. Perhaps the biggest piece showed up in 1912 when pitcher Charlie Firestone was purchased from Nashville of the Dixie League. A year later a trade with the Chicago Chiefs brought in first baseman Conrad Gardner, a solid, all-around - and proven - performer. This core would be the foundation of the 1915 pennant winners.

Joe Ward's .336 average was third-best in the league. Hal Eason's 11 homers and 94 RBIs were paced the circuit while Conrad Gardner turned in a sterling .333-8-83 stats line. But the biggest performance came from Charlie Firestone, who went 35-6 with a 1.86 ERA (both best in the league) while striking out 311 opposing hitters (2nd-best). As a team, the Saints hit .268 (1st) and scored 680 runs (also 1st) while allowing 501 runs (2nd). They ended up 10 games ahead of the runner-up Baltimore Clippers, who were the defending World Champions.

Speaking of the Clippers, they took a step back largely due to an offense that fell to fourth in runs scored despite the continued excellence of Powell Slocum. The game's best hitter won yet another batting title - with a .383 average - giving the 27-year-old outfielder eight of the last nine batting crowns. The pitching was the best in the league thanks to Baltimore's other insanely talented player Mike Marner. Marner had a bit of an off-year (by his outlandish standards) with a 26-20 record (despite a solid 2.22 ERA). 

A big surprise was the third-place finish by the Cleveland Foresters. Second-year player Max Morris posted a 15-17 mark (and 2.90 ERA) as a pitcher. He also hit .312-8-33 on the year as he made 35 pitching appearances and 41 appearances in the Foresters outfield when not pitching. The club finished third in both pitching and hitting despite not having a truly outstanding performer in either department. Toronto finished fourth - Charlie Sis was still a killer, he went 25-14 with a 2.21 ERA and notched his 250th career victory. New York was fifth but did have a bright spot in 28-year-old rookie outfielder Johnny Robards (.333-2-60) who moved up from Los Angeles of the Great Western League where he had hit .385 in 1914. Chicago was just a half-game back of the Stars in sixth - John Dibblee was very much still a great player, finishing second in the batting race at .362 for the league's 2nd-rated offense, but the Cougars pitching remained terrible. Brooklyn (68-84) and Philadelphia (59-95) rounded out the rest of the standings table.

The Federal League pennant was won by George Theobald's Boston Minutemen, who had been 2nd the last two seasons. They had a legit star in LF Fred Huffman, who hit .320 with 84 RBIs, and several other good hitters such as CF Bill McMurtrie (.295), 3B John Dickinson (.294) and 2B Frank Betts (.283). But the pitching was very good with a trio of southpaws: George Johnson (28-16, 1.95), Bob Harris (19-14, 2.35) and Bob Allenbaugh (13-2, 2.21) - and when Allenbaugh was out with injury, Jacob Mueller (15-8, 2.31) filled in ably. The Minutemen won 95 games and everyone in New England was once again touting the "Theobald is a genius" mantra.

Just as Baltimore had in the CA, the defending Fed champs Washington Eagles dropped to second place. Billy Porter hit .322 and Bill West won 30 games with a 2.13 ERA, but the rest of the gang was off their pace just enough to send the Eagles to an 87-66 record. Detroit won 82 games and finished third: Jim Golden was great (29-18, 1.97) but they struggled to score runs. The Gothams, a team perennially picked to break out and win a pennant, finished fourth with an 80-74 record. Ed Ziehl was still hitting like a poor man's Powell Slocum and led the league at .335 and had a decent running mate in 1B Abe Loicano (.310). But the pitching wasn't great and the lineup wasn't deep so they underwhelmed. 

Pittsburgh topped the second division at 75-77, largely thanks to some below average pitching because they did have some good hitters in the house, led by Frank Roberson (.328), Sam Egbert (.310) and Joe Chain (.304). Philadelphia was 68-83 stuck in the depths due to perennially poor pitching and a lackluster (aside from Ed Fisher) offense. Chicago was seventh and St. Louis finished dead last.

The World Series turned out to be another good one, again going the full seven games and ending in dramatic fashion. It didn't look good at the start - Boston romped in game one, a 10-6 win where they scored nine runs over the seventh and eighth innings and Bernie Trumaine had six RBIs on a 4-for-5 day. Charlie Firestone took the hill in game two and that was good enough to get the Saints even with a 2-1 win. Then things started going awry for the Saints as they dropped both games three and four in Boston to sit on the edge of oblivion. 

Cue Firestone to the rescue: the 5'8 lefty did his thing again in game five, a four-hit shutout gem to keep his team alive with a 2-0 win. Game six was back in Montreal and the Saints took a 3-0 lead after the first, then held on to win a 7-4 decision to force a decisive game seven. Boston ace George Johnson, who had already won twice was on the mound for the Minutemen. Facing him for the third time was Montreal's Bob Johnston (and his 0-2 Series record). But Johnston was just a little bit better than Johnson this time, tossing a seven-hit shutout while Johnson allowed one run in the game and took the loss in a 1-0 decision. For the Saints, the celebration was extra sweet - Montreal would long remember the day that their beloved Saints finally cast off their lovable loser persona and laid claim to greatness.

The voting for the Whitney Awards takes place before the World Series and that probably kept Charlie Firestone from winning it. As it turned out, he was fourth in the voting with his team mate Joe Ward won the award thanks to his all-around solid play, beating out Powell Slocum and John Dibblee for the Continental edition of the award. The Feds' award went (again) to New York's fine second baseman Ed Ziehl who finished ahead of Washington's Billy Porter and Detroit's Jim Golden.