For baseball fans in the nation's capital, the 1922 season had been a thrilling ride with their hometown Eagles claiming the first pennant in nearly a decade, but it ended on a sour note when Washington was crushed under the heels of the Chicago Cougars. So 1923 represented a brand-new chance at the ultimate prize - a world championship. And the Eagles did repeat as Federal champs and found themselves with a World Series foe that few had expected to reach the championship series (much as few had given the Eagles a chance the year before). 

That foe? The Brooklyn Kings. The Kings had been one of the Border Association's original franchises and won a couple of titles in the Continental Association's forerunner. With the formation of FABL, the Kings' fortunes had taken a downturn - they were second in 1892 and then dropped steadily and remained one of the Continental's also-rans for the better part of two decades before winning a surprise pennant in 1912 (where they were buzz-sawed by the Boston Minutemen in the Series). The advent of the farm system and amateur draft had since supplied the Kings with a steady supply of young players and a series of second-division finishes allowed them to build again. But the process was slow and after finishing third in both 1921 and 1922, the Kings arrived in 1923. They held off the defending champion Cougars by a scant one-game margin, winning 10 of their last 12 ballgames to do so.

Brooklyn did have a bona-fide star in catcher Paul Tattersall. The veteran backstop was the premier power hitter in the Continental, especially after Montreal's Hal Eason was dealt to the Keystones in 1922. Tattersall won the home run crown for the fourth straight season, belting 29 dingers to go with a .283 average and 103 RBIs. They also had 3B Glenn Mowles, a 30-year-old third baseman who hit .323 with 12 homers and 84 RBIs. What put them over the top in 1923 was the pitching, led by Bob Schmid, who won 20 games against 8 losses and had a 3.00 ERA - both the wins and ERA were third-best in the league. 

The Cougars may have finished second - and by just a game - but they also saw Bill Ross become an ace. The 26-year-old native of Lexington, TN had been a 1916 2nd round pick and had been with the Cougars since 1920, steadily improving each year and breaking out in 1923 with a 24-8, 3.13 ERA and 145 strikeout season, leading the league in both wins and strikeouts and being the top pitcher on the league's stingiest staff. John Dibblee hit .348 - and led the league, Jack Gray .334 and Art Panko led the league with 122 RBIs (Gray was 2nd with 113), but some off years by the supporting cast played a significant role in the club's diminished win total. They played well down the stretch, but Washington played just that little bit better. 

Cleveland finished four back and in third place. The Foresters featured the league's top run-scoring lineup. Carl Martin hit 24 homers, but only drove in 66 runs and hit only .259, which was significantly below the league average. Leadoff man and RF Danny Clark hit .296 and drove in 85 while swiping a league-leading 44 bases. SS Buddy Lane hit a team-best .321 and the pitching was good too: Mose Smith went 23-15 with a 3.13 ERA, Bob Lawrence was 16-12, 3.21 and overall they were second in the Continental with 676 runs allowed. Had their pitching been even slightly better they might have been able to swipe the pennant. As it was, it was "wait until next year" in Cleveland again.

Fourth-place Montreal was 7.5 back. 3B Joe Ward hit .347 to finish just behind Dibblee for the batting title and CF Bert Harman hit .334 out of the leadoff spot. Pitcher Stan Waters' 2.37 ERA was tops in the league and Wayne Robinson went 20-13 with a 3.51 ERA. The Stars finished fifth with an even 77-77 record; 1B Job Readus led the team with a .306 average and the Stars had a pair of 20-game winners in Luke Smith (20-13, 3.36) and Pete Scanlon (20-16, 3.93). Philadelphia was sixth - CF David Merchant hit .337 in his second season and, like New York, the Sailors had two 20-game winners (John White: 20-14, 2.98 and Rube Smith: 20-13, 3.41). Baltimore dropped down in the standings for the third-straight year, this time to seventh with a 67-87 record. Part of the reason was the first "down" season for Powell Slocum whose run of 11 straight batting titles came to an end. He still hit a team-best .320 and finished the season with 3951 hits and a .378 average. His competitive nature might have played a role in his off-year - he was not shy about bemoaning the poor state of the team (he also missed former manager Walter Love who had managed Baltimore from 1896-1920 and was the only skipper Slocum had known); some wondered if he'd gripe his way into a trade. There were no real bright spots for Toronto, who finished last with a 65-88 record - the offense was the league's worst and the pitching was second-worst. 

There were a trio of clubs vying to topple the Eagles from their perch atop the Federal standings. All three finished 6.5 games back when the dust settled. Washington's 1923 season epitomized the approach preached by longtime manager Henry Potts: "concentrate on doing everything well and you can be exceptional." The Eagles did not lead the league in runs scored (they were 3rd) and didn't allow the fewest either (2nd) but they were well-rounded in all aspects and that carried them through. LF Paul Bailey was the closest thing to a hitting star on the team - he led Washington with a .313 average, 12 homers and 106 RBIs. 3B Glenn Morrison hit .339 in a season abbreviated by a broken hand that sidelined him for three months and CF John Cobb hit .333 while missing time with a fractured wrist and a sprained ankle. The ace of the team was Henry Horn, whose 22 victories tied him for first in the league (he was 22-10, 3.64). 

St. Louis was one of the three clubs tied for second. Max Morris had a near-Triple Crown season, thwarted by Detroit's Dick York whose .390 average led all of FABL. Morris hit .368, topped his own home run record by hitting a nice, round 60, and drove in 147 runs. Unfortunately, SS Roger Landry missed about six weeks of the season with a variety of ailments - while healthy he hit .361 with 15 homers and 95 RBIs in 421 at-bats. The Pioneers also unveiled a possible third star in LF Art Charles. The 24-year-old came up from Dayton and looked very good, going 33-for-65 with six doubles and four triples. While no one was going to hit over .500, that looked like a promising start to Charles' big league career. 

Pittsburgh's 82-70 record was identical to that of St. Louis. With Bob Simmon (20-15, 3.57) and Willie Couillard (19-13, 3.44) leading the way, the Miners had the league's best pitching. The offense wasn't bad either with RF Bob Grant (.354-7-92) and CF Clint Casstevens (.311-9-102) both very good and the team hit .302 as a group, 2nd-best in the league (they were fourth in runs scored). Chicago was the third of the second-place clubs (they were 83-71). Denny Wren posted a 20-14, 3.50 line to lead the pitchers and the Chiefs had a pair of 15-homer guys in 3B Joe Masters (.298-15-118) and LF Eddie Gaiser (.298-15-86).

Detroit finished fifth, 11 games off the pace with a 78-75 record. They had the batting champ in Dick York who had a great season with a .390 average as the Dynamos backstop. They also had 1B Danny James, who hit 28 homers and drove in 122 runs, both good for third in the Federal Association. What Detroit did not have was good pitching - they were dead last in runs allowed with only John Reay having a respectable year (18-8, 3.37).  The Gothams were sixth; star second baseman Ed Ziehl had a second-straight season ravaged by injury - a knee injury this season limited the Lion to just 305 at-bats and lingering effects had his average drop to .305; worst for the Gothams was that without Ziehl, they were not a good club. New York did make a trade that paid off nicely, acquiring pitcher Delos Dunn from Baltimore in April - he went 20-9 with a 3.90 ERA. Boston was seventh - the Minutemen were faced with a full rebuild after the false hope engendered by their identical 79-75 records the previous two seasons. The Keystones finished last for a fourth-straight season. There was a bright spot in Philly's otherwise dark season: they had spent their first-overall draft pick on a first-baseman/outfielder from Memphis, TN by the name of Rankin Kellogg. He was, according to one scout, "a combination of Slocum's bat control and Morris' powerful swing." He was definitely going to be one to watch.

The World Series wasn't much of a nailbiter. The Kings simply couldn't handle Washington's fundamentally sound, all-around prowess. The Kings won game one by a narrow 5-4 margin, and it took 11 innings to do so. The Eagles won the next four games and the Series itself was a coming out party for rookie catcher T.R. Goins. Named after former US President Theodore Roosevelt, Goins was dubbed "Rough Rider" by his team mates while playing in Atlanta. Goins started the '23 season with the Peaches, hit .368 in 95 at-bats (after hitting .330 the year before) and got himself promoted to Washington. His rookie numbers of .298-8-78 weren't eye-popping, but he had great power potential and was a good catcher with a strong arm. Like Kellogg, he was primed to be one of the next generation of FABL stars. He previewed that by hitting .500 for the World Series with a home run and 9 RBIs in 18 at-bats.

The 1923 Continental Whitney Award went to David Merchant, the talented young star CF of the Sailors, who led the league in hits (210) and runs scored (111) while hitting .337 with 35 doubles, 20 triples and 12 homers. Max Morris was again the recipient of the Federal's Whitney Award, making it five straight for the Pioneers' big slugger.

Bill Williams, the fiery Chicago Chiefs (and ex-Brooklyn) manager was the first to be fired after the season. His confrontational style seemed ill-suited for the Chiefs and he was let go after five seasons at the helm despite tying for second-place in the Fed race in 1923.