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. 

1932 featured some intriguing stories as things evolved in surprising ways. There were big trades, some seriously poor luck, some tremendous individual (and team) performances (and some really poor ones too) and plenty of drama as well. Coming out of the 1931 season you would have been laughed out of the room if you suggested the New York Gothams would be a non-factor in the Federal League pennant race. And you would have raised eyebrows by suggesting that the Chicago Cougars would tamper with a pennant-winning recipe. But both those things happened in 1932.

Among the big trades was an Independence Day deal that sent Max Morris from the Gothams back to where it all began: the Cleveland Foresters. That made plenty of headlines, but one that certainly changed the trajectory of both parties came three weeks later in the form of a blockbuster deal between the Chicago Cougars and Brooklyn Kings.

We'll get to that Kings/Cougars deal in a moment. But we'll start with the New York Gothams and the strange scenario that brought about the deal with the Foresters. New York was riding high after two straight pennants and it seems likely that they might have actually won it all in the '31 Series if they hadn't been without the potent bats of Joe Perret and Bud Jameson. We'll never know, but the hangover of that bitter defeat seemed to infect the 1932 edition of the Gothams. They finished last after a season that could easily be described as a disaster. And for most of it, before the team gave up the ghost, the Gothams were scoring runs in bunches and losing close games at a clip far greater than they should have, statistically-speaking. Ultimately they posted a 69-85 mark, 17 games out and in the basement. Ace Jim Lonardo stumbled to a 14-15 mark with a 4.07 ERA following two straight Allen Awards. Joe Perret had another injury-riddled season, only playing about half the season. Though Bud Jameson was back and productive (.350-20-105), GM Tom Ward pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Max Morris (hitting .344 with 20 HRs through 72 games at the time) to Cleveland for a quartet of prospects, only one of whom (1B Alex Thompson) appeared for the Gothams in 1932. The consolation prize for the Gothams was the top pick in the 1932 draft, which they'd spend on one of the most promising arms in a generation in right-hander Curly Jones who had pitched in the team's backyard for Henry Hudson College. If Lonardo returns to form, he and Jones could form a lethal one-two punch in New York.