Powell Slocum was 23 years old and already starting his sixth year with the Baltimore Clippers when the 1910 season opened. Slocum, "the Ragland Ripper" had long-since established himself as the game's premier hitter with three straight batting titles and four straight seasons with at least 200 hits. So when he went out and put together a .400 season, few were surprised - and this being the deadball era when .400 had been topped as recently as 1903, it didn't seem like as big a deal as it turned out to be in hindsight. Unfortunately for Slocum, a fierce competitor who hated to lose, his team did rather poorly, tumbling all the way to 5th place in the standings after winning two championships in 1907-08 and finishing a close second in 1909.

By 1909 what we today call the "dead ball era" was in full swing. Batting averages were down, the bunt, stolen base and hit and run were the preferred offensive tactics and pitching was king. And no team better exemplified the era than the 1909 Detroit Dynamos, who lifted the "pitching first" credo to an art form.