The 1929 Figment season featured one good race for the pennant (and one not so good), saw the return to form of one of the game's all-time greats and brought the curtain down on another of the game's legends, while another seemed to just keep on ticking along.

The Continental Association was the circuit that did not have much of a pennant race. The defending champion Philadelphia Sailors came out fast and kept it up throughout the season. They really turned it on in June - on the first their lead was 3.5 games over the rising Montreal Saints, and by the end of the month their lead had ballooned to double-digits. Led by their 24-year-old superstar RF Tom Taylor (.351-38-138), the Sailors' offense was tops in the CA, scoring 900 runs despite being 5th in homers. The pitching was equally superb allowing just 631 runs, placing three players in the top 7 for ERA, including the ERA champ in Russ Reel who went 18-8 with a 2.93 ERA.

Other top performers in the CA included Baltimore ace Ken Carpenter who was one of two pitchers to top 20 victories as he went 23-13, 3.26 for the Cannons. Montreal's Charlie Stedman posted a 21-10 mark and was second in ERA as well with a 2.99 (the only other starter to post a sub-three mark in the league). The Cannons' young catcher Joe Welch hit .375 to win the batting crown while the aforementioned Tom Taylor led in both homers and RBIs (Welch was second in both with 36 and 128, respectively).

The New York Stars finished a distant second, 17 games back of the Sailors whose 103-51 record was the best in FABL by a large margin. Baltimore was third at 83-71 and Montreal was the only other .500 or better team in the CA, finishing with an even 77-77 ledger. Brooklyn finished fifth (72-82) followed by Toronto (69-85), Cleveland (64-90) and Chicago (62-92).

The Fed featured a much better race, as the Detroit Dynamos and Chicago Chiefs battled it out into the final weekend of the season before the Dynamos captured their first league title since 1919. Detroit's 91-63 mark was two games better than the Chiefs' 89-65. Detroit featured the league's batting champ in 3B Frank Vance (.372) and Vance might have won a Triple Crown were it not for a certain legendary slugger (more on him in a bit), as Vance belted 41 homers and drove in 143 runs - both second-best in the Fed. Roy Calfee was the ace of the Dynamos, leading the league as he went 26-8 with a 3.53 ERA. With RF Al Wheeler (.340-37-125) and LF Henry Jones (.330-40-131) joining Vance, the Dynamos top three were pure murder on opposing pitching and it was no surprise Detroit posted a league-best 926 runs scored.

Other top performers in the Fed included Doug Lightbody's brother Frank, who hit .364 for Pittsburgh to finish second in the batting race; the ever-dangerous T.R. Goins of Washington, who was third with a .363 average and that guy.... the one in St. Louis who had revolutionized the game. Yep, Mighty Max was back in a big way in 1929. Max Morris led the league with 50 home runs and 145 RBIs (his average was .326 - a bit of a down year for the lifetime .353 hitter). Morris pushed his career total (and league record) to 473 home runs, putting him within sight of becoming the game's first 500-homer man.

On the pitching side, Chicago's Milt Fritz posted a 18-8 record on a league-best 3.22 ERA, beating out team mate Lou Felkel whose 22-14, 3.33 marks placed him second in wins and ERA. The Gothams, in an otherwise thoroughly disappointing year, might have found themselves a new ace in Jim Lonardo, the 25-year-old second-year righty who went 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA (third-best in the FA). The Keystones got a 20-win campaign from Bill Ross (20-6, 3.55) - the first-time the 32-year-old had won 20 since he did it in back-to-back seasons as a youngster with the Chiefs.

Speaking of the Chiefs (89-65), they fell back a bit offensively with the two-headed monster of 3B Joe Masters (.329-24-113) and LF Jim Hampton (.328-19-115) falling back off their incredible 1928 marks, but they found yet another offensive sparkplug in 22-year-old 1B Bob Martin whose debut saw him hit .356 with 7 homers and 77 RBIs. Ultimately the Chiefs were done in by their pitching which beyond the aforementioned Lou Felkel and second-starter Milt Fritz (18-8, 3.22) was terrible.

Third-place Philadelphia (81-73) had a great offense (again) with the incomparable 1B Rankin Kellogg (.355-34-141) powering the Fed's second-best run-scoring outfit. But like the Chiefs, Philly's pitching was shallow with the rotation a mess behind clear ace Bill Ross. The Eagles were a bit of a surprise with their fourth-place finish (77-77), somehow finishing middle of the pack despite a putrid offense, thanks to a surprising second-best pitching performance (which was even more surprising given the lack of a single standout individual season by a hurler).

The bottom half of the standings was headed up by fifth-place Pittsburgh (73-81), a rising club with some good young talent. Boston got off to a red-hot start, sitting at 27-19 and in first place on June 4th before fading badly and dropping to sixth with a 45-63 mark the rest of the way to finish 72-82. The Pioneers were essentially one-man show in St. Louis and finished seventh at 71-83 while the Gothams (62-92) finished in the cellar for the first time in club history.

New York also said goodbye to Ed Ziehl - at least as a player - as the player-manager hung up his bat at age 42 with a final season that saw him hit just .256, far below his career average. Ziehl finishes his stellar career with a lifetime .322 average as the career leader in games played (3025), stolen bases (913), walks (1639) and caught stealing (650). He sits in third-place with 3496 hits (behind Powell Slocum and John Dibblee), ninth in doubles (429), sixth in triples, seventh in RBIs (1366), and fifth in runs scored (1679). Ziehl's status as Gothams manager may be in question, but there is no doubt at all about his legacy as the game's greatest second baseman.

Another legend, Chicago Cougars star John Dibblee, kept right on going in 1929. Despite a career that has seen "The Top Cat" suffer multiple injuries, particularly over the last five seasons, Dibblee hit .346 (which equals his career average) at the ripe old age of 41, and his 167 hits pushed his second-best total to 3741. Though that leaves him over 400 shy of Powell Slocum's record of 4144, Dibblee has said nothing about retirement and it would surprise no one to see him out there in 1930, continuing a career that began way back in 1906, showing his young Cougars team mates how it's done.

On paper, the 1929 FABL World's Championship Series looked like it could be a mismatch. The Continental Association (and defending Series champion) Philadelphia Sailors had made a mockery of the pennant race and came into the series with a sterling 103-51 record, 17 games better than the runner-up New York Stars. The Federal Association champions Detroit Dynamos were a bit of an upstart. Detroit had finished dead-last in 1925 - earning the #1 overall pick in the draft in the process (a pick they used on a high school outfielder named Al Wheeler). They improved to 7th in 1926 before making the big move to contention. In 1929, they were ready to grab their first pennant since 1919.

The series started in Detroit on October 9th and the Dynamos served notice that they would not fall to their knees before the Sailors' juggernaut, clawing their way to a 3-2 victory behind Calfee and a clutch performance from veteran backstop Dick York. The Dynamos showed a lot of fight in game two as well, a contest that was knotted 4-4 after nine innings and which took a full 14 innings to decide. In the decisive 14th, Philly keystone star Jack Cleaves drove home the go-ahead run in what turned out to be a 7-4 win for the Sailors.

The scene shifted to the City of Brotherly Love for games three, four and five. Before the game, newly-minted FABL President Henry Salmon announced to the crowd that the FABL Championship Trophy was going to be known as the Jefferson Edgerton Trophy, honoring the man who had owned the crosstown Keystones since pro baseball debuted back in 1876. The notoriously fickle Philadelphia crowd cheered for Edgerton, a man universally respected even if he did (to Sailors fans) represent "that other team."

Once the players took the field, game three evolved into the Henry Jones show. The 25-year-old outfielder put the Dynamos back in the driver's seat with a clutch performance: 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and a pair of singles, driving in three runs (and scoring three as well) in a 7-3 win for Detroit. With both Wheeler and Vance having been underwhelming thus far, it was Detroit's third star (and their maligned pitching) that had the club two wins away from the aforementioned Edgerton Trophy.

For game four, Dynamos manager Joe Johnson sent Reeve Kirby to the hill. Kirby (16-10, 4.88) had been an up-and-down performer during the regular season and on the game's biggest stage, delivered a downer for the Dynamos. The Sailors jumped all over Kirby in the first, hitting three home runs and plating six runs in all to seize the initiative and though Kirby settled down, and the Dynamos fought hard, the Sailors won a 10-4 decision to tie the series at two apiece.

Game five was a linchpin game - the winner would be just a single victory from the title. It was also the last home game for the Sailors and the crowd at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial was in full throat throughout a tightly played affair that sat at 4-4 into the bottom of the ninth. Roy Calfee, after allowing a single run in each of the first four frames, had settled down and was looking every inch the ace he is when the Sailors broke the deadlock in the home half of the ninth. Johnny Rabago, pinch-hitting for Sailors pitcher Bob Clements with none on and one out, rocketed the first pitch he saw over Henry Jones' head in left and went into second with a standup double. The next hitter, 1B Dick Walker, worked a 2-1 count before flicking a Calfee curveball into centerfield. Rabago steamed around third and Buddy Groom's throw to the plate was too late, giving the Sailors a walkoff 5-4 victory and a 3-2 edge in the series.

Detroit could take consolation in the fact that they were heading home for game six - and seven if it turned out to be needed. The Dynamos would be turning to Wayne Robinson, a 31-year-old right hander who had been acquired from the Cleveland Foresters. A 20-game-winner in 1928, Robinson had struggled mightily in 1929, going 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 15 games for the Foresters before being dealt to Detroit. He was arguably even worse for the Dynamos, posting a 5-8 mark with a 5.52 ERA. Still, he was the best skipper Joe Johnson had. And Robinson stepped up in a big way, looking like the man who had won 20 games the year before aa he outdueled Russ Reel in a 4-3 Dynamos victory. Granted, the Dynamos got some help from a pair of defensive miscues by the Sailors - particularly one in the eighth by Philly CF David Merchant that let the go-ahead run score, but Detroit fans will likely only remember the gutsy performance of Robinson, who went the distance, allowing three runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts in the biggest game of his life. The victory knotted the series again and set up a winner-take-all game seven at Thompson Field the next day.

Game seven was a blustery October Sunday in Detroit. The temperature was 53 degrees, but the 19 MPH wind would be a factor. The Dynamos turned to ace Roy Calfee - winner of game one and loser of game five, pitching on just two days' rest. The Sailors countered with 19-game-winner Rollie Beal, a solid pitcher whose surname had caused one fan to hold up a sign at game three saying "Reel and Beal will seal the deal!"

Unfortunately for Beal, it would be the Dynamos who would seal the deal in game seven. Detroit scored in the first and then after the Sailors had tied things at 1-1 in the second, scored two more in the bottom of the second before adding four in the sixth to put the game away en route to an 8-3 win and their fifth championship - and first since 1919.

Series MVP honors went to Frank Vance, the superstar third baseman of Detroit who hit .344 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the series, but many fans tipped their hats to Wayne Robinson for his game six performance, and to Roy Calfee for gutting it out in game seven on short rest. What everyone could agree on though was that it was a heckuva series and that the Detroit victory was very much a team effort.