If there was a theme for the 1934 FABL season it could be summed up in two simple words: All In.

With both circuits featuring multiple contenders, the 1934 season saw a significant uptick in trade activity, much of it driven by contenders attempting to "one up" each other in a back and forth arms race the likes of which had never before been seen.

In the Federal Association, the defending champion Philadelphia Keystones saw no fewer than three serious contenders for replacing them atop the standings table: the Boston Minutemen, New York Gothams and St. Louis Pioneers all mounted a challenge and several of those clubs swung deals with an eye to gaining an edge in the chase for the pennant.

The Continental Association's pennant fever was arguably even more serious. With perennial powerhouse Chicago coming out of the gate slowly (and suffering a significant injury as well), there was no shortage of clubs attempting to climb into the Cougars' catbird seat.Though it ultimately boiled down to a two-way streetfight between the Brooklyn Kings and Cleveland Foresters, several other clubs were in the fight early and many trades were made along the way, right up to the trade deadline.

What made the races so interesting was the fact that the Keystones and Cougars each fell off their perches atop their respective leagues at the same time, with the result being a more wide open feel to the pennant races than had been true in the last several campaigns.

Some of the credit (or blame depending on whose viewpoint you take) can be laid at the feet of the Baltimore Cannons. The former contenders featured a pair of star players who were dealt on the same day, just prior to the opening of the season, which changed the dynamics of both circuits and set off a chain reaction of deals that would last right up to the final day of the trading season.

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.