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Old 06-02-2019, 01:45 PM   #1
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FABL -- Montréal Saints

If you read the Dynasty Reports section regularly, you've probably come across legendsport's story of Figment League Baseball. It starts with the establishment of the Century League in 1876 by William Whitney, a Chicago fruit magnate who had learned of the game while at West Point. The Century League brought together some of the more successful amateur touring clubs of the time to create the first professional baseball league.

As expected, the Century League, while overall a success, had some tumultuous early years with clubs joining and leaving the league on a regular basis. In the winter of 1881, a couple of former Century League clubs (Cincinnati and St Louis) decided to form a new, rival league--the Border Association. The Association consisted of clubs in Cincinnati, St Louis, New York, Pittsburgh, and two Canadian clubs in Toronto and Montréal.

There followed a decade-long war between the two leagues for players. And after the 1890 season saw the rise of yet a third league (the Peerless League), something needed to be done.That something was the establishment of a two league federation, the current Federally Aligned Baseball Leagues (FABL). The FABL would consist of two leagues:

The Federal Association: Boston Brahmins, Chicago Chiefs, Detroit Dynamos, New York Gothams, Philadelphia Keystones, Pittsburgh Miners, St Louis Pioneers, Washington Eagles.

The Continental Association: Baltimore Clippers, Brooklyn Kings, Chicago Cougars, Cleveland Foresters, Montréal Saints, New York Stars, Philadelphia Sailors, Toronto Provincials.

Legendsport's intention with the league was to generate the pre-history to 1925 and then open it up as an online league. In addition to being a fictional re-creation of baseball history, the league is a no ratings, stats only league. I've taken over as GM of the Montréal Saints, and inspired by my fellow GM in Brooklyn (read his account here), I've decided to document my trials and tribulations in this dynasty thread.

You can find the Figment League Baseball team page here.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:40 PM   #2
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History of the Saints -- The Border Association Years

During the 10 year span of the Border Association, Montreal was for the most part a 2nd division club. Their high water mark was 86-52 in 1886, which was good for 2nd place, 1.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Quarries. They won over 80 games the next two seasons (86-57 in 1887 and 80-55 in 1888) before bottoming out in 1889, finishing just 40-100.

A key piece of the 1886 season was the incredible debut of a New York amateur pitcher named Edmond Bryant. Pitching for the Saints in 1886, Bryant went 31-6 in 367 innings, leading the Border Association in wins, ERA (2.14), and strikeouts (336). Bryant then won 29 games in 1887 and 22 games in 1888, also leading the league in ERA (2.44) and strikeouts (261) in 1887. Bryant's Montreal career was over after he fashioned an 8-22 record with an ERA of 4.41 during the dismal 100 loss season of 1889. Bryant was a bit of a vagabond after leaving the Saints, ending up pitching for a total of 9 FABL clubs (including Montreal) over a 12 year career. His career line: 206-164, 3.14 ERA.

The premier bat for the Saints during the Border Association years was OF Gustav Gray. Gray debuted as a 20 year-old for the Toronto club, leading the Border Association in hits (123) and runs (91). In the off season of 1882, Gray was enticed to jump to the Montreal club. He enjoyed his best season in 1884, again leading the league in hits (151) while also finishing as the batting champion with a .404 average. The .404 average stills stands as the best single season batting average in Montreal history. Gray had a 12 year career, finishing with 1966 hits and a .328 career batting average.


l-to-r, Gustav Gray, Edmund Bryant
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:44 PM   #3
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History of the Saints -- The Continental Association, part 1

During the existence of the Border Association, if you squinted hard enough, you might pick out Montreal as a competitive club. That all changed with the advent of the FABL. The 1892 season was the start of a 17 year period (1892 - 1908) during which Montreal finished at or above .500 in only one season (the 1901 season, when the Saints finished 73 - 64, 11 games behind the Cleveland Foresters).

There were some bright spots. Prior to the 1905 season, Montreal signed a big, young right-handed pitcher out of California, Bob Johnston. Johnston debuted in 1905 with a record of 17-21 with a 2.43 ERA. Given that he toiled mainly for sub .500 clubs, Johnston's career mark of 267 - 271 is that much more impressive. 265 of those wins came in a Saints uniform. Johnston's jersey was retired by the club in 1920.

But the key to the end of the darkness in Montreal was the arrival of a teenager outfielder from Tell City, IN, Joe Ward. The 19 year old "Hoosier Hustler" debuted in 1908 by hitting .290/.325/.397 and leading the league with 22 triples. Ward would lead the league in triples 11 times during his first 15 seasons. He led the league in 1914-1918 and 1920-1922. It probably would have been 9 straight season were it not for a broken bone in the wrist that sidelined him for more than a month during the 1919 season. In 1913, Ward hit 54 triples. That did not lead the league because the great John Dibblee hit 57. Ward and Dibblee remain the only two players to hit more than 50 triples in a season.

In 1914, Montreal had it's first 90 win season, finishing 92-62, 5.5 games behind Baltimore. That season Ward (.329/.372/.478, 32 3B, 50 SB) teamed up with another young outfielder, Hal Eason (.273/.372/.428, 13 HR, 93 RBI), to lead an offense that scored 630 runs, best in the Continental.

In 1915, Montreal finally broke through and won it's first pennant--finishing 96-56. The offense was on display once again, scoring 680 runs, which was 105 runs better than the 2nd best Continental offense. Joe Ward had his best season, hitting .335/.401/.519, 43 3B, 58 SB, 109 Runs, 79 RBI. Hal Eason was right there with him (.278/.373/.447, 11 HR, 94 RBI).This season also featured an incredible performance by young fireballer Charlie Firestone (35-7, 1.84, 317 Ks in 400 IP). Montreal capped off the year by winning the world championship against Boston, 4 games to 3. Firestone was the championship series MVP after picking up 2 wins and only giving up 1 run.

In 1916, Montreal upped their win total to 97 and won another pennant. The offense was even more supercharged -- scoring 696 runs, 113 runs better than 2nd place Baltimore. They were led, again, by Joe Ward (.328/.360/.513, 45 3B, 44 SB, 212 Hits, 100 Runs, 81 RBI) and Hal Eason (.252/.367/.370, 102 Walks, 8 HR, 79 RBI). On the mound, Charlie Firestone had another superb season: 35-7, 1.88, 291 Ks in 407 IP. This time, Montreal lost the championship series, 4 games to 2 to Detroit.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:22 AM   #4
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History of the Saints -- The Continental Association, part 2

Charlie Firestone had a candle that burned hot and fast. After the two 35 win seasons (1915, 1916), he again led the league in wins in 1917 with 28. In 1918, he started the year with 15 victories and was traded in July to the Philadelphia Keystones, for whom he won another 5 games. He had a down year in 1919 for the Keystones (11-14, 4.29), and he was released prior to the 1920 season. He spent a few years bouncing around the minor leagues trying to get back, but never made it. He finished with a 210-103 record and a 2.25 ERA. He led the league in wins four times, strikeouts three times, and ERA twice.

Joe Ward led the club to another pennant in 1919 (.319/.380/.500, 27 3B, 83 Runs, 89 RBI) and to another world's championship in 1921 (.363/.418/.526, 227 Hits, 34 3B, 124 Runs, 95 RBI). He lost his starting job in the outfield in 1924 and was traded to the Chicago Cougars in August of 1925. Ward is Montreal's career leader in games (2449), hits (3114), runs (1464), doubles (379), triples (573), runs batted in (1198), and stolen bases (495). Ward's 573 career triples is the best in baseball history, 97 ahead of John Dibblee (476).

Hal Eason is the Montreal career leader in home runs (135). In 1922, Eason was on his hottest home run pace with 25 home runs through 87 games when he was traded to the Philadelphia Keystones. He's done well with the Keystones, hitting another 104 home runs. He is currently 2nd in home runs behind Max Morris (331) on the career leader board.

The Saints enter the 1926 season coming off of consecutive 3rd place finishes in the Continental Association (with records of 81-72 in 1924, and 81-73 in 1925).
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:53 PM   #5
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1926 Preview -- Current Roster

As we are just wrapping up the activities of the 1925 Winter Meetings, I thought I would present the current state of the Montreal organization.

Outfielders

The current anchor of the Saints lineup is 26 year old left fielder Phil Sandman (1925: .336/.386/.465, 8, 87). Sandman led the CA in 1925 with 213 hits. Sandman was drafted in the 3rd round out of Notre Dame in 1920 and has been regular in the Saints lineup for 3 seasons.

Right field is manned by 28 year old Eddie Rodgerson (.279/.342/.391, 4, 64). Eddie is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game (with only perhaps Huck Monahan of the New York Gothams as better). Rodgerson can also play center field.

When I took over as GM, I concluded that one of our strengths was outfield depth throughout the organization. The prompted me to trade last year's starting CF Bert Hartman (.298/.414/.390, 2, 69) to the Chicago Cougars for a pair of prospects (P Charlie Stedman and C Ed Pinkham). The current plan is to bring rookie Ruley Lewis (.259/.328/.371, 7, 37 at Minneapolis(AAA)) to spring training and give him a try at center field. Lewis was originally drafted in 1920 in round 8 by the Pittsburgh Miners. Montreal acquired him in a trade in January of 1922.

As mentioned, I consider outfield depth in the minors to be one of our strengths. Our top prospect is Tom Henderson, a 22 year old who was drafted in 1924 (round 1, pick 13th) out of the University of Tennessee. In 1925 he played center field in Evansville (A), batting .307/.361/.512, 15, 68.The center fielder in Nashville (AA) is Joe Fix (.370/.415/.469, 1, 54). Fix was a 3rd round selection in the 1922 draft out of high school. This winter we were also able to acquire outfielder Jack Cornelison. Cornelison was first drafted in 1923 (round 3, pick 10) by Montreal but he failed to sign. He was drafted again in 1924 (round 1, pick 16) by Pittsburgh but then was inexplicably released in this past November. We let him know that our original offer was still on the table ($2500 signing bonus), and he accepted. Cornelison played at Gary (A) in 1925, batting .344/.418/.674, 41, 135. Cornelson will start 1926 at Nashville (AA). Don't be surprised to see Cornelison in Montreal this summer if the Ruley Lewis experiment in center field goes south.

Infielders

The starting first baseman in 1925 was Sal Ingalls (.280/.347/.433, 17, 87). His bat plays, as the 17 home runs was good for 2nd place in the CA. But Ingalls struggles a bit defensively. So for 1926, the position will be a competition between Ingalls and Jim Newman (.327/.400/.452 in 86 games).

The second baseman is 31 year old Edwin Segovia (.281/.324/.380, 3, 69). Segovia was originally drafted in 1913 (round 1, pick 5) by the New York Stars, but he never made it to the big leagues for New York. Montreal signed him as a minor league free agent in 1916. Segovia is a top 5 defensive second baseman in the game.

The third baseman is 29 year old Fred Welch (.271/.372/.398, 6, 67). Welch doesn't bring the bat you'd like to see at the corner, but he has a good glove. Montreal manager Francis Asberry would like to see a youngster by the name of Bob Clements be given a chance at third base. Clements was originally drafted by Cleveland in 1921 (round 4, pick 12) out of high school. He was released by Cleveland, signed and released by Baltimore, and signed by Montreal last summer. Clements doesn't have a lot power, but he has plus speed and good bat control. In 1925 at Nashville (AA), he hit .384/.419/.514 with 18 doubles in 78 games.

Tommy Chandler (.311/.344/.378, 1, 62) will handle shortstop in 1926, a position that was split between Chandler and Jim Newman in 1925.

Outside of Clements, we are really lacking in infield prospects. The infield was a definite focus in the most recent draft.

Catcher

At catcher is 36 year old Sam Sanderson (.238/.295/.419, 17, 67). Sanderson has been the Montreal catcher for 14 years, beginning in 1912. Sanderson won the 1921 Whitney Award as the CA's best bat. Backing up Sanderson is another 36 year old, Dan King (.284/.301/.449, 5, 38). King has been on the Montreal roster almost as long as Sanderson, making his debut in 1913. Sanderson and King are the two members of the organization who were around for both championship years (1916 and 1921). Needless to say, even though Sanderson is slowing down, he is beloved in Montreal and is not going anywhere.

And though both Montreal catchers are rather long in the tooth, catching prospects are not to be found in the Montreal system. That's why, in the Bert Hartman deal, the addition of 23 year old Ed Pinkham (.279/.324/.321, 3, 27 in 104 games at Memphis (AA)) was a requirement.

Pitching

Pitching has been a perennial weakness of Montreal. It's something we'd like to rectify, but it will take a few years. Our current top three:

30 year old Del Plummer (16-16, 3.66)
27 year old Wayne Robinson (18-17, 4.39).
27 year old Ed O'Kelley (15-11, 4.38).

There is not much in the way of prospects for pitching either. The primary reason for dealing Bert Hartman was getting 23 year old Charlie Steadman in return. Steadman is currently ranked as the #16 prospect in the game. He pitched (8-16, 4.84) in Memphis (AA) in 1925. He'll be in Nashville (AA) for 1926.
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:14 PM   #6
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January 1926

I introduced Joe Ward during the discussion of the history of Saints baseball. Ward is the career leader in nearly every major offensive category for the Saints. During the 1925 season, Ward and the previous GM (Del McTherrey) had a falling out. Ward wanted an increasing say in the baseball operations of the club. McTherrey thought that players should be seen (playing hard, on the field), but not heard. In August of 1925, McTherrey struck a deal with the Chicago Cougars--the Cougars would take Ward off of McTherrey's hands for a trio of young players. Ward was dealt and on a train to Chicago before the field manager, Francis Asberry, and the owner, Jacques Cartier, knew what was happening. Both men, particularly Asberry, were livid, and McTherrey was fired immediately after the season concluded.

Since taking over the Saints job in November, one of my goals was to somehow get Ward back into the organization. Today, after a quick discussion with my Chicago counterpart, that deal is done. Joe Ward is returning to Montreal in exchange for young infielder Lee Elkins (.340/.368/.500, 3, 30 in 37 games at Nashville (AA)). Now truth be told, Ward is not the same player as he once was. He has lost a step, both in the field and on the base paths; after leading the CA in triples in 1922 with 41, he hit 13 triples in 1923, 9 in 1924, and no triples in 1925. But Ward brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the clubhouse. As Asberry said, "For me, Joe Ward is a trusted bench coach who just also happens to be a fine pinch hitter." (And to that point, Ward did hit .370/.414/.444 in 30 pinch hitting appearances in 1925.)


l-to-r, Francis Asberry, Joe Ward
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:23 PM   #7
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Everyone in the FABL has been writing great stories, thank you
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:23 PM   #8
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Nice to see the great Joe Ward gets to finish out his career in a Montreal uniform. A future Saints manager perhaps?
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Old 06-09-2019, 02:06 PM   #9
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The Office of the Commissioner (legendsport) has published a new set of team pages. You can find Montreal's at this link.

The ball park in Montreal (Parc Cartier) has some interesting features. It's not a friendly park for right handed pull-hitters. It's an inviting 319 ft directly down the left field line, but quickly jumps to 392 ft in straight away left and 411 ft in center. The right-center power alley is a more cozy 397 ft, and it's 334 ft down the right field line.

So I know that I'll have a soft spot for left handed batters and speedy outfielders to cover all that ground in left and center.

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Old 06-10-2019, 02:04 PM   #10
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1926 Spring Training

Finally the games are about to beginning again. On the eve of Spring Training, the Sporting News has released one of its most anticipated issues--baseball's preseason predictions.

In the Federal Association, the Philadelphia Keystones are expected to have a formidable offense and to practically run away with the Fed crown. They certainly have one of the brighter young stars in first baseman Rankin Kellogg.



The Continental Association is viewed as much more wide open, with defending champion New York expected to battle with Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia for the pennant.



From a Montreal perspective, the predicted record of 78-76 is right in line with my thinking. Just looking at our current roster, I see a club that will play right around .500 ball. Of course, we could get lucky and win a few more games.

And as expected with a .500 ball club, there are more than a few question marks as we head into Spring Training.

Firstly, what are we going to do about our catcher? The incumbent, 37 year old Sam Sanderson, has caught 1454 FABL games, which is 3rd all-time behind Daniel Gladney (1568) and George Cary (1523). That's a lot of mileage, and while he did slug 17 home runs in 1925, it's more than clear that he is slowing down. Sanderson will start, but we also have 23 year old Ed Pinkham (an off season acquisition) in camp to take a look.

The outfield (outside of left fielder Phil Sandman that is) is also in flux. Center fielder Bert Hartmann was traded in the off season. Who will take his place? At the start of camp, the feeling is that Eddie Rodgerson will slide over from right field. Hopefully the great defense he has shown in right field will transfer to center. We have young slugger Jack Cornelison in camp also. Cornelison hit 41 home runs playing right field for Gary (A) last season.

Another youngster worth keeping an eye on is third baseman Bob Clements. Clements had a brief tryout at the end of 1925, slashing .394/.459/.515 in 9 games over the final two weeks of the season. The coaching staff feels that he is ready. Clements doesn't have the power associated with the corner, but he has tremendous speed (he stole a combined 27 bases in 103 games for Evansville (A) and Nashville (AA) in 1925; he added 3 more stolen bases in Montreal). We need someone to take Hartmann's place at the top of the order, so Clements will be given a long look.


l-to-r Sam Sanderson, Bob Clements, Jack Cornelison
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:59 AM   #11
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SAINTS TRADE FOR CATCHER

March 22nd, 1926, West Palm Beach, Florida

This morning the Saints announced that they have struck a deal with the New York Gothams. Montreal will send young outfielder Johnny Branson (.254/.319/.460 in 45 games at Evansville (A)) in exchange for veteran catcher Paul Tattersall (.289/.341/.486, 12, 47 in 77 games for the Gothams).


Paul Tattersall

The 34 year old Tattersall is expected to split playing duties with 36 year old Sam Sanderson. The addition of Tattersall gives the Saints the two most prolific home run hitting catchers in FABL history. Tattersall debuted as a 16 year old for Brooklyn in 1908 and handled the catching duties for the Kings until being traded to the Gothams in 1924. Tattersall has 177 career home runs, while Sanderson has 119.

Tattersall is certainly not a long term answer at catcher for the Saints. But fans are excited and there is definitely quite a bit of interest to see the power duo in action behind the plate for Montreal.

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Old 06-12-2019, 01:24 PM   #12
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Spring Training, March 29th, 1926

With Spring Training half complete, most of the burning questions in the Saints camp have been answered.

Ideally, we carry 7 pitchers on the roster. We'll break camp with 8 this year because we want to keep 25 year old Sam Young, who was a Rule 5 pickup this past December, around for a while.

Our rotation will be (1925 stats in parenthesis):

Del Plummer (16-16, 3.66, 325 IP)
Wayne Robinson (18-17, 4.39, 285 IP)
Ed O'Kelley (15-11, 4.38, 230 IP)
Bill Morris (10-14, 4.42, 228 IP)

Bullpen/spot starters:
Joe Myers (13-14, 4.02, 260 IP for Minneapolis (AAA))
Mike Vonderheide (11-9, 4.76, 174 IP)
George Scott (10-4, 2.47, 157 IP for Minneapolis (AAA))
Sam Young (11-10, 4.42, 215 IP for Boston)

Our starting 8:

C - Sam Sanderson (.238/.295/.419, 17, 67)
1B - Sal Ingalls (.280/.347/.433, 17, 87)
2B - Edwin Segovia (.281/.324/.380, 3, 69)
3B - Fred Welsch (.271/.372/.398, 6, 67)
SS - Jim Newman (.327/.400/.452, 1, 32)
LF - Phil Sandman (.336/.386/.465, 8, 87)
CF - Eddie Rodgerson (.279/.342/.391, 4, 64)
RF - Jack Cornelison (.344/.418/.674, 41, 135 for Gary (A))

In the lineup, as you can see, the biggest surprise is that Jack Cornelison will make the jump from A-ball to the FABL. The fact that he can back up center fielder Rodgerson was a big factor in his favor, plus he has hit well this spring (.294/.333/.647, 1, 3). Center fielder Ruley Lewis was completely over-matched at the plate. Lewis will open the season in Minneapolis (AAA), though at 26 years old, and the center field job open, this was his opportunity to grab.

Young third baseman Bob Clements also did not look ready. He too will begin the season in Minneapolis.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:48 PM   #13
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4-man rotation? I had thought about it too but seems like the FABL teams were all 5 man rotations prior to the online era. Of course, my issue is I don't have a standout at the top of my rotation like you do in Plummer that I would want to get those extra starts.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Fan View Post
4-man rotation? I had thought about it too but seems like the FABL teams were all 5 man rotations prior to the online era. Of course, my issue is I don't have a standout at the top of my rotation like you do in Plummer that I would want to get those extra starts.
In-game I'll go with 5 man, always start highest rested. It's just that the 5th man will be one of the 4 pitchers and will always be subject to change!
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:05 PM   #15
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April 5th, 1926

Just five games remain on the Spring schedule, and with the minor league regular seasons getting underway this week, most of the minor league players that were in camp are back with their respective clubs. The roster is set, and now it's just a matter of waiting and preparing for the visit of Brooklyn on Opening Day, April 13th.

You can't put too much stock into spring numbers, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the batters that had the best Springs: first baseman Sal Ingalls, left fielder Phil Sandman, and right fielder Jack Cornelison.

As a rookie in his first major league camp, it was a pleasure to watch Cornelison. In 31 plate appearances, he had 10 hits, 5 of which went for extra bases. The 5 XBH were tied for the team lead with Phil Sandman, though it took Phil 50 plate appearances to collect his.

26 year old Sal Ingalls is a player who may just be coming into his prime. He was drafted in the 12th round of the 1920 draft by the Philadelphia Keystones out of Harvard. After backing up first base for the Keystones in 1923 and 1924, Ingalls was acquired by the Saints in March of 1925 and won the first base job that Spring. He hit well in 1925 (.280/.347/.433, 17, 87). His 17 home runs were tied for the team lead (with Sam Sanderson). His 2 home runs this Spring also lead the club. Despite his diminutive stature (he is generously listed at 5'9"), he showed good power in college, hitting 31 home runs and 57 doubles in 150 career collegiate games. His 1925 season was the first time that power manifested itself in his professional career. All the more impressive because Montreal is such a tough place to hit home runs, particularly for a right handed batter.


Sal Ingalls
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