|After playing for the Boston Red Sox for three |
years, Moose Grimshaw played some minor league
ball before settling into a Beech Nut factory job.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division, Washington, D.C.
Word out of Chicago was that "A recommendation by the steering committee of both leagues calls for increases in both midseason and reserve player lists of five and 10 reinstated players, respectively," according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, reporting on December 1. That meant that the regular season rosters would go from 25 to 30 players, and the 40-man would become a 50-man, at least temporarily.
That was one topic of discussion of the pending league-wide meetings. But there was another topic that needed even more attention.
Who would replace the recently deceased Kenesaw Mountain Landis as commissioner of baseball?
"If you have not been mentioned yet as the new Landis there must be something desperately wrong with you," wrote "Famed Sports Columnist and Expert Analyst" Joe Williams in his syndicated column that ran that same day in the paper. "Up to press time those who have been mentioned include Gen. George Marshall, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, James A. Farley, Steve Early, Senator Happy Chandler, J. Edgar Hoover, Ford Frick, Will Harridge, Leslie O'Connor, Col. Leland Sanford MacPhail, Judge William Bramham, Abbott and Costello, Harvey the Rabbit and a mysterious stranger known to have a cache of cigarets."
Williams warned that "Naming the new Landis threatens to be a popular form of indoor sports for months to come," as there seemed to be no true consensus on a successor. What there was consensus on was the idea that the new commissioner should come from outside of baseball, a point that threw Williams for a loop. "Is this an admission that baseball lacks capable and distinguished executive ability?" he asked. "If the game hasn't developed any men of stature it's about time it started."
It might have been Landis himself. His brand of leadership, and the unlimited powers he seemed to hold, had the owners nodding their heads a lot, out of fear, perhaps, maybe respect for the fact that he got the job done. After all, said Williams, he had come in after a "period of hysteria" and righted the ship.
For the first time in a quarter of a century, baseball could choose a new direction. An ending war and the promise of a new commissioner offered baseball a chance at rebirth.
Close. So close.
Frank "Lefty" Killen (164-131, 3.78 ERA) twice won 30 games in a season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will serve us well as our ace. Firpo Marberry (148-88, 3.63) will go second, although we might need to utilize him and his 99 saves in the bullpen. Bob Tewksbury (110-102, 3.92) will go third, and our depth continues at number four with Rich Harden (59-38, 3.76) and Craig Swan (59-72 3.74) at five. Steve Hamilton (42 SV) and Juan Berenguer (32 SV) will lead the relief corps, with Leo Kiely, Chase Anderson, Jimmie DeShong and Win Ballou.
Ray Durham (.277, 192 HR, 875 RBI, 273 SB) brings us pop from an unexpected place, at second base, while "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Shane Victorino (.275, 108, 489, 231 SB), in the outfield with Matt Lawton (.267, 138, 631, 165 SB) and Patrick Gillespie (.276, 10, 351), adds some clutch to that pop. That's right, we got pop AND clutch. Mark Lewis (.263, 48, 306) is our shortstop with Luis Valbuena (.226, 114, 367) at second and Craig Wilson (.262, 99, 292) (the second Craig on our Craigs list) at first. Dave Engle (.262, 31, 181) will catch. Our bench starts with Bo Jackson. Anybody who remembers him snapping a bat over his knee after a strikeout knows why. Then we'll add Moose Grimshaw, Tacks Latimer, Dud Brown and Alamazoo Jennings, who once had ten passed balls in one game. In fact, it was his only game.
The Round Numbers
Walks: Bo Jackson, 200.
Games Started: Frank Killen, 300; Jimmie DeShong, 100.