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Rebel Oakes

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Rebels
  • League: Federal League

Ennis Telfair Oakes (1883-1948) came north from tiny Lisbon, LA and Louisiana Industrial Institute (now LA Tech University) to play his rookie season in the majors with Cincinnati in 1909. Rebel wasn’t the most productive hitter for the team. In fact, while only three other starters had higher averages, every other starter drove in more runs. Oakes was sold to the Cardinals the next season where he started in center until being lured to the Federal League in 1914. He had his best season with St. Louis in 1913, hitting .293 and exceeded that with the Pittsburgh Federals who even took his name: The Rebels. In their minor league incarnation, the franchise had been called the Filipinos after manager Deacon Phillippe, so the team was inclined toward the identity of whomever was at the helm. The “major league” status of the Federal League is certainly open to debate, however a number of Oakes’ teammates had MLB experience before and after their stint with the “outlaw” Federals. He served well as player-manager, hitting a career best .312 in 1914.

  • Rebel left MLB when the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, but he went out to Denver to manage the Western League’s Bears where he led the circuit with 205 hits

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Joe Tinker

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Chi-Feds
  • League: Federal League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Joseph Bert Tinker (1880-1948) sparkled at short, helping the Cubs to 4 pennants and 2 Series wins. He and fellow rookie Johnny Evers turned their first double-play to Frank Chance on Sep 13, 1902. A fight over a cab ride left Tinker and Evers estranged for years, but didn’t prevent them from playing 2nd “like one man, not two.” Tinker was widely held to be second only to Honus Wagner at SS, leading the league in many fielding categories. As skilled as he was afield, Tinker was also one of the great clutch hitters. Christy Mathewson deemed him the NL player he least wanted to see.

  • On June 28, 1910 Tinker became one of a handful to steal home twice in a game
  • Asked to leave the Cubs when Evers was made manager in 1913 but filled that role himself after a hiatus with the Federal League
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1946

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Bill McKechnie

Third Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (FL)
  • League: Federal League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Boyd McKechnie (1886-1965) was a noted baseball strategist and the only manager to lead three teams to NL pennants. Won World Series titles with two clubs: the ’25 Pirates and ’40 Reds. A player, manager and then coach for nearly half a century, “the Deacon” was known for his temperance and piety.

  • Served as coach for young Indians manager, Lou Boudreau, winning the ’48 Series
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1962

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Benny Kauff

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (FL)
  • League: Federal League

Benjamin Michael Kauff (1890-1961) came oh so close to owning the Big Apple. The brash, dapper young outfielder had all the tools, all five to be exact. And he had attitude. And style. For unknown reasons, the Highlanders gave up on the rookie in 1912 after a mere five games and consigned him to the minors. Kauff then detoured to the Federal League in ‘14-15, tearing up the league in all offensive categories. John McGraw had tried to get Benny before losing out to the upstart Feds and finally succeeded when the circuit folded. Sadly for Kauff, his press notices as the “Ty Cobb of the Federal League” rang hollow when he could only muster a .264 average in 1916 for the Giants. He raised that average over .300 until the war intervened but never set the world on fire. Caught up in the maelstrom of 1919 shadiness, Kauff gained a reputation for dishonesty that would haunt him when he faced felony theft charges the next year.

  • Despite being exonerated with McGraw’s help, Ban Johnson and Kenesaw Landis didn’t buy it. The Black Sox affair had created a climate where the Judge would brook no hint of scandal and Kauff was banned from the game

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Hal Chase

First Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Buffalo
  • Team: Blues (FL)
  • League: Federal League

Harold Homer Chase (1883-1947) may have been among the best first-basemen ever, but his “errors” place him as mediocre at best. His own words are his epitaph: “I am an outcast, and I haven’t a good name. I’m the loser, just like all gamblers are.” A star for the NY Highlanders for the first nine years of the franchise, admired by peers such as Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson, Chase even went on to out-poll dozens of later entrants into the Hall of Fame. Such was his prowess at first and plate. But his compulsion to wager, and the ease of access to illicit betting (the bookies were in the front row) consigned this great player to ignominy.

  • Chase’s spiral from NY idol to deportee from Mexico evidenced his inability to stay straight in an era when the crooked path was wide and inviting
  • Chase was banned from baseball for life by commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in 1922 for his (unsubstantiated) role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal
  • Despite the controversy that consumed his career, Chase received more HOF votes in 1936 than 18 future HOFers, and more votes in 1937 than 32 future HOFers, but he never appeared on the ballot again

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