Photograph Courtesy of Phoenix Public Library
The 1947 Senators featured some unbelievable hitting but there was one 19 year old spark plug in the lineup that would blow away the competition and change baseball forever. His name was Billy Martin and at the age of 19 he was better than almost every player in the lineup that was at times, 8 years his senior. Billy Martin was only in his 2nd year of pro ball and played in almost every game for the Senators that year and hit a whopping .392 with 48 2Bs, 12 3Bs, 9 HRs and a ridiculous 174 RBIs. Not bad for a 19 year old playing Class C ball. Martin would spend over a decade as a Yankees / Royals 2nd baseman before becoming one of the great hot-headed managers of the game, whose run-ins with George Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson have become legendary. Joining Martin on the Phoenix Senators team was Pete Hughes who wielded a massive bat, and hit .371 with 36 2Bs and 38 HRs, 180 Runs scored and 193 walks to become the HR king of Minor League baseball. He also held a slugging percentage of .747. Buck Elliott would offer him some protection in the lineup with 37 2Bs, 13 2Bs and 20 HRs and Charlie Biggs contributed with his .356 and 29 2Bs. On the mound were Don Cantrell (16-5, 3.81), John Conant (19-10, 3.73) and Raymond Martinez (15-7, 3.52) provided some fine pitching to go along with the great hitting. Billy Martin and Pete Hughes took over every conceivable hitting category in the Arizona-Tex League while John Conant led the league with his 19 wins. The 1st place Senators finished with an 82-51 (.617) record. In the playoffs, this massive team came up against the Globe-Miami Browns and would you believe… were swept in the 1st round. And that my friends, is an example of an anti-climactic ending.