Photo Courtesy of Memphis Redbirds / Blues / Chicks Official Scorer:
J.J. Guinozzo (Guinozzo Centre Baseball Research)
That first Memphis Egyptians team in the inaugural year of the Southern Association, featured 2 20 game winners… future Cleveland Indians' Dusty Rhodes who put up a 22-12 record, while Clay Robb went 20-10 as the Egyptians finished up their 1st season with a 75-48 record in 3rd place. They would drop to 5th place in 1902 despite a 20 win season by former St. Louis Cardinals Ted Breitenstein. Ted had become notorious after winning 27 games for St. Louis in 1894 then losing 30 in 1895! Considering that Memphis teammate Jouett Meekin (3-3) had won 33 games for the New York Giants in 1894, we have to consider that this was a different kind of baseball than we know of today. The Egyptians came back strong in 1903 behind brief appearances by future Chicago Cubs' Sam Dungan (257 AB, .342) and future Cardinals' Joe Delahanty (197 AB 18 2B, 6 HR, .372). Former Cardinals' Perry Werden led the team in power with 21 2B, 8 HR and a .297 as Memphis came in 1st place with a 73-52 record but lost in the finals to Little Rock. It was a disappointing end to a league topping season but they came back strong again in 1904 behind future Senators' Clyde Goodwin (17-6) and Harry McIntyre (19-8), putting up their best record ever at 81-54 to finally take home their first of many Southern Association championship titles. The Egyptians however had better enjoy it, because it would be the last title for the "Pharaohs". The Egyptians finished out of the race in 1905 finishing at 69-62 in 6th place. They would come back to play solid baseball over the next two seasons, finishing in 2nd place with a 79-55 in 1906 and a 74-57 in 1907. The 1906 season was characterized by two events… one was the appearance of a famed future baseball player. He would only play just one game for the New York Giants and never got an at-bat, but the Chisholm Minnesota native would be immortalized in the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella… which would soon become the famed movie production "A Field Of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner. Frank Whaley and Burt Lancaster would play the part of Moonlight Graham who was a major character in the book and the movie.