Photo Courtesy of Memphis Redbirds / Blues / Chicks Official Scorer:
J.J. Guinozzo (Guinozzo Centre Baseball Research)
The new Chickasaws were hoping that the new moniker would bring some luck to the fledgling team who had lost a lot of ground to neighboring Nashville and New Orleans who now had 3 S.A. titles each under their belts. The new Chickasaws would indeed play better but were hardly a contender for post-season play. 1912 brought the team closer to .500 as they put up a 68-71 record for 4th place. It was definitely a step upwards or so it seemed. In actuality it was more of a fluke as the team sank to 5th place in 1913 and back to 7th place with 87 losses in 1914. The 1914 team featured strangely enough, John Merritt (17-12) who would like Moonlight Graham, go on to the New York Giants and play in 1 game but never get an At-Bat. Unfortunately he would never have a movie made for him. Future St. Louis Browns' Doc Shanley put up a pretty good record as well in 1914 batting .346 in 234 At Bats. The Chickasaws would try to rebound again in 1915, putting up 81 wins for a 3rd place finish behind John Merritt who returned to win 20 games (20-15) and a returning future Cleveland Indians' Milo Allison (18 2B, 12 3B, .304) who hit over .300 for the 2nd straight season. The 1916 team would tread water finishing 2 games below .500. Future Chicago White Sox 20 game winner, Dickey Kerr tried to make a difference putting up a 24-12 record. Things finally began to look up in 1917 as 2 new pitchers made the starting rotation. One of whom came to Memphis after playing a brief 8 games for the New York Yankees. As it turns out, this pitcher was on his way to superstardom. The other pitcher… was only 17 years old. He was hardly ready to be playing for a Class AA team. Still… many thought he had the tools to also be a superstar. They were right. Both pitchers would do something that no other had done in the history of this franchise. They would go on to become Major League Baseball Hall of Famers.