Photo Courtesy of Ike Martin
As the war broke out in 1918, the Southern Association continued to play on. The Chickasaws had a good season behind the two Hall of Famers in 1917 finishing with an 81-73 record. Not yet ready for the post-season but getting ever closer. Dazzy Vance returned for 2nd season and while his record was again not up to par putting up an 8-6, his ERA again was phenomenal as it dropped to 1.69. Vance tried his best to make light of lagging offense but even the Southern Associaton couldn't ignore what was happening overseas. Though the S.A. would continue to play in every season of every year, they would cut short the 1918 season to 70 games. Vance would continue playing after the Southern Association suspended the season, with the New York Yankees. The Chickasaws finished in 6th place at 32-38 and it was obvious that this team still had a long way to go if they were going to be considered a regularly competitive team. Since the days of the Egyptians, Memphis was starting to get a bad reputation as the perennial losers… the "St. Louis Browns of the Southern Association"… now a team that has finished below .500 far more than above. After the war ended, little changed in Memphis… as the Chickasaws put up a 66-73 record. Dazzy Vance returned for a third season in 1920 and though he was just two seasons away from becoming the biggest impact to the Brooklyn Dodgers pitching rotation, he was still pitching just sub-par with the Memphis Chickasaws, putting up a 16-17 record on the season. The biggest problem remained the batting order. That was about to change however as the team welcomed two new players who would make a huge difference to Memphis before going on to become leaders with the Des Moines Demons... Former NY Giants' Pug Griffin (28 2B, 13 3B, 10 HR, .289) and former Chicago Cubs' Polly McLarry (24 2B, 10 3B, 11 HR, .337) were guns for hire and they had some rather big guns indeed. With their protection in the lineup Dixie Carroll who had played the past two seasons with Memphis, had an outstanding season batting .338 with 28 2B, 7 3B and 8 HR giving this team 3 legitimate major hitters in the lineup for the first time in a very long time. Carroll did so well that the Boston Braves promoted him towards the end of the season to their lineup. The pitching just wasn't there yet as Wiley Marshall finished with a 15-22 record and Memphis finished 5 games under .500.