Photographs courtesy of the G.E. Archives - Schenectady Science Center and Planetarium
One step forward to one step back as Rock Island was down in 5th in 1923, 24 games out of 1st, 20 games under .500 and completely void of power. Not a single player would hit more than 1 HR on the entire team! Luckily by 1924... Rock Island got some exciting news... the Mississippi Valley League was expanding by 2 more clubs to 8 and one of those 2 teams... was their rival sibling, the Moline Plowboys. It didn't make the team better but it did make the "Subway series of the Quad Cities" more exciting, as Rock Island played Moline quite often. The Islanders went into 1924 knowing that they wouldn't win the league but at least they could try to beat the Plowboys and have a little bragging rights throughout town... (Afterall, the two stadiums were just 3.3 miles apart separated by a short ride down 18th avenue). They would get those bragging rights in 1924 against the Plowboys when Rock Island signed a monster player named Stan Keyes.
Keyes was never destined to be a Major Leaguer, but was certainly destined to be a local hero. Keyes single handedly turned this team back into a winning franchise by slamming a new record 39 doubles, 10 triples a new team record batting average of .358 and the most home runs this new league had ever seen thus far... as Keyes slammed 20 impressive Home Runs (it would stand up as the all time record in Douglas Park's all time professional history). The Islanders put up a 64-57 record (.529), the best they had ever finished for 3rd place leaving Moline in the dust of 5th place. Sadly Keyes was gone by 1925.