From Major Leagues by David Pietrusza:
Also in January 1915 the Feds lashed out on another front,
endeavoring to form their own farm system. In early 1914 John
Montgomery Ward had proposed "eastern" and "western" circuits,
but nothing came of his pronouncement. In June of that year rumors
circulated that the Feds were out to lasso the Class D Atlantic
League, centered largely in New Jersey. Again nothing happened,
and the Atlantic League folded at season's end.
The league they did choose was the existing New England-based
Colonial League. Each club in this economically operated Class C
"trolley league" had travelled by interurban transit to its games and
returned home by nightfall to cut down on travel expenses. Its
franchises were Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, Pawtucket,
Taunton and Woonsocket--all one-time members of the New
Reports persisted throughout 1914 that the Colonial League was
playing footsie with the Feds. In August 1914 the Boston Red Sox
cancelled an exhibition with Woonsocket due to the Fed rumors.
In January 1915 Gilmore and Ward met with representatives of the
circuit in New Haven to formalize matters. Woonsocket was
dropped and three clubs--New Haven, Hartford and
Springfield--from the defunct Class B Eastern Association were
added. The Feds would supply six players to each club; in return
each Colonial League team would recompense the Feds $200 per
month per player. If the player's salary exceeded that amount, the
Feds would pay the difference.
Most of the Feds' deficit for 1914 ($25,000), it was revealed, had
been picked up by Brooklyn's Ward brothers. In 1915 the
arrangement was formalized with a member of the family, William S.
Ward, being named league treasurer.
The Colonial League still avoided overnight trips, but was,
nonetheless, in poor financial shape. Minor league ball--whether
organized or outlaw--was in the doldrums in 1915. By July 10, both
Fall River and Taunton had disbanded.
Standings on July 10:
W L PCT.
Hartford 23 18 .561
New Bedford 23 18 .561
New Haven 24 19 .558
Springfield 21 19 .525
Brockton 21 21 .500
Pawtucket 19 20 .487
Fall River 22 24 .478
Taunton 14 28 .333
Play resumed as a six-club league on July 11, but without much
improvement at the gate. Pawtucket drew so poorly it had to play
all of its last month's games on the road and was renamed the
Playing talent was fair at best. Former major league second
baseman Jim Delahanty (he'd started the 1915 season with the
Brookfeds) managed the strong Hartford club and paced the circuit
in batting with a .379 mark. United States League alumnus "Big Jeff"
Pfeffer had managed Pawtucket in 1914. Former A's outfielder
Danny Murphy appeared for both New Haven and Pawtucket in
The most-noteworthy player to graduate from Colonial ranks was
hard-hitting Brockton outfielder Merwin "Jake" Jacobson, who
became a star for the great Orioles teams of the 1920s and
eventually made it briefly to the big leagues. Also graduating to
higher ranks was outfielder Mike Menosky, farmed to New Haven
by Pittsburgh, who played nine seasons of major league ball.
Second half standings:
CLUB W L PCT.
Hartford 55 42 .567
Brockton 57 44 .564
New Bedford 56 45 .554
New Haven 52 50 .510
Springfield 47 50 .485
Pawtucket 37 57 .394
Peace, Peace, But There Is No Peace!
Peace talks were held again in April 1915. Sporting News editor J.
G. Taylor Spink arranged for Ban Johnson and Phil Ball to meet at
McTeague's Restaurant in St. Louis. Two weeks later the duo got
together again at Comiskey Park. Ball was heard to mutter
something about the pity of the battles being fought in the courtroom
and not on the diamond, but nothing came of the conferences.
Player raids continued in 1915. From the A's the Feds got pitchers
Chief Bender and Eddie Plank; from the Braves outfielder Leslie
Mann and third baseman Chuck Deal; from the Cardinals versatile
Lee Magee; from the Pirates, first baseman "Big Ed" Konetchy and
third baseman Harry "Mike" Mowrey; from the Phils infielder Milton
Reed; from the Giants, pitcher "Hooks" Wiltse; from the Red Sox,
pitcher Hugh Bedient and second baseman Steve Yerkes; from the
Reds, infielder Marty Berghammer; from the Tigers, pitcher Alex
Main; from Brooklyn, catcher Bill Fischer and outfielder Jack
Dalton; from the White Sox, infielder Harry Lord; from the Senators
rapidly aging second baseman "Germany" Schaefer.