The Best Rotation in Montgomery HistoryWe have had some good teams, like GOOOD teams. Teams so good they have an extra O, they are goood. Hall of famers have played here, both against and for us. All Stars and Cy Young winners, David Price and James Shields and Matt Moore recently have anchored teams that border on greatness while making pitching coaches jobs easier.
I mentioned our great Negro League team and some of its top notch talent in the last post. That team was good enough to be considered the first Major League team fielded by the city of Montgomery and had one of the best rotations seen in town.
Well, almost the best.
The Best pitching in Montgomery history may have been better than the GraySox team that was invited to play in Comisky Park. Better than the Biscuit teams that won back to back Southern League championships, better even than the Montgomery Rebels teams that read like a who's-who of 1970's AllStar ballots. Better than the Climbers and the Billikens, of course better than the Wings though they all played in the same neighborhood.
Tip your cap to the best Pitching Rotation in Montgomery History,
The Maxwell Bombers of 1942-45
The military team here during WW2 was formidable to say the least. Lets take a look!
Known officially as Flying Training Service Baseball League (Alabama) 1945, the Montgomery entry was the Maxwell Field Bombers. They played their home games four nights a week at Cramton Bowl from around 1942-1945. The team usually faced other military teams in league play. Tyndal, Napier, Spence, Turner and neighboring Gunter Field all had teams of semi or even pro players. Games were also scheduled against collegiate teams, the Bombers playing road games in Tuscaloosa and other area schools and even Bryce Hospital - known as a mental institution!
|Cramton Bowl, home of the Maxwell Field Bombers|
Also the Bombers faced barnstorming teams and other local pickup and industrial teams, though barnstormers probably found themselves with more than they bargained for as the Bombers had players at every position who would or had already spent time on Major League rosters.
A future AllStar, 21 year old Mel Parnell is fresh off a 16 win season 1.59 era in his second year of minor league ball when war breaks out. Between learning to fly B-52's, he was pitching for the Bombers staff.
|Red Sox would get a no hitter from Mel Parnell after he pitched here|
Parnell would go on to throw a no hitter for the BoSox in the Big Leagues. Parnell is in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Royce Lint, who you dont know can hurt you, as the PCL would learn after the war when Lefty Linty won 22 games for Portland. The Bham native took the hill for the Bombers during their wartime stint, throwing two no-hitters in the 1945 season for the Montgomery team!
His first no hitter was against Pine Castle Air Field, early in the season.
|Pirates property, Royce Lint was one of three lefties on the Bomber staff|
In his second no-no vs Craig Field Ala, he struck out ten and walked just two men, with three reaching first via fielding errors. This no-hitter was in the championship round of the playoffs.
Bill McCahan - this big right hander would later throw a no hitter for Connie Macks Athletics and was picked for the Rookie AllStar Team by the Sporting News in 1947, the first full year after he left the Bombers staff.
|Bill McCahan pitcher and test pilot|
Bill pitched for Duke University with other future major league players until 1942 when he became a Bomber, both as a pitcher and a pilot - testing the new B-29 Superfortress while also compiling a record of 24-1 in 1945 for the wartime ball team in Montgomery.
|B-29 Superfortress at Maxwell - just another way to bring the heat|
He made a splash in his big league debut, beating future Hall Of Famer Bob Feller 2-0 in a september matchup. At the time he was just the fifth rookie in history to throw a no hitter in the major leagues, just a year removed from pitching in Montgomery.
|the 1940s were actually in color, here is McCayhan from Sport Magazine|
After that 1946 season Bill relaxed by playing pro basketball in the NBA, averaging four points a game for the team thats now the Philadelphia 76ers.
Later he would help design the F-16 fighter.
Really, we should have heard more about this guy before now!!
George Turbeville was a lefty who ended up being on the bad end of a trivia question but was a vicious competitor. George was the rookie pitcher who surrendered Joe DiMaggio's first homer in May of 1936 as a member of the Philly Athletics. But later in the 1940s he was the veteran presence on the Bombers staff.
|Tubeville had control issues, over 500 walks in his career!|
In the bottom of the 15th inning he gives up a homer to the Indians Earl Averill to take the loss. Turbeville had started and pitched the distance, all 14 and two thirds innings worth, and had he retired Averill the game would have been called due to darkness. His pitching line isn't pretty, giving up 13 walks and three wild pitches, but the A's defense turned six double plays behind him and neither team scored till the two run Averill blast into the Cleveland night.
From 14 inning no hitter to extra inning loss, ouch!
Captained the team in 1937, and stayed on in Montgomery until his passing in 1960. He was a Montgomery baseball stalwart and former Boston Brave and Brooklyn Robin during his playing days of the 1920s. By the time of the second war he was purely a sideline coach but he brought big league experience to the guys on the field at the Bowl.
|Gus Felix as a Boston Brave before coming to Mgm|
Managing the team officially was the Physical Training officer. Mr.Motisi may still be kicking around somewhere, I would love to get a few questions in about the wartime baseball the GI's played here.
While researching this post, I came across the story of Millie Inks Dalrymple. Millie trained at Maxwell at the the same time as these ballplayers, having joined the military to serve her country. Millie didn't just do filing or handle womens work, this chick was as tough as any of above mentioned as a member of the WASPs, Womens AirForce Service Pilots.
Millie flew all styles of combat planes, including but not limited to B-17 and B-29 bombers, for hours and hours after repairs had been made, testing them to make sure the planes were ready to be put back into full combat use.
|Millie boarding an AT-6 Texan at Maxwell Field|
Good luck to you, Henry Wrigley! The Caracas Crusher signed a deal with the Rockies, and I expect him to take good advantage of that Colorado air. The humidor has its work cut out for it.
|WRIGS NEW DIGS - DENVER DAYS AHEAD|
The reigning Southern League Batting champ has a new club, joining the LA Dodgers organization. We could see Omar back in double-A but I would expect him to move up and enjoy feasting on PCL pitching in
|Luna to Dodgertown|