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Reading Keystones

From BR Bullpen

In 1923 the Reading Aces were renamed the Reading Keystones. The club finished third behind manager Spencer Abbott with an 85-79 record. OF Tom Connelly (.315/~.450/.512) led the IL with 139 walks and had a 20-20 season (21 HR, 26 SB); he scored 143 runs in 161 games. The other league leader was 3B-SS Fred Thomas, who hit just .255/~.317/.402 but delivered a league-high 17 triples. Ex-major-leaguer Al Mamaux went 17-10 with a 3.40 ERA as their ace.

Abbott's club slipped to 7th and 63-98 the next year, though Mamaux (11-6, 3.05) managed a fine record. The Keystones recovered somewhat in 1925 with a 78-90 record, 5th in the IL. Tex Wilson (16-15, 4.11) and Leo Mangum (9-8, 3.87) led the staff while 1B Polly McLarry (.308/~.405/.465) led the league with 46 doubles. The shortstop would be the club's most famous alumnus, though, as Moe Berg held down that position. Berg hit .311/~.348/.425 with a team-high 124 RBI.

The Keystones fell fast and hard, with a last-place 31-129 in 1926. They finished 75 games behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, the all-time record in Organized Baseball. Frank Shaughnessy, Byrd Lynn and Hooks Wiltse all tried to manage the team, which understandably produced no prominent players. Charles Swaney (10-29, 4.75) led the league in losses, complete games (28), innings (311) and hits allowed (405). The team scored 529 runs, 126 fewer than any other team.

In 1927 Reading improved slightly to 43-123 and 68 games behind the Buffalo Bisons. Fred Merkle, George Maisel and Harry Hinchman all took their hand at the helm. OF George Quellich had a decent season (.314/~.399/.569, 20 games with the Baltimore Orioles, the rest with Reading) while C Spud Davis (.308/~.379/.454) went on to a fine career in the majors. William Wrigley bought controlling interest in the team on May 18.

In Wrigley's first full season as owner of the franchise, the Keystones improved drastically in 1928, finishing fourth at 84-83 under Hinchman. The eight most-used players all topped .300 and OF Johnny Moore (.328/~.388/.539) drove in 117 and led the IL with 18 triples. Socks Seibold (22-8, 3.00) won the most games in the league, while Nicholas Harrison (11-20, 4.50) lost more frequently than any other starter in the loop.

Hinchman's club was 80-86 in 1929 but only finished 7th of the 8 teams. 1B Chicken Hawks (.316/~.387/.463) led the IL with 44 doubles, OF Hobart Whitman (.349/~.386/.448) led with 230 hits and OF Danny Taylor (.371/~.468/.620, 36 SB) led the IL in average, but the most memorable run belonged to Quellich, the third outfielder. George hit .347/~.408/.574 with 31 homers and 130 RBI but his chief accomplishment was a 15 for 15 run in August, including 4 home runs.

Reading repeated in seventh in 1930 but with a much worse record of 68-98. Hinchman's club was led by OF Pete Scott (.349/~.429/.624, 32 HR), who was third in slugging and around third in OBP, and 1B Bud Davis (.342/~.393/.546, third in the IL with 150 RBI) at the plate and Johnny Welch (10-13, 4.82) on the mound.

The Keystones moved up one slot in 1931 to sixth as new owner/manager Pants Rowland's team went 79-88. Welch (15-11, 3.75) and Clay Van Alstyne (17-7, 4.77) were the top pitchers in ERA and wins respectively while 1B Jim Poole (.306/~.377/.499) led the league with 126 RBI. Quellich played 32 games for Newark and 108 with Reading - overall he hit .335/~.403/.553.

Rowland's club struggled some more in 1932 and on August 6 moved to Albany, NY where they became the Albany Senators. Overall the team finished 7th at 71-97.

Source: "The International League: Year-by-Year Statistics" by Marshall Wright

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1923 85-79 3rd Spencer Abbott none
1924 63-98 7th Spencer Abbott none
1925 78-90 5th Spencer Abbott (20-22) / Chick Shorten (58-68) none
1926 31-129 8th Frank Shaughnessy (1-8) / Byrd Lynn / Hooks Wiltse none
1927 43-123 8th Fred Merkle (3-22) / George Maisel (0-11) / Fred Merkle (18-45) / Harry Hinchman (22-45) none
1928 84-83 4th Harry Hinchman none
1929 80-86 7th Harry Hinchman none
1930 68-98 7th Harry Hinchman none
1931 79-88 6th Clarence "Pants" Rowland none
1932 50-66 (71-97 overall) -- Clarence "Pants" Rowland none Team moved to Albany August 6