President: Frank Zehrung, Emerson Dickerson
|Des Moines Boosters||84||62||--|
|Lincoln Links||83||64||1 ½|
|Sioux City Indians/St Joseph||80||66||4|
|St. Joseph Drummers/Hutchison||80||66||16|
|Joplin Miners||79||68||5 ½|
|Wichita Witches||61||86||23 ½|
|Wins:Otto Merz, Omaha, 26|
Musical franchises were played as WWI, movies and golf led to the decline of minor league baseball. There were 26 minor leagues that started the 1916 season. Twenty one leagues started the 1917 season and almost half disbanded before the season ended. The Western League had its share of issues with various franchises in financial difficulty throughout the year.
St. Joseph moved to Hutchison after the first half of the season. Sioux City moved to St. Joseph two weeks later. The league went to a split season with first half champions and second half champions and playoffs. Des Moines was the eventual winner of the playoffs. This was the last year for the Lincoln franchise until 1924.
The league had a salary limit which like most years was a cause of much consternation. With many other leagues folding during the year there were a lot of free agents and a lot of movement from club to club during the year. The Western League also had a rule that a club could only carry five pitchers and that only three of the pitchers could be experienced.
In August Payne of Des Moines pitched all 20 innings in a game against St. Joseph. In fact the game only saw 18 players as both pitchers went the distance.
Ducky Holmes managed the Links in 1917. They were in the hunt for the championship all season but fell by 1.5 games to the Des Moines Boosters.
Shortstop for the Links was a familiar face. Marty Berghammer returned to Lincoln to play for Ducky Holmes team. He had played for the Links in 1912. His play led to him to be bought by the Reds for the 1913 and 1914 seasons. He also played in the Federal League with the Pittsburg Rebels in 1915. He wound up in St. Paul from 1919-1925. In 1925 he was the manager of the Tulsa franchise in the Western League. Marty averaged .289 in 56 games.
Ray Schmandt had a cup of coffee with the Browns in 1915. He played for Lincoln in 1917 and averaged .275. He was bought by Brooklyn in October and played for Brooklyn from 1918-1922. The 21 year old from St. Louis averaged .279 in 87 games.
Johnny Butler averaged .265 while playing in the infield for 65 games. The 24 year old from Fall River Kansas also played for Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League in 1917. He was a fixture for Wichita from 1920-1924. He made it to the show with Brooklyn in 1926 and played for three different teams during his four years in the majors.
Dick Bayless plaed in 147 games and had a .290 average. The Joplin Missouri native played a few games with the Reds in 1908. This was his final season in pro ball having started his career in 1902.
Tony Smith averaged .235 in 142 games. He played for Washington in 1907 and Brooklyn in 1910 and 1911.
Art Thomason tended the garden for 92 games and averaged .297. The Liberty Missouri native played in a few games with Cleveland in 1910. He played in the Western League for 9 seasons.
John Rohrer started his professional career as a 16 year old with Cedar Rapids. The Hastings Nebraska native played in 123 games and averaged .230.
Ty Lober played in 134 games and averaged .258.
Paul Eiffert averaged .213 in 55 games.
Bert Lamb averaged .215 in 123 games.
H. Berger played in 37 games and averaged .186, Selk averaged .141 in 26 games.
Griffin averaged .269 in 85 games. Pitchers:
Meyers had a 9-9 record and a 2.4 ERA in 124 innings of work.
Howie Gregory had a 23-8 record, pitched 319 innings and had a 2.18 ERA. The 30 year old from Hannibal Missouri had a cup of coffee with the Browns in 1911. He also played for San Francisco in the PCL in 1917. In 1919 he was picked up by Wichita and played there through the 1926 season.
John Halla was 18-15 in 1917. This was his last professional year. He started in 1903 with Pittsburg Kansas and he had a cup of coffee with Cleveland in 1905.
Carl East was a 22 year old from Marietta Georgia. He had a 20-17 record with the Links. He had two short stints in the major leagues. He played for the Browns in 1915 and with Washington in 1924. He played professional ball from 1913 through the 1930 season.
Gardinier was 7-6.
Ed Zink was 0-3, Reed was 1-1, Stiles ws 2-1, Blodgett was 2-1 and Bluejacket was 1-2.
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