There’s something remarkably odd about the Anniston Rams’ 10 seasons of sometimes baseball bliss: They never went a season without sending a player to the Southeastern League All-Star team. A wonder, it is.
Remarkable: In the Rams’ worst season — 1950, the summer they folded with a 21-73 record — two players were SEL All-Stars that July: infielder Bobby Kline (whose contract was sold to the New York Yankees) and pitcher Joe Cleary. The team would cease to exist before the month ended.
Remarkable: In those 10 All-Star games the Rams were statistically responsible for two victories:
- In 1941, pitcher Frank Papish entered in relief in the fourth inning and struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings, earning the win in a 9-5 victory over Mobile.
- In a 6-3 win over Vicksburg in 1947, pitcher Woody Rich earned the victory when he scattered four hits and two runs in two innings.
- And why’d Rich get the win? Because catcher Bobby Dews — father of longtime Atlanta Braves coach Bobby Dews (yes, same name) — went 1-for-2 and hit a 3-run, game-winning home run in the ninth inning.
The Rams, though, never earned the right to host the All-Star Game (and, thus, play against the All-Star team), while the SEL’s perennial front-runners Montgomery and Pensacola seemed to do that every other year. Anniston — along with Gadsden, its 1938 expansion team cousin — knew its place in the league heirarchy.
More typical of the Rams’ All-Star performances were wholly unremarkable or downright terrible outings. Ray Adamski, a catcher, played in the ’39 and ’40 games and didn’t get a hit in either. Ditto for Dee Moore, another catcher, who played in the ’41 and ’42 games and didn’t get a hit in either — and committed two errors in his second appearance. Charlie Kane pitched in the ’42 game and gave up four hits and three runs in three innings of relief.
At least Charlie Baron, the Rams’ manager in ’48, got to pilot that year’s All-Star team to a 5-0 win over Montgomery before 7,000 fans at the Cramton Bowl.
Anniston Rams SEL All-Star Game appearances, by year
1938: Art Rebel.
1939: Art Rebel; Ray Adamski.
1940: Ray Adamski; Johnny Nook.
1941: Frank Papish; Dee Moore.
1942: Joe Bob Mitchell; Dee Moore; Charlie Kane.
1946: John Schmidt; Nesbit Wilson; Ed Hill.
1947: Woody Rich; Bobby Dews; George Brown.
1948: Charlie Baron, manager; Woody Rich; Fred Baczewski.
1949: John Tayoan.
1950: Bobby Kline; Joe Cleary.