Minor League History: Florida-Alabama-Georgia League (FLAG League)

The Florida-Alabama-Georgia League saw the light in 1915 as the Georgia State League changed its name when the Americus team moved to Gainesville FL and a team in Dothan AL was added. This happened in June 1915. The Georgia State League had previously been known as the Empire State League.

The FLAG league started the 1915 season under the well known name of Georgia State League. In the past there had been an attempt to start a Georgia State League (1906) but that edition was short lived as it ceased operations in the second week of July after the Americus and Valdosta franchises disbanded and a third team was forced to move. Most of the other teams had financial difficulties, so folding the league was the only option. C

Cities represented:

Americus, GA: Americus Muckalees
Brunswick, GA: Brunswick Pilots
Dothan, AL: Dothan
Gainesville, FL: Gainesville Sharks
Thomasville, GA: Thomasville Hornets
Valdosta, GA: Valdosta Millionaires
Waycross, GA: Waycross Moguls

Before the start of the 1915 season the Cordele Ramblers dropped out of the league and were replaced by a team in Dothan in Alabama. After the owners of (again) the Americus franchise handed over the team to the league due to financial difficulties on May 18 1915, three weeks into the season, and the team was moved to Gainesville (FL) on May 31. Due to this move and the earlier addition of a team in Dothan at the start of the season, the league swiftly changed its name into Florida-Alabama-State League. The Americus Muckalees changed its name into Gainesville Sharks. The nickname of the Dothan franchise isn’t known.

One of the FLAG league players that made it to the bigs was Ben Paschal. He made quite a jump from class D to the majors in 1915. While playing for the Dothan franchise, Paschal Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Ben Paschal baseballled the FLAG league in homeruns with seven dingers. After the league folded, he debuted with the Cleveland Indians on August 16. He did not impress with his bat, hitting a meager .111. Eventually he was sent down to the class D Charlotte Hornets of the North Carolina State League in 1916. After spending many years in the minors, in which he made it to class A. In 1920, his contract was acquired by the Boston Red Sox. In nine games he hit a decent .357 but once again he was sent down to the minors again. Eventually he ended up with the New York Yankees in 1924. He spent six years with the Yankees where he became the last hitter to replace Babe Ruth as a pinch hitter in 1927 in the opening game of the season, in which Ruth went o for 3 and Paschal collected a hit. Paschal was known as a five tool player but still his playing time with the Yankees was limited as they already had a lot of future hall of famers on their roster. Eventually Paschal was sent down to the minors again where he would play for the remainder of his career (through the 1934 season).

Next to Paschal there were some players that had a cup of tea in the Bigs. Herb Hall for example played three games with the Detroit Tigers in 1918, debuting on April 25 and playing his last game on May 3rd. With the Dothan franchise, Hall clinched a league leading fourteen wins and a .737 winning percentage (14-5).
Ross Reynolds was another example of a FLAG player that had a short lived major league career. Reynolds debuted with the Detroit Tigers on May 2nd in a season in which he made 26 appearances on the mound, seven as a starter, and in which he finished the season with a 5-3 record. In 1915 he appeared in only four games. He did not record a win and lost one.
His final MLB game was on May 1 1915 after he signed with the Waycross Moguls.

The size of most cities became a problem for the league. Many franchises were located in small communities which had a direct influence on the number of spectators. For the smaller cities operating costs (equipment, travel, and lodging) and player salaries were harder to deal with due to the small numbers of fans visiting the games.
Only in its third month, the league disbanded on July 17. The league attempted to play a play off series between the Valdosta Millionaires and the Brunswick Pilots, but that series was never finished due to a player strike.


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