In early February in 1926, a 4-player trade was consummated between two long-gone American League teams, the St. Louis Browns and the Washington Senators. Two star baseball players, pitcher Joe Bush and right-fielder Jack Tobin were traded by the Brownies to the Senators for pitcher Win Ballou and long-time major league pitcher Tom Zachary, who played under the name of Zack Walton in 1918.
The rise of the St. Louis Browns into pennant-contention starting in the early 1920s was brought about when the Browns management signed 11 of the leading players of the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League after the team was disbanded in 1916 during World War 1. Included in the signings was standout batsman and outfielder Jack Tobin. In 1920 the St. Louis Browns moved into first-division finishers three years in a row, including 1922 when they finished with a 93-61 record, and missed winning the pennant to the Yankees by a single game.
The Browns were hard hit in 1923 when all-around superstar first baseman George Sisler suffered vision problems stemming from a chronic sinus condition; Sisler was forced to miss the entire season, and the Browns, deprived of his inspirational leadership and performance, plunged to fifth. Though he returned in 1924, Sisler never recaptured the batting form that had led him to two batting titles, a pair of .400-plus seasons, and the all-time season record of 257 hits; since broken by Seattle Mariners star batsman Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 with 262 hits.
Focus on the fact that from 1919 thru 1923 Browns' rightfielder Jack Tobin posted batting averages of .327 with 159 hits... .341 with 202 hits... .352 with a career-high 236 hits... .331 with 207 hits and .317 with 202 hits. These stats during tose five seasons - That's a resounding career in-itself.
The Browns did not finish above third for the rest of the 1920s, then plunged into 24 years of losing records.
Pitcher Joe Bush was a big winner for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1913 thru 1917 and for the Red Sox from 1918-1921. Nicknamed Bullet Joe Bush, he posted a brilliant 26-7 win/loss record for the Yankees in 1922 when the Yanks edged the Browns by one game for the AL pennant in the then 8-team American League. Joe Bush compiled a 14-14 record for the Browns in the season before this trade. But by the time he was traded to the Washington Senators he was an aging veteran and pitched 3 more years before retiring from on-field action.
Tom Zachary served our country during World War 1 and later pitched 2 games for the old Philadelphia A's in 1918 The next season he signed with the Washington Senators, 1919. From 1920 thru 1922 he won at least 15 games in each season, including a career-best 18 in 1921. In 1924 he went 15-9 and helped pitch Washington into the World Series against the New York Giants. The Senators lost Game 1, but Zachary tied the Series with a victory in Game 2. In Game 6, with the Senators needing a win to stay alive, Tom Zachary hurled a complete-game six-hitter. Washington won a thrilling Game 7 in 12 innings.
Tom Zachary led the AL in games started in 1925, but his record fell to 12-15. He pitched only 1 2/3 innings of the 1925 World Series, which the Senators lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.
In February 1926 he was traded in this deal to the Browns. In July 1927 the Senators reclaimed him on waivers.
Win Ballou, born in Mount Morgan, Kentucky. Nicknamed Old Pard. Noble Winfield Ballou compiled fine stats during his four years in the majors. After going 1-1 in 10 games as a rookie in 1925 with the Senators he was traded to the Browns prior to his sophomore season in 1926. His stats in '26 were 11-10, with a 4.79 earned run average per 9 innings, and he completed 5-of-13 starts plus 30 relief appearances. Win Ballou was 5-6 in 1927 then was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers, going 2-3 in his last major league season.