When John T. Powers was traveling around looking for potential franchisees in his new Federal League, he did not expect baking magnate Robert Ward to show much interest. But Ward had been desperately looking for a way to advertise his Tip-Top Bakery goods in the hotly contested New York City market. When he was approached by Powers' league president James Gilmore about purchasing a team, he figured a baseball team would be as good as any, and upon being awarded the franchise promptly nicknamed them the Brooklyn Tip-Tops after his company. The local press was somewhat taken aback by this blatant advertising; they considered baseball a pure sport, and tainting it with money was a bad idea. If only they could see things now ...
Managed by longtime Cleveland Indians third baseman Bill Bradley, the Tip-Tops featured perhaps the richest Major League heritage of all the Federal teams in 1914. The roster included the young Philadelphia Phillies phenom Tom Seaton, longtime Chicago Cubs utility man Solly Hofman, Detroit Tigers standout Jim Delahanty, and St. Louis Cardinals leftfield mainstay Steve Evans. They also pulled a number of Major League benchwarmers to play, including Art Griggs, Happy Fineran, and starting catcher Grover Land. The real haul for the team, though, was getting 37-year-old living legend Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown to serve as de facto pitching coach for the team.
The team opened up shop at Washington Park, former home to the Brooklyn Dodgers. That year, the team's offense was more than passable, with Evans leading the league in slugging percentage with a .556 clip and first baseman Hap Myers swiping 43 bases. The team's .269 batting average was good for second in the league, as were their 662 runs scored.
Unfortunately, the team struggled to pitch effectively throughout the season. Starters Seaton, Fineran, and Ed Lafitte combined for a decent 53-40 record, and Seaton's 7 shutouts were good for 2nd in the league. The rest of the team simply couldn't keep that pace, settling for a dismal 3.84 ERA in a league where a 3.21 ERA was the norm. Brown himself suffered, going 2-5 with a 4.21 ERA. The team's pitching offset the above-average batting, and the team finished a dead even 77-77 - 5th place in the league.
The following year Bradley was gone as manager, replaced by the 26-year-old Lee Magee, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. Also gone were Brown and Hofman, and Steve Evans suffered a season-ending injury in mid-June. Luckily, the team picked up the de facto league MVP from the year prior, Indianapolis's Benny Kauff, who had batted .370 in 1914. They also moved 24-year-old hurler Dan Marion into the position as #1 starter.
Results were decidedly mixed on the transfer. Though Magee came on and batted .323, his managing skills were so dismal that he was replaced by John Ganzel in August. Kauff again shined in the league, batting .342 and capturing the stolen base crown with 55 thefts. This time, the team finished first in runs scored (647) and batting average (.268), to go along with their league-leading 248 stolen bases.
But, much like the year prior, all of the batting gains were offset by their woeful pitching. Marion, Seaton, Fineran, and Lafitte all became .500 pitchers which, compounded by their again subpar bullpen and their rank as the worst-fielding team in the league, contributed to the team giving up 673 runs, only 5 runs better than the last place squad. All of this equated into a 70-82 record and a 7th place finish.
That winter the teams were disbanded and a number of the players returned to the big leagues. In addition, Robert Ward, the team's owner, passed away, his claims of the league lasting "forever" fading away into the wishful words of American history.