"Rip" Fanning won 338 games and
ranks second in victories among Kitty League managers between 1935
At the age of 29, he began his professional baseball career as a
catcher with the Anniston club in the Georgia-Alabama League in
1929. He played for Lindale the following season, then moved on to
Independence in the Western Association.
Rip was out of pro ball for the next three years until the Kitty
League reorganized in 1935 and he was hired as manager of the Union
City Greyhounds. He resigned on July 17 and joined the Lexington
Giants, which were owned by his father William Carroll (W.C.)
Fanning. He played in two games before an injury sidelined him for
the rest of the season. Rip started the 1936 season as manager at
Lexington before stepping down on July 26.
Fanning returned to Lexington for the next two seasons and the
team broke into the postseason Shaughnessy playoffs with a
third-place finish in 1938. The team became the Bowling Green Barons
in 1939 and Fanning relocated to south central Kentucky along with
most of his players from the previous season.
The Barons tied for second place and advanced to the final series
of the postseason playoffs. Because ownership wouldn't assure him he
would return the following season, Fanning resigned on September 14
after his club tied the postseason series at two games each. (The
Baron won their next two games to win the series under his
replacement, Dutch Welch.)
In 1940, Fanning led the Paducah Indians to a second-place finish
and his third consecutive appearance in the Shaughnessy playoffs.
Ironically, Paducah finished with the same record - 75-51 -as
Bowling Green did the previous season!
Fanning was an avid sportsman. In addition to his baseball
career, he was also a race car driver throughout the Southeast in the 1930's and 1940's. Later he became a
gunsmith and owned a repair shop in Lexington, Tennessee. He was also
known by hunters for the duck and goose calls he crafted.