Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PTWSW #12: The 1915 Boston Red Sox

Manager: Bill Carrigan
Record: 101-50
Ballpark: Fenway Park
Owner: Joseph Lannin

Future Hall of Famers: Harry Hooper, Herb Pennock, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker

Team Leaders, Batting

BA: Tris Speaker, .322
OBP: Tris Speaker, .416
SLG: Tris Speaker, .411
OPS: Tris Speaker, .827
2B: Duffy Lewis, 31
3B: Harry Hooper, 13
HR: Babe Ruth, 4
RBI: Duffy Lewis, 76
BB: Harry Hooper, 89
SB: Tris Speaker, 29

Team Leaders, Pitching

Rube Foster, Ernie Shore, 19
SO: Dutch Leonard, 116
ERA: Joe Wood, 1.49 (AL leader)
IP: Rube Foster, 255.1
CG: Rube Foster, 21
SHO: Rube Foster, 5
K/BB: Dutch Leonard, 1.73
SV: Carl Mays, 7 (AL leader)


Oldest Player: Heinie Wagner (b. September 23, 1880)

Youngest Player: Babe Ruth (b. February 6, 1895)

First to Leave Us: Heinie Wagner (d. March 20, 1943)

Last Survivor: Joe Wood (d. July 27, 1985)

First in Majors: Heinie Wagner (debut July 1, 1902)

Last in Majors: Babe Ruth (final game May 30, 1935)

First to Play For the Franchise: Bill Carrigan (July 7, 1906). The player-manager had better have some tenure!

Last to Play For the Franchise: Herb Pennock (August 27, 1934). After eleven years with the Yankees Pennock returned to Boston to finish out his career.

Pre-union Team: The 1912-14 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1913 Detroit Tigers had two each.

Reunion Team: The 1923 New York Yankees won the first World Series in franchise history with five former members of this team: Carl Mays, Mike McNally, Herb Pennock, Babe Ruth and Everett Scott.

Season Summary

The Red Sox' 1915 season saw an exciting pennant race and the emergence of a new star. That star was none other than Babe Ruth, who became a full-time member of the starting rotation after a brief callup the previous season. He went 18-8 with a 114 ERA+ and also led the team with four home runs, two more than any of his teammates. When he wasn't pitching he was used several times as a pinch-hitter.

As for that pennant race, it was between three teams: the Red Sox, the Tigers and the White Sox. The Tigers took the early lead, but the White Sox overtook them in mid-May and mostly held onto it until a July series with the Red Sox. The Red Sox hadn't been more than 6.5 games out of first all season, and they were gaining momentum after the acquisition of star shortstop Jack Barry from the Athletics (whom they used to plug their hole at second base). The carmine calcetines won four out of five in Chicago to grab first place. The Tigers briefly went on a hot streak in August that put them ahead of Boston for two days, but the Red Sox took first right back and held onto it for the rest of the season. The White Sox faded away down the stretch, but the Tigers battled to the end. They became the first American League team to win 100 games and not the pennant.

Like the Braves the season before, the Red Sox were the worst base-stealing team in the league. Other than that, they were a remarkably well-balanced squadron. The only statistic in which they led the league was Defensive Efficiency (which obviously didn't exist at the time), but they were among leaders in just about every other major stat.

The Red Sox had lent Fenway Park to their National League citymates during the previous pennant drive when the Braves' aging South End Grounds proved smaller than fan interest demanded. With the opening of Braves Field in 1915 and its Major League-high seating capacity, the Braves were kind enough to return the favor. The young ballpark hosted the Red Sox' World Series home games. The BoSox dropped Game 1 to Pete Alexander and the Philadelphia Phillies, but they proceeded to win four straight one-run games and capture the franchise's third World Series title. Harry Hooper's solo homer in the top of the ninth gave the Red Sox the last run they needed in Game 5.


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