Saturday, October 17, 2009

PTWSW #15: The 1918 Boston Red Sox

Manager: Ed Barrow
Record: 75-51
Ballpark: Fenway Park
Owner: Harry Frazee
Coaches: Heinie Wagner

Future Hall of Famers: Harry Hooper, Babe Ruth

Team Leaders, Batting

BA: Babe Ruth, .300
OBP: Babe Ruth, .411
SLG: Babe Ruth, .555 (AL leader)
OPS: Babe Ruth, .966 (AL leader)
2B: Harry Hooper, Babe Ruth, 26
3B: Harry Hooper, 13
HR: Babe Ruth, 11 (AL leader)
RBI: Babe Ruth, 66
BB: Harry Hooper, 75
SB: Harry Hooper, 24

Team Leaders, Pitching

W: Carl Mays, 21
SO: Joe Bush, 125
ERA: Joe Bush, 2.11
IP: Carl Mays, 293.1
CG: Carl Mays, 30 (AL leader)
SHO: Carl Mays, 8 (AL leader)
K/BB: Carl Mays, 1.41
SV: Joe Bush, 2


Oldest Player: Heinie Wagner (b. September 23, 1880). As I said in the 1916 entry, he was mainly a coach at this point, but he did play in three games.

Youngest Player: Bill Pertica (b. August 17, 1898)

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

Last Survivor: Fred Thomas (d. January 15, 1986)

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

Last in Majors: Sam Jones (final game September 28, 1935)

First to Play For the Franchise: Heinie Wagner (September 26, 1906)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Stuffy McInnis and Everett Scott were all traded away after the 1921 season. That's right, just three years later the entire roster was turned over. All but Jones played in the final game of the season on October 2, 1921.

Pre-union Team: The 1913-16 Athletics had five: Joe Bush, Stuffy McInnis, Wally Schang, Amos Strunk and Weldon Wyckoff. Philadelphia's financial difficulties were a boon for Boston.

Reunion Team: The 1922-23 Yankees won pennants with the sextet of Joe Bush, Sam Jones, Carl Mays, Babe Ruth, Wally Schang and Everett Scott. As Yankee GM, Ed Barrow moved this great team west when Boston started facing financial difficulties of its own.


Dutch Leonard, no-hitter on June 3

Season Summary

Like the previous BoSox champs, run prevention was where the 1918 team excelled. Their pitching staff had the second-best ERA+ in the AL, and their defensive efficiency and fielding percentage were both league-bests. Their offense was solid, but not spectacular. Their best hitter by a long shot was Babe Ruth, a star pitcher who began playing outfield and first base on days when he wasn't pitching.

The Red Sox got off to a good start, holding onto first place for most of the first half. They never had a sizable lead though, and when they struggled in late June they briefly fell into second. On July 3, with the Red Sox still barely hanging on, Ruth quit the team to play in the Delaware River Shipbuilding League. Just days later, coach Heinie Wagner convinced him to return to Boston. Boston seemed rejuvenated by Ruth's return, as they broke out of their slump, regained sole possession of first place and held onto it for the rest of the season. In early August it was announced that the regular season would end on September 2 due to The Great War (WWI), making the Fall Classic instead a Late-Summer Classic.

The Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs in six games, scoring only nine runs in the entire series, to win their fourth championship of the decade. The legitimacy of this World Series has been called into question, as the Cubs made numerous boneheaded mistakes throughout. There was weakened interest in baseball at the time due to the war, and the players may have been motivated to increase their funds any way they could. Nothing's been proven, but it remains a source of debate.

Red Sox fans became all too familiar with this season in the years to come, as it would be their last World Series title until 2004.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
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