Highlights of the 1918 Baseball Season — 1918: Babe Ruth and the WoirldChampion Boston Red Sox by Allan Wood

The Season

January 4    The Chicago Cubs acquire Boston Braves ace Lefty Tyler in exchange for veterans Larry Doyle, Art Wilson and $15,000.  Tyler will win 19 games for the Cubs this year.

January 8    Buck Herzog, in New York Giants manager John McGraw’s doghouse since last September, is traded to the Braves for Larry Doyle (acquired from the Cubs four days ago) and pitcher Jesse Barnes.

January 9    Brooklyn sends OF Casey Stengel and infielder George Cutshaw to Pittsburgh for pitchers Burleigh Grimes and Al Mamaux and infielder Chuck Ward.

January 10    Connie Mack alarms Philadelphia by dealing Stuffy McInnis, the last player in his $100,000 infield, to Boston for 3B Larry Gardner, OF Clarence “Tilly” Walker, and catcher Hick Cady. … Acknowledging that Ty Cobb, Speaker, and Collins are all good ball players, Cap Anson picks his all-time team, leaving them off. In the current issue of The Sporting News, Anson selects, Buck Ewing and King Kelly (C); Amos Rusie, John Clarkson, Jim McCormick (P); himself (1B); Fred Pfeffer (2B); Ed Williamson (3B); Ross Barnes (SS); Bill Lange, George Gore, Jimmy Ryan, and Hugh Duffy (OF).

January 22    The Yankees trade pitchers Nick Cullop and Urban Shocker, catcher Les Nunamaker, 3B Fritz Maisel, and infielder Joe Gedeon to the St. Louis Browns for pitcher Eddie Plank and 2B Del Pratt.  Plank, a 300-game winner, retires, but Pratt gives New York three good years at 2B. Shocker is the gem, posting four straight seasons of 20 or more wins in St. Louis. Maisel, who the Yankees refused to trade in early 1916 for either Boston’s Tris Speaker (and cash) or Chicago’s Joe Jackson, will hit just .232 in 90 games.

February 23    Barney Dreyfuss of the Rules Committee launches a campaign to ban the spit ball. He will succeed next year.

March 8    The Yankees buy 1B George Burns, 37, from Detroit, then swap him to the A’s for another veteran Ping Bodie, 30.  Burns will replace Stuffy McInnis.

March 20    Although the leagues optimistically keep the schedules at 154 games, the owners agree to halve the spring training time in an attempt to save money.

April 4    Determined not to be a wartime casualty, the International League reorganizes. The Richmond, Montreal, and Providence franchises are replaced by Binghamton, Jersey City, and Syracuse. Expenses are slashed, causing the resignation of president Ed Barrow, who will go on to manage the Boston Red Sox. The IL will be the only minor league to play its full schedule this year.

April 7    In the morning game of a doubleheader in Los Angeles, Doc Crandall’s no-hit bid against Salt Lake City (Pacific Coast League) is spoiled with two outs in the 9th by Crandall’s brother Karl, but Los Angeles wins 14-0.

April 15    Babe Ruth defeats Philadelphia 7-1 on Opening Day. It is his third consecutive Opening Day victory.

April 18    With two Tigers on base in the 9th inning, Cleveland center fielder Tris Speaker turns an unassisted double play. On April 29, he will make another unassisted DP against Chicago, the fourth of his career. He will share the career record with Cleveland teammate, Elmer Smith. 

April 20    Boston wins its sixth consecutive game, becoming the first Red Sox team to begin a season 6-0.

April 26    Chicago White Sox second baseman Eddie Collins sets a new record by playing in his 473rd consecutive game.

April 27    The New York Giants (9-0) play Brooklyn (0-8). The Dodgers win 5-3.

May 6      Boston’s Babe Ruth makes his first career start as a non-pitcher, playing first base and batting sixth against the Yankees. The next day, he ties a major league record with a home run in three consecutive games.

May 6    Brooklyn’s Dan Griner has a no-hitter with two outs in the 9th, but gives up a hit to Phillie Gavvy Cravath. He nevertheless wins 2-0. 

May 10    Pittsburgh’s lefty Earl Hamilton is 6-0 with an 0.83 ERA after beating the Giants. He then enlists in the Navy. 

May 13    The Phils’ Joe Oeschger pitches nine no-hit innings, but they come after the Cards put together two hits and a walk for three runs in the first inning of a 10-inning 3-3 tie. 

May 14    Sunday baseball is made legal in Washington, DC. District commissioners rescind the ban in view of the large increase in the city’s wartime population and the need for recreation and amusement facilities. 

May 15    Washington defeats the White Sox 1-0 in 18 innings. Walter Johnson of the Senators and Claude Williams of the White Sox both pitch complete games. Time of the game: 2:47. … Former player-manager Patsy Tebeau commits suicide in St. Louis. 

May 19    Sunday baseball is now legal in Washington. The Senators edge Cleveland 1-0 in 12 innings. More than 15,000 fans are in attendance. 

May 20    Braves 3B Red Smith makes an out after 10 straight hits over five games. 

May 24    Former pitcher Joe Wood hits a home run in the 19th inning for a 3-2 Cleveland win over New York. Home Run Baker’s 11 assists tie the AL record for 3B in an extra-inning game. 

June 1    Losing 5-4 against the Yankees, the Tigers load the bases in the ninth with no outs. Chick Gandil lines a shot to 3B Frank Baker, who turns it into a game-ending triple play.

June 3    Dutch Leonard of the Red Sox pitches his second career no-hitter, beating the Tigers’ all-right-handed lineup in Detroit 5-0, and allowing just a first-inning walk.  Babe Ruth, playing center field, slugs a first-inning HR, his second in two days.  Ty Cobb, out a week with an injured shoulder, pinch-hits in the ninth and fouls out.  It is the major leagues’ only no-hitter in 1918.

June 5    The Giants score three runs in the ninth to beat Pittsburgh 4-3 and move into first place. 

June 16    Casey Stengel, traded from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh during the off-season, returns to Ebbets Field.  Before his first at-bat, he tips his cap and a sparrow flies out from underneath.

June 17    The National Commission rules that Philadelphia Atheltics pitcher Scott Perry belongs to the Boston Braves. Although purchased by the Braves from Atlanta in 1917, the deal was not completed. While on Atlanta’s ineligible list, he was sold to Connie Mack. Aroused by Perry’s AL success, the Braves enter their proper claim. Mack breaks precedent, goes outside organized baseball to civil court, and gets an injunction against Boston. The NL, having sat still for the loss of George Sisler, is furious; President John K. Tener resigns. John Heydler succeeds him and arranges a compromise solution: Mack pays Boston $2,500 and keeps Perry (henceforth a loser). The clubs’ anger at player-allocation decisions will ultimately topple the National Commission, making way for Judge K.M. Landis. 

June 22    It’s a hot day in New York, and umpires George Hildebrand and Billy Evans don’t show up, so Giants coach Mike Donlin and Browns trainer Bits Bierhalter take their places. The game takes 15 innings to reach an inconclusive 4-4 tie. 

June 30    In the 10th, Babe Ruth hits his 11th HR to beat Walter Johnson 3-1 and boost the Red Sox back into first place.

Throughout July, various minor leagues will end their seasons early, as players are either drafted or leave for war-related employment. On July 7, the Western League and Texas League call it quits. The Pacific Coast League (July 14), Virginia League (July 20), American Association (July 21) and Eastern League (July 21) follow suit. Only the International League will complete its regular schedule.

July 6    The Reds’ Pete Schneider takes a 10-0 one-hitter versus the Phillies into the ninth, but walks the first six batters. Two relievers later, the Phillies have nine runs, but lose 10-9. 

July 7    Rabbit Maranville gets a 10-day leave from the Navy and hits .316 in 11 games for the Braves before going back to sea. 

July 8    Although Babe Ruth’s blast over the fence in Fenway scores in Amos Strunk, as the Sox win 1-0 over Cleveland, prevailing rules reduce Babe’s HR to a triple. He will tie for the AL title with 11 HRs, even though he plays just 95 games.  Of Ruth’s 11 home runs in 1918, none are hit in his home park.

July 17    Chicago’s Lefty Tyler goes 21 innings against Milt Watson to beat the Phils 2-1. 

July 19    Washington C Eddie Ainsmith applies for deferment from the draft. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker rules that baseball is not an essential occupation and all players of draft age are subject to the “work-in-essential-industries-or-fight” rule. The ruling sends many players to work in shipyards and other defense industries, where they can play part-time or semipro. Ban Johnson says the AL will close down July 21, but the next day both leagues vote to continue. A week later, Baker exempts players from the rule until September 1. Both leagues vote to cut the season short, and end on Labor Day, September 2.

July 22    Boston sweeps Detroit in a doubleheader 1-0 and 3-0 and increases its American League lead to a season-high 6½ games.  It is also the second time in less than a week that the Red Sox pitch two shutouts in one day.

July 25    Walter Johnson gives up one hit (a triple by George Sisler) in the first 11 innings of a 15-inning, 4-hit 1-0 win. 

July 27    Dodger rookie righthander Harry Heitmann, stationed in Brooklyn by the Navy after a 17-6 record at Rochester (IL), surrenders four runs on four straight Cardinal hits and is removed having retired his initial batter. It’s his first and last major-league appearance.

August 1    Pittsburgh and Boston play a record 20 scoreless innings; the Pirates win 2-0 in 21. Art Nehf goes all the way for Boston.

August 2    Facing low attendance and minimal revenues, the National and American Leagues decide to end their seasons on September 2.

August 9    Cincinnati Reds manager Christy Mathewson suspends his first baseman, Hal Chase, for taking bribes and fixing games. Despite overwhelming evidence, Chase will be cleared of all charges the following year by the National League president.

August 18    Chicago Cubs rookie Charlie Hollocher‘s 20-game hitting streak is snapped against the Braves.

August 19    Washington’s Walter Johnson pitches in his 15th extra inning game of the season (including two of 18 innings, one of 16 innings, and another of 15 innings). The Senators’ ace will also throw complete games in each of his 29 starts.

August 24    Secretary Baker grants an extended exemption to players in the World Series; three days later the National Commission gets an official approval to play from General Enoch Crowder, providing that 10 percent of the revenues go to war charities. 

August 25    The Cubs win the National League pennant by splitting a doubleheader with Brooklyn. They finish 10½ games ahead of the New York Giants.

August 26    Ban Johnson casts the deciding vote in a National Commission decision awarding the disputed services of pitcher Jack Quinn to the Yankees for 1919 over the claim of the White Sox, for whom Quinn was 5-1 this year.

August 27    Christy Mathewson resigns as Reds manager to accept a commission as a captain in the chemical warfare branch of the Army. 

August 30    Carl Mays of the Red Sox wins two games 12-0 and 4-1 over the A’s to finish at 21­13. The Giants beat Brooklyn 1-0 in only 57 minutes, scoring their lone run in the ninth.

August 30    Theodore Samuel Williams is born in San Diego, California. The following day, the Red Sox clinch the American League pennant. Boston will not win another pennant until Williams leads them to the 1946 flag. … Other major leaguers born during 1918: Bobby Doerr (April 7), Pee Wee Reese (July 23) and Bob Feller (November 3).

August 31    The Red Sox clinch the pennant, winning the first of a twin bill from the A’s 6-1, as Ruth wins his ninth game in his last 11 starts.

September 1    The Browns and Tigers finish the season with a doubleheader split in St. Louis as the Cleveland Indians refuse to make the trip for the Labor Day doubleheader. In Game 2, Ty Cobb pitches two innings against the Browns while the Browns’ George Sisler pitches one scoreless inning. The Browns win, 6–2, and Sisler hits a double off of Cobb.

September 2    Brooklyn ends the abbreviated season by splitting a doubleheader with the Phillies, losing the 1st game 4–2 before taking the nightcap, 5–3. … In Washington, the Senators end the year on a light note, by splitting with the A’s. In the second game, Washington’s 43-year-old coach Nick Altrock finishes in relief, one of his five appearance in 1918. Altrock bats in the bottom of the 8th and Wickey McAvoy, a catcher playing first for the day, comes in to throw. Altrock finally lines one of his lobs into the outfield, rambles around the bases and allegedly neglects to ouch second and third. Umpire Billy Evans calls Altrock safe at home for the only homer by a Senator hit at home this season. For Altrock, it’s been 14 years since his last round tripper. The game ends with General March throwing out the last ball; he’ll toss out the first next year.

September 4    Rain delays the start of Wednesday’s World Series opener.

September 5    Tirst three games of the World Series are played in Chicago, the next three in Boston. The Cubs switch their home games to Comiskey Park with its larger seating capacity. Babe Ruth, having completed 13 scoreless innings in his first World Series two years ago, adds nine more in edging Hippo Vaughn 1–0 in the opener. Also, when 2B Dave Shean bats for Boston, he becomes the oldest player (40 years, three months, 18 days) to play in the World Series. During the 7th-inning stretch, a military band plays “The Star Spangled Banner” and Fred Thomas, on leave from the Navy, snaps to attention. From then on, the song is played at every World Series game, every season opener, and whenever a band is present to play it, though it is not yet adopted as the national anthem. The custom of playing it before every game will begin during WW II, when the installation of public address systems makes it practical.

September 6    In game 2, Lefty Tyler drives in two runs in the Cubs’ 3-run second. The Red Sox get one in the 9th and that’s all the scoring for the day, with George Tyler beating Joe Bush. The game also features fights between Heinie Wagner and Hippo Vaughn and another involving Les Mann and Joe Bush.

September 7    On one day’s rest, Hippo Vaughn gives up only seven hits, but Carl Mays wins a 2–1 duel. Wally Schang has two hits for Boston. Game three ends with the Cubs’ Charlie Pick thrown out at home while trying to score on a passed ball.

September 9    In game 4, Ruth bats in two runs on a triple in the 4th and pitches seven scoreless innings before the Cubs tie it in the 8th, ending Ruth’s World Series record of 29.2 scoreless innings. Shufflin’ Phil Douglas relieves Lefty Tyler for Chicago in the last of the 8th and throws away the game, first by a wild pitch, then with an error. … Finners Quinlan, an outfielder who last played in 1915, is wounded fighting in a battle at Argonne Wood, France. He loses an eye and his right leg.

September 10    Players on both sides threaten to strike unless they are guaranteed $2,500 to the winners and $1,000 each for the losers. They back off, however; there are no fines, but no World Series rings or mementos are given out. On the field, Hippo Vaughn comes back with two days of rest and blanks the Red Sox 3–0 on five hits in game 5.

September 11    The Red Sox win the World Series in game six on Carl Mays’s 2nd victory, a 2–1 three-hitter. With two on and two out in the 3rd, utility OF George Whiteman lines a hard drive to right field. Max Flack drops it, allowing the only runs off Lefty Tyler. Righty Claude Hendrix, 20–7 during the year, finally makes an appearance, tossing a final inning for the Cubs. Cubs pitchers compile a 1.04 ERA, while Boston’s .186 BA is the lowest ever for a World Series winner, but they compensate by making just one error, a record not beaten this century in a 6-game World Series. The inning by inning results of the game were relayed to Fort Devans, 58 miles away, via homing nine pigeons.

September 11    Carl Mays‘s three-hitter lifts Boston to a 2-1 victory over the Cubs at Fenway Park, giving the Red Sox the 1918 World Series championship. It is the team’s third title in four years and fifth overall.

October 5    National League infielder Eddie Grant is killed in action in the Argonne forest in France.

November 1    Former outfielder Alex Burr is killed in France on his 25th birthday.

November 9    Braves outfielder Larry Chappell, 27, dies of influenza at an army camp.

December 10    National League secretary John Heydler is elected president of the league.

December 18    Duffy Lewis returns from the military, and is traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees. He goes along with Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard for Ray Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, and Frank Gilhooley.

December 31    Kid Gleason replaces Pants Rowland as White Sox manager following the team’s skid to 5th. … Giants pitcher Fred Toney is sentenced to 4 months in jail after he pleads guilty to violating the Mann Act, which prohibits taking a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.