1918 world series-RedSox vs Cubs
Will it happen again? Will history repeat itself?
The 1918 World Series
What was the last American League franchise to win a World Series in Comiskey Park? The answer - the 1918 Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox? Well, 1918 was a strange year for baseball. Due to the war baseball finished up a month early, with the Cubs and the Red Sox champions. Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park, had a capacity of but 18,000. The powers that be decided that the stadium was too small to host a World Series, and that Comiskey Park with 28,800 seats should act as home turf to the Cubs.
The first game was to have been on Wednesday September 4, but heavy rains called for its postponement. So the World Series started on Thursday instead. The Red Sox elected to use Babe Ruth as their starter, and he faced Jim "Hippo" Vaughn. The Babe came into the Series with a 13-inning World Series scoreless streak as a pitcher. When the game was over the streak had been extended to 22. Ruth had a six-hitter, but only one man reached third. Hippo Vaughn did almost as well, with a five-hitter and only one run. Of course, that run was the only one that the Red Sox would need. The run came in the fourth inning. Second baseman Dave Shean played despite an injured finger, and was able to start the inning with a walk. After Amos Strunk popped out to the pitcher George Whiteman looped a ball past the shortstop to get Shean to second. Stuffy McInnis then singled home Shean for the winning run.
This game was a classic pitcher's duel, with one of the AL's best left-handers facing one of the men involved in the 1917 double no-hitter (Fred Toney no-hit the Cubs in ten, Vaughn losing his no-hitter in the 10th). It was the first 1-0 World Series game since Christy Mathewson's performance in the 1905 classic. However, that's not why this game is remembered. During the seventh inning stretch a Navy band in attendance started playing the Stars Spangled Banner. In a patriotic mood, the entire crowd joined in singing. The song would be played at every game of the Series, and is now a part of baseball's rich tradition.
The second game of the Series would pit Chicago's Lefty Tyler against Bullet Joe Bush. Its odd beginning set the stage for the rest of the day. Harry Hooper started the game with a walk. With two strikes on Shean, Hooper decided to try for second. Shean struck out, but tried to protect Hooper by bumping the catcher Bill Killefer. The throw down to second was wide of its mark, but home plate umpire Hildebrand called Hooper out due to interference. The Red Sox were able to get the leadoff man aboard in the second, and after some confusion on a bunt they had runners on first and second with no out. A sacrifice moved the two runners up, but when Fred Thomas sent a roller to second the runner was cut down at the plate. That killed the Sox rally.
In 1908 Fred Merkle's mental error handed the Cubs the pennant. In 1918 he was their firstbaseman, and lead off the second with a walk. A muff at third put men on first and second with no outs. After a flyout, Killefer brought Merkle in with a double. This brought the Cub's pitcher to the plate. Lefty Tyler did a pretty good Babe Ruth impression with a single to center. Two runs scored, but Tyler's aggressiveness got the best of him as he was nailed at second. Max Flack reached, but was also thrown out at second.
Then the real fireworks started. There had been some friendly banter between the two benches, with Red Sox coach Charley Wagner trying to rattle Tyler on the mound. Cubs coach Otto Knabe decided to give Wagner some of the same, and it ended up in the Cub's dugout. The New York Times gives a description, "In a jiffy the two coaches were locked in an embrace which was not one of affection. Like a bird of prey Knabe perched on top of Wagner as he fell to the ground. They were merrily mauling each other all over the dugout when Claude Hendrix and other Cub players pulled Knabe off his tormentor." The Chicago Tribune gives a less colorful but probably more honest report, "Complete details of the scrap were difficult to obtain, but it seems the pair are about evenly matched, as Otto is about twenty pounds overweight and Wagner has a busted finger. The only evidence of the row appeared upon Wagner's back when he returned to the coaching lines. It was easily seen it had been in contact with a dirty and wet floor."
Outside of a Cubs triple in the sixth that was later retired at the plate, not much transpired between the second and the ninth. Lefty Tyler was cruising with a 3-0 lead. The ninth started when Strunk bopped a triple off the wall in right. This was followed by a Chuck Whiteman triple to right-center, scoring Strunk. McInnis hit a comeback to the pitcher, freezing the runner at third and accounting for the first out. The Red Sox then sent up a pinch hitter for Fred Thomas. Instead of the expected Ruth, the Red Sox sent Jean Dubuc, as they feared that Ruth wouldn't be able to handle the left-handed pitching of the Cubs. Dubuc fouled off several pitches, but then stuck out. Wally Schang popped meekly to short and the Series was knotted at one.
Game 3 was another tight affair. Once again pitching dominated, with Hippo Vaughn facing side-armer Carl Mays. The first real action occurred in the Red Sox half of the fourth. Vaughn started out well by striking out Strunk on three pitches. However, he hit the next batter, Whiteman. With two strikes on McInnis, Vaughn decided to brush back the hitter. His pitch instead broke over the heart of the plate and Stuffy singled. Wally Schang followed with another hit and the Red Sox had men on the corners with a run in. Everett Scott then laid down a bunt, but when Vaughn fielded it he froze and Scott was safe at first while McInnis scored. Thomas then singled to right, but Schang was cut down at the plate. A flyout ended the inning for the Red Sox.
The Cubs were able to cut the lead in half in the fifth when Charlie Pick doubled to start the inning. After a flyout Killefer singled home Pick. Not much transpired between then and the ninth. Both pitchers were very effective. Going into the bottom of the ninth the Red Sox were ahead by a score of 2-1. The first two men were retired quickly, but then the trouble began. Pick singled against Mays, and then Barber was brought in to pinch hit for Deal. On a 1-2 count Pick swiped second. The next pitch got away from Wally Schang and Pick took off for third. The ball and Pick arrived at roughly the same time, but the ball bounced away from Thomas. Pick, seeing the ball rolling into the outfield, decided to make a dash for the plate. Thomas tracked down the errant toss and threw to the plate. Pick flew in with spikes flying, wounding Bill Klem in the process. Umpire Klem's verdict? "OUT!"
Due to wartime restrictions, the Series was being played in a 3-4 format. The rest of the games would be held at Fenway Park. As the two teams left Chicago on the Michigan Central train, the Red Sox enjoyed a 2-1 advantage. But not all was good in baseball. The crowds had not been large in Chicago, and hence the gate receipts were tiny. The players from the two squads appointed four men, Killefer, Mann, Hooper and Shean to talk to the owners. In the days before the Black Sox and Commissioner Landis, baseball was ruled by a three-man party known as the National Commission. The players wanted to make sure that the winners would each get $2,600 and the losers $1,400. With a mandatory 10% "donation" to charity and the possibility of money being awarded to the other teams that finished in the first division, it looked as if the actual numbers would be closer to $1200 and $800. The National Commission heard the complaint and agreed to take it under consideration.
With the Series back in Boston, the Red Sox decided that holding back Ruth simply because the Cubs were starting a lefty was silly, besides, the Cubs might not every throw a righty. They sent the Babe to the slab against Lefty Tyler. While both sides had opportunities, neither team scored until the Red Sox tallied in the bottom of the fourth. Shean drew a leadoff walk. After Strunk flewout to center, Shean stole second. Whiteman then walked. Stuffy McInnis then grounded back to Tyler, who cut down Shean at third. This brought Boston's pitcher to the plate. The Babe saw three wide ones and relaxed. Then Tyler put two across the plate to run the count full. On the 3-2 count he tried to sneak a fastball past Babe Ruth. The ball soared far over the rightfielder's head for a triple. Scott flew out to end the inning.
While Ruth was extending his record streak for scoreless World Series innings, it wasn't pretty. He was in and out of jams, helped by sterling defense. In the seventh he gave up a pair of walks and was bailed out by a double play. Then in the eighth the Cubs hit him hard. Killefer got a free pass and then the Cubs pinch hit Hendrix for Tyler. Hendrix singled. Both men moved up a base when Ruth uncorked a wild pitch. A groundout to first kept the runners in their places, but a roller to second brought in a run. Mann's single to left tied up the game at two. A grounder to third ended the inning for the Cubs.
Phil Douglas was brought in to pitch for the Cubs. Schang singled and after a passed ball stood on second. Hooper then attempted a sacrifice. Douglas had been throwing a spitter, and the wet ball got away from him as he tried to throw out Hooper at first. Hooper was not only safe, but at second. With a man in and a man in scoring position, it looked like the Red Sox were about to break the game open. Instead the next three men were retired. Going into the ninth the Sox were up 3-2.
Ruth gave up a single to Merkle and then walked Zeider. That was enough for the Sox and they sent Ruth to left and brought in Bush. Wortman tried to sacrifice but McInnis fielded the ball cleanly and nailed Merkle at third. Barber then came to the plate and promptly grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The Red Sox were one game away from victory.
The financial storm that he been long brewing finally came to a head before game five. Current naysayers of the game may be amused to read the Chicago Tribune's spin on the affair, "The death knell of world series for all time was sounded today, when the fifth game of the contest between the Cubs and Red Sox for the coin contributed by the fans was held up for an hour while players, club owners and members of the National commission haggled over the division." The National Commission tried to avoid the strike by promising a ruling after the game. After an hour the players caved an put on their uniforms.
Compared to the drama before the game, the match itself wasn't that exciting. Hippo Vaughn, after 1-0 and 2-1 losses, tossed a shutout against Boston's Sad Sam Jones. The Cubs first scored in the third. With two out Hollocher walked. He made it to second on a botched pickoff play, and then came home on Mann's double. This would be all that Vaughn would need, as he tossed a five-hitter and didn't allow a man beyond second. A walk and a bunt were parlayed into a pair of runs when Paskert doubled them home in the eighth. The highlight of the game was in the ninth. Hack Miller was sent in to pinch hit for Jones. He got a hold of one of Tyler's curves and sent it deep to left. Leslie Mann started back, and then stumbled on the embankment that led up to the fence. He collided with the wall and fell to his seat. Amazingly, he stuck out his glove and caught the ball. It was that kind of day for the Cubs.
Before the sixth game the players sat down with the owners of the respective teams. Both sides had taken a beating in the press, and it was decided that another mini-strike was not in the best interests of baseball. The club owners gave the players a verbal agreement to do all they could to get the players a fair settlement.
With that in the bag, it was time to play ball. The Cubs sent Tyler, on one day's rest, to face Mays. The Cubs ended up starting only Tyler and Vaughn in the Series, confounding the Red Sox with left-handed pitching. Boston got all of its runs in the third. Carl Mays helped his own cause by walking on four pitches. Hooper sacrificed him to second, and then Shean walked. A grounder to second advanced the runners. With two out Whiteman sent a liner into right, and in a moment reminiscent of Snodgrass and the 1912 muff, Flack dropped the ball. Two runs would score on no hits. The Cubs mounted a comeback in the fourth. Scapegoat Flack started off with a single. A sacrifice would get him to second. Mays would hit Mann with a non-lethal pitch, so runners were on first and second with but one out. Mann was promptly picked off of first, but then Mays walked Paskert. Flack stole third and came home on a Merkle single. Pick lined to Hooper to end the inning. The score stood at 2-1. In the fourth the Red Sox squandered bases loaded with one out. That was really the only other chance in the game. Mays would finish with a three hitter. The entire Series the Red Sox couldn't hit the Cubs and the Cubs were even worse. Not a single home run was hit in the entire Series. The Red Sox won each of their four games by a single run.
The only way to close this piece is to quote the New York Times, "...the 1918 triumph marks the fifth world's series that the Red Sox have brought to the high brow domicile of the baked bean. Boston is the luckiest baseball spot on earth, for it has never lost a world's series."
SQUID=Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, & Imminently Dead
Katie has a nice "spice rack".
If you can read this, thank a teacher....If you're reading this in English, thank a Veteran.