“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.” The New York Times

In the annals of Fenway Park and Red Sox legend and folklore, their World Championship season of 1918 season is among the most chronicled. Unfortunately the predominant reason for that was not as much what happened that year, but what didn’t happen for another 86 years.

The 1918 Boston Red Sox 

Their were many historic aspects to the 1918 baseball seasons, not only for Fenway Park and the Red Sox but for baseball in general. The United States entered World War I in April of 1917 and by the spring of 1918, American forces were immersed in France holding off the German Spring Offensive.

On July 18th, word came down from Secretary of War Newton Baker that baseball was declared a “non-essential” industry and would be shut down, following the games of July 20th.

Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee was a proactive force and he along with American League president Ban Johnson, National League president John Tener and other team owners went to Washington to make the case to keep baseball going.

John Tener, Ban Johnson and Reds owner, Gary Hermann.

Red Sox Owner, Harry Frazee.

Frazee, whose Red Sox team was in first place by five games at the time, suggested that the World Series  be taken to France and be played for our boys at the frontAlthough that never transpired, Baker did agree to let the season continue until early September.

On the diamond, 1918 brought Babe Ruth’s beginnings as an everyday player. Splitting his duties between, the pitchers mound, left field and first base, Babe managed to lead the league in home runs, lead the team in hitting and RBI and compile a 13-7 record on the mound.

Despite all of his exploits with his bat, when it came to the pennant stretch drive, Babe was inserted back in the rotation and when it came time for the World Series, Red Sox manager Ed Barrow handed the ball to Ruth for games one and four. Babe won both, including a 1-0 shutout in the opening contest.

Red Sox first baseman “Stuffy” McGinnis’ RBI single provided the only run Babe Ruth needed to win the first game of the 1918 World Series.

The crowds were small for the first three games in Chicago and thus the gate receipts were low raising speculation that the winners share for the Series would be in the $1,200.00 range. This prompted a meeting between the National Commission (the three-man body that oversaw baseball before a Commissioner ruled) and four players. The Red Sox representatives were Harry Hooper and Dave Shean. The players wanted to assure they would receive $2,600.00 shares for the winners and $1,400.00 for the losers.

The Red Sox won the fourth game of the Series giving them a commanding three games to one lead and with the issue of the players shares still not decided, the players actually refused to take the field for game five at Fenway Park. It marked the first ever work stoppage in baseball history. The Commision promised a post game ruling and the players finally took the field, delaying the start of the game by an hour.

1918 Fenway Park Press Pin valued today at over $100,000.

Both the players and owners were creamed in the press so, despite the fact there was still no settlement, the players took the field for the sixth and what would be the final game of the Series, a 2-1 Red Sox win. The owners promised to do all it could to get the players a fair settlement. The result, a winners share of $1,102.51 while the losers pocketed $671.09.

Not only did the 1918 World Series bring the smallest players shares in baseball history, it also was the last World Series in which a home run was not hit and the Red Sox scored only nine runs in the entire Series, the least amount ever scored by a World Championship team. Oh, and the world would see The Great Depression and another World War before Fenway Park would see another World Series.

to be continued…..

    And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, 1918, World Series time.

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About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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