Year In Review : 1918 American League

O ff the field...

New York suffered its worst subway accident in history after a train jumped the tracks in the Malbone Street tunnel (in Brooklyn) while traveling five times the speed limit. Ninety-two passengers were killed and over one hundred were injured. After subway motormen on the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) had gone out on strike on October 31 st , many dispatchers and supervisors were pressed into service as replacement workers. On November 1 st , dispatcher Antonio Luciano was assigned as the motorman on the Brighton Line that ran from Park Row over the Brooklyn Bridge. Luciano had never operated elevated trains in passenger service and had to navigate an S-shaped curve on what would later be called the Franklin Shuttle at Malbone Street. The speed limit at the location was posted at six miles per hour, but those on the scene later reported that the train roared through at nearly fifty causing the second and third cars to derail.

I n the American League...

The American League season opened with Boston Red Sox ace Babe Ruth pitching a four-hit, 7-1 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics. Shortly after, manager Ed Barrow started Ruth's conversion to slugger by working him into seventy-two games as an outfielder-first baseman.

On April 18 th , Cleveland Indian's centerfielder Tris Speaker turned an unassisted double play against the Detroit Tigers. Eleven days later, Speaker duplicated the feat against Chicago for the fourth solo-DP of his career and a franchise record that he would later share with teammate Elmer Smith.

During the 1918 season, Washington Senators ace Walter "The Big Train" Johnson completed fifteen extra-inning games, including two of eighteen innings, one of sixteen innings, and another of fifteen innings.

I n the National League...

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Braves went head-to-head on August 1 st for a Major League record of twenty scoreless innings. Marathon man Art Nehf went the distance for Boston, but was eventually beaten 2-0 in the twenty-first inning.

Cincinnati Reds manager Christy Mathewson suspended Hal Chase indefinitely on August 9 th after suspecting him of taking bribes to fix games. Chase was eventually reinstated and returned to play for the New York Giants in 1919.

On October 5 th , National League infielder Eddie Grant became the first Major League player killed in wartime action while leading a mission in the Argonne Forest offensive to rescue the "Lost Battalion" who was trapped behind German lines. Other players killed in WWI included Alex Burr, Larry Chappell, Ralph Sharman, and Bun Troy.

A round the league...

Although both leagues optimistically kept the schedules at a one-hundred fifty-four game season, all owners agreed to shorten spring training by 50% in an attempt to save money.

Sunday baseball was officially legalized in Washington, D.C. on May 14 th after district commissioners finally rescinded the ban in response to the large increase in the city's wartime population and the need for more recreational activities.

Secretary of War Newton D. Baker ruled that baseball was not considered an essential occupation and that all players of draft age were subject to the "work-in-essential-industries-or-fight" rule.

During the "7 th -inning stretch" in Game 1 of the World Series, a military band played "The Star Spangled Banner" as a tribute to all servicemen on leave and in attendance. From then on, the song was played at every World Series outing and every season opener (though it was not yet adopted as the national anthem). The custom of playing it before every game began during WWII, after the installation of stadium speaker systems made it more feasible.

"No thanks." - Eddie Plank, who won three-hundred twenty-six games, and refused to report to the Yankees prior to the 1918 season
1918 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

84

Batting Average

Detroit

.382

Doubles

Cleveland

33

Hits

Philadelphia

178

Home Runs

Boston

11

Philadelphia

On Base Percentage

Detroit

.440

RBI

Detroit

78

Runs

Cleveland

84

Slugging Average

Boston

.555

Stolen Bases

St. Louis

45

Total Bases

Philadelphia

236

Triples

Detroit

14

1918 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

30

Philadelphia

ERA

Washington

1.27

Games

Cleveland

45

New York

Saves

New York

45

Shutouts

Washington

8

Boston

Strikeouts

Washington

162

Winning Percentage

Boston

.762

Wins

Washington

23

1918 American League

Team Standings

Boston Red Sox

75 51 .595 0

Cleveland Indians

73 54 .575

Washington Senators

72 56 .563 4

New York Yankees

60 63 .488 13½

St. Louis Browns

58 64 .475 15

Chicago White Sox

57 67 .460 17

Detroit Tigers

55 71 .437 20

Philadelphia Athletics

52 76 .406 24

1918 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

491

Batting Average

Cleveland

.260

Doubles

Cleveland

176

Hits

Washington

1,144

Home Runs

Philadelphia

22

On Base Percentage

Cleveland

.344

Runs

Cleveland

504

Slugging Average

Cleveland

.341

Stolen Bases

Cleveland

165

Triples

Cleveland

67

1918 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

105

ERA

Washington

2.14

Fewest Hits Allowed

Boston

931

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Boston

9

Chicago

Cleveland

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

300

Saves

Cleveland

13

New York

Shutouts

Boston

26

Strikeouts

Washington

505



On April 18, 1918, Tris Speaker of Cleveland turned his fifth career unassisted double play from center field. Eleven days later (April 29, 1918), Speaker had another one versus the White Sox and became the first outfielder to turn two unassisted double plays during the same season TWICE in a career (he had two in 1914).

Did you know that the Boston Red Sox have a player in their history who does not appear in a box score? On July 3, 1918, Harvey Fred "Red" Bluhm pinch-hit during a game, yet did not appear in the "official" box scores. Four decades later, researchers found proof of his at-bat and included him in the official guides with one game, one at-bat, and nothing else.

During the 1918 season, games were "complete" when the winning run crossed the plate during the ninth inning. Because of this rule, Babe Ruth lost a home run on July 8, 1918, when he hit a ball over the fence during the ninth inning which was credited as a triple and a run batted in.

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