YEAR IN REVIEW : 1918 American League

Off 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.

In 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.

In 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.

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"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

Cleveland
84
Detroit
.382
Cleveland
33
Philadelphia
178
Boston
11
Philadelphia
Detroit
.440
Detroit
78
Cleveland
84
Boston
.555
St. Louis
45
Philadelphia
236
Detroit
14

1918 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Boston
30
Philadelphia
Washington
1.27
Cleveland
45
New York
New York
45
Washington
8
Boston
Washington
162
Boston
.762
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

Cleveland
491
Cleveland
.260
Cleveland
176
Washington
1,144
Philadelphia
22
Cleveland
.344
Cleveland
504
Cleveland
.341
Cleveland
165
Cleveland
67

1918 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Boston
105
Washington
2.14
Fewest Hits Allowed
Boston
931
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Boston
9
Chicago
Cleveland
Fewest Walks Allowed
Chicago
300
Cleveland
13
New York
Boston
26
Washington
505
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

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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