YEAR IN REVIEW : 1918 National 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

"(Hippo) Vaughn is best remembered for the near double no-hitter. All but forgotten, however, are Vaughn's pitching heroics in the World Series. He won one game and lost two against the Red Sox in 1918, with an earned run average of 1.00." - Pete Cava in Tales from the Cubs Dugout (2000)

1918 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Pittsburgh
62
Brooklyn
.335
Cincinnati
28
Chicago
161
Philadelphia
8
Cincinnati
.395
Cincinnati
76
Cincinnati
86
Cincinnati
.455
Pittsburgh
58
Chicago
202
Brooklyn
15

1918 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Boston
28
Chicago
1.74
Brooklyn
40
New York
3
Pittsburgh
Philadelphia
Cincinnati
New York
Chicago
8
Chicago
148
Chicago
.741
Chicago
22

1918 National League

Team Standings

Chicago Cubs 84 45 2 .651 0
New York Giants 71 53 0 .573 10½
Cincinnati Reds 68 60 1 .531 15½
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 60 1 .520 17
Brooklyn Robins 57 69 0 .452 25½
Philadelphia Phillies 55 68 2 .447 26
Boston Braves 53 71 0 .427 28½
St. Louis Cardinals 51 78 2 .395 33

1918 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Pittsburgh
371
Cincinnati
.278
Cincinnati
165
Cincinnati
1,185
St. Louis
27
Cincinnati
.330
Chicago
538
Cincinnati
.366
Pittsburgh
200
Cincinnati
84

1918 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Boston
96
Chicago
2.19
Fewest Hits Allowed
New York
1,002
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Chicago
13
Pittsburgh
Fewest Walks Allowed
New York
228
New York
11
Chicago
23
Chicago
472
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On July 17, 1918, the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies set a new Major League record for longest game (twenty-one innings) without a single error.

Art Nehf , the National League leader in complete games, tossed twenty shutout innings on August 1, 1918, then allowed two runs in the twenty-first inning and lost 2-0.

The most unusual statistical anomaly probably took place on August 13, 1918, when the Brooklyn Dodgers versus Pittsburgh Pirates game was stopped due to darkness. The score was 8-8 and each team had thirty-eight at-bats, thirteen hits, twelve assists, five strikeouts, three bases on balls, one hit batter, AND one passed ball.

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