Year In Review : 1918 National 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.

"(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

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

62

Batting Average

Brooklyn

.335

Doubles

Cincinnati

28

Hits

Chicago

161

Home Runs

Philadelphia

8

On Base Percentage

Cincinnati

.395

RBI

Cincinnati

76

Runs

Cincinnati

86

Slugging Average

Cincinnati

.455

Stolen Bases

Pittsburgh

58

Total Bases

Chicago

202

Triples

Brooklyn

15

1918 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

28

ERA

Chicago

1.74

Games

Brooklyn

40

Saves

New York

3

Pittsburgh

Philadelphia

Cincinnati

New York

Shutouts

Chicago

8

Strikeouts

Chicago

148

Winning Percentage

Chicago

.741

Wins

Chicago

22

1918 National League

Team Standings

Chicago Cubs

84 45 2 .651 0

New York Giants

71 53 0 .573

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

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

371

Batting Average

Cincinnati

.278

Doubles

Cincinnati

165

Hits

Cincinnati

1,185

Home Runs

St. Louis

27

On Base Percentage

Cincinnati

.330

Runs

Chicago

538

Slugging Average

Cincinnati

.366

Stolen Bases

Pittsburgh

200

Triples

Cincinnati

84

1918 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

96

ERA

Chicago

2.19

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,002

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Chicago

13

Pittsburgh

Fewest Walks Allowed

New York

228

Saves

New York

11

Shutouts

Chicago

23

Strikeouts

Chicago

472



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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