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Series Wrapup

Story

Just as America’s involvement in World War I greatly affected the American League pennant race in 1918, it similarly impacted the race in the National League.  The conflict in Europe cost the defending N.L. champion New York Giants the services of outfielder Benny Kauff and pitchers Rube Benton and Jeff Tesreau.  Unable to overcome their losses, the Giants finished second in the league, 10 ½ games behind the pennant-winning Chicago Cubs, who topped the circuit with a record of 84-45.  

Featuring both the league’s top offense and its best pitching staff, the relatively intact Cubs ran away with the N.L. flag.  The trio of Fred Merkle, Charlie Hollocher, and Max Flack paced the Cubs on offense.  Merkle batted .297 and led the team with 65 runs batted in.  Hollocher led the league with 161 hits and 202 total bases, and he placed among the leaders with a .316 batting average, a .379 on-base percentage, 72 runs scored, and 26 stolen bases.  Flack finished near the top of the league rankings with 74 runs scored and 10 triples.
 
Meanwhile, Hippo Vaughn anchored Chicago’s league-leading pitching staff.  With Grover Cleveland Alexander serving in the military, Vaughn replaced “Old Pete” as the senior circuit’s dominant hurler.  Vaughn led all N.L. pitchers with 22 victories, a 1.74 ERA, 148 strikeouts, 290 innings pitched, and eight shutouts, and he finished second with 27 complete games.  Lefty Tyler and Claude Hendrix ably assisted Vaughn.  Tyler finished 19-8 with a 2.00 ERA, while Hendrix posted a record of 20-7.

Despite their outstanding team balance, the Cubs found themselves unable to overcome the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, losing a rather uninspiring Fall Classic in six games.  Yet, even though the conflict in Europe preyed on everyone’s mind throughout the 1918 World Series, the Fall Classic could hardly be described as uneventful.  Rumors persisted that the players would not be paid their prize money (a $2,000 share for each winner, a $1,400 share for each loser).  After approaching the National Commission and receiving no support, the players planned to boycott the rest of the event, with the Series standing at three games to one, in favor of the Red Sox at that juncture.

With almost 25,000 fans in attendance at Game Four, Boston Mayor Fitzgerald made a public appeal to the patriotism of the players, who ultimately gave in; the owners, however, somehow escaped adhering to the players' compromise proposal that all proceeds from the Series be donated to a war charity.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• August 1 - The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Braves went head-to-head for a major league record 20 scoreless innings.  Marathon man Art Nehf went the distance for Boston, although he ended up on the short end of a 21 inning, 2-0 Pittsburgh victory.

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

• October 5 - National League infielder Eddie Grant became the first major league player killed in wartime action while leading a mission in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive to rescue the Lost Battalion, which was trapped behind German lines.  Other players who died during World War I included Alex Burr, Larry Chappell, Ralph Sharman and Bun Troy.

• Brooklyn's Zach Wheat won the batting title with a mark of .335, nosing out Cincinnati’s Edd Roush, who finished the season at .333.

• After enlisting in the military, Christy Mathewson was accidentally gassed.  He subsequently contracted tuberculosis, spending the remainder of his relatively brief life struggling with the illness.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 1265 4212 360 1052 303 .252 121 62 10 113 0 1327 .324 .297 .631 0 0 118
BSN 1261 4162 424 1014 353 .237 107 59 13 83 1278 .328 .293 .647 151
CHN 1356 4325 538 1147 438 .210 164 53 21 159 1480 .321 .275 .607 190
CIN 1305 4265 530 1185 447 .257 165 84 15 128 1563 .346 .332 .705 162
NY1 1333 4164 480 1081 400 .208 150 53 13 130 1376 .302 .266 .607 121
PHI 1315 4192 430 1022 376 .222 158 28 25 97 1311 .294 .277 .572 119
PIT 1303 4091 466 1016 391 .203 107 72 15 200 1312 .328 .259 .588 180
SLN 1395 4369 454 1066 388 .194 147 64 27 119 0 1422 .292 .252 .560 0 141

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 177 57 69 1131 395 320 4612 1024 22 277.940 353 459 85 17 2 34 2
BSN 155 53 71 1116 340 277 4611 1111 14 59.470 360 469 96 13 0 11 1
CHN 183 84 45 1197 472 296 4843 1050 13 26.690 290 393 92 21 8 19 2
CIN 191 68 60 1142 321 381 4797 1136 19 41.450 381 496 84 14 6 16 2
NY1 195 71 53 1112 330 228 4493 1002 20 37.940 326 415 74 17 10 20 1
PHI 186 55 68 1140 312 369 4776 1086 22 46.790 399 507 78 10 6 24 2
PIT 178 65 60 1139 367 299 4608 1005 13 35.820 314 411 85 8 7 12 1
SLN 210 51 78 1192 361 352 4956 1148 16 27.610 393 527 72 3 5 11 2

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 1207 5274 3381 1700 193 .965 0 0 0 0 16
BSN 1194 5301 3349 1768 184 .958 0 0 0 0 10
CHN 1293 5526 3581 1757 188 .954 0 0 0 0 12
CIN 1262 5304 3428 1684 192 .962 0 0 0 0 14
NY1 1290 5144 3328 1664 152 .963 0 0 0 0 10
PHI 1262 5380 3411 1758 211 .935 0 0 0 0 14
PIT 1266 5332 3431 1722 179 .944 0 0 0 0 7
SLN 1322 5762 3578 1964 220 .949 0 0 0 0 10

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1918 World Series, Alex Burr, Art Nehf, Benny Kauff, Bun Troy, Charlie Hollocher, Chicago Cubs, Christy Mathewson, Claude Hendrix, Edd Roush, Eddie Grant, Fred Merkle, Hal Chase, Hippo Vaughn, Jeff Tesreau, Larry Chappell, Lefty Tyler, Max Flack, Pete Alexander, Ralph Sharman, Rube Benton, Zach wheat

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