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The Sox had such a superlative team in 1912 that President McAleer made the unusual announcement that he wasn’t going to make any changes at all.

Some bridges had been burned with the fans, though, with the treatment of the Royal Rooters in the World Series and they snubbed the team from time to time – for instance, only 6,500 fans came to the June 25 game for the official ceremony to raise the World Championship flag. The team was only 34-30 at the time, nowhere near the team they’d been a year earlier, in fifth place and already 13 ½ games behind Philadelphia. They were 39-39 on July 13, still in fifth but now 17 ½ games behind –so McAleer fired Jake Stahl, the man he’d worked so hard to court before 1912. There was some hard feeling between the two, and a struggle for control of the ballclub perhaps dating back to the O’Brien affair in the 1912 World Series. Some of the Boston papers were already writing about “the wreck of the Red Sox”. Bill Carrigan was named manager, acknowledgement of sorts for the leadership he’d shown while leading one of the two Red Sox touring teams in the 1911 spring exhibition season.

On July 18, Joe Wood broke his thumb when he fell while fielding. As in 1912, he’d only lost five games, but with the premature end to his season, he only won 11. He didn’t come back until 1914. Ray Collins was first in number of wins: 19-8. He’d also taken on some of Wood’s mantle in going up against Walter Johnson, winning two of their three matchups, every one of which ended in a 1-0 score. The game he lost lasted 15 innings. Bedient had a decent sophomore season, 15-14 with a 2.78 ERA. Dutch Leonard had a good ERA for a rookie – 2.39, but suffered in the Loss Department (14-17).

The Sox put on a bit of an extra push in September, pulling up from a sub-.500 record at the end of August to finish 79-71, and they’d managed to edge up into fourth place by season’s end. It wasn’t 1912 by any stretch of the imagination, but there was one thing: they may have finished 21 games out of first place but the New York Yankees were 37 ½ games behind, in last place again and playing for the first time under their new name.

Speaker was hot with the bat again, hitting .363 and hitting a team-record 22 triples. Duffy Lewis drove in 90, leading the team for the fourth year in a row. Hooper’s four homers were unsurpassed.

Ban Johnson hadn’t approved of the firing of Jake Stahl, and he still had a say in league affairs. That November, McAleer got word that he’d sold the team to a former bellhop from Canada now hotelier, Joseph Lannin. Johnson’s command was all it took.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Bill Carrigan, Buck O'Brien, Duffy Lewis, Dutch Leonard, Hugh Bedient, Jake Stahl, James McAleer, Joe Wood, Joseph Lannin, Ray Collins, Royal Rooters, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson

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