Web Analytics and Web Statistics by NextSTAT The Boston Sports Nut: In 1918....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In 1918....

* Players did not have uniform numbers
* Because of gamblers, teams didn't announce the starting pitchers before games. If they did, the offending team would be subject to a $25 fine
*The spitball was legal. It was not banned until February of 1920
*Fans were not allowed to keep foul balls hit into the stands
*RBI's were not counted in any consistent way
*Players were paid their salaries on a monthly basis
*There were 16 teams in 11 cities. Since then 6 of those teams have moved: Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia A's, Boston Braves, New York Giants, and Brooklyn Dodgers
*Teams had no affiliated minor league farm clubs
*A team batting in the bottom of the ninth or in the last half of an extra inning could not win by more than one run. For example, if the home team trailed by a run and a player hit a three-run homer, he would be credited with only a triple, and his team would be victorious by one run, not two. This rule was changed in 1920
*There was no commissioner; instead baseball's governing body was the three-member panel "National Commission"

As for the Red Sox, 1918 was the year that
*Spring Training was held in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Red Sox finished the exhibition season 9-5. All games were played against the Brooklyn Dodgers
*In April, the team featured only a 19-man roster
*Fenway Park was 550 feet to center and there was a steep dirt hill in left field in front of the Green Monster
*Babe Ruth started 19 games as a pitcher, completing 18 of them
*On May 6, Ruth started his first game at a position other than pitcher
*Future Red Sox Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr were born
*Due to World War I the regular season ended early and the team played only 126 games. The Red Sox finished 75-51, 2½ games ahead of Cleveland

Following the 1918 season the team's fortunes changed for the worse. The Red Sox would not again experience a winning season until 1935 and have now gone 83 years without winning the World Series. In that time they have lost four Game 7's; in 1946, 67, 75, and 86. And while generations of Sox fans have succumbed to the idea that the team will not win another title "in my lifetime," the players on the 1918 team never received their championship emblems in theirs. In 1993 the Red Sox held a ceremony at Fenway Park and presented replica emblems to the descendants of the team's members, a full 75 years after the team could last lay claim to having earned the distinction of World Champions.

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