|Dates:||September 5–September 11|
|Umpires:||Hank O'Day (NL), George Hildebrand (AL), Bill Klem (NL), Brick Owens (AL)†|
|Future Hall of Famers:||Boston Red Sox: Harry Hooper, Babe Ruth. Cubs: Grover Cleveland Alexander (dnp).|
The 1918 Series was played under several metaphorical dark clouds. The Series was held early in September due to the World War I "Work or Fight" order that forced the premature end of the regular season on September 1, and remains the only World Series to be played entirely in September. The Series was marred by players threatening to strike due to low gate receipts.
As with the 1917 World Series, there were concerns about whether the Series was being played honestly, a rumor revived in 2005 http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-06-09-sox-cubs-1918_x.htm#rigged and explored in further depth in the 2009 book, The Original Curse, by Sean Deveney, McGraw Hill Publishing. The Cubs' roster contained some players who were later suspected of being "crooked". Pitcher Phil Douglas would be accused of conspiring to fix a regular-season game in 1922 and was suspended for life. Pitcher Claude Hendrix, who saw little playing time in the 1918 Series, was suspected of fixing a game in 1920, but he retired after that season and was never officially suspended.
But there was no solid evidence that the 1918 Series itself was "fixed", and with the war dominating the news, nothing came of the rumors. It would be another season before baseball's relationship with gambling would erupt in a major scandal. Star pitcher Pete Alexander of the Cubs saw almost no action in the 1918 regular season due to military service, and did not pitch in the Series. This left the Cubs pitching corps thin compared to the strong Red Sox staff, which included Babe Ruth and Carl Mays. Hippo Vaughn was the strongest Cubs pitcher, having won the pitching triple crown in 1918, but he would have the misfortune of facing the best arms the Red Sox had, and would lose two of the four Cubs losses.
The Chicago home games in the series were played at Comiskey Park, which had a greater seating capacity than Weeghman Park, the prior home of the Federal League Chicago Whales that the Cubs were now using and which would be rechristened Wrigley Field in 1925. The Red Sox had played their home games in the 1915 and 1916 World Series in the more expansive Braves Field, but they returned to Fenway Park for the 1918 series.
Game 1 of the 1918 World Series marked the first time "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed at a major league game. During the seventh inning stretch, the band began playing the song due to the fact the country was involved in World War I. Though the song was not named the national anthem until 1931, this game marked the first time it was played in any venue. The winning pitcher of Game 1 was none other than Babe Ruth, who pitched a shutout.
1918 would be the last Red Sox World Series Championship until 2004. The drought of 86 years was often attributed to the Curse of the Bambino. The alleged curse came to be when the Red Sox traded the superbly talented but troublesome Babe Ruth (who was instrumental in their 1918 victory) to the New York Yankees for cash after the 1919 season.
Through the 2010 season, the Cubs are still waiting to win their next World Series. The Cubs, who last won in 1908, won the National League but lost the Series in 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945. The Red Sox, who had won the American League but lost the Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986, finally won the World Series in 2004 and then won again in 2007.
† For the first time in the Series, all four umpires worked in the infield on a rotating basis. In previous Series from 1909 through 1917, two of the four umpires had been positioned in the outfield for each game, in addition to the standard plate umpire and base umpire.
Game 1 went to the Red Sox, 1–0, with Babe Ruth pitching the shutout before 19,274 fans. Stuffy McInnis knocked in the game's only run, driving in Dave Shean with a fourth-inning single off Hippo Vaughn.
|WP: Babe Ruth (1–0) LP: Hippo Vaughn (0–1)
Game 2Friday, September 6, 1918 at Comiskey Park (I) in Chicago, Illinois The Cubs rebounded to knot the Series with a 3–1 victory in Game 2 the next day, behind Lefty Tyler's six-hit pitching. Tyler himself had a two-run single in the second inning to make the score 3–0, and he carried a shutout into the ninth inning.