Baseball History: Babe Ruth and Tillie Walker

Babe Ruth won two games during the 1918 World Series for Boston.

Babe Ruth won two games on the mound during the 1918 World Series for Boston.

Work or fight.

That was the order from Provost Marshall General Crowder that changed the 1918 baseball season. The United States had entered World War I a year earlier and the mid-summer order would end the season on Sept. 2. Several players would soon be serving the nation in many ways, including on the battlefield.

After some discussions, it was determined that the World Series would be played on the what is still the earliest start date for the Fall Classic on Sept. 5.

That day, Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox would win an 1-0 pitcher’s duel with Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs in Comiskey Park, where the series opened because it was a larger stadium.

Ruth limited the Cubs to six hits, while Vaughn gave up only five hits. Stuffy McInnis knocked in the only run of the affair with a single in the fourth.

The Cubs would win the second game and the Red Sox the third before the series moved to Boston.

At Fenway Park, Ruth needed help in the ninth inning as the Red Sox would win 3-2. As a result of allowing the two runs to the Cubs, Ruth’s scoreless inning streak in World Series action would end one out shy of 30 frames. That mark would stand until New York Yankees lefty Whitey Ford would surpass it by four innings in 1961.

After falling 3-0 in the fifth contest to the Cubs as Vaughn blanked Boston, the Red Sox clinched the title with a 2-1 win in game six as Carl Mays went the distance on the mound.

Ruth on the Mound

In 1918, Ruth’s appearances on the mound were cut in half from the year before when he posted a career-high victory total as he went 24-13. As he started playing in the outfield more in 1918, he finished 13-7 with an ERA of 2.22. In his career, Ruth would post a 94-46 mark.

Tillie Walker hit 11 homers in 1918 with the Philadelphia A's to tie Babe Ruth for the major league lead.

Tillie Walker hit 11 homers in 1918 with the A’s to tie Babe Ruth for the major league lead.

Swinging with the Babe

Also in 1918, Ruth tied for the major league lead in home runs with 11. Of course, he would go on to hit a few more until his retirement in 1935 with 714.

Tillie Walker of the Philadelphia A’s would also reach the 11-homer mark to tie Ruth in 1918. Walker had been a teammate of Ruth’s in Boston and a member of the 1916 world champions.

Walker was one of three player traded by Boston to the A’s prior to the 1918 season for McInnis. He spent 13 years in the big leagues with the Red Sox, Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns before finishing with the A’s from 1918-1923.

Walker hit 23 homers with 101 RBI in 1921 with Philadelphia, while blasting 37 long balls the next season with 99 RBI.

In his 19-year career, McInnis played for the A’s and Red Sox before moving on to the Cleveland Indians, Boston Braves. Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies.

He was a member of the 1911 and 1913 A’s teams that won the World Series, while also winning titles with 1918 Red Sox and 1925 Pirates.


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