Sunday, June 24, 2001

Not even 1918?

If you know anything at all about the Red Sox, you undoubtedly know that 1918 was the year the Red Sox last won a World Series. Certainly, Yankees fans know it as they love to chant "Nine -- teen -- eight -- teen!" when the Sox visit the Bronx.

For Red Sox fans, 1918 is our fortress. Behind its ramparts the Red Sox are the dominant team, perennial World Series Champs led by Babe Ruth.

However, in his book 1918: Babe Ruth and the World Champion Boston Red Sox, author and devout Sox fan Allan Wood hypothesizes on the unthinkable: Was the 1918 World Series fixed?

The most surprising bit of research I uncovered was the possibility that the 1918 World Series may have been fixed. My curiosity was sparked by a small notation made in the private notebook of a Chicago White Sox executive around the time the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal erupted. Gambling on baseball was big business in those days and the unstable financial condition of the game during the war offered plenty of motive. Reading numerous accounts of each World Series game -- sometimes as many as 20 reports of a single game -- gave me a chance to see the action through the collective eyes of the sportswriters who were there. I found many suspicious on-field actions, almost all of them by the Chicago Cubs, who lost the Series in six games. While I couldn't prove definitively whether there actually was a fix, I'm continuing to explore the possibility (Wood,

Wow! This is the first I've heard of this. (Hat tip to Lawrence for the link.) If true, it means we don't even have 1918 to turn anymore. And what about 1916? Even if never proven, the evidence Wood offers is enough to cast a shadow over the 1918 Championship. And, of course, if true it would completely erase the Curse of the Bambino.

Meanwhile, as soon as I finally give myself over to belief in this year given the Red Sox record thus far, the team has dropped two straight. Why did I know that would happen? A win today will help me avoid the shakes.