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Posts Tagged ‘1918 World Series’


I’ve enjoyed sports and history as long as I can remember.  As a kid I would read lots of sports biographies- including some of the dreaded Yankees.  My dislike for the Yankees didn’t keep me from appreciating the skill of some of their players.  Of course most of the ones I appreciated were from eras when the Red Sox were essentially uncompetitive.

Sometimes books come along that allow me to revisit sports and history.  Sean Deveney’s The Original Curse is one of those books.  Deveney puts the 1918 World Series into its historical context, and that context is vital to his main thesis.  His thesis, which he admits cannot prove, is that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series.  This is particularly intriguing as a result of the futility that plagued both teams since that World Series.  The Red Sox’ futility has only recently ended, but the Cubs’ continues.  Such utter inability to win championships is astounding to say the least- particularly since they were both so successful before that time.  This was the 5th World Series victory for the Red Sox.

“Prosperity tends to provide a pretty big blind spot.”

Deveney focuses on a few things outside of baseball.  World War I wrecked havoc on the world economy.  While ball players were well paid, inflation in the few years leading up to the 1918 World Series was about 55%.  Their good paychecks did not go as far as they used to go.

World War I put pressure on the players themselves as well as the game.  Some of the players were drafted during the season.  There was controversy as to whether or not to end the season.  Players were viewed as slackers because they were not directly assisting the war effort.  The War Department had underestimated what it would take to get fully involved in the conflict.  They put off requests from baseball for clarification repeatedly.  Some players left the pros to work in the shipyards which often had ball teams.  Many of these guys didn’t work but just played ball.

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When you move cross country, a few things change.  One of those is getting back home for vacation.  Gone is the direct flight.  Now there are connections, and more expensive connections.  We fly Southwest: yes, we are those kind of people.  They just started flying into Newark, and with 4 people flying the price differential was significant enough for us to fly there instead of our usual Albany.  I guess it all starts there.

This will work toward our advantage in at least one way.  Since we are vacationing earlier than usual, we’ll be joining the extended family in their annual trip to the shore.  Don’t call it the ‘beach’- I get admonished each time I do.  Maybe I should just call it the playa.  I don’t want to think I’ve joined the show Jersey Shore.  I may be an Italian-American, but I’m not a Guido and I don’t have lots of gold jewelry, bad clothes and a worse accent.

It was a short night.  I didn’t sleep exceedingly well, and was actually up before my clock radio started playing Charlie Peacock at 5:15 (I don’t have Quadrophenia on tape, so…).  Since CavWife was in the shower, I spent a few downstairs with some tea and the internet.  Then a quick shower and I got dressed.  I decided to wear “My Lucky Underwear”.  Yes, it literally says that on the underwear between the little shamrocks.  By the end of the trip I wasn’t feeling quite so lucky.

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