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Random Game Callback, June 30, 1918
2006-06-30 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The seventh place Cincinnati Reds played a doubleheader at Redland Field against the Cubs and scored seven runs in both ends, but managed just one win, taking the opener 7-0 and then playing a 7-7 11-inning tie in the nightcap that was shortened by transportation demands on the Reds.

The Reds were managed by Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson and he started Jimmy Ring in the opener and Pete Schneider in the second game. The first place Cubs, managed by Fred Mitchell, had Claude Hendrix and Lefty Tyler going on the mound for him.

Hendrix was wild early and it cost him. He walked Cincinnati leadoff man and third baseman Heinie Groh. Second baseman Lee Magee sacrificed, but Hendrix walked centerfielder Edd Roush and first baseman Hal Chase to load the bases. Leftfielder Greasy Neale then walked to force in Groh. And Mitchell yanked Hendrix and replaced with Phil Douglas, known as Shufflin' Phil. Rightfielder Tommy Griffith singled in one run and catcher Ivey Wingo singled in two more and the Reds had a 4-0 lead before the Cubs even came to bat.

Heavy rain began to fall in the third and the game was delayed for 45 minutes. The excess water on the field was soaked up with "second-hand dust" according to the Chicago Tribune account. Apparently, Cicninnati did not have a tarp to cover the field.

The Reds got their fifth run in the third on a Neale triple and an RBI single from shortstop Manuel Cueto. Roush doubled in two more runs in the sixth to finish up the scoring for the Reds. Ring gave up just seven hits with one strikeout and no walks in the win.

The Cubs started out better in the nightcap, scoring twice in the first on an RBI double by centerfielder Dode Paskert. The Reds tied it in the bottom of the second thanks to a pair of misplays by Cubs second baseman Chuck Wortman, although he was charged with just one error.

After Schneider let the Cubs load the bases with nobody out in the fourth, Mathewson brought in Mike Regan to relieve. A single by catcher Bill Killer, a double by rightfielder Max Flack, and a single by shortstop Charlie Hollocher led to five runs for the Cubs and a 7-2 lead.

But Tyler couldn't hold the lead and in the sixth he gave up four hits, walked two, and made a devastating throwing error to let the Reds tie the game at 7-7. Nevertheless, Tyler would pitch the rest of the game, all the way to the eleventh when the game was halted and declared a tie.

The United States had entered World War II in 1917, but it wasn't until 1918 that the military was taking players away from teams. In the summer, the government told baseball that its athletes were not essential workers and all able-bodied players had to either join the military or work in a defense plant. The owners convinced the government to let them play out the season until Labor Day and then play the World Series and a compromise was struck.

The full 154 games likely weren't needed as the Cubs were 10 1/2 games in front in the NL when the season ended with 25 games to play. The Reds finished in third place at 68-60. Mathewson left the Reds in August to enlist in the Army and Groh managed the last week of the season. The Cubs would lose an unhappy World Series to the Red Sox in six games. The series was marred by a threatened players strike during it.

Roush was the hitting star for the NL in 1918, but he did miss out on winning the batting average crown by .002 (.335 to .333) to Brooklyn's Zack Wheat. Roush led the league in slugging at .455, OPS at .823 and had an OPS+ of 153.

Cubs pitcher Hippo Vaughn led the NL in wins (22), strikeouts (148) and ERA (1.74). The Cubs had a staff ERA of 2.18 in a year when the league ERA was 2.76.

Three participants in this doubleheader: Chase, Douglas, and Magee (Lee, not Sherry Magee who was also on the Reds that year) were later banned for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for being involved in game fixing.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

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