Shortened Season of 1918: How the Great War Begat the Great Bambino

CLEVELAND - 1919. Babe Ruth, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, warms up before a game in League Park in Cleveland in 1919. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - 1919. Babe Ruth, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, warms up before a game in League Park in Cleveland in 1919. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /
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(Photo Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images) /

The Great War and Jack Barry

The eventual World Champions of the 1918 season, the Boston Red Sox, would win the title without their player/manager, Jack Barry. After winning two World Series in ’15 and ’16 as a player, Barry led the Sox to a second-place finish in 1917 as a player/manager. Unfortunately for Barry, he lost the 1918 season when he enlisted with the Naval Reserve. Barry would lose his managing job to Ed Barrow after Barrow led the Red Sox to the 1918 World Series title.

Upon Barry’s return from service, he had lost both his managerial job and his spot at second base. He was traded to the Athletics where he ultimately decided to retire from the game at 32-years-old. Not only did he miss out on the 1918 World Series title as a player/manager, he lost his job and ultimately his playing career.

Barry would go on to coach his alma mater Holy Cross for 40 successful years. His first season at the helm Holy Cross finished with a school-record 30 wins. Barry led them to a College World Series in 1952 and finished as the winningest coach in college baseball history with a .806 winning percentage.

The Red Sox and their new manager had plenty of holes to patch up as the Sox lost five players (including Barry) during the 1918 season. His creativity would force him to think outside the box of conventional baseball wisdom. Barrow’s big idea would forever change the course of history.