The First BoSox Dynasty (Apex: 1915-16)

With the collapse of the Philadelphia dynasty after 1914, the Red Sox assumed the mantle as the American League’s premiere team. It was a position they would hold through 1918. In that period they would play in and win 3 World Series. The first 2 were in 1915 and 1916.

There were some significant differences in the 1915-16 Red Sox and the team that won in 1912. Catcher Bill Carrigan was now the manager, Everett Scott had moved to shortstop and the pitching staff had a major overhaul. Joe Wood was still around, but Rube Foster (no, not THAT Rube Foster) and Ernie Shore were now the aces. Babe Ruth (yes, THAT Babe Ruth) was now the lefty. Interestingly enough, the Sox appear to have experimented at least a little with a closer. Carl Mays pitched 36 games, but started only 6 and led the league with 6 saves (a stat that hadn’t been invented yet). They faced Philadelphia in the 1915 World Series and won it in 5 games losing only game 1 to Grover Cleveland Alexander (who, frankly didn’t look much like Ronald Reagan). Most of the games were close, only game one being decided by more than one run, but the Sox outhit the Phillies .264 to .162 and hit 3 of the four home runs (Harry Hooper led with 2).

The 1916 team was substantially the same team except that they had traded center fielder Tris Speaker to Cleveland (where he would win the 1920 World Series as the player-manager). The only other major change saw former A’s shortstop Jack Barry installed as the new second baseman. By 1916 Mays was  a starter and Ruth was the team ace with 23 wins and 170 strikeouts. He was 3rd in wins and 2nd in strikeouts, losing to Walter Johnson in both cases.

They again took the Series in 5 games, Brooklyn winning only game 3. The first 3 games were close, but Boston began to pull away in the last two games. Ruth began his record setting run of consecutive scoreless innings pitched in this Series, winning 2 games. As an aside, Brooklyn wore what has to be the ugliest uniforms in Major League history. Maybe we all owe the Sox a vote of thanks. If Brooklyn had won, we might have been stuck with those ugly uniforms for years.

The Sox fell back in 1917, finishing 2nd by nine games. The dynasty wasn’t over quite yet. A couple of quick fixes and the stage was set for 1918.



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2 Responses to “The First BoSox Dynasty (Apex: 1915-16)”

  1. sportsphd Says:

    Asinof, in Eight Men Out implies that the 1917 season had some questionable moments. In particular, he mentions there were questions about a 4-game series with Detroit, back-to-back double-headers on September 2nd and 3rd. The White Sox swept all 4 games, improving their record from 83-47 to 87-47. The Red Sox on September 1st were 76-47. They dropped both games of a double-header on September 3rd to drop two back in the loss column but 11 back in wins. It would be interesting if thrown games had anything to do with the Red Sox not joining the Yankees as the only teams to win four straight World Series and the Giants and Yankees as the only teams to make four straight.

  2. verdun2 Says:

    It’s always possible that thrown games played a part in any pennant race in the period.
    Bill James in “The Bill James New Historical Abstract”, 2001, lists on pages 136-138 a total of 22 men who were banned from baseball and indicates that there were 38 who were involved in scandal. He states that “‘Involved’ means either that they were banned, or serious charges were made aginst them.” Of those 38, two: Ty Cobb and Bill James (no relation to the author above), played for the Tigers (although I don’t know if James pitched in any of the games). All eight members of the “Black Sox” were on the Chicago roster (although apparently Williams did not pitch in any of the 4 games). So they have the personnel to do it. Now if only Hal Chase had been aboard, we’d be in better shape.

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