July 13, 2016
Curses Update: 1918 World Series
I have finished reading Sean Deveney’s book, which he titled “The Original Curse.” I agree with his conclusion from looking at all the evidence – yes, the Cub’s did throw the 1918 to the Red Sox. It was not as widespread as the 1919 Black Sox debacle, but they did it nonetheless. There were probably four players involved: outfielders Les Mann and Max Flack, pitchers “Shufflin’” Phil Douglas and Claude Hendrix. There’s a lot to the story – especially the connection to World War I and the draft that all the players were facing. You should read the book for ALL the details. Here is some excerpts from the end of the book: Games 1 through 3 were probably played on the level, but…
(p. 209) “Game Four smells very foul. Max Flack’s performance was not just bad. It was historically bad. He was picked off twice, he tapped a harmless grounder back to the pitcher in a key situation, and he committed an obvious misplay on Ruth’s triple [ by having refused to play deep in right field when the Babe was batting, allowing the young Bambino to hit one over his head]… Claude Hendrix, too, comes into question for his awkward Game 4 base-running, which was bad enough for [Cub’s manager Fred] Mitchell to pull him out of the game. Hendrix, it was reported, was lucky not to have been caught while taking an unnecessarily big lead after reaching second base, which would have killed a Cubs’ rally had he been thrown out… Douglas pitched a terrible eighth inning, allowing a hit and a passed ball, which he followed with his wild toss to [first baseman Fred] Merkle on a bunt attempt. That throw lost the game.” The Cubs also had some strange plays in Game 6, losing the Series 4 Games to 2.
But – there’s also evidence that the RED SOX also threw a game: Game Five. With a 3 games to 1 lead, the Red Sox could have won the Championship in Game Five. But the players, who had briefly gone on strike – yes, no kidding – before Game Four, wanted to keep playing so that they could continue their World Series money demands. Again:
(p. 211) “ The Cubs had motive an means to throw Games 4 and 6. But if there was a fix, one question looms: what about Game 5, a 3 – 0 Cubs’ win? Why didn’t the Cubs throw that one? There are two possible explanations. It may be that [Cubs’ pitcher James “Hippo”] Vaughn, not in on the fix, was simply having a dominant day and, even if his teammates behind him wanted to throw the game, they would not get the opportunity. The Red Sox got just three hits after all… there is a chance that it was the Red Sox who played indifferently in Game 5. … It may have been that the Red Sox did not get many hits off Vaughn because they were not trying to get many hits off of Vaughn.”
Again, according to the testimony of one of the 1919 Black Sox, pitcher Eddie Cicotte, the White Sox got the idea of throwing the Series from their cross-town friends, the Cubs.
Earlier in the last chapter, Deveney sums up what happened to both franchises later:
(p. 205) “ The Cubs finished third in 1919 and would not win another pennant for 11 years.  The Red Sox finished sixth and would not win a pennant until 1946.
“And neither team would win a championship until the Red Sox finally broke through in 2004. The Cubs, of course, still had not won a World Series through 2008 [through 2015], which means that after the 1918 World Series the teams combined to play 186 seasons (that’s 86 years for the Red Sox and 100-and-counting [108 now] years for the Cubs) without winning it all. [Emphasis mine] This almost impossible reality, as baseball fans know, caused backers of both teams to indulge in the notion that their teams were cursed – that because Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Boston was doomed to failure for 86 years and that, because the Cubs booted a goat from a 1945 World Series game, the North-Siders have been wandering in baseball infamy for all these decades. [Joe’s note: it wasn’t the billy goat; God cursed the Cubs with a 70-year Babylonian Exile curse because of their Anti-Semitic heckling of the Jewish war hero who honored God by respecting Yom Kippur – THAT’S what did it.]
(p. 206) “ But doesn’t the assignment of these disparate curses to the Cubs and Red Sox overlook the obvious? [author’s emphasis] The two teams played each other in a World Series and fell into inexplicable funks immediately after. The Red Sox sold Ruth after the 1919 season. But take a look at their ’19 record, with Ruth still in the fold: 66 – 71, which landed them in sixth place. The Red Sox went from World Series champs to near the bottom of the league in one season. If the franchise was cursed, that curse settled in immediately after the 1918 season, even before the Ruth sale. Heck, baseball even refused to recognize the Red Sox win with World Series emblems – the curse, it seemed, had settled in by Christmas of ’18. And if it’s the billy goat curse that has kept the Cubs down all these years [Joe’s note: it’s not… more latter], how can we explain their failure to win the championship in the years before 1945? The Cubs played 37 championship-free seasons before the billy goat curse was allegedly uttered [Joe’s note: YES! Well spoken, Mr. Deveney! It ain’t the billy goat!] [Joe’s emphasis] There is something unsatisfactory about the timing of both curses. There must be a different curse, an original curse, one that began when the Red Sox and the Cubs played against each other for the only time in the 20th Century, a curse spawned when two franchises bought their way to pennants during the worst complete baseball season in history, a curse that not only crippled the two teams on the field but seeped into the lives of the players off the field.
Perhaps the 1918 World Series – which probably should not have been played in the first place [because of how baseball teams were depleted by World War 1] – was fixed, perhaps everyone around baseball, including Eddie Cicotte and [gambler] Harry Grabiner, knew it, and perhaps the 1919 Black Sox were inspired by it. Now that would be cause for a curse.
Back to Joe: Yes, Mr. Deveney! Even though you don’t believe in curses, you make a great case for believing in curses.
One problem I had: if the Red Sox and Cubs played at least three dishonest games in the 1918 World Series, why did they never get caught? Well – as Mr. Deveney says later: gambling and baseball were closely connected at this time, and the Baseball Establishment turned a blind eye to it for the same reason Major League Baseball turned a blind eye for so many years to the use of PED’s – money, pure and simply. Just like in 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa brought baseball back from the disaster of the 1994 strike, MLB in the 1910’s and 1920’s ignored other scandals (with, of course, the single exception from the 1919 Black Sox) that had to do with dishonest players, gamblers, and fixed games.
But they really didn’t get away with it, did they? Not in the sight of the Creator! They might have gotten away with it in the world system, but “the eyes of the Lord” penetrate our attempts to cover our sins. The world at large didn’t know these games were fraudulent, but Elohim knew. Both franchises WERE cursed with the maximum penalty for their dishonesty: 84-years of cursed teams. Why 84 years? Because 84 is seven (the Biblical number of completion) times twelve (the Biblical number of foundation… 12 tribes of Israel; 12 disciples).
The Red Sox had two overlapping 84-year curses – that’s why their manifestations were so terrible (Bucky ——– Dent? Bill Buckner?). The first one started, indeed, because of the 1918 Series fix – it ended in 2003. Does that date mean anything to Red Sox fans? Try: “Whoooo’s your Daddy?”… Pedro and Grady Little … Aaron Boone… sorry for the awful memories. The second curse was “The Curse of the Bambino”, when they sold the Babe after the very next season. That was the last curse – its ending was manifested by Red Sox winning it all IN AMAZING FASHION in 2004!
The Cubs? Yes, their “Original Curse” was for throwing the 1918 Series. Ask yourselves this, Cubs’ fans: Did anything bad happen to the Cubs in 2003? If you’re a real Cubs’ fan, I need go no further. I’ll just say “Bartman” – ‘nough said.
Did the Cubs have a second 84 year curse like the Red Sox? Yes – they mistreated a player who was blessed by God. For their nastiness, the Cubs were cursed by… the Babe’s Called Shot in the 1932 World Series. Were you aware that that event, picked by the Babe himself as his “Greatest Moment”, was a sign that the second over-lapping 84 year curse was about to be implemented? It was no billy goat – it was the Bambino who declared Elohim’s maximum penalty: 84 years.
And do you know what you get when you add 1932 plus 84? That’s right – 2016! And – unless the Cubs blow it (Please! DO NOT FIRE Theo Epstein!), they will win it all this season.