Ruth wins his first home-run crown; Wheat takes his only batting title

Zack Wheat

Zack Wheat

Look back at the 1918 MLB season.

By Glen Sparks

The Detroit Tigers’ Ty Cobb hits .382 and wins his 11th American League batting title. Cobb leads the league for a final time the next season. The Georgia Peach posted his highest average in 1911, .420.

Babe Ruth, still playing for the Boston Red Sox, wins his first A.L. home run crown. He pounds out 11 round-trippers in 317 at-bats, tying Tilly Walker of the Philadelphia A’s for the lead. Ruth tops the league again in 1919 with 29 and slams 54 dingers in 1920, his first season with the Yankees.

Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Zack Wheat wins his only batting title. He hits a career-high .335 in his 10th season. The Hamilton, Mo., native retires after the 1927 campaign with a .317 career average. He plays all but one of his 19 seasons with Brooklyn.

“Cactus” Gavvy Cravath, one of the first major leaguers out of southern California, tops the National League with eight homers. Cravath, an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, plays 11 seasons and is the home run king six times. He retires with 119 homers.

Walter Johnson enjoys another big year for the Washington Senators. He leads the A.L. in wins (23), ERA (1.27), strikeouts (162) and shutouts (8). The Big Train, a Kansas native, wins 417 games in his Hall of Fame career. He tops league in strikeouts a dozen times and in wins six times.

Chicago Cubs fans watch as James “Hippo” Vaughn enjoys his finest season. He leads all N.L. hurlers in wins (22), ERA (1.74) and strikeouts (148). Vaughn wins 178 games in 13 big-league seasons and is a five-time 20-game winner.

The Boston Red Sox’ Hubert “Dutch” Leonard tosses the second no-hitter of his career on June 3. He beats the Detroit Tigers 5-0. Leonard goes just 8-6 on the season. The left-hander pitches 11 seasons in the majors and wins 139 games. Leonard threw his first no-hitter in 1916 against the St. Louis Browns. He is no relation to Emil John “Dutch” Leonard, who wins 191 career games.

Washington’s Johnson pitches into extra innings 15 times. He pitches two complete games of 18 innings, one of 16 innings and one of 15. Talk about a rubber arm.

The Cubs win the N.L. pennant by 10.5 games over the New York Giants. In the A.L., the Red Sox edge the Cleveland Indians by 2.5 games. Boston wins the World Series in six games. Neither team hits much. Boston bats .186 as a team, and Chicago hits .210. Both Carl Mays (1.00 ERA) and Ruth (1.06) go 2-0 for the Red Sox.

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