The Red Sox had another pennant-winning season at Fenway Park in 1916 but just like the previous year, they played (and won) the World Series at Braves Field. In September, the Odd Fellows held their first religious service at Fenway Park and amateur high school and college athletics led to another busy fall at the ballpark.
Record: 91-63, 1st in American League
Manager: William F. Carrigan
Postseason: Won World Series
The 1916 Red Sox won 10 fewer games than they had the previous year but their 91-63 record was strong enough to top the Chicago White Sox by two games and win the American League pennant for the second straight year.
With the demise of the Federal League, owners cut player salaries and the Red Sox lost the services of Tris Speaker, who rejected a contract offer that set his salary at 1913 levels (about half what he'd been paid in 1914 and 1915). Unable to reach an agreement, the Red Sox sold Speaker's contract to Cleveland, where he hit .354 over the next 11 seasons.
Despite their financial caution with regards to Speaker, the Red Sox actually lowered 1916 ticket prices in the wake of the previous year's championship. The Sox also introduced "Ladies Day at Fenway Park," admitting women to grandstand seats for 50 cents instead of 75 cents, with owner Joseph Lannin promising "special turnstiles for the women and a special reception room" for female patrons.
In addition to Speaker, the team also lost Smoky Joe Wood, who could no longer throw a baseball effectively but would resurface as an Indians outfielder in 1918. Clarence "Tillie" Walker was Speaker's replacement in center field, hitting a modest .266 but slugging the only home run of the season hit by a Boston player at Fenway Park on June 20.
A number of unusual happenings occurred in 1916: the Red Sox split a pair of exhibitions at the start of the season against local schools (beating Boston College but losing to Harvard), while Babe Ruth was pulled from a game on May 20 even though he was throwing a no-hitter. Ruth left with the bases loaded but Carl Mays came to the rescue and secured a 3-1 win over the Browns.
On June 21, 1916, George "Rube" Foster threw the first no-hitter by a Red Sox pitcher at Fenway Park. Two months later, on August 30, Dutch Leonard became the second Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter at the park. Player/manager Bill Carrigan caught both gems.
Babe Ruth developed into a star pitcher in 1916, going 23-12 with a league-leading 1.75 ERA. On August 15 at Fenway Park, Ruth pitched 13 innings to secure a 1-0 win over Washington's Walter Johnson. Ruth went on to set a Major League Baseball single-season record with nine shutouts in 1916.
The pennant race went down to the wire, and was only decided on October 1. The Red Sox would play their second consecutive World Series at Braves Field, defeating the Brooklyn Robins in five games to clinch the only back-to-back titles in club history.
The months following the World Series were not without activity, either. Three days after the World Series, some members of the Red Sox took part in an exhibition game in New Haven. In response, Baseball's National Commission voted to deny the whole team the traditional World Series emblems given to the champions. Two weeks later, on November 1, Joseph Lannin sold the Red Sox to a group from New York led by Harry Frazee.
The 1916 World Series began at Braves Field in Boston, with Ernie Shore of the Red Sox facing Rube Marquard of the Brooklyn Robins. Thanks to four Brooklyn errors, Boston took a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning. In the top of the ninth, the Robins scored four times to cut the lead to a single run but Boston shortstop Everett Scott made a marvelous play on a hard-hit Jake Daubert grounder to preserve the Game One victory.
In Game Two, Babe Ruth made his first World Series appearance on the mound. Ruth, who led the Red Sox with 23 regular season victories, surrendered a first-inning inside-the-park home run but settled down and pitched 13 scoreless innings. In the 14th inning, Red Sox pinch-hitter Del Gainer finally ended the game with a run-scoring single. Immediately following the game, baseball writers called Game Two the greatest World Series game ever played and Boston now led the series two games to none.
Game Three was the first World Series game ever played in Brooklyn. Side-armer Carl Mays started for Boston and left after giving up four runs in six innings. The Red Sox narrowed the Brooklyn lead to 4-3 on a Larry Gardner home run in the seventh but Robins' reliever Jack Pfeiffer came on to retire the final eight Boston hitters and preserve the win.
Boston's Dutch Leonard started Game Four and promptly gave up two runs in the first but he settled down on his way to a 6-2 Red Sox victory. The team's offense battered Brooklyn ace Marquard and pushed the Robins to the brink of elimination.
The series headed back to Boston in time for Columbus Day. In Game Five, Boston's office scored four early runs to build a 4-1 lead. With his team needing just one more victory to clinch the series, Red Sox starter Ernie Shore pitched a complete game, surrendering just three hits and one unearned run. For the second straight year, the Red Sox were World Champions.
The 1916 World Series was not an offensive showcase for the Red Sox, as Larry Gardner paced the Boston offense with two home runs, six RBIs and a batting average of just .176. Boston won with their pitching and though Babe Ruth went 0-5 at the plate, his outstanding performance on the mound in Game Two is the only time a pitcher has thrown 14 innings in a World Series game.
Fenway Park hosted three amateur baseball games in 1916, including a Massachusetts Police baseball league playoff game between the Boston Police and the Newton Police.
|1916 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|May 26||Noble & Greenough 16, Volkmann School 2|
|September 2||Pere Marquette Council, Knights of Columbus of South Boston 3, Salvador Council of New York 2|
|September 21||Boston Police 10, Newton Police 6|
On September 4, 1916, the Galway Men's Association held a field day at Fenway Park with competitions that included hurling and two football matches. Six days later, 15,000 Odd Fellows gathered at the ballpark for a religious and patriotic service. The group proceeded down Tremont Street, Boylston Street and Commonwealth Avenue, before marching into Fenway Park for a rousing rally before an enthusiastic crowd. Amateur football games filled the Fenway docket during late October, November and early December, including a memorable victory by Boston College over their rival Holy Cross.
|1916 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|September 4||Galway Men's Association Field Day|
|September 10||Odd Fellows Religious Service|
|October 20||High School of Commerce 21, Lowell High 19 (Football)|
|October 27||Boston College High 52, South Boston High 0 (Football)|
|October 30||High School of Commerce 13, Brockton High 0 (Football)|
|November 1||Boston English 25, Mechanic Arts 0 (Football)|
|November 15||Boston Latin 3, Mechanic Arts 0 (Football)|
|November 16||Boston English 27, Brockton High 0 (Football)|
|November 17||High School of Commerce 27, Dorchester High 0 (Football)|
|November 18||Rindge Tech 17, Boston College High 0 (Football)|
|November 23||Boston English 20, High School of Commerce 7 (Football)|
|November 25||Syracuse 20, Tufts 13 (Football)|
|November 30||Boston English 13, Boston Latin 0 (Football)|
|December 2||Boston College 17, Holy Cross 14 (Football)|
|December 9||Somerville High 7, DePaul Academy (IL) 0 (Football)|
On a weekend during which the Red Sox battled the Washington Senators at Griffith Park in their quest for back-to-back pennants, Fenway Park answered to a higher calling.
Under sunny skies and balmy conditions, thousands of Bostonians cheered 15,000 Odd Fellows representing 200 lodges of Massachusetts as they marched down Boylston and Tremont streets before heading down Commonwealth Avenue towards Fenway Park to hold their annual "Church Day of the Triple Link League of the I.O.O.F."
Among the highlights of their ballpark ceremony was a flag parade featuring 75 flag bearers who marched and countermarched across the Fenway diamond before standing at attention as the crowd thundered forth "The Star Spangled Banner."
In the principal address delivered from a platform located directly over the pitcher's mound, Past Grand Master Joseph Belcher remarked:
"In the olden days, our forefathers in their deep religious feeling, worshipped only in a building of God, deeming it somewhat irreligious to worship in the open air. But who among us cannot feel the inspiration of worshipping our lord and master under the blue canopy of heaven? Surely there can be no one in this present day and generation, who, because of inherited prejudice can fail to catch the splendor of this hour." (Boston Post, September 11, 1916)
After several more speakers, the ceremony closed with the crowd singing "America" to the accompaniment of 10 bands.
On a Saturday that Bostonians celebrated Thanksgiving, the fans of Boston College were justified in feeling Christmas may have come early.
Of the memorable game, Boston Globe sportswriter Lawrence J. Sweeney wrote:
"For 17 long years, Boston College had awaited the day when her football team should triumph over its time-honored rival from Worcester and yesterday at Fenway Park, as the shadows of eventide crept over the gridiron, her fondest hopes were realized." (Boston Sunday Globe, December 3, 1916)
A crowd of 8,000 that included Mayor James M. Curley and Cardinal William O'Connell attended the historic game.