When the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cardinals for the World Series title last week, we were reminded it was the first time the Red Sox had won the World Series at home since 1918. Then, last Thursday morning I was reminded of another little tidbit of trivia concerning the 1918 Red Sox. Do you know who one of their ace pitchers was? Carl Mays, of Mansfield.
Mays won two of the four games the Sox won in the Series. The winner of the other two games was Babe Ruth.
Ruth was such a powerful hitter, he was transitioned from pitcher to the outfield, but he won two games in the 1918 World Series, before being traded to the Yankees in 1919 where he achieved most of his fame while patrolling right field.
The 1918 World Series was won in Fenway Park, where the Red Sox defeated St. Louis last week. Their opponent? The Chicago Cubs.
Now, back to Carl Mays.
It is said Mays was probably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Why? Maybe because he was disliked by most of his fellow players. He had a reputation as a pitcher of being a headhunter because he was not afraid to throw at batters when they tried to crowd the plate on him. Of course, Mays is best remembered for the fateful pitch that took the life of Ray Chapman, in 1920.
Chapman, hit in the head by a pitch from Mays, is the only player to ever die from an injury on a Major League Baseball field.
Those unpleasant memories set aside, Carl Mays’ record as a Major League pitcher are outstanding.
During the 1918 season, Mays started 33 games and completed 30 of them, and finished the season with a record of 21 wins and 13 losses. He allowed only two home runs that season, struck out 114, and had an earned run average of 2.21, second only to “Bullet” Joe Bush as a starting pitcher. Mays also threw eight shutouts that year.
Wikipedia says the Red Sox pitching staff, led by Carl Mays and Bullet Joe Bush allowed the fewest runs in the league.
Mays is also the only pitcher to ever throw two complete 9-inning games the same day. On Aug. 30, 1918, Mays pitched both games of a double-header, beating the Philadelphia Athletics 12-0 and 4-1.
Mays had a career record of 207-126 over 15 seasons, and a career ERA of 2.92.
In the 1920 season, Mays won 26 games. In the seasons of 1920 and 1921, pitching for the New York Yankees, Mays had a two-season record of 53 wins and 20 losses.
Although it is unlikely that Carl Mays will ever be enshrined in Cooperstown, he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Mays died April 4, 1971, at El Cajon, Calif.
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The Taney County Times reported last week that Forsyth will begin football next year. The school will start with a junior high schedule next school year and work up to a varsity season by 2017-18. To accommodate football, voters approved a $4 million bond issue to construct a new, multi-purpose outdoor facility that will include a baseball field and football field. Superintendent Brent Blevins (a former Ava High School basketball coach) said the facility will be “like no other in the state.”