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Fenway's last championship

Last year marked 80 years since the Red Sox won the World Series

By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff, 02/14/98

On Sept. 11, 1918, exactly two months before the armistice was signed ending World War I, the Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, before a crowd of 15,238 in Fenway Park to win the World Series, four games to two. Carl Mays was the winning pitcher, his second win of the Series. A lefthander named Babe Ruth won the other two games, including a shutout in the opener.

It was the fifth time in the 15 years since the champions of the American League and National League met that the Red Sox had won the World Series.

It also was the last.

Of all the end-of-the-century epochs yet to be written, this may be the one that saddens New Englanders most: The Red Sox this season are looking at the 80th anniversary of their last World Series title.

What man or woman celebrating in Fenway in 1918 would ever have dreamed of passing on their love for the Red Sox to their children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, then great-great-grandchildren, had they known that a man would walk on the moon and a sheep would be cloned before the Sox won another Series?

Ted Williams was born a month before the Red Sox won their last World Series. Ella Fitzgerald was born in 1918. So, too, Leonard Bernstein and Ingmar Bergman, Mickey Spillane and Spiro Agnew, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Anwar Sadat.

The Red Baron was shot down the year the Red Sox last won the World Series.

The automatic toaster was invented the year the Red Sox last won the World Series.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series, there was no such thing as Vitamin C or penicillin, the polio vaccine or heart transplants.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series, the Globe and the Herald cost 2 cents apiece. A loaf of bread was 8 cents. A quart of milk cost 14 cents. A Chesterfield overcoat went for $9 in the Sears Roebuck catalog. Bloomers were 90 cents, patent leather shoes $3.85. Coke by the glass cost a nickel.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series, women still couldn't vote.

The US has fought in four wars since the Red Sox won the World Series. That's not counting the invasion of Grenada. The Hapsburg Empire existed when the Red Sox last won the World Series. The United Nations did not.

Roaring Twenties. The Great Depression. The New Deal. The Marshall Plan. We Like Ike. Camelot. The Great Society. Tricky Dick. A movie star in the White House. A thousand points of light. Monica. The Swing Generation. Baby Boomers. Beatniks, Hippies, Yippies, and Yuppies. Generation X. Eras come and go, and the Red Sox haven't won the World Series.

The year the Red Sox last won the World Series, Robert Ripley published his first ``Believe It Or Not.''

Charlie Chaplin was on the big screen, Al Jolson at the Winter Garden.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series, the life expectancy in the US was 54 years. Now it's 76.

The Yankees have won 23 World Series since the Red Sox last won the World Series. Twenty-one teams have won the World Series since the Red Sox, including four expansion teams -- the Mets, Royals, Blue Jays, and Marlins.

Ted Williams hit 521 home runs since the Red Sox last won the World Series. Carl Yastrzemski had 3,419 hits, Roger Clemens 213 wins.

Since they last won the World Series, the Red Sox have had 21 batting champions, 13 home run champions, and 21 20-game winners. Since they last won the World Series, the Red Sox have had nine winners of the Most Valuable Player Award, four winners of the Cy Young Award, 34 winners of the Gold Glove, 77 All-Stars, and five Rookies of the Year, including the last one, Nomar Garciaparra. They have had 14 players inducted into the Hall of Fame and four numbers retired, not including Jackie Robinson's.

Fenway Park has had two major fires and been totally rebuilt since the Red Sox last won the World Series.

The Red Sox have had 32 managers, from Ed Barrow to Jimy Williams, a list that includes a Bucky (Harris), a Billy (Herman), a Pinky (Higgins), a Butch (Hobson), a Mac (John McNamara), a Zim (Don Zimmer), and a Walpole Joe (Morgan).

Dan Duquette is the eighth general manager since the Red Sox last won the World Series.

There have been 12 world champions in chess since the Red Sox last won the World Series. There have been 18 Winter Olympics.

The last time the Red Sox won the World Series, the population of the US was around 106 million. It's more than 249 million now.

Massachusetts has had 21 governors and 15 US senators since the Red Sox last won the World Series. There have been 14 presidents, from Wilson to Clinton, and seven popes.

There is only one consolation, however small, for Red Sox fans: It's worse to be a baseball fan in Chicago.

The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908, the White Sox since 1917.

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