The last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway Park in 1918, the fans were not so happy with the hometown nine. Bostonians questioned the team’s guts because the players were on a baseball field instead of a World War I battlefield. Fans further soured on them after their demands for more money held up a World Series game. And when the 1918 Boston Red Sox finally won the title, the feat was greeted with little more than mild enthusiasm.
As the city celebrates the Red Sox homecoming World Series win, here’s a look back at the world that existed 95 years ago.
Pictured is the 1918 Boston Red Sox.
World War I came to a close on Nov. 11, 1918. With many baseball players fighting abroad, the Red Sox won the American League pennant during a shortened season and won their fourth World Series of the decade.
In May, Fenway Park hosted a crowd of 30,000 people for a war memorial service, according to Major League Baseball.
Pictured is a war kiosk Army canteen on Boston Common in 1918.
A worldwide flu epidemic exploded in 1918, killing millions of people worldwide. The plague was commonly known as the Spanish flu.
The first cases of the disease recorded in the United States occurred in Boston, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. On Aug. 27, several sailors reported being sick with the flu. By the next day, there were eight new cases, and on the third day, there were 58 cases, according to a government website on the pandemic.
The sick men were sent to the Chelsea Naval Hospital, from where the disease spread rapidly into the city of Boston and the rest of the state.
In the late 1920s, statisticians estimated that between Sept. 1, 1918, and Jan. 16, 1919, 45,000 people in Massachusetts died from influenza.
Recent estimates have found the global mortality from the pandemic at anywhere between 30 million and 50 million people.
Pictured: Masked Red Cross workers made gauze masks during the epidemic.
Turmoil in Russia
Russia was reeling from a revolution in 1918. Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne in 1917 in the midst of growing civil unrest, coupled with chronic food shortages. He and his family, pictured, were executed by Bolshevik officials in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.
Vladimir Lenin came to power near the end of 1917. His government made peace with Germany, nationalized industry, and distributed land, but beginning in 1918, fought a civil war against anti-Bolshevik forces.
Birth of Leonard Bernstein
Famed composer Leonard Bernstein was born on Aug. 25, 1918, in Lawrence. He composed the musicals “West Side Story’’ and “On the Town,’’ as well as symphonies, and the operetta “Candide.’’ He also conducted the New York Philharmonic. He died in 1990.
Death of artist Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt was a famous Austrian painter, who was renowned for using gold leaf in some of his most famous paintings. Pictured is “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,’’which was taken by the Nazis.
Klimt died in Vienna on Feb. 6, 1918, aftering suffering a stroke and pneumonia due to the influenza epidemic.
Babe Ruth gets ready for spring training
The Red Sox were leaving for spring training in Hot Springs, Ark., in February 1918 and Babe Ruth was waiting for his ride into Boston. This is the only time that entire winter that he wore different clothes than the blue sweater, dungarees, and hip boots. He said, “I’ll see you kids at Fenway Park this summer.” This photograph was taken of Ruth at Willis Pond in Sudbury.
1918 World Series
The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs played the World Series from Sept. 5 to Sept. 11 due to war restrictions requiring draft-age men to join the military or find war-related work by Sept. 1. Club owners begged for an early September championship and got their way. The series was the first and only Fall Classic to be played completely in September.
Pictured is a program for the World Series.
Bookies pegged the Cubs as the series favorites. Babe Ruth opened the World Series against the Cubs with a 1-0 shutout. Pictured is the Boston Sunday Globe from Sept. 8, 1918.
The World Series was marred by a threatened player strikes in Game 5. While traveling to Boston, players reviewed new rules imposed by baseball’s governing body that sliced players’ share of World Series proceeds to a fraction of what they were previously.
American League boss Ban Johnson met with players and told them baseball’s governing body was powerless to boost their shares of proceeds from the series, according to an account in USA Today. The players refused to take the field, creating a tense situation. The crowd heckled the players at Fenway Park.
The owners of the two clubs promised the players that a percentage of the game receipts would be shared for additional games, but the players didn’t budge until wounded soldiers happened to show up from a nearby hospital, USA Today reported. Their presence stirred the players’ patriotism and both teams took the field.
Pictured is the Boston Evening Globe from Sept. 9, 1918.
The Red Sox won the series in six games on Sept. 11, 1918.
In 2011, the Red Sox and Cubs met for the first time at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. To commemorate the occasion, both teams wore throwback uniforms from that era.
Pictured are Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, and Adrian Gonzalez.