1918 Northeast Manufactures League Champions Pocket Knife, Silver Plated.
The Northeast Manufactures League was an 8 team Industrial Baseball League that existed from 1917 to 1920. It was part of the famed Industrial Leagues that
organized around the Philadelphia area on the onset of WWI. The most well know Leagues from that group were the Delaware River Ship Building League, and the
Bethlehem Steel League. Both leagues, along with other Industrial Leagues around Philadelphia and Boston areas, gained notoriety for utilizing the services of Major
League ballplayers who garnered criticism for playing for these teams in order to dodge the WWI draft.
It would seem possible that teams from the Northeast Manufactures League could have employed the services of Major League players too. Based on the 1918 final
standings for the League, it appears the champions were the Frankford Arsenal “Bullet Makers”.
1918 Northeast Manufactures League teams:
- Fayette R. Plumb (cast steel tools maker)
- Frankford Arsenal (ammunitions)
- Blumenthal, replaced by Schwarz Wheel in mid-season. (auto and truck wheels)
- Quaker City (rubber company)
- E.H. Fitler (cordage works)
- Abrasive Company (grinding wheels manufacturer)
- Frankford Laundry
- Super Glass (auto safety glass)
Standings for the Delaware Ship League, Bethlehem Steel League, Northeast Manufactures League, and other Philadelphia area leagues. Here is a very
interesting article where the issue of professional players is described:
Excerpts from the article “For baseball, World War I Was an Unwinable Battle”:
- ... in May 1918, the Selective Service Division issued a "Work or Fight" edict. Able-bodied men, including major-league ballplayers, had either to work in an essential
industryor face the draft.
- As the 1918 season neared its premature conclusion - the schedule ended on Labor Day, the Series on Sept. 11 - scores of healthy young players joined the exodus to
industrial leagues, avoiding a draft that would gather up 2.8 million other Americans.
- Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, and Rogers Hornsby, scrambled to shipyards and steel plants - many in and around Philadelphia - where they took sham jobs and played for
- The 22-year-old Ruth, who originally planned to play for a Chester shipyard (Delaware River Ship League), performed in a few games for Bethlehem Steel. In one, against
the Shipbuilding All-Stars, a team composed entirely of major-leaguers, he was struck out twice by the Athletics' Scott Perry.
- Jackson and Hornsby wound up in Wilmington, with the Harlan Shipyard team (Delaware River Ship League). The quality of play in what came to be disparaged as the
"SafeShelter League" was so high, the talent so thick, that Jackson said it was "harder to hit in this league than in the American League."
Every Monday, throughout the 1918 season, the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger would chronicle the latest on the Minor League industrial teams.