What would later be called the First World War had, by the spring of 1918, been in full throat for nearly four years in Europe. The United States, which had entered the war in April of 1917, was finally mobilized and had recently sent the American Expeditionary Force under General John Pershing, to France. In other words, the U.S. was now fully invested in the war, which had not been the case during the previous baseball season. While the impact in terms of player talent was still minimal in 1918 as most players stayed in their regular (baseball) uniform, the FABL Commission decided to shorten the season and the Fed & Continental league campaigns would end a month earlier than usual. 

One of the biggest stories of the season was the wholesale jettisoning of players by the Montreal Saints. Though the team had won the pennant as recently as 1916 and forced a one-game playoff in 1917, they were having financial difficulties. Thus when the team got off to a slow start in 1918, management began reshaping the roster by making five trades within a two-week span in July. Leaving were pitchers Bill Tanner and Jack Shannon (to the Gothams - in separate trades), 3B Cal Shank (to Washington), OF Lou Cobb (to Pittsburgh) and biggest of all, Charlie Firestone was dealt to the Philadelphia Keystones. That the Keystones, who had been a second division club for what seemed like an eternity, were trading for a high-priced, high-profile talent like Firestone also spoke volumns about where the Stones' management thought the team was heading.

The Saints - surprisingly - played better after the trade than before it, but they still finished sixth and 12.5 games behind the pennant-winning Chicago Cougars. The Cougars held off the New York Stars, Toronto Wolves and Philadelphia Sailors (yep, the Sailors) to claim their first pennant since 1910. The Cougs still had John Dibblee and though he was now 30 years old, the veteran outfielder was still performing his role as the Continental's best-hitter-not-named-Powell-Slocum routine. He was 2nd in average at .318, and modern research shows he posted the league's best WAR in 1918 (8.0). Jerry White, acquired via trade from the Gothams in February, was the team's best pitcher, though his record (18-18) didn't really indicate it. A combination of Pete Boyer (14-4, 2.18), Solly Peterson (18-8, 2.65) and George Hill (17-15, 2.39) rounded out the Cougars' staff. The went 75-54 on the truncated season and finished five up on the Stars & Wolves and six ahead of the Sailors.

The Stars probably outplayed their talent in '18 - Luke Smith (22-13, 2.26) was a bona-fide star (no pun intended) but the rest of the team was fairly pedestrian as demonstrated by their 7th-best (out of eight) batting average. Toronto's Charlie Sis (23-13, 2.29) and new 2B Eddie Montague, a 25-year-old from Idaho with the predictable nickname of "Taters" who hit .340 with 62 RBIs in just 365 at-bats (that average actually would have bettered Slocum's for the batting title had he qualified). The Sailors, though they finished fourth, were a team on the rise and in the race for the entire season. They had what looked like a legitimate anchor for their pitching staff in Rod Kratz (22-7, 1.78: best in the Continental), a 24-year-old drafted in 1913 in the third round. The offense featured a rookie first baseman (Davey Thomas, who hit .277), a second baseman picked up from Boston (Frank Betts, .302) and a holdover catcher (Bernie Baker, .286) who was the leader on and off the field. 

Cleveland finished fifth with a 64-64 record. Max Morris (18-13, 2.57) was again a good pitcher and a good hitter (.307-5-29) and many Forester fans were clamoring for the team to just let him play everyday in the outfield - the club continued to spot start him there as they felt they needed his pitching and wanted to protect him. Montreal, as described above, was sixth. Baltimore fell all the way to seventh - the core of the old championship teams was gone with the notable exception of Powell Slocum, who won yet another batting title (that'd be seven straight and 11 of the last 12 for those keeping score at home). His average dipped to .339 - but his career mark stood at .379 and he ended the shortened season just 23 hits shy of 3000 for his career. He turned 32 on August 12, so it still seemed like a lock that he'd pass Banks' career hit record.

Brooklyn finished dead last with a dismal 44-82 record and were last in the league in batting average and runs allowed - they were just terrible. They had brought back the shadow of Mike Marner for 1918, but he didn't last the season in Brooklyn. Marner pitched just 5.1 innings for the Kings before they cut him loose.

In the Federal Association, the Detroit Dynamos bounced back from their disappointing 1917 season to reclaim the pennant with a solid 79-48 record. Jim Golden (17-12, 2.24) and George Davis (18-13, 2.77) led the pitching staff while the lineup featured a slew of left-handed hitters (seven of the eight regulars hit lefty), led by 3B Cliff Everett and his .311 average. The Gothams finished second thanks to a stellar lineup that produced a league-best 527 runs. New York's pitching was merely middle of the road - top pitcher Don Cannady was hurt for a chunk of the season and finished with a solid 20-8, 1.92 ledger, but his absence and the lack of solid replacements, left the Gothams out of the picture at the end of the season.

St. Louis, riding a wave of youth, finished third. The Pioneers' highly-touted shortstop prodigy, Rip Landry, finally made his debut and though he finished with a modest .257-2-31 line (in just over 300 at-bats), he looked ready to be the leader the club sorely needed. A trio of fellow rookies joined Landry: C Ed Simmons (.269), 1B Jason Hopkins (.304) and 2B Verdo Miller (.272) all made an impression. The Pioneers had a second Rip - Rip Humphrey, the team's new ace, and his posted a strong 17-12, 1.93 season while Buck Harris (17-15, 2.44) and Grover Bray (12-14, 2.86) also looked good. The bad times in St. Louis appeared to be nearing an end.

Chicago was fourth - their top-ranked pitching included a solid season from Jim Golden's brother Rip (there were a lot of Rips around in 1918). The older Golden went 18-13 with a 2.23 ERA for the Chiefs, teaming with Denny Wren (15-12, 2.39) to give Chicago a solid 1-2 punch. If only they could hit: the team was last in scoring (372 runs) and 7th in batting average. Boston was fifth, and just a tad over .500 with a 64-62 record. Fred Huffman's role as the star of the Minutemen was slowly being phased out as George Theobald sought to find at-bats for Billy Hammond and Glenn Box - his next generation of batting stars.

The Keystones, as mentioned above, swung a deal for Charlie Firestone giving them a legitimate ace. He went 20-15 with a 2.02 ERA in his combined Montreal/Philadelphia season. The Stones were hurt a bit when their young star 3B Jim Furr went down with a fractured wrist. He had been hitting a team-best .325 when the injury ended his season a month early. Washington finished seventh - they signed Mike Marner after he was released by Brooklyn and he posted a 6-4, 3.69 mark for them (he also spent some time in the minors trying to rework his approach now that he could no longer blow the ball past hitters). Pittsburgh fell all the way into the basement with a 49-79 record. The rebuild was fully on for the Miners.

The World Series of 1918 was a bit schizophrenic. The Dynamos came out like gangbusters, winning three straight before the Cougars took their turn at winning three in a row to tie up the series and setting up a decisive game seven at Detroit's Thompson Field. The Dynamos sent ace Jim Golden to the hill against Chicago's Pete Boyer; the pair had already squared off twice in the series, splitting the two matchups. Boyer, picked up in a trade from the Miners midseason, was Chicago's de facto ace: he had posted a very solid 9-2 record and 1.99 for the Cougars after the deal. Golden's resume was well-known. Chicago drew first blood, plating two runs in the second to deflate the capacity crowd, seemingly resigning them to their fate of seeing their team blow a 3-0 series lead. But the Dynamos scored a single run in the fourth with budding star LF Frank St. Pierre right in the middle of the action as he had been all series long. The 25-year-old had hit .342 after becoming a regular in midseason and led off the inning with a single, then stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Cougars' catcher Ruben Gillis. After Don Benford walked, and Danny James popped out, Cliff Everett singled to center, scoring St. Pierre and giving Detroit some life. The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth. St. Pierre singled again (he was 3-for-4 for the game) and then Don Benford hit the biggest home run in Dynamos history to give the hometown fans something to scream about as the score was quickly 3-2. Golden allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Ike Martie, but then James Richerson popped up a bunt attempt for the first out and Golden picked off Martie for the second out. A Ruben Gillis fly to center was squeezed by Matt Younger to make the Dynamos champions for the second time in three years.

Detroit's Cliff Everett was named the Federal Association Whitney Award winner. The third-sacker hit .311 for the champs and played a very solid defense at the hot corner. The Continental's award went to Max Morris, the two-way phenom who edged out John Dibblee of the pennant-winning Cougars and multiple-winner Powell Slocum of the Clippers. 

Before the calendar had even turned to October, the Pittsburgh Miners began their rebuild in earnest. They dealt 2B Frank Roberson, one of their best players (but 30 years old) to St. Louis, getting some of the young Pioneer prospects in return: a pair of 22-year-olds in RF Bob Garrett and 2B Dick Vantrease. They followed that up with a deal with the Chicago Chiefs for Rip Golden, who though 32-years-old, was a solid pitcher they hoped could anchor their staff during their rebuild.