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Dayton ruled pro football last time there was a total solar eclipse

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 11:20 AM
By: Marcus Hartman

For the first time in 99 years, North America is all abuzz about a total solar eclipse

Needless to say, the sports world has changed a lot since 1918. 

Here are four interesting facts from that year: 

1. The NFL was two years away from existence, but there was pro football in Southwest Ohio. 

The Dayton Triangles won their only “Ohio League” championship by going 8-0 that season. 

A team comprised primarily of local workers, the Triangles went on to be a charter member of the NFL and play the Columbus Panhandles in the first game between two NFL teams. 

RELATED: 5 facts you should know about area high schools and the NFL 

Per Wikipedia, they were bolstered in 1918 by being able to retain many players who worked in industries deemed essential to the U.S. efforts in World War I.

2. The Cincinnati Reds lost to the Boston Braves 1-0 on the day of the eclipse (June 8). 

Art Nehf pitched a complete-game shutout for Boston, though Hal Chase and Heinei Groh each had two hits for Cincinnati in a game that lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

The Reds were eight games back at that time and finished in third place in the National League, 15.5 games behind the Cubs, who lost the World Series to the Red Sox. 

The season was cut short because of the war. 

3. Ohio State football stumbled to a 3-3 season, including an 0-3 mark in Big Ten play. 

The Buckeyes were coming off their first and second Big Ten championships, but coach John Wilce’s team wasn’t the same without star halfback Chic Harley, who was among the players fighting in World War I.

4. The world welterweight boxing champion was Ted “Kid” Lewis, who had most recently won the title with a victory over Jack Britton in Dayton in 1917. 

The featherweight world champion was Johnny Kilbane, a Cleveland native. 

Also that year: future heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey stopped Terry Kellar in five rounds in a fight in Dayton. 

5. Dayton Flyers basketball endured a rough 1917-18 campaign. 

Coach Al Mahrt’s team went 2-4, beating Western Reserve and Muskingum. 

That was the first of five consecutive losing seasons. 

The Dayton football team played only two games, beating Naval Reserve 6-0 and losing to Georgetown 20-0.