Remember when the White Sox made headlines last year for taking infield practice without a ball?
As James E. Elfers writes in "The Tour To End All Tours," the practice wasn't merely routine -- it was a routine.
The teams opened with their shadow ball antics, sending the crowd into hysterics. One sportswriter thought hte act so good that it would find success in vaudeville. The players were always delighted at how crowds reacted to baseball without the ball. With each performance the improvisation and the humor became broader and more comical.
Should the current White Sox struggle with defense next year, perhaps Robin Ventura should restart that tradition. Although I don't think even the wildest, silliest antics could have matched the in-game ingenuity between the lines:
When the actual game started, in the words of Rasheed Wallace, both teams played hard. Charles Comiskey was in attendance for the first time since Kansas City on Oct. 26, and his employees gave him something to cheer about immediately.
The Sox trailed 2-0 heading into the ninth -- Walt Leverenz pitched beautifully for the Sox, but Art Fromme was even better. Sam Crawford skewed the narrative when he led off with a single to right, setting up what the Tribune called a real "corker" of a "climax." Hal Chase followed with a double to center to put two in scoring position, and both would score from said positions when Steve Evans hit a fly to center that Fred Snodgrass couldn't handle. Evans ended up on second, and Ray Schalk -- who hadn't been hitting much on the tour -- came through with a walk-off double to pull off a shocking comeback.
About 6,000 fans showed up to Recreation Park to see the thriller, which is a decent number by tour standards, but not particularly impressive relative to the population. They were waiting to see Christy Mathewson, and he wasn't scheduled until the next day.
The fans also didn't see John McGraw, who was still upset about his ejection from the day before, and demanded that Bill Klem be dismissed from the tour. His pleas fell on deaf ears, since neither league held the final decision over the umpires. He had to settle for boycotting this game.