White Sox-Giants World Tour: Oct. 29, 1913 - Nov. 1, 1913

Courtesy of the city of Blue Rapids, Kansas

Everything's bigger in Texas, and that includes train travel headaches

Before we continue on, here's a photo of managers Jimmy Callahan and John McGraw, along with Germany Schaefer and Christy Mathewson, exchanging lineup cards before their Oct. 24 game in Blue Rapids, Kansas. You know, the one where the town of 1,759 people hosted a game attended by at least 3,500 people. The Sox are wearing their tour-custom road blues with white piping on the hats.

Thanks to Don Musil (via the Blue Rapids Historical Society) for providing the photo. Pressing forward!

Oct. 29 in Muskogee, Okla.: White Sox 7, Giants 1

The original schedule called for this game to be played in Fort Smith in Arkansas, but Charles Comiskey called an audible after the chamber of commerce fell asleep at the switch. From the New York Times on Oct. 22:

Because a story appeared in a Chicago paper to the effect that when the White Sox and Giants arrived here to play an exhibition game on their world tour local fans intended presenting Messrs. Comiskey and McGraw with watch charms made out of nails taken from the old Federal gallows on which nearly one hundred men were executed, the game has been called off.

This, at least, is the explanation given by Comiskey in a letter received here last night. According to Comeskey [sic] any souvenir that includes a suggestion of death is as popular with ball players as smallpox. He says he was informed that the charms had already been cast and that local fans were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the tourists so the souvenirs could be presented to the leaders of the teams. Under the circumstances, Mr. Comiskey pleads, a game here could not be entertained.

So instead of driving an hour and a half southeast, the new plans only called for half the distance in that direction. Despite the late notice, the game drew well -- 3,000 fans, with hundreds of them genuine Oklahoma cowboys. From James E. Elfers' "The Tour To End All Tours":

All day long the athletes' ears rang with the sound of cowboy yells and cheers. The rowdy cowboys' ecstatic, almost sing-song cheering was like nothing the athletes ever heard before.

The White Sox cruised to another easy victory, with Jim Scott doing a pretty good impersonation of Chicago's starting pitcher from the day before, Walter Johnson. He went the distance, striking out 12.

Oct. 30 in Bonham, Texas: Giants 4, White Sox 1

In front of 2,500 of his hometown fans, this was supposed to be Reb Russell's day. Per Elfers' description, the town shut down for an hour to greet the train at the station, and then closed for the day when the game started at 2:30 p.m.

The White Sox infield wasn't nearly as supportive, as an error by Buck Weaver in the first inning led to two runs, and one by Germany Schaefer opened the door for two more. Otherwise, Russell pitched well in front of a pro-Sox crowd, allowing just six hits over eight innings, but Jeff Tesreau held the Sox offense in check for the victory.

When the train left Bonham, Russell wasn't on it. He and his new bride were permitted to take a few weeks off at home, so the Honeymoon Special lost a set of its newlyweds for a while.

Oct. 31 in Dallas, Texas: White Sox 9, Giants 3

The Sox spent Halloween at the Texas State Fair -- the game was set on the fairgrounds, and the Sox and Giants were but one attraction. Still, there was a natural audience of 4,000 ready to watch some baseball, and the fans in attendance saw the Sox rough up Christy Mathewson for the second straight start. The Sox tagged him for six runs in the fourth inning thanks to big hits by three Hall of Famers -- Ray Schalk, Tris Speaker and Sam Crawford -- and Walt Leverenz could cruise to an easy victory.

On the map below, you'll see an indirect route taken from Bonham to Dallas. Elfers writes that an incomplete passenger rail system that forced people to take circuitous routes. In this case, they had to connect in at the rail hub in Denison in the evening. They were supposed to stay there for an hour, but the Elks Club set up a massive feast and bribed railway officials to force everybody to stay a while. The tourists didn't leave Denison until 3:30 a.m.

Nov. 1 in Beaumont, Texas: Giants 3, White Sox 2

At this point, the tourists probably wanted to get out of Texas. Elfers' account says the train's interior lighting didn't work overnight, and in the morning they discovered there was no food on the train. So they went from being force-fed one day to starving the next. They arrived in Beaumont time, where they discovered a standard oil-boom town. The population growth according to census figures?

  • 1900: 9,427
  • 1910: 20,640
  • 1920: 40,422

Despite the travel troubles, it was a well-played game that ended with Frank Isbell getting thrown out at the plate on a flyball to left, which would have tied the game. Isbell had just joined the team as a roster replacement for Hal Chase, and some playing time had opened up as players shifted to other positions in the absence of Tris Speaker, who took a few days off to visit his hometown of Hubbard, Texas.

Speaking of Spoke, on the same day the game recap ran in the Washington Times, a story right next to it with a bigger headline read: "TRIS SPEAKER TO JOIN THE YANKEES."

The headline was a bold way to phrase a thin rumor. A supposed three-way deal was "quietly being arranged" between the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers, which would have made Speaker a Yankee and Ty Cobb a Red Sox. The Tigers then would receive six players, three of which would have to be acquired from the Philadelphia Athletics somehow.

Best yet -- the deal would be finalized in February. Nobody could blame Twitter for it back then.

One more batch of these for Wednesday afternoon, and then we'll be all caught up.

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