White Sox-Giants World Tour: Jan. 8, 1914

Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1912.

The Australians can't compete with the Americans in baseball, but the two traveling teams are equally matched in an extra-innings affair

Jan. 8 in Melbourne: Giants 4, White Sox 3 (11 innings)
Jan. 8 in Melbourne: White Sox 16, Victoria 3 (five innings)

We're a day behind on this update thanks to Wednesday's big news, but with another voyage ahead of them, we have the luxury of time...

The Australia leg of the tour wound down on this day in a relaxed fashion. Their Melbourne schedule was front-loaded with social events, but after the conclusion of the first doubleheader, the players were able to hit the beach and the amusement park.

Their third and final day in Melbourne started with the equivalent of a Little League game, which allowed Australian boys to get coached up by big leaguers. Then the big boys took over for another doubleheader. This time, the White Sox thoroughly outclassed the local nine, with the Melbourne Leader remarked upon the difference in size.

The Victorian, in blue jersey and running knickerbockers, looked like a stripling. The Chicago man, with his fourteen stone encased in pads, gloves and baggy garments, looked even more like a giant than nature intended him to be. The activity of these bulky Americans again pleased the onlookers, as it had done on Wdednesday. They ran like the deer of their native forests; they caught everything in the shape of a catch that came within sighting distance; and they hit runs with their wooden rounded mallets in a style that the locals could admire, but not emulate.

Victoria did score three runs, but only because Germany Schaefer and Dick Egan pitched. Schaefer, as he was wont to do, clowned around with a crazy windup, and "his ludicrous antics with the ball kept the crowd in roars of laughter," according to the Melbourne Argus.

Unlike the games against Tokyo's Keio University, which the Americans won after some semblance of a fight, there just wasn't much talent in Australia. The Leader said that while the traveling party praised Melbourne for the playing grounds and the city, "concerning the skill shown by the local baseball experts and their knowledge -- or lack of knowledge -- of baseball, they were discreetly silent."

The lopsided nature of the game ended up boring everybody, but the back end of the doubleheader provided far more tension. Joe Benz and Red Faber locked horns in a pitchers' duel before Tris Speaker provided the first burst of offense in the fifth with perhaps the most wordy and overly verbose triple in recorded history.

Tris Speaker, whose reputation as the most highly fed baseball player in America has gone before him, made a mighty hit; amid the loud cheers of those who understood anything about the game he got to the third base -- that is to say, all but completed his run -- before the fieldsman could return the ball.

Speaker came around to score the game's first run, and the Sox tacked on two more to carry a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Benz had the Giants down to their last out with runners on first and second, but Larry Doyle reached on an infield single to load the bases, and Fred Merkle unloaded them with a "daisy-cutter" to center to tie the game.

Two innings later, Hooks Wiltse hit a leadoff triple and scored on a hit by Lee Magee. The Giants swept the Melbourne series.

After the game's conclusion, the two teams bolted to the train station to catch a ride to Adelaide. From the Argus:

By a special express for Adelaide, en route to Colombo, the touring party left Spencer street at half-past 5 last night. The station was crowded, and there were many "Au revoirs." "We will come back," said Mr. John McGraw. "I like Australia." As the train drew out the Americans were cheered, and they replied vigorously.

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