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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Nov. 17, 1913

The first game in the Pacific Northwest is shortened by wholly stereotypical weather

Bill Klem
Bill Klem
Library of Congress
Nov. 17 in Medford, Ore.: Giants 3, White Sox 0 (6 innings)

After a week and a day in California, the White Sox and Giants ventured into the Pacific Northwest for the final leg of their American tour.

The trains pulled into Medford at noon, where the players were welcomed by the usual fanfare, then directed to automobiles, which would take them through the Rogue Valley apple orchards during harvest season. Leading up to small Oregon city's big day, the Morning Oregonian on Nov. 16 posted a plan that would have to be canceled:

As a special feature it is planned to have a Spitzenberg apple pitched by [Christy] Mathewson as the first ball, and if the batter makes a hit it will mean a box of extra fancy Spitzenbergs for him, and, if he fans, Matty will get the prize.

More on Mathewson's absence in a bit.

As the northwest stereotype goes, it was overcast and misty when they arrived, but by the time the 2:30 p.m. start time rolled around, the skies started to open up. Charles Comiskey and John McGraw talked about a forfeit, but the Medford committee and the 2,500 enthusiastic fans (described by the Chicago Tribune as "college boys and cow punchers") who paid their hard-earned $2 wanted to see an official game.

Though a downpour fell from the middle of the first inning on, the players and umpires gritted their teeth and made an honest five innings out of it, even if the players and coaches needed special equipment. From the Tribune:

Some of the athletes, also [umpire] Jack Sheridan, went through the game in their overcoats. [Giants left fielder] Lee Magee on the dead run picked a ball out of the atmosphere with one hand while holding an umbrella over his head with the other.

The Giants' defense gave Hooks Wiltse more support than the Sox gave Joe Benz, according to the recaps, although no errors were charged. One new name in the White Sox box score: Don Rader, a Medford local who had a cup of coffee with the Sox earlier in the year. He went hitless, although the Oregonian said he missed a homer to left field by three inches.

Klem called the game as soon as the teams completed six innings -- which took 52 minutes, most of them in a relentless downpour. Although the some locals protested the call, the Oregonian said the players had given enough under the circumstances:

Not that the fans did not consider that they had $2 worth of fun, but they simply ate up the "big league stuff." By this time the players were floundering around in the mud while with every ball thrown it was a hit and miss affair. Still it was a remarkably clean game, some of the most brilliant one-hand stops and pick-ups setting the fans wild.

Although there may have been one fan in attendance who wondered why he even bothered to make the trip. From the Oregonian:

J.D. Killgore, an aged pioneer of Jackson County, walked 14 miles from Evans Creek to Medford in a drenching rain today to see Christy Mathewson pitch in the game here between the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox.

Mr. Killgore did not learn until he reached Medford that "Matty" had left the tourists in California. The pioneer said he arose at 3 A. M. and waded across two swollen creeks to reach Medford in time for the game.

To underscore the cruelty of the story, here's the headline:


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