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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Oct. 21, 1913 - Oct. 24, 1913

The tourists endure early cold, but the plains offer plenty of warmth

Picking up from Springfield...

Oct. 21 in Peoria, Ill.: White Sox 6, Giants 4

The skies cleared up, but that didn't necessarily make the weather any more welcoming as the White Sox and Giants arrived from Springfield. A heartier crowd of 2,000 fans showed up to see the Sox notch their first victory of the tour, but the Tribune notes that the fans had to take matters into their own hands to stay warm. They showed some class Midwestern resourcefulness by starting small fires with pieces of wood they ripped loose from the bleachers.

Sam Crawford, the star Detroit outfielder who signed on with the Sox for the tour, powered the Sox to victory. He hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth that tied the game at 3, then broke the tie with a two-run triple in the eighth, his second two-bagger on the day. Walt Leverenz went the distance for the Sox.

Oct. 22 in Ottumwa, Iowa: White Sox 7, Giants 3

The travelers crossed the Mississippi River to what appears to be a packed house. No attendance estimate is given; the Tribune merely calls it "one of the biggest crowds that has ever seen a baseball game" in the city of 22,000. Two players known for clowning around -- Germany Schaefer and Mike Donlin, the latter of whom retired from baseball to be an actor, but persuaded McGraw to give him a roster spot for the tour -- hammed it up in the coaching boxes.

The Giants also provided some comedy in the field, as two costly errors fueled a three-run fifth that allowed the Sox to take control of the game. As the Tribune headline read, "Playing The Game That Way Usually Results In Costly Enlightenment."

It was a busy day for Schaefer in the spotlight. Elfers writes that Schaefer had no problems taking the spotlight in place of reticent teammates, and nobody appreciated it more than the intensely private and extremely famous Mathewson.

The two men looked nothing at all alike, but in an age when even the best newspaper photographs were grainy images and newsreels were little better, few in the crowd could really say they knew what Matty looked like, especially at a distance and in a mad mob of fans knotted around a railroad car.

McGraw, Matty, Schaefer, and the rest of the players on the tour enjoyed Germany's impersonations enormously. While Schaefer delivered platitudes about some town's scenery, its beautiful landscapes with the aplomb of the most adept politician on a whistle-top tour, the players inside the train pulled down the shades and laughed their heads off.

Oct. 23 in Sioux City, Iowa: Giants 6, White Sox 3

With temperatures hitting 70 degrees, 5,000 fans showed up to Riverside Park, which Elfers calls the largest attnedance for a ballgame in the city's history. This game was a cleaner affair according to the Tribune:

A good hitting game, the teams evenly matched and the play free enough from errors to please the most fastidious, made the scene one to be enjoyed by those who had the privilege of seeing two fast big league teams in action.

The Giants busted open a 3-3 game in the eighth with RBI doubles by Larry Doyle and Fred Merkle, tagging Jim Scott with another loss. Tris Speaker was rumored to join the team for this game, but his introduction to the tour would be delayed by two more days.

Oct. 24 in Blue Rapids, Kan.: White Sox 8, Giants 5

The White Sox didn't need the help of the New York defense to run away with this one. The subhead on the Tribune story reads "Four Hose pole homers," one apiece for Schaefer, Buck Weaver, Hal Chase and Tom Daly. That gave starter Joe Benz plenty of support.

Perhaps the Sox channeled the energy of the crowd. At least 3,500 fans showed up for the seventh game of the world tour. That figure is noteworthy, because it's roughly twice the population of Blue Rapids. With just 1,756 residents according to the 1910 census, it was the smallest town to host a game on the tour.

How did this tiny town land such star power? This terrific Topeka Capital-Journal article from last month explains:

At the bottom of the second page of the four-page Blue Rapids Times, a semi-weekly newspaper covering the Marshall County town of 1,800, read a small notice:

"Manager F.W. Hamilton of our base ball team is endeavoring to secure a game here late in October between the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox. It takes a thousand dollar guarantee to bring them here and an effort is being made to get 40 men to stand for $25 each.’’

This was only in print. No Internet version existed on Sept. 1, 1913. Still, news spread and the endeavor worked.

Not in Wichita. Not in Topeka. Not in any other Kansas town.

Read the whole thing, because the detail is tremendous. Among the special accommodations made, 11 passenger trains were scheduled for arrivals and departures to make the flow of people possible.

Not everybody needed the rail, though. The train pulled into the station in the early morning, where 25 automobiles awaited to parade the players around the town. The Tribune says those weren't the only extra vehicles on the road:

The country folk swarmed into the town early in the morning. They came in automobiles, top buggies, milk wagons and lumber wagons. It was estimated that 500 automobiles were in town, and Main street "resembled" State street in Chicago. [...]

The town was a moving mass of baseball fans. At noon all the stores closed and the schools dismissed the pupils. Every one was congregated around the city square, and it was declared the biggest day the town of Blue Rapids ever had.

And that day still holds special meaning to this day. On Sept. 26, residents of Blue Rapids -- population now 1,019 -- gathered at the same ball field to commemorate the centennial with a game of their own.