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

John McGraw's former teammate helps the Philippines roll out the red carpet for the tourists in Manila

1896 Baltimore Orioles, with John McGraw (second to left) and Arlie Pond (far right) in the front row.
1896 Baltimore Orioles, with John McGraw (second to left) and Arlie Pond (far right) in the front row.
The A.G. Spalding Baseball Collection
Dec. 17 in Manila: White Sox 2, Giants 1

For the first time since the players sat through two rainouts in Washington State in mid-November, the trip finally regained its stride. Even a monsoon couldn't knock them off course. The St. Albans arrived on time from Hong Kong for two dates in Manila. Nobody brought over any diseases, and the Philippines embraced baseball, even though its residents didn't particularly embrace the military presences that brought the game to them.

The players had a thorough itinerary readied for them. It helped that the welcoming committee was led by Arlie Pond, John McGraw's former teammate on the legendary 1890s Baltimore Orioles teams. Pond's a fascinating story in and of himself, as he balanced baseball and a medical practice before enlisting in the Army for the Spanish-American War. That's how he got to the Philippines, and after the war ended, he stayed on the islands, running two hospitals and becoming a prominent figure across the islands.

When they arrived at the dock, they received a welcome from a full-sized brass band and the military (American soldiers were given at least parts of the two days off for the occasion). After working through the throngs of friends and well-wishers, the tourists took automobiles to the Manila Hotel for a sizable noontime luncheon before departing for the game at 2:45 p.m.

The pageantry followed them to the ballpark, as Frank McGlynn writes in Baseball Magazine:

The opening game at the ball park was a most auspicious occasion. The Filipino Constabulary Band (the second greatest band in the world) headed a procession of the Filopino (sic) baseball clubs, which escorted the Giants and White Sox on to the field. The grandstand and bleachers were crowded and overflowing, and as the players marched, in splendid spirit and order, behind the stirring marshal music, spectators rose and cheered. By the way, seats sold for $7, Filopino money, equal to $3.50 gold.

In "The Tour to End All Tours," James E. Elfers notes that one of the Manila League players parading around the grounds was none other than Oscar Charleston. The future Negro Leagues legend and Hall of Famer was 17 at the time. He ended up in the Philippines after enlisting in the Army, and his baseball talent was so undeniable that he broke the color barrier as the only black player in an all-white league. Sadly, he couldn't do the same back in the States.

The 7,000 fans who paid that relatively hefty price witnessed good theater and even better baseball in the tropical heat. The teams performed their shadow ball practice and Germany Schaefer clowned it up (including a juggling routine), which served as a prelude to a tight pitchers' duel between Jim Scott and Bunny Hearn. The White Sox finished with the narrowest of edges in the key categories -- hits (five to four), errors (one to two), and, of course, runs. After the game, the teams returned to the Manila Hotel for a spectacular ball on the rooftop garden.