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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Dec. 9, 1913

The tourists travel across Japan and get into some trouble in Nagasaki

Nagasaki harbor in 1904
Nagasaki harbor in 1904
Library of Congress

Thanks to the typhoon, the White Sox and Giants could only play three games over two days in Tokyo. They had to cancel dates in Osaka and Kobe, but they still made stops in the station, if only to say hello.

The tourists were able to mill around Tokyo for a few hours after the second game -- just enough time for Joe Benz lose his bearings entirely while wandering around the city. According to Frank McGlynn's account in Baseball Magazine, Benz had to chase a trolley two blocks to get a lift to the Imperial Hotel. The conductor, who spoke English, informed him that the hotel two blocks back. Apparently, Benz was in front of his hotel when he started running.

After a dinner at the hotel, the players boarded a 7 p.m. train to Kobe. After riding the Honeymoon Special for a month back in the states, they had a hard time adjusting to the cramped quarters of a standard Japanese train. The benches were only five feet, eight inches in length, which made it hard for players to stretch out. Speaking of honeymoons, the wives weren't present for the doubleheader on Dec. 7. Instead, they went back on the RMS Empress of Japan and headed to Osaka ahead of their husbands, spending the day shopping.

The ballplayers woke up at 7:30 a.m. in Osaka, where the train stopped briefly for a reception at the station. John McGraw and Nixey Callahan made speeches, and they were presented with flower wreaths and banners. Then it was onto neighboring Kobe, where the players waited for the Empress to return. They killed a few hours by shopping. while waiting for the Empress to return.

Once the ship pulled in, the players boarded it, and the Empress steamed across the bay to the fortified port city of Nagasaki. The teams didn't have a game on this date; it was set aside for the Empress to refuel in the fastest coaling operation in the country (taking efficiency to cruel new levels). So the players had all of today to do some exploring ... or get into trouble.

Ted Sullivan was pestered by more ricksha drivers, and they really started to annoy him. In "History of World's Tour," he writes:

Human horses tackled us here again, for the few hours we had in those two cities. In the United States a person would be ashamed to have a man draw him through the streets like a horse, yet those jinricksha fellows in Japan and China would pester the life out of a man if he did not ride. They generally pick the small men of a party and would shy away from men weighing from two to three hundred pounds.

There was one man of our party, by the name of Thomas Lynch of Chicago, weighing nearly two hundred and seventy-five pounds, that those sharp Japs took on for a purpose. After carrying him about two blocks the machine would break down and they insisted that it was his weight that caused it and insisted that he should pay them five dollars for the breakage of the machine. After this occurred twice in those Jap towns and he being penalized five dollars a break, he was finally told that it was a trick of those Japanese jinricksha fellows. The trick is worked by pulling a screw or board from under the jinricksha, and good-natured Mr. Lynch suffered by this trick twice.

Other members of the party wandered up and down Nagasaki streets. In "The Tour to End All Tours," James E. Elfers writes that Jim and Iva Thorpe climbed up a hill to a temple and soaked in the culture quietly.

And then you have the class clowns -- Germany Schaefer, Mike Donlin, Fred Merkle, among them -- who spent the hours at a harbor bar, drinking and shooting pool. As McGlynn tells it, the last shot nearly proved costly, as one of the intoxicated players poked the cue ball off the table, and took it as a cue to hustle back to the Empress before they got in trouble for reporting late.

But trouble followed them to the ship. The cue ball was made of pure ivory, and when the bar owner saw players hurrying out and no prize billiard ball in sight, he got the authorities involved. The police boarded the ship and demanded for one of the players to produce the ball. As the players tried talking their way out of it, the cops were notified that the ball had been found. They were free to head to Shanghai.

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