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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Jan. 7, 1914

In which ballplayers are wined, dined and entertained at four events prior to a high-scoring game, and Australians explain the business of baseball

Lord and Lady Denman in 1913.
Lord and Lady Denman in 1913.
Jan. 7 in Melbourne, Australia: Giants 12, White Sox 8
Jan. 7 in Melbourne, Australia: Giants 18, Victoria 0

For the first time since barnstorming through the United States in November, the tourists finally returned to train travel between ballgames. They departed Sydney in the evening, and arrived in Melbourne at 11 a.m. on Jan. 6. The Melbourne Argus gives the details of the welcoming party -- bouquets for the ladies, and 35 motorcars to shuttle the players to the Oriental Hotel for a reception held by the Lord Mayor.

During the first event, tour organizer Ted Sullivan spoke at the luncheon, and he writes what he said in his "HIstory of World's Tour." He had to assuage some fears about the motives of the circuit:

The object of the world's tour of the exponents of America's game is not to try and supplant the National game of any country but to exhibit it in countries where they have no vigorous outdoor sport, for those nations to adopt of their own volition for both the mental and physical development of the youth of their country. So far, Japan has adopted the game, and America's game in the Phillipines has gone hand in hand with other American civilized methods that has raised those natives above the level of the cockpit and other semi-civilized pastimes. I assure you, gentlemen, that there is not a liberal, broad-minded sportsman in America that will ever want to see the National game of England fade away, for the traditions of Cricket go back to the greatest achievements of the British Empire.

Afterward, the tourists moved on to a garden party hosted by the Australia's Governor-General, Lord Thomas Denman, and his wife, Lady Gertrude Denman. Lord Denman played cricket, and he had high hopes for baseball. Lady Denman showed off her own skills with a barehanded catch.

In the evening, the traveling party was entertained with an evening at the Savage Club, which is kinda what it sounds like, according to Joe Farrell's account in The Sporting News.

All the trophies adorning the walls of the Savage club were of the bloodthirsty type and gathered in peace and war by the members. Zulu war clubs, boomerangs, javelins, spears, muskets, swords, billies, scalping knives, revolvers, bowie knives and daggers from all corners of the globe covered the walls.

In anticipation of the game to be played today, the Argus attempted to brief its readership on baseball -- not just the game, but the nature of the professional leagues and the reserve clause. It goes into the relationships between the two major leagues and the 38 minor leagues, and how players are discovered to stock all those clubs.

There is constant competition [between teams and scouts], and the wiles and tricks exercised to beat the other side when news of some phenomenon comes is the inner and entertaining history of baseball. Thus Tyrus Cobb was discovered in Charleston, Christy Mathewson in a small Virginian town, Merkle in Southern Michigan, and Speaker and Hans Wagner in similarly remote places; and it is difficult for an Australian to realise just what these names mean in America. In brief, players are bought and sold like cattle.

Better yet is the description of the decorum around a game itself:

We all know the rush and bustle to secure a seat to witness the final football games on the Melbourne Cricket-ground, but how do our "barrackers" compete with the American baseball fans, when, on the night before the opening of the world's championship in New York, hundreds of boys and men, who had brought boxes and camp stools, sat down to spend the night and wait for the gates to open in the morning? Baseball in America is a roaring, a noisy game — entirely destitute of etiquette. The crowd, the coach, and players, are always striving to rattle the important men on the other side — if they can make an opposing pitcher lose his temper it generally means winning the match.

About 10,000 fans headed to Melbourne Cricket Club to get a look at the game themselves with another doubleheader. The Giants thrashed a local team, which the Argus said couldn't compete with the Americans, not just in talent, but in size, too. From the Argus:

The players representing this State in physique seemed almost like underdeveloped and weedy youths compared with the thick-set, stocky athletes they were called upon to face. Even the well-known cricketer, P. McAlister, who captained the side, looked thin and narrow-chested in such company.

The offense continued into the Giants-Sox game, due in large part to the condition of the grounds. Melbourne's cricket field was well-kept, but John McGraw said it played faster than either of the teams had seen. While Buck Weaver's defense impressed the Argus, plenty of other balls found holes.

According to the Argus, a White Sox player said they didn't play a particularly crisp game because they were too well lavished at the pregame luncheon at the Cricket Club. Jim Thorpe wasn't around for it, and coincidence or not, he belted a pair of homers and played a spectacular outfield, his best game of the tour.

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