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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Feb. 21. 1914

Continuous rain cancels the game, but it doesn't stop the tourists from living it up in Paris

The Boulevard d'Opera
The Boulevard d'Opera
Courtesy of James E. Elfers' trove
Feb. 21, 1914 in Paris: Rainout

After the revelries of Mardi Gras in Nice, the White Sox and Giants took the Riviera Express for a 14-hour ride up to Paris. There, they met up with Charles Comiskey, whose stomach woes in Rome and general isolationist policy spurred him to travel to Paris ahead of the rest of the traveling party.

While laid up in the St. James Hotel, Comiskey did manage to work the phones and drum up interest for the four-game series, which were to be split between Paris' two racing tracks -- one for today, one for Feb. 22.

They arrived on the evening of Feb. 18, and wet weather greeted them. It persisted into the 19th, but it didn't stop the tourists from figuring out ways to occupy themselves. In the New York Times, John McGraw outlines some of the more enriching destinations:

We were able, however, to find much enjoyment at the noted art galleries here, and most everybody in the party visited the Louvre and the Luxembourg. The opera took up our attention this evening, and altogether it was a most enjoyable day despite the weather conditions.

McGraw goes on to say that everybody in the party "rejoined to find [Comiskey] looking so well," so take his account at face value.

On the 19th, they hit more sights, and McGraw rattles them off: The University of Paris, the Point Neuf, the Panthéon, Napoleon's tomb, the Eiffel Tower, Place Vendôme, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Champs Élysées, and the Bois de Boulogne.

Tour organizer Ted Sullivan split from the party to go to Versailles to dig more into the history of Napoleon. This was incredibly important to Sullivan.

(How important was it?)

It was so important that his book goes off the rails in the direction of Waterloo. His "History of World's Tour" ends with a 12-page retrospection of the tour. The first paragraph of it covers the first four continents, and then he spends the next 10 pages on French history.

I'm going to land randomly on one of these pages.

merit instead of privilege and divine rights. England, who ever used Austria as a catspaw in her hatred for Napoleon, was the cause of three-quarters of his wars. All the wars of Napoleon were wars of defense, except two -- one was the war on Spain and the invasion of Russia. The war on Spain was the result of ambition to put his brother Joseph on that throne, and the invasion of Russia was in a measure to try and cripple England, but it was more for his ambition

It's great that he has hobbies, I guess.

Not all the activities were wholesome. The bachelors wanted to continue the partying from Nice, and in "The Tour to End All Tours," James E. Elfers relays this account from Gus Axelson in the Chicago Record-Herald.

The party was no sooner housed in St. James than the clerk and bellboys were eagerly questioned as to where to go first and last. A shrug of the shoulders and whispered "Montmarte" seemed to have the effect necessary, and it was an impatient gang that waited for the night lights.

The players were told of the mysteries and frankness of the Moulin Rouge, the Bal Tabrin, the Rat Mort, and Monico's and were advised to see these places early. After describing the pleasures to be seen there it was suggested that the tourists conserve their energy in the early evening and wait for the risqué entertainment of Albert's Alley, which is shrouded in darkness until midnight and then does a flourishing business until dawn.

Elfers also notes that Andy Slight, a White Sox catcher on the tour, chose a different route and hit the Paris conservatory. He was a singer on the side, and it just so happened that Sammy Strang, a former ballplayer for the Giants, was studying at the conservatory that winter. They met up, Slight performed for the staff, and they said that he should "forget about athletics and concentrate his energies on opera."

They had to eat, and eat they did. French president Raymond Poincaré was supposed to host a luncheon for them, but other business arose. The tourists had to settle for such luncheon and dinner company as American ambassador Myron T. Herrick, wine king George Kessler and various other dignitaries and millionaires.

At this point, you may be wondering when they had time for a game. Well, today's, set to be played at Parc des Princes, was canceled, as it had rained for most of the first three days of the trip. That only built up anticipation for the second game in Paris, which offered the possibility of the tour's largest crowd yet.

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