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White Sox-Giants World Tour: Feb. 22, 1914

Both dates in Paris are rained out, and the locals are none too pleased

The White Sox in Paris
The White Sox in Paris
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Feb. 22, 1914 in Paris: Rainout

After rain canceled the first game in Paris between the White Sox and Giants on Feb. 21, it only made the second date a hotter ticket. In the New York Times, John McGraw said advance sales indicated that the game at Parc de Saint-Cloud would set the attendance record for the tour.

As a result, when the teams pulled the plug on today's game, they pissed off a ton of Parisians.

Here's McGraw's explanation:

Notwithstanding the deluge, thousands of Americans in Paris, including the American Ambassador, waited for some time at St. Cloud, hoping to witness at least one game. At 1 o'clock this afternoon the management was compelled to call off the contest to the bitter disappointment of everybody. All our players were as anxious to play as the spectators were as desirous of witnessing the contest.

The Parisians weren't buying it, and they had reasons to be skeptical. The tourists had played in downpours and mud at various points throughout the trip, and they certainly endured worse. In "The Tour to End All Tours," James E. Elfers points to the game in Medford, Ore. (remember what Old Man Kilgore endured?) to make a case that a better effort could have been made in Paris. He relays an account from Gus Axelson:

The globe girdlers were lucky to get out of Paris with a whole scalp. The French citizens, police, and high officials were considerably wrought up because no game was staged after lots of money had been spent in preparations. They did not figure, as did the tourists, that it was impossible to stage a contest with rain falling all the time. Some of the promoters threaten to take the matter up with Ambassador [Myron T.] Herrick, and it is just possible that it may develop into a diplomatic incident of some note.

The French newspapers did build up the event before both games, with articles about the events, the players, and the rules of baseball. When the teams didn't deliver, they exceeded typical editorial boundaries to register their disgust. Here's an example from the newspaper La Presse, translated by ParisSox:


The American Champions are conspicuous by their absence.

Like yesterday, many sportsmen wasted a trip to go admire the game of baseball, which is so popular in America.

Bad weather, once again, kept the two clubs from playing the match that was announced with so much sensation.

Against this unavoidable event, there is nothing to say. Nevertheless, the spectators, who came in big numbers to Saint-Cloud, found that these sirs, these "giants" of New York and the White Sox of Chicago, could have, this morning, according to the weather conditions, found the time to warn the sportsman that they didn't need to show up.

One time is understandable. Two times is excessive. The Giants, the White Sox won't take with them the sympathies of the Paris audience.

Certain spiteful gossip was spread that two evenings in Montmarte had tired the American athletes. It's nonetheless true that they could have informed us in order to avoid a trip as unpleasant as it was useless.

Those are pretty steep charges, but even if you take accusations of "flu-like symptoms" out of the equation, it does seem like the tourists had plenty of reasons to put the game on the backburner. In the Times article where McGraw expresses the disappointment of the second rainout, he then rattles off all the cool stuff they did instead.

  • Visited the Louvre and the Luxembourg.
  • Witnessed "wonderful aviation stunts" by Roland Garros and Gustave Hamel.
  • "Walked to the limits" of the Bois de Boulogne
  • Loaded up on hats and clothing.

The last one pertained to the women of the party, but Elfers says even umpire Bill Klem turned into a clotheshorse, buying a mustard yellow jacket.

At this point in the trip, the members of the White Sox and Giants are basically turning into second-semester college seniors. The tour is old hat and the cities are brand new, while the opposite is true for the French fans. You can see why they're sore, and when the tourists leave for England the next day, it's good riddance.

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