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Sox Century: Oct. 10, 1917

The Giants topped Eddie Cicotte to make it a series

Rube Benton
Charles M. Conlon / Ernie Harwell Collection, Detroit Public Library

After losing the first two games of the World Series, the New York Giants painted themselves into a corner. In order to rally against the White Sox, they were going to have to beat Eddie Cicotte.

The Giants learned what the entire American League knew in Game 1 — a good outing wasn’t good enough. Slim Sallee limited the White Sox to a pair of runs while going the distance, and yet he was saddled with the loss in a 2-1 White Sox winner. A great outing was needed to beat Cicotte.

And that’s exactly what Rube Benton delivered in Game 3 at the Polo Grounds, as he threw a five-hit shutout in a 2-0 Giants victory. From the Chicago Examiner:

At bat [the White Sox] were impotent before the wizardry of Benton. Time and again he forced them to pop up puny fouls for easy put-outs. The Sox got five hits in the game, including a lucky double by “Buck” Weaver, and a scratch single by Eddie Collins. The Chicagoans were able to knock only seven balls out of the infield, and Weaver was the only man to reach second base.

Cicotte was nearly as tough, as he struck out eight over eight innings. Seven of those innings were scoreless, but the Giants tagged him for two in the fourth. Dave Robertson led off with a triple over Joe Jackson’s head in right field, then scored on Walter Holke’s hit to left, which Shano Collins played into a double. That extra 90 feet came back to hurt Cicotte, because Holke came home on a pair of bunts to make it a 2-0 game.

Collins normally didn’t play that corner. Jackson manned left field for most of the season, with the Collins/Nemo Leibold platoon handling right. But Pants Rowland flipped them due to Jackson’s struggles with the sun field, and Collins didn’t look any more comfortable in such conditions at the Polo Grounds. Besides the single-turned-double, he also dropped a pair of flies.

Apparently Jackson’s struggles with negotiating a low sun were significant enough that the Chicago Tribune said even a shoddy afternoon from Collins was better than Jackson’s best under similar circumstances.

If Joe Jackson were able to play the sun field the Giants probably would not have scored, because he could have landed the plays that got away from John Collins, but Shano did a lot better in the sun field than Mister Joe could have done. Shano caught one of the flies that came to him in the sun.

Perhaps Collins would have been criticized more harshly had he and the rest of the White Sox put up a fight at the plate. As it stood, even if Cicotte held the Giants to just the first run he allowed, it still might have been one run too many. Through the Examiner, Eddie Collins said Benton deserved all the credit.

The way Benton was going the Giants were as safe with a two-run lead as they would have been with ten. He pitched a remarkable game, and deserved to win all the way. His control was well nigh perfect, and when it was not so good we helped him out by hitting at bad balls. His curve seemed quite sharp to me, especially so when he kept it down and low, and a number of our players could not stay away from it.

Series: White Sox lead 2-1 | Box score