After a satisfying late rally in the Opening Day victory over the St. Louis Browns, weather forced the 1917 White Sox to wait for an encore. A cold drizzle kept the teams from taking the field, at least for a regulation game. The Tribune said the White Sox still participated in a regular practice, as well as their military drills with Staff Sgt. Walter Smiley.
Despite the lack of a game, there are a couple items in the day’s stories that show how baseball has changed over the years.
Roster rules: The teams did use a 25-man roster back in 1917, but they didn’t have to get to that number until a month into the season. From the Tribune:
With the release of [Ross] Eldred the Sox are down to twenty-seven men and have to lop off only two more to obey the law, which does not go into effect until May 15. A catcher and pitcher can be spared without removing any possible reserve strength.
Schedule preferences: Irving Vaughn of the Chicago Examiner said the Browns only needed the scantest evidence of rain to call the game:
A few drops of rain was all that was needed to-day to give the Browns officials enough courage to cancel the pastime with Rowland’s White Sox. Said drops appeared shortly after the players had taken to the field and no times was lost in canceling the match. Double-headers are always popular with the bugs hereabouts and the local officials figured they might as well get an early start storing up bargain attractions for future use.