The White Sox’ first scheduled off day in 1917 wasn’t a travel day. Instead, they waited in Chicago for the Cleveland Indians to arrive. Chick Gandil was a central figure in the previews, as it was his first time facing the Indians since they sold him to the White Sox for $3,500 during the offseason.
The Sox faced one of Cleveland’s two standout pitchers, although it wasn’t known at the time. Stan Coveleski was only entering the second full season of what turned out to be a Hall of Fame career. Coming off a pedestrian rookie year by the standards of the day, Coveleski made the leap in 1917, cutting his ERA by more than a run and half while nearly hitting 300 innings.
He did it on the strength of his spitball, and it certainly baffled the Sox on this day. He held the Sox to just one hit over the first eight innings, and Buck Weaver didn’t get much of it. Irving Vaughan of the Chicago Examiner described it as “a tail lofter just out of reach behind third base” that kicked into foul territory for a double in the fifth inning.
Fortunately, Jim Scott kept it a scoreless game through 8½ innings. He scattered five hits and three walks over his nine innings. Even more impressively, he kept the Indians off the board despite four errors by his defense. The mistakes were limited to the infield, as Eddie Collins committed a pair of errors, while Swede Risberg and Gandil had one apiece.
The outfield helped make up for it. Happy Felsch cut down a runner attempting to go first to third in the seventh inning, preventing Scott from having to deal with runners on the corners and nobody out. Two innings later, Nemo Leibold made a running catch in right field for the third out, stranding two runners to send a scoreless game to the bottom of the ninth.
Scott didn’t have to pitch a 10th inning, because Risberg and Collins atoned for their errors. Risberg made the best contact of his young career by launching a leadoff triple to the fence in left center for the second Chicago hit of the day, and Collins hit a deep fly to center for the walk-off sacrifice fly. No throw home was attempted.
Record: 9-2 | Box score