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Sox Century: April 28, 1917

A cold wind off the lake makes the dead ball era deader still

The Chicago Tribune's headline.
The Chicago Tribune's headline.

The White Sox snapped their three-game losing streak by snapping their four-game streak of scoring only in binary.

But it wasn't pretty.

It took 14 innings, they only scored two runs, and they needed a Detroit error to get the second and winning run across the board to beat the Detroit Tigers at a frigid Comiskey Park.

I.E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune said the conditions were "better suited to ice hockey than baseball, as the temperature was below the sweater limit and a stiff gale off the lake made it next to impossible to hit the ball in the air safely." As a result, Jim Scott, Dave Danforth and Red Faber limited the Tigers to just four hits over the 14 innings.

The Sox tallied twice as many hits, but they were only able to get a second run across because Ralph Young kicked Eddie Collins' grounder into center field, allowing Shano Collins to score from second to finally finish it.

It should have ended sooner. Scott took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, but gave up a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to tie the game. From there, the Sox bungled opportunity after opportunity to walk off. First, they encountered "a mixture of bone and tough luck" in the ninth, according to Irving Vaughan of the Chicago Examiner:

[Buck] Weaver opened with a hit. Eddie Collins sacrificed. Buck stole third. [Joe] Jackson loft to Crawford. Wahoo threw to the plate, and [Oscar] Stanage tossed it to catch Weaver off third. Buck threw up his arm, the ball struck it and Weaver was called out for interference.

And other potential Sox rallies died in similar fashion, whether due to the wind forcing the teams to stay on the ground, or just because of dead ball era smallball strategy..

10th inning: Chick Gandil singled and was bunted to second, but he didn't get any further. The 11th? Even more frustrating:

11th inning: "John Collins fanned on a wild pitch and went all the way to second. Weaver sacrificed, but Eddie Collins fanned and Shano was doubled off third," writes Vaughan.

13th inning: Ray Schalk tripled with only one out, but was thrown out at home on a squeeze attempt to Nemo Leibold. (They had succeeded with a squeeze in the sixth for their only run up to that point.)

All the while, Detroit never threatened. Danforth allowed only a walk over his three inings of relief, and Faber pitched around a walk in his only inning. Finally, the Tigers took the hint in the 14th and ended it themselves with Young's error. Faber was the pitcher of record.

Record: 10-6 | Box score