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Sox Century: April 29, 1917

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White Sox fall into tie for first after offense struggles again

Umpire Dick Nallin, far right.
Library of Congress / Bain News Service

Once again, the White Sox were back to getting blanked.

This time, it was at the hands of Detroit Tiger lefty Willie Mitchell, who threw a five-hitter to send the White Sox to their fourth loss in five games, over which they’d scored four runs total.

I liked the way the Chicago Tribune’s I.E. Sanborn put it:

Continuing their system of hitting in the passive voice, the White Sox submitted to a whitewash at the hands of Detroit yesterday in the second game of the series. Score, 3 to 0.

Hitting in the passive voice consists of making all one’s hits with nobody on and striking out with runners on third.

Red Faber was the hard-luck starter, as he was undermined by his defense and umpire Dick Nallin, whom we last saw giving Cleveland a run on a balk.

The Tigers led 1-0 through five without a hit. Faber deserved part of the blame for walking Harry Heilmann to lead off the second, but by both available accounts, Buck Weaver airmailed a throw to Chick Gandil on a routine grounder, allowing Heilmann to score. Weaver, writes Sanborn, “took careful aim and hit the concrete barrier back of Gandil.”

That turned out to be enough to win, but the Sox fell further behind after a Ty Cobb RBI triple in the sixth. Both the Tribune and Examiner say Cobb should have been rung up the pitch before. From Sanborn:

Cobb was next, and, with the count two strikes and one ball on the Georgia firecracker, Faber grooved one which Cobb let go by. Nallin [...] called it a ball, and made [Ray] Schalk and Faber so hoppin’ mad it looked as if they might kick themselves out of the game. It is some robbery to rob a pitcher of the credit of striking out Cobb, you know. The next ball pitched Cobb slugged over John Collins’ head for three bases, scoring Young and putting the game out of Chicago’s reach.

After that, Pants Rowland removed an incensed Faber for Reb Russell, who gave up a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 Detroit lead.

The White Sox outhit the Tigers, but not enough to count (5-3). They couldn’t move any of the three leadoff hitters who reached, and they didn’t have enough in the tank to compile late rallies, either. Irving Vaughan of the Examiner said “Mitchell’s portside slants breezed across the pan in such deceptive style.”

Vaughan also called Mitchell “ancient,” which is curious considering Mitchell was 27 years old. Perhaps he meant baseball-wise, as Mitchell pitched his first full season at age 20.

The loss knocked the White Sox into a first-place tie with the Red Sox, although the Sox had played four more games than the Red Sox at that point — and scored five fewer runs.

Record: 10-6 | Box score