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Sox Century: May 16, 1917

Byrd Lynn’s first hit of the season shakes up a scoreless game

Byrd Lynn
Bain Collection / Library of Congress

Thanks to Ray Schalk’s incredible durability, the White Sox didn’t have much of a use for a backup catcher. Byrd Lynn only played in one of the Sox’ first 30 games, starting on May 13 when Schalk had a sore finger on his throwing hand. Lynn went 0-for-3.

He didn’t pick up his first hit until the 31st game of the season, but he made it count. With two outs in the seventh inning, he dropped a bloop double down the right field foul line that scored Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch to break a scoreless tie.

Up until that point, it had been a pitching duel, as Lefty Williams and Philadelphia’s Bullet Joe Bush were backed by strong defense. Nemo Leibold helped Williams strand a pair of runners with a pair of rangy catches in right in the first inning, and Swede Risberg was able to cut down a lead runner at third base in the sixth. Likewise, Philadelphia second baseman Roy Grover robbed Lynn of an RBI single in the fifth inning before Lynn was able to bloop one where nobody stood.

After Lynn broke Bush in the seventh, Philadephia’s defense broke down in the eighth. Leibold reached second with one out after a wild throw by shortstop Whitey Witt, and he scored when Bush rushed a wild throw to first on Eddie Collins’ swinging bunt.

That looked like a considerable cushion given the circumstances. Entering the ninth inning, the White Sox strung together 21 consecutive scoreless innings. A day after Joe Benz threw a four-hitter, Lefty Williams had one of his own.

Then the A’s stung him for three doubles in the first four batters of the ninth inning, turning a 3-0 lead into a 3-2 edge, and with the tying run on second. Pants Rowland then called for Eddie Cicotte, who induced a groundout and a flyout for his first save of the season, and the White Sox’ fifth consecutive win.

The hot streak didn’t make much of an impact in the standings. The White Sox still trailed Boston by 112 games, and were only a half-game of the third-place Yankees.

Record: 19-12 | Box score