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Sox Century: May 26, 1917

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The White Sox and Senators play to the season’s first tie

Tornado damage in Mattoon, Ill., on May 26, 1917.

Back before stadium lighting, air travel and the adoption of daylight saving time in the United States, ties weren’t entirely an uncommon outcome. The idea of “getaway day” was even more crucial when teams had scheduled trains to catch, so draws were a small but inevitable part of the deal, and would remain so until the American League ushered in the suspended game in 1951.

The White Sox had anywhere between one and seven ties in each season since their inception in 1901 entering the season, and they continued the streak when today’s game with the Senators ended knotted at 1.

The Washington Senators might have had this game if it could be left to judges’ decision, according to the Chicago Examiner:

It was probably well for the Sox that the affair didn’t go the regulation length. Jim Scott was on the knob for the home gang and the Senators had him in trouble every inning. They rolled up seven safe blows during the bob-tailed clash and would have had several more if some hard-hit balls hadn’t sailed directly into waiting gloves. Eventually they would have got to the Wyoming curvist as there was no reason to believe he would have improved.

Yet the Senators’ only run was unearned. Scott was in a jam with two outs and runners on the corners in the third, but Ray Schalk and Swede Risberg teamed up to thwart a double steal ... at least until the shortstop threw wildly on his toss to first baseman Chick Gandil during the ensuing rundown, allowing the runner on third to cross the plate.

The White Sox’ lone run was also due to an error, and they needed the help more. They could only touch Bert Gallia for three hits and a couple walks over six innings.

With one out in the fourth inning, Joe Jackson reached on an error by shorstop Sam Crane. He moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Happy Felsch. Felsch then tried to force a second run with an aggressive turn around third base on a slow chopper to short, but he was caught in between and tagged out at home to end the inning.

Conditions conspired against the clubs before either could score another run. From the Chicago Tribune:

There wasn’t a chance to finish the scrap when they started it, but there wasn’t any reason for calling it off before the Rowlands and Griffmen lined up, so they went at it and played until it was difficult to see the combatants, to say nothing of the pill with which they were combating.

The gathering storm picked up all the smoke and soot in Chicago and held it in solution ‘twixt the sun and the ball park, producing so thick a blanket that buildings all around the yard were artificially lighted and it was too dark for the First Regiment band to see its music.

The storm was legit, and Chicago lucked out. Cyclones ranged as far north as Joliet, but downstate Coles County suffered the worst of it. A cluster of what is believed to be four tornadoes killed 101 people in and around Mattoon. The Decatur Herald & Review ran an article today marking the catastrophe’s centennial, and Eastern Illinois University has an exhibit about the storm this summer.

Record: 25-13 | Box score