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Sox Century: May 6, 1917

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The White Sox are no-hit from the second consecutive day

St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline.

For some of the fans who left Sportsman’s Park not knowing they saw a no-hitter until reading the next day’s paper, they wouldn’t have to wait long to see one in real time.

And with the attendance for the Sunday doubleheader five times that of the previous game — the predicted jump in attendance was one reason why the Browns were quick to cancel the original date — chances are there were at least a few repeat customers.

For the second straight day, a St. Louis Browns pitcher threw a no-hitter against the White Sox. At least they didn’t do it in consecutive games. Bob Groom threw his no-hitter in Game 2 ... right after he picked up the save with two hitless innings in the Browns’ 8-4 victory over the White Sox in Game 1.

All the Chicago Tribune could do was jab the St. Louis press box for their change of heart with Ernie Koob the day before:

There was no flaw in Groom’s no-hit game. It was free from taint or suspicion which always will cling to the postmortem thing handed Koob yesterday by expunging a hit that had already been recorded. The Rowlands not only did not get a hit off Groom, but did not get anything that looked as if it was going to be a hit.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted the difference, too.

Coming as it did on the heels of Koob’s questionable no-hit performance on Saturday, Groom’s homeric effort fairly drove the patrons of the pop-eyed pastime daft. For Groom’s game was even greater than Koob’s.

While the Tribune did credit Groom with holding the Sox hitless in the 3-0 victory in Game 2, I.E. Sanborn didn’t think much of St. Louis’ offense over the course of the entire afternoon.

The Rowlands gave the Browns every one of the eleven runs they made one way or another, and have only themselves to blame for the disaster. They tossed off the first encounter in two innings of inglorious defense. Although they never had a chance to win the second, it would have been a draw but for their own misdeeds.

That seems like a stretch. For instance, the Browns jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first because Nemo Leibold picked up the ball instead of letting it roll into the crowd for a ground-rule double, which allowed George Sisler to score all the way from first. Maybe Benz would have escaped the inning scoreless, but he still gave up a double.

Likewise, Benz couldn’t gather himself to turn a 1-6-3 double play, or even retire the lead runner, which came around to score in the second. Pitcher errors don’t warrant much sympathy when it comes to his line?

The final run, on the other hand, looks straight out of the 2010 White Sox playbook:

The third run was also a gift, as Benz caught Sisler off first with two out in the eighth, but [Chick] Gandil and [Swede] Risberg took so much time retiring him a run scored from third.

As for Groom’s pitching, the White Sox didn’t make him sweat. The Chicago Examiner sums it up:

Meanwhile Groom was knocking down the Chicagoans as fast they appeared, only varying the monotony by slipping out an occasional pass. He gave three of these and hit one batter, but only one of them got beyond first base.

The Sox put up more of a fight in the first game. They hit a number of balls hard off Allen Sothoron and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third. Alas, leaky White Sox defense undermined Reb Russell during a five-run fourth, as Swede Risberg booted a grounder and Joe Jackson dropped a fly in right. All five runs were unearned.

Adding insult to injury, the Examiner’s Irving Vaughan says a comeback attempt was foiled by home plate umpire Billy Evans. The Sox had racked up two more runs against Sothoron, cutting the Browns’ lead to one. Eddie Plank entered inheriting runners on second and third, but he induced a grounder by Ray Schalk to third baseman Jimmy Austin. He threw home to get Happy Felsch, and Evans called him out, although Vaughan says “Felsch was on the plate ahead of the throw.”

Plank navigated through the seventh, and Groom took over in the top of the eighth. He walked three over his two innings, but he didn’t allow a hit. The Browns, meanwhile, gave him three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to allow him to cruise to the finish. Then he started Game 2, and apparently nobody told him to stop cruising.

Groom didn’t have many more days like this. He finished the year leading the American League with 19 losses, and only pitched in 14 games in 1918 afterward.

Record: 11-10 | Box score (Game 1) | Box score (Game 2)