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Sox Century: June 18, 1917

The White Sox leave Boston after a doubleheader sweep with warrants for the arrests of two players

The Chicago Examiner headline from June 19, 1917.

The rain that inspired the gamblers in Fenway Park’s right field bleachers to stop the game via riot on June 16 hovered over the Boston area for the next 24 hours, wiping out the next day’s game and setting up a Bunker Hill Day doubleheader to wrap up the series.

The papers used the off day to continue untangling how and why the riot unfolded. The Chicago Examiner came to a conclusion:

Two things are to blame. One is the unpopularity of the Red Sox owners, and the other is gambling which flourishes unmolested at Fenway Park. It was the combination of these two that brought on the riotous demonstration yesterday and cost Boston its long recognized reputation for having the most fair-minded fans in the country.

The Chicago Tribune relayed a statement by American League President Ban Johnson that showed his displeasure with Boston owner Harry Frazee. Johnson acknowledged that Frazee was “new to baseball” and didn’t understand the severity of the danger gambling posed. He was more irked with how there were only two police officers at the ready when the crowd left the grandstand and massed on the field.

“I cannot understand the report that there were not sufficient police in the park to handle the trouble at Boston. This spring Frazee advised me he had installed special police in the pavilion where the gamblers congregate. They were put there solely to break up the practice.”

At any rate, play resumed with the twin bill, and while there was plenty of jawing and jeering — the Examiner says Chick Gandil and Ernie Shore “almost came to blows” — an increased police presence helped maintain the peace.

Also, the Red Sox did their part in preventing another uprising by winning both games, and both with late comebacks.

In the first game, the White Sox held a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Red Sox loaded the bases with walks. Dave Danforth walked two of the first three batters he faced, and after starting out Jack Barry with a 2-0 count, Eddie Cicotte came in and finished the walk.

Some left-right-left maneuvers between Pants Rowland and Boston player-manager Barry resulted in Lefty Williams facing Hal Janvrin. Williams won that battle by getting a fielder’s choice at the plate, but Gardner picked up his teammate with a triple over Nemo Leibold’s head in right, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. Duffy Lewis then scored Gardner with a single to make it 6-4, and that’s where the score remained.

Red Faber, who hadn’t pitched since April 29 due to a strained back muscle, finished up Game 1. He was also on the mound at the end of the second game, in which he took the loss thanks to a defensive collapse behind him.

The White Sox led 7-4 going into the ninth inning, and, well, here’s the Tribune’s account:

Not in years has there been such a complete and comprehensive blowup as the Sox had in that ninth. Going into it they had a three-run lead, and Red Faber, who had relieved Jim Scott in the sixth, was hurling in an old-time style. There was no fear, but Eddie Collins messed the ball on [Herb] Pennock, the first batter, then [Harry] Hooper followed with a single.

Janvrin was next and bounced down to [Swede] Risberg, who fumbled and kicked the ball around, and the bases were filled. [Dick] Hoblitzel hit to Gandil and was out at first, Pennock scoring, then Gardner lifted a short fly to [Happy] Felsch. It looked safe then, but Duffy Lewis, who never should have come to bat, poled a single to riht cente,r sending Hooper and Janvrin in, tying the score.

Lewis took second on Felsch’s foolish peg to the plate, then went to third on a wild pitch. [Tillie] Walker next bounced to Risberg, who messed that ball even worse than the former, and Lewis came over with the winning run.

The White Sox departed Fenway Park no worse than they arrived in terms of the standings, as a series split allowed them to maintain their 1 12 game lead. Yet they were in position to sweep the series, and should have taken three of four at the very least.

Adding insult to injury, Buck Weaver and Fred McMullin were served with arrest warrants before leaving town. The Tribune reported the news with a sardonic flair.

The charges were for assault and made by Augustin J. McNally of Norwood, a nearby suburb. McNally was one of the mob which attempted to break up the game Saturday, and during the fussing is supposed have bumped McMullin’s fist with his eye. Also he is supposed to have had his fingers on the railing just when Weaver let his bat fall.

Record: 35-19 | Game 1 box | Game 2 box