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Sox Century: June 28, 1917

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Lefty Williams’ season-opening unbeaten streak comes to an end

Bobby Veach
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

The last time Lefty Williams took the mound, he claimed his ninth consecutive victorious decision to open the season, which still stands as a White Sox record.

The reason it’s not 10? The Detroit Tigers rallied off Williams with a run in the ninth and another in the 10th, allowing them to steal a second victory in the abbreviated five-game series, 6-5.

The White Sox were scheduled to play a third consecutive doubleheader with Detroit, but rain scuttled the second one, forcing them to head to Cleveland without a chance to erase the taste.

Bobby Veach -- an underrated player for those Tiger teams -- came up with a couple of the game’s biggest highlights. He’s the one who tied the game with a homer over the right-field fence after Williams retired Ty Cobb to start the inning. The blast foiled Pants Rowland’s move to the bullpen, although he wasn’t wrong to think Reb Russell and absorbed enough damage over eight innings, both by the Tigers (12 hits, four runs) and his own defense (three errors, two unearned runs).

Russell also had to deal with some questionable officiating, at least according to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Examiner. The latter has the play-by-play, starting with one out:

On a double steal Cobb was easily out a third, but Ump [Tommy] Connolly ruled to the contrary. [Harry] Heilman then walked. [George] Burns hit to [Swede] Risberg and a bullet throw put the ball in [Chick] Gandil’s mitt an instant ahead of the arrival of the runner, but Ump [George] Moriarty called him safe. This let Cobb score.

The Tribune had Weaver’s reaction:

“Did you ever see anything so awful?” That was what Buck Weaver had to say after the game, and he continued about as follows:

“I have Cobb out easy at third and Connolly calls him safe. Why, look at my hand where his spikes hit. How could he get in and be safe and still spike me. I tell you any time Cobb slides he’s safe. You know the umpire may come around after the game -- after you’ve been licked -- and say, ‘Well, Buck, I might have missed that one.’ What good does that do then? We had two of them out at first, too. I never get the decision when it’s close first and I’m running. They beat me out of three on that last day in Boston and the next time I saw Connolly he says: ‘Well, here comes the victim of three close ones.’ Ain’t it awful?”

And that wasn’t all for Weaver. Veach threw him out at the plate on a foul fly ball by Eddie Collins in the sixth inning, which kept a vital sixth Sox run off the board.

Record: 42-22 | Box score