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Sox Century: June 5, 1917

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The White Sox win their eighth straight and sweep Philadelphia

Happy Felsch
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

Make that 7-0 against the Philadelphia Athletics this season.

The White Sox extended their perfect record with another sweep of Connie Mack’s men. This time, the Sox had to erase two Philadelphia leads before coasting to a 6-3 victory at Shibe Park.

They created their own problems by committing three errors, which put Joe Benz in a bind. The left side of the infield contributed to the three runs Benz allowed. Swede Risberg threw wide with two outs on Stuffy McInnis’ chopper to allow a run to score in the first. Two innings later, a Risberg bobble and a bad throw by Buck Weaver put two on with nobody out, and both came around to score unearned runs on Benz’s tab to give the A’s a 3-1 lead.

Fortunately, the poor infield play was counterbalanced by sensational catches by the outfield. Joe Jackson made a diving catch in front of him, Nemo Leibold got turned around but flagged down a line drive in right, and Happy Felsch topped them both in center field, according to the Chicago Tribune:

But the best catch of all was made by Hap Felsch in the third, when this same [Ray] Bates hit one way out to deep center on a line, only to lose a sure triple and probably a home run because Felsch whirled and dashed back at a ten second clip and pulled the ball down while going his best.

Felsch capped off a tremendous series with that catch and a 2-for-4 day at the plate, coming after he delivered the decisive hits in the first inning of the first two games.

Eddie Collins also emerged from his seasonlong slump. He entered the game hitting an uncharacteristic .224, but raised his average 12 points with a three-hit game, which also resulted in three RBIs. The big blow was a two-run single in the fifth inning that gave the Sox a 4-3 lead. Jim Scott then relieved Benz and pitched five scoreless innings to carry the game the rest of the way.

The White Sox picked up their eighth consecutive win and ran their record to 16-1-1 over their previous 18 games. Yet all that streak still left them tied for first with the Boston Red Sox, who were 15-5-1 over the same stretch. The Yankees couldn’t keep pace, dropping to six games back at this point. The stage was set for a two-team race over the next few months.

Speaking of staging, both teams participated in military drills before the game, as the United States’ World War I draft was mobilizing. From the Tribune:

The White Sox sprang a military surprise on Philadelphia. When they appeared for the ten minutes’ drilling preceding the game each had a flag bound to the end of the bat which is used instead of a gun. Sergt. Smiley later gave the Sox some marine maneuvers, running over the diamond and dropping to their stomachs like sharpshooters. The boys finished by marching to the home plate, where they sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while the crowd stood with bared heads.

Record: 30-13 | Box score