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Sox Century: June 6, 1917

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Eddie Cicotte and the White Sox hit a wall in Washington

George Dumont
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

The hot streaks for the White Sox and Eddie Cicotte had to end at some point, and the Senators brought both to a halt on this day. George Dumont spun a four-hitter while the White Sox ace finally looked mortal, and the result was a 3-0 Washington winner that snapped Chicago’s nine-game undefeated streak.

Cicotte came into this game 7-1 with a 0.27 ERA and two saves over his last 10 games, with just 30 hits allowed over 6623 innings. But while Clark Griffith kept calling for the umpire to inspect Cicotte’s pitches for doctoring, the Senators didn’t require an alibi according to the Chicago Tribune:

Opposed to this speedy Monsieur Dumont was Monsieur Cicotte, but this new chine ball, and his old knuckle ball, and his old spitter, and his fast one, and his slow ball, and his curve ball, and his fadeaway, and all the other things he throws weren’t quite up the usual standard. He seemed to have his 1917 speed, but for some reason or other the Senators connected, making nine blows, and it required some sharp fielding by the other members of the Sox to keep the total of runs down to three.

The account goes on to say that Griffith and his players would point out “funny spots” on the ball to the umpires. The Chicago Examiner’s recap says that home plate umpire Billy Evans had his suspicions:

New balls that Umpire Evans threw out to Cicotte from time to time seemed to lose their newnsess with remarkable swiftness and Evans figured [Buck] Weaver was blackening them. When he asked Weaver what he was using the third baseman yelled, “Nothing” and threw hit glove toward the plate so the curious umpire could take a look. Billy would not touch the mitt.

But apparently no action was taken, and it was all moot since the Senators roped Cicotte around for nine hits. Even Dumont got in on the action at the plate, which marked a departure from the usual. You can carve up his season like this:

  • Today: 1-for-3, 1 RBI
  • Rest of 1917: 1-for-55, 0 RBI

Dumont’s fine performance, on the other hand, resembled the start to his season, as he lowered his ERA to 1.30. Dumont’s control was a bit flaky at times, and Washington offered plenty of second chances by committing five errors, but the White Sox didn’t start figuring him out until the very end. They collected half of their hits with two outs in the ninth.

Record: 30-14 | Box score