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Sox Century: July 12, 1917

Happy Felsch delivers big hits in both ends of a doubleheader sweep

The Chicago Examiner headline from July 13, 1917.

Sometimes doubleheaders are the last thing a struggling team wants to see. Sometimes doubleheaders serve as an eraser for a bad series.

Today counts as the latter. After embarrassing themselves losing three of four to the cellar-dwelling Philadelphia Athletics, the White Sox recovered to sweep a doubleheader against the respectable New York Yankees — and both games in dramatic fashion.

In the opener, Eddie Cicotte outlasted George Mogridge after outpitching him. Mogridge found way to escape several jams while Cicotte had a much easier time, but the game entered the 10th inning 1-1 regardless.

That’s when Happy Felsch struck for the first of two big hits on the afternoon. Buck Weaver singled off Mogridge with one out, then took second on Eddie Collins’ bunt (which was scored as a sacrifice, but appeared to be an attempt at a single). Regardless of intent, advancing the runner paid off when Felsch hit a chopper over the outstretched mitt of first baseman Wally Pipp to score Weaver for the walk-off single.

Cicotte improved to 14-6 and lowered his ERA to 1.21 for his effort — 10 innings, seven baserunners, one run.

The Sox’ second victory was even more dramatic, because the Sox looked dead before they even came to the plate. Jim Scott “was maltreated before the announcer had finished megaphoning his name to the crowd,” the Chicago Tribune said. He retired just one of three batters he faced, and even stranger, he was pulled after recording the first out. He gave up a single and a double before a lineout, so perhaps Pants Rowland didn’t like the quality of contact.

Dave Danforth didn’t help much initially, giving up a pair of doubles before the close of the first inning that allowed the Yankees to take an immediately 3-0 lead.

But Danforth hunkered down, holding the Yankees scoreless over the next five innings before Rowland lifted him for pinch-hitter Eddie Murphy, whose single contributed to the Sox’ first scoring rally in the sixth inning.

Reb Russell took over with the Sox trailing 3-1, and he ended up taking the victory. For his part, he held the Yankees to a mere walk over three scoreless innings, and it was erased by a rave-worthy game-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Russell also benefited from a four-run explosion in the eighth inning. Bob Shawkey had kept the Sox in check through seven, but he started the next frame with a walk to Ray Schalk. Russell flied out, but Nemo Leibold and Weaver singled, the second scoring Schalk to make it a one-run game.

In came Nick Cullop, but he didn’t have any better luck. He got Collins to hit a bouncer to third base, but Pipp dropped the throw across the diamond from Home Run Baker to load the bases. The Yankees played the infield in for Felsch, who thwarted the maneuver with a two-run single to center for his second go-ahead hit of the day. The Sox tacked on one more insurance run that Russell didn’t need for a 5-3 victory.

The doubleheader sweep, combined with a Boston loss, allowed the White Sox to lead the previously tied American League by a game and a half.

Record: 50-29 | Game 1 box | Game 2 box