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Sox Century: July 20, 1917

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The White Sox extend their lead over Boston, but the World War I draft casts a cloud over it

The front page of the Chicago Examiner on July 21, 1917.

The Red Sox took the first game of a significant midsummer series with the White Sox by taking an early lead and never trailing.

Likewise, Boston headed into the bottom of the seventh leading 2-1, and never trailing at any point.

Then they trailed in a flash, and by a significant amount -- and the White Sox barely had to lift a bat. Let’s let the Chicago Tribune sum it up:

There was only one hit on the White Sox side. But there was one error for Boston. There were four bases on balls. Three pitchers were employed before the side could be retired. There was a double steal, there was a sacrifice fly, and there was a wild pitch. Had it lasted only a little longer probably there would have been a balk and a fist fight.

By the time the circus stopped, the White Sox led 5-2 and would go on to win by that margin.

Larry Gardner scored the go-ahead run for Boston in the top of the seventh, but he started the unraveling when he threw wide to first on Swede Risberg’s grounder. The sequence from there:

  • Ray Schalk walked.
  • Eddie Cicotte walked. Rube Foster (not that one) lifted for Herb Pennock.
  • Nemo Leibold hit a sac fly to center, tying the game.
  • Schalk and Cicotte pulled off a double steal without a throw because Pennock went to a full windup.
  • Buck Weaver grounded out, runners holding.
  • Eddie Collins walked.
  • Joe Jackson singled to right, scoring Schalk and Cicotte. Pennock lifted for Sad Sam Jones.
  • Jones intentionally walked Happy Felsch, but his fourth ball was a wild pitch that allowed Collins to score.

Cicotte was touched up for manufactured runs in the fifth and seventh inning, but he put it on lockdown from there.

The victory restored the White Sox’ American League lead to 2½ games, but the White Sox’ fate appeared to be in peril thanks to the other big news of the day. From the Chicago Examiner:

Uncle Sam’s draft may be responsible for the loss of a pennant on the South Side this season. Three members of the White Sox squad were among the early numbers drawn, “Buck” Weaver, “Chick” Gandil and Joe Jenkins. Weaver’s number was 933 and was drawn close enough to the top to assure him of being called for the first army. His serial number was 782. Gandil was farther down on the list — 1,584, to be exact — and there is the slight possibility of his not being required to answer the first call.

The Tribune said those three were among only a half dozen White Sox who knew their draft numbers, as the others lived far from Chicago and wouldn’t know until they heard from home.

Weaver had a potential out because he was married, and the same could be said for Gandil and the other Sox who knew their numbers, save Joe Jenkins. According to the Examiner, Jenkins “is single, has no dependents, and so far as is known is free from physical defects. He is convinced he will have to go if called.”

Record: 56-32 | Box score