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Sox Century: July 22, 1917

Reb Russell throws a four-hitter to beat Boston

Reb Russell.
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

Having overcome any arm problems in a complete-game victory over the Washington Senators back on July 14, Reb Russell proved able to answer the bell, so the White Sox again turned to him after a 15-inning tie that required three pitchers the day before.

And once again, Russell exceeded expectations. This time, he threw a four-hit shutout against the defending champs, “pitching as stylish a game of ball as he has turned out in a couple of seasons,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The White Sox could have won this by more, because while only four Red Sox reached base and two made it as far as second, the White Sox had plenty of traffic. They outhit Carl Mays and Boston 13-4 and outwalked them 1-0, but could only produce single tallies in the second and sixth innings.

One example of how runs were hard to come by: They needed every ounce of Swede Risberg’s force to jar the ball out of Sam Agnew’s grasp to score their first run. Standing on third with one out, Risberg forced the action by tagging up on Russell’s pop fly behind third base. Third baseman Larry Gardner made an accurate throw home to Agnew, but Risberg crashed into Agnew successfully to put the home team ahead 1-0.

Risberg then drove home the second run by singling home Chick Gandil, who had singled and stole second with two outs after the first two were retired. If Russell was the first star, Risberg was the easy second, because the Examiner also credited his work in the field.

Risberg’s part in the victory covered both defensive and offensive endeavor. The “Swede” played a whale of a game at his chosen position, handling ten chances without bobbling. Some of them were extraordinary affairs.

With enough support on both sides, Russell improved to 9-4 with a 1.89 ERA, and the White Sox extended their lead to 3½ games. He’d spend the rest of the season unable to make regular turns, but he’d regularly find a way to be a massive thorn on Boston’s side.

Record: 57-32 | Box score