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Sox Century: July 4, 1917

White Sox sweep a doubleheader in Detroit by identical scores

Shano Collins
Library of Congress / Bain News Service

On Tuesday, the White Sox didn’t have the happiest Fourth of July.

One hundred years earlier, the 1917 White Sox were able to double their holiday pleasure.

The White Sox and Tigers played in front of a huge Independence Day crowd — 11,532 for the opener, 17,380 for Game 2. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The latter crowd filled the park to capacity and spilled out in the corners of the outfield to the extent of about 600.”

And for those massive throngs, the White Sox delighted in playing the spoiler, not once but twice. They erased Detroit leads in both games to take both games by a score of 4-3.

In the first, Eddie Cicotte had to withstand a two-run Detroit first, and the raucous reaction it inspired from the crowd. The White Sox offense found ways to produce a pair of leads. Joe Jackson put the Sox ahead with a two-run double in the third, and when the Tigers struck back to tie the game in the fourth, Jackson and Happy Felsch were able to regain the run two innings later. Jackson led off with a single, then took second on a wild throw before Felsch knocked him in with a single for the game-winning run.

Felsch wouldn’t be playing by modern guidelines, because Jackson knocked him in the head with his bat before the game. According to the Tribune’s ‘Sox Notes’ column:

Hap Felsch was knocked out during the morning batting practice when a bat slipped out of Jackson’s hands and landed on Hap’s forehead. Hap went down for the full count, but came up a few minutes laughing. He played with a lump on his dome as big as an egg.

In the nightcap, Lefty Williams had to shake off a crooked number when Detroit took a 3-1 lead through three (he benefited from Ralph Young forgetting the number of outs and jogging around the bases on a flyout to end the inning).

The Sox immediately responded, starting with Felsch taking another lump in the form of a hit by pitch. He took third on a couple of groundouts, and Ray Schalk got him home with a single. Williams then came to his own rescue with a triple to the right field bleachers to score Schalk.

The game remain tied until the Sox came up with another triple, this time by Shano Collins in the seventh inning. Buck Weaver got him home with a fly to center that the Chicago Examiner described as shallow, but apparently deep enough for Collins to beat Ty Cobb’s “poor return” from center.

Collins had a big game from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 with a double to go along with the triple. He also had a hand in preserving the lead he created, according to the Chicago Examiner:

Jack Collins made a play in the ninth of the afternoon tussle that probably prevented Detroit from tying the score. [Ossie] Vitt’s swat went out on a line over Eddie Collins, right in the direction of three previous triples. It looked good for three sacks, but somehow Collins got over and headed it off. Vitt had to stay at first and [Oscar] Stanage followed with a single.

Williams used Collins’ play to his advantage, ending the game with a Sam Crawford popout and a fielder’s choice from Donie Bush, preserving a victory and a line that nearly matched Cicotte’s:

  • Cicotte: 9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
  • Williams: 9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Record: 47-24 | Game 1 box | Game 2 box