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Sox Century: July 8, 1917

The White Sox entertain the troops, then rally to defeat the A’s

From the Chicago Examiner on July 9, 1917.

The pennant-hunting White Sox threw their best pitcher against the 25-45 Philadelphia Athletics in what was expected to be a lopsided affair.

In the end, it was. It just took its time getting there.

Cicotte and the White Sox trailed 3-0 through three and 4-1 through 5½ innings before the Sox finally found the well-timed offensive explosions that had eluded them over their previous three games. Four in the sixth and three more in the eighth gave the Sox an 8-4 victory and allowed them to reclaim first place.

Maybe it took the White Sox a little time to get going because it was their second game of the day. The other one didn’t count -- a morning exhibition at Fort Sheridan in front of about 3,500 soldiers and about 2,000 civilians “composed of friends, wives, children, and sweethearts of some of the army men,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Starting Mellie Wolfgang and playing backups except for Nemo Leibold, Buck Weaver and Eddie Collins, the White Sox lost 5-1 in seven innings, but the Tribune said the show was the thing.

There wasn’t quite enough “pep” in the game to suit the men who are training to go and get the kaiser, and when they yelled for the Sox to ginger up Buck Weaver went back and staged a row with Umpire Owens. This was one of the features. Buck kicked furiously on a decision and pulled the ump’s coat sleeve and cut up generally just as if it were a regular combat. Owens kept his mask on to hide his smiles.

As for the real game, the Chicago Examiner said the Sox spent the first half of it bewildered by Rube Schauer’s changeup while Philadelphia hitters “soaked Cicotte’s stuff with amazing ease.” Cicotte allowed 10 hits -- a season-high up until that point -- and a few bunched around a Swede Risberg error allowed the A’s to strike for three runs in the third inning.

The White Sox regained one of the runs when Chick Gandil singled home Happy Felsch in the bottom of the fourth, but the A’s took it back when Wally Schang tripled to open the sixth and scored on a single.

The Sox needed something bigger, and the A’s finally collapsed the way they did so often in 1917. From the Examiner:

The South Siders didn’t get busy in the home sixth until after two were out. Weaver was disposed of and Collins singled. He stole second, after which Felsch fouled to [Ray] Bates. [Shano] Collins reached first on [Whitey] Witt’s boot He stole second and Gandil walked. Risberg came through in the pinch, singling to [Ping] Bodie and scoring two. Gandil was caught between third and second but dashed up and down until Bates dropped the ball. This put runners on third and second and both counted when [Ray] Schalk singled to center.

That gave the White Sox a 5-4 lead, and Cicotte kept the A’s off the board afterward for the complete-game victory. The Sox made it a bit easier on him by tacking on three more in the eighth, with yet another Witt error opening the door. Cicotte improved to 13-6 on the season, and the White Sox reclaimed sole possession of first place with a Red Sox loss to Cleveland.

Record: 48-27 | Box score