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Sox Century: July 9, 1917

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Lefty Williams’ no-hit bid goes up in flames against Philadelphia

Bullet Joe Bush.
Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress

While the White Sox exploded for seven runs over the second half of their victory over the Athletics the day before, the Sox still hadn’t solved their problem of falling behind by a significant margin.

In this one, Lefty Williams was undermined by bad luck, which allowed Philadelphia to turn a scoreless game into a 4-0 lead. That might have sparked the White Sox to start scoring themselves, but they could only recoup half those runs on a Happy Felsch homer. The Sox ended up losing 5-2, their fourth loss in five games.

Williams didn’t allow a baserunner over the first five innings, which made his collapse in the sixth so stunning. The Chicago Tribune sums up Williams’ demise.

The Sox were playing in their most stylish manner when suddenly things began to happen in such rapid succession that people groaned. Buck Weaver made a bad shot to first base, and then there was a hit, and then Bird Lynn messed a hit in front of the plate that should have been handled with ease, and then Ping Bodie drew a base on balls with the sacks filled, forcing home the first run.

After that there was a terrific swat by [Ray] Bates, with Ping executing the main end of it, and the Macks had four runs over the pan and the Sox hardly knew what happened. It was a bit of awful defensive playing for a bunch of fellow who aspire to win a pennant.

Williams also failed to receive support from an offense that remained sputtering. The Tribune said Bullet Joe Bush faced trouble in four of the first five innings but sidestepped it each time. He ended up going the distance, with Felsch’s two-run homer the only damage.

It didn’t help that he also contributed two hits, a run and an RBI from the bottom of the order. Bush was a decent hitter for a pitcher, with a .253 lifetime average and seven homers over his 17-year big-league career. He entered this one hitting only .125 over his first 42 plate appearances, and unfortunately for Williams, this was the start of a correction.

Record: 48-28 | Box score