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Sox Century: Aug. 14, 1917

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The White Sox split a hard-fought doubleheader in Cleveland

Tris Speaker
Ernie Harwell Collection / Detroit Public Library

A rainout allowed the White Sox to catch a breather as the six-city road trip approached its final three games, but that didn’t make the ensuing doubleheader any less of a slog.

The Sox and Indians battled to a draw over the two games, with the Sox taking the opener, 3-2, and Cleveland defending home turf with a 4-2 victory. The outcome worked for the Sox, as the Philadelphia A’s beat the Red Sox to extend Chicago’s lead by a half-game.

It was a hard-fought pair of games, both defined by the winning teams taking early leads and holding on for dear life at the end. The White Sox scored their three runs on just four hits, and Joe Jackson had the two biggest — a two-run single in the first, and a leadoff double in the fourth that came around to score on a Happy Felsch single.

That gave Lefty Williams a 3-0 lead, and he needed all of the cushion. He went the distance, but scattered 12 hits, two walks and a hit batter over his nine innings. Granted, it sounded like the sky and/or Swede Risberg might’ve been Cleveland’s best threat, according to the descriptions from the Chicago Examiner ...

Williams wabbled in the eighth when the pop fly epidemic became prevalent. [Ray] Chapman opened with a single just beyond Risberg’s anxious paws. [Tris] Speaker broke off a double and then [Joe] Harris looped a fly between Swede and [Nemo] Leibold. Wamby [Bill Wambsganss] did the same thing and Risberg dropped the ball. It looked like an error, but was scored officially as a single. Then Williams tightened up, but two runs had leaked in.

... and the Chicago Tribune:

Risberg lost two low flies in the sun, letting Speaker score and Harris and Wamby get scratch hits.

Risberg’s problems carried into the ninth, when, with two outs he fielded a Speaker grounder toward second base. He couldn’t control his body well enough to get the force, and the effort there prevented him from throwing to first in time to get Speaker, which kept the game alive. Williams handled a comebacker to end the game.

In the second game, it was the Indians who jumped on a starter for two first-inning runs, then tacked on the winning marker in the middle innings before the opponent’s offense could get going. Red Faber suffered the damage.

There was plenty of controversy over the course of the day. Cleveland’s Lou Graney was the subject of two lengthy debates. Umpire Brick Owens didn’t award him first base on a hit by pitch, as Owens said Graney walked into the pitch on purpose. In the second game, he was said to have trapped an attempted catch in center field, setting off a lengthy protest by the home team.

But Graney wasn’t the only one mixing it up. In the second game, Chapman slid spikes-first into Risberg at second base on a play where the throw beat him easily. Risberg and Chapman “gave an imitation of two roosters getting ready to scrap” according to the Examiner before teammates broke it up.

And if that wasn’t enough, Speaker had to be sent to the hospital after Dave Danforth beaned him in the eighth inning. Per the Examiner:

Danforth pitched because a pinch batter had replaced Faber and he beaned Tris Speaker with the first throw. The Cleveland club fell down, but in due course of time was revived by much ice water and two medicos, who leaped out of the stands. He walked to first, but [Braggo] Roth finally ran for him.

The Tribune said Speaker “was taken to the Lakeside hospital tonight on advice of Dr. Cassell, who revived him after the injury. The seriousness of the blow will not be known until tomorrow.”

Record: 69-43 | Game 1 box | Game 2 box