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Sox Century: Aug. 17, 1917

The White Sox fall out of first place after a 12-inning loss to Philadelphia

The headline from the Chicago Tribune on Aug. 18, 1917.

With the longest road trip of the season in the books, the White Sox got a travel day to return home to Chicago, where they could recover from a 23-game road trip with a 21-game homestand, starting with a visit from the cellar-dwelling Philadelphia Athletics.

But the A’s took three of four from the White Sox the last time they were in Chicago, and they opened this series by pestering the Sox again with a 9-7 victory in 12 innings.

It was a costly loss for a few reasons. For one, the A’s made the Sox use four pitchers, thrashing Jim Scott and Dave Danforth, then adding a run off Red Faber to build a 7-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth. And because the Sox rallied to tie the game with a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings, Eddie Cicotte’s relief outing lasted five innings instead of two.

The Sox had chances to win it, but saw ninth- and 11th-inning scoring threats rise and fall in the exact same sequence:

  1. Nemo Leibold reaching (single in the ninth, then a walk).
  2. Fred McMullin sacrifice
  3. Eddie Collins groundout to second base
  4. Intentional walks to Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch
  5. Chick Gandil pop-outs in foul territory to first baseman Stuffy McInnis

The Chicago Tribune’s I.E. Sanborn wrote, “In more than a quarter century of watching professional baseball I never saw anything approaching that coincidence.”

So Cicotte had to keep pitching until the A’s finally broke through in the 12th. With one out, Charlie Jamieson singled, Roy Grover tripled him home, and the Ping Bodie cashed in Grover with a single, giving Philadelphia two runs too many.

Besides the wear on the pitching staff, the loss also sent the White Sox back into second place by one percentage point behind Boston, .615 to .614. The margin was that small because the White Sox had a whole five games more in hand, 70-44 to 67-42. The Red Sox took over with a 3-1 victory over the Indians, who were without Tris Speaker. The Tribune said the Cleveland star was still dizzy and suffering from headaches from the beaning issued by Danforth a few days earlier.

Record: 70-44 | Box score