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Sox Century: Aug. 2, 1917

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With both arm and bat, Dave Danforth helps White Sox seal a big split-salvaging victory in Boston

Dave Danforth
Charles M. Conlon / Detroit Public Library

The last time the White Sox played a series at Fenway Park, they left Boston under frustrating circumstances — winning the first two, then dropping a doubleheader. It didn’t help that there was a riot in between that led to Buck Weaver and Fred McMullin getting served with arrest warrants.

This time, they were able to return the favor. After losing the first two games and dropping into a tie atop the American League, the White Sox salvaged a split, following a victory in the third game by leaving Boston with a resounding 7-1 triumph.

The game was a little closer than the score indicated. The White Sox seized a quick 3-0 before Ernie Shore started shutting them down, and Red Faber took it it into the eighth inning before hitting a wall. He gave up singles to the first three Red Sox he faced, leading to one run, so Pants Rowland called on Dave Danforth, who gave up a single himself to load the bases with still nobody out.

Perhaps he was just setting up his own El Duque situation 88 years before the one we saw, although he pulled off the inverse sequence. While Orlando Hernandez retired the Red Sox with two popouts and a strikeout in Game 3 of the 2005 ALDS, Danforth struck out Jack Barry and Del Gainer, then induced a harmless fly to Chick Gandil at first base.

Now, imagine if El Duque then picked up a bat in the next inning and socked a bases-clearing triple to give the Sox a six-run lead. Danforth provided his own cushion with the unlikely extra-base hit off Herb Pennock, then struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to close out his save. Danforth’s tremendous impact on both sides of the ball earned him the glory in the newspapers afterward:

Chicago Examiner: “DANFORTH DESERVES ALL CREDIT -- He Checks Red Sox With Three On, None Out; Hits Triple With Three On; White Hose Win”

Chicago Tribune: “Danforth Qualifies as Hero and Sox Repulse Boston, 7-1”

After splitting the four-game series with Boston, the White Sox headed to Philadelphia with a two-game lead restored. They didn’t leave, however, with all legal trouble behind them. Weaver and McMullin made two appearances in court, including one today. From the Tribune:

George Weaver and Fred McMullin of the White Sox were served this morning with summons to appear in the Superior court here to defend damage suits of $1,000 and $1,500 respectively, brought by two Boston rooters who previously entered complaint against the same two players for alleged assault on the day the gamblers tried to break up a Chicago-Boston game at American league park here in June.

Weaver and McMullin were furnished bail by J.S. Dooley and John W. Campbell, friends of Hugh Duffy, and were able to appear in the afternoon game and also to leave for Philadelphia tonight. The players’ lawyer advised them to fight the case, as it is merely a holdup game, in his opinion, and will never be heard from again.

If you’re wondering why a rioter — his name was August McNally — would be allowed to press charges stemming from a conflict in a place he wasn’t supposed to be, you’re not alone. From the Chicago Examiner:

The attitude of the Boston club in connection with McNally’s assualt charge is a peculiar one. Any other club in the league would have sworn out a warrant charging McNally with trespassing and inciting to riot. President [Harry] Frazee has refused to take a hand in the matter and there is reason to believe he is inactive because he wants to see the Chicago club hampered in every possible way. It looks like a piece of work for Ban Johnson, who is expected here any day.

Record: 63-37 | Box score