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Sox Century: Aug. 27, 1917

Eddie Murphy delivers a big pinch-hit single to extend the White Sox’ American League lead

Eddie Murphy
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

Eddie Cicotte picked up his 20th win of the season today, courtesy of the guy who replaced him.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning of a scoreless game, Eddie Murphy took Cicotte’s place and delivered a big two-run single. A wild pitch brought a third run home to account for all the action in a 3-0 victory over the sinking New York Yankees.

Cicotte was masterful, holding the Yankees to just five hits over seven innings. Hugh High was the only one to give him problems, but he was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple to start off the game, and a later triple came with two outs, making him relatively easy to strand.

But Bob Shawkey was just as tough through six innings, though partially because the White Sox botched a couple of attempts to force the action. Fred McMullin popped up a squeeze attempt in the third inning, and Swede Risberg hung Chick Gandil out to dry on a hit-and-run call in the fifth.

Shawkey started out the seventh by getting Joe Jackson to line out, but he then walked Happy Felsch and Gandil with one out, then Ray Schalk with two down to load the bases. The Chicago Tribune takes it from here for the nuts and bolts ...

Cicotte was taken out to let Murphy bat for him in the pinch. Eddie played his string down to three balls and two strikes, then laid for the groover and soaked it into right for a single, scoring Felsch and Gandil and putting Schalk on third. Murphy himself reached second to throw to the pan. In a minute Shawkey emitted a wild pitch which let Schalk home.

... while the Chicago Examiner provided some color and reflection:

Manager Rowland rushed over from the first base coaching line and ordered Murphy to hit for Cicotte. There was a wild howl from the fans. They thought it an outrage to remove Cicotte from the game. He was going great guns on the slab and is not a bad hitter. [...]

Murphy was loudly applauded after the inning. His work deserved applause. Little was thought of Rowland’s move. How different it would have been had Murphy failed and the next White Sox pitcher been hit for a run or two. In the estimation of the fans Rowland would have been a cheese manager. Such is the life of a ball leader.

The win, combined with a Boston loss to Detroit, extended their lead to three games, including one game up in the loss column despite four games in hand.

While the White Sox strengthened their grip on first place in the American League, they finished fourth in the competition for the best-drilled military unit in the American League. The St. Louis Browns won the top prize, followed by the Senators, Indians and then White Sox. True to form, the Philadelphia A’s finished last.

The Browns were awarded $500, and to answer James Longstreet’s question about who received the money, SABR’s Jacob Pomrenke found an answer:

Record: 78-46 | Box score