Today, the 1917 White Sox got back to what they did best: sweeping doubleheaders.
They also had to apply another recently acquired skill: dodging the wrath of rioters.
They picked up a pair of victories over the Philadelphia A’s, 7-3 and 4-3. The opener was a rather straightforward affair, at least after Pants Rowland replaced Joe Benz with Eddie Cicotte after a worrisome first inning. The Sox seized the lead for good in the middle innings by knocking around Chief Myers, and Joe Jackson was chief among the contributors, coming up a homer short of the cycle in a 3-for-5 performance.
Cicotte wasn’t his most dominant, but he worked around 10 hits by walking nobody over his eight innings of relief. He improved to 18-7 on the season as a result.
The tension didn’t arrive/arise until the second game, and Ping Bodie was at the center of it. The popular former Sox star seemed to enjoy sticking it to his old club, and he got in the way of what could’ve been another easy Chicago victory.
The Sox had just taken the lead in the top of the eighth, overcoming poor baserunning and execution throughout the game to explode for three runs. The Chicago Tribune described the previous frustration with more direct language than papers use now:
Stupid work wrecked a chance for the Sox in the fifth. [Nemo] Liebold led with a walk. [Buck] Weaver bunted so hard he forced Nemo and barely beat a double play, then Buck ran wild on Collins’ long foul fly and was doubled up. More bad base running occurred in the seventh. [Bird] Lynn walked with one out, and was immediately almost picked off first by [Billy] Meyer.
The game remained tied at 1 because of these outs, but Chick Gandil finally gave the Sox a cushion with a bases-clearing triple off Jing Johnson.
Bodie wasn’t so ready to concede, though. With a man on first and one out in the bottom of the eighth, he swatted a Lefty Williams pitch into the left-field bleachers to make it a one-run game. At least the umpires said it went into the stands. The White Sox argued on the other side of the borderline, and the Chicago Examiner paints a picture of the dispute:
Bodie lined one to the left field bleachers and fans reached out in an effort to catch the ball. It trickled through a succession of greedy paws and dropped to the field. Umpire [George] Hildebrand ruled it a homer. After several minutes of wrangling play was resumed, but another halt was necessary because the bleacher bugs opened a bottle bombardment on Jackson and [Happy] Felsch.
Unlike the melee in Boston, the police response brought the Philadelphia uprising to a swifter end.
One youth stepped out in front of the bleachers, lined a bottle at Jackson’s feet and retired, but not speedily enough to escape an eagle-eyed cop. The latter grabbed the offender, trotted him away to the cooler, and the rioting immediately ended.
The home run stood, but Williams held the A’s scoreless afterward and carried the one-run lead to the finish. The doubleheader sweep allowed the Sox to gain ground on the Red Sox for a fourth straight day, even though Boston handled the Indians.