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Sox Century: Sept. 16, 1917

The White Sox close out their home schedule in front of an adoring crowd with an extra-inning victory

White Sox fans at Comiskey Park.
Bain Collection / Library of Congress

Following three games in two days at Detroit, the White Sox returned home to Chicago for a one-off game with St. Louis that represented both the Sox’ last meeting with the Browns, and their last home game of the year.

The Sox gave the 20,000 fans in attendance a thrill and a little extra baseball, beating the Browns in 10 innings, 4-3.

The outpouring of support made the Chicago Examiner lyrical:

Over 20,000 Chicagoan bade the Sox good-by. They came from bankers’ homes and from back of the yards. In fact, they poured in front everywhre, and as the Sox left the field with a 4 to 3 victory after 10 rounds of thrilling baseball they were given a tremendous sendoff. [...]

[Pants] Rowland’s men were worshiped and applauded all afternoon, the big gathering realizing it was witnessing a workout by the coming American League champions. Every move of the Sox was applauded.

Even though a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit after a series of well-placed singles, the tension didn’t register with the fans, which formed “ a crowd of jovial rooters out for a last look at Rowland’s men before they appear as contenders in the world’s series,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

But even with expectations for that day an afterthought, the Sox pulled it out anyway.

In the seventh, Ray Schalk dropped a bunt single with one out and stole second. He got caught in a rundown between second and third on a chopper by Eddie Murphy, but prolonged the rundown enough for Murphy to take second. Nemo Leibold then delivered a double to score Murphy to knot the score at 3.

Murphy pinch-hit for Lefty Williams, so Eddie Cicotte came out in relief and delivered three scoreless innings to set up the 10th, which Eddie Collins led off with a triple. It took three batters for Collins to cross the plate, but because Davenport issued three walks.

The White Sox finished their season series against the Browns with a 16-6 record, which was tied for their best record against one team in 1917 with the Tigers. They wrapped up their home slate with a 56-21 record at Comiskey Park.

Based on the irregular schedules — ties, doubleheaders, random makeups — it’s hard to determine what the White Sox’ magic number was with an eight-game lead. The Tribune gave a sense of it with a pennant chase update:

Chicago’s lead of eight games over Boston means that if the White Sox only half their remaining twelve games the Red Sox must win all of their possible 17 games to beat Chicago at the finish.

Record: 94-48 | Box score