clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Today in White Sox History: October 17

A century ago, Kid Gleason stepped away from his sinking club

On this day 100 years ago, Kid Gleason stepped away from the rebuilding White Sox.
| Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune


Manager Kid Gleason, who piloted the villainous Black Sox in 1919 and oversaw the team in the aftermath of eight core members of the roster banned for life, resigned. He spoke to his team in the clubhouse after the White Sox secured another City Series win over the Cubs, four games to two, rallying for four straight to claim the crown.

Gleason had two extremely successful seasons managing the White Sox, but 1919’s World Series berth was stained, and an even stronger follow-up in 1920 was doomed by the late suspension of the Black Sox, arguably costing the White Sox another pennant. In the 1921-23 aftermath, Gleason couldn’t pull his club out of the second division, going 208-254.

Gleason pinned the pain of the 1923 season on the loss of star second baseman Eddie Collins on July 2, suffering a twisted knee against the St. Louis Browns. His club was clawing close to .500 (30-32), winding up a massive, 27-contest road trip during which they won 18. At the time of the injury, the White Sox were 12 games back of league-leading New York but just two short of second place. But Collins didn’t really miss much time with the injury, so Gleason must have seen Collins’ troubles as a momentum-changer more than fatal blow.

Gleason ended his White Sox career at 392-364-3, finishing first, second, seventh, fifth and seventh in the eight-team AL. He is the ninth-winningest pilot in White Sox history. By managerial WAR, Gleason is the most modest of nine plus-WAR managers in team history, although his career total rounds down to 0.0 mWAR; he had a brilliant year in 1920 (6.8 mWAR, fifth-best ever) but a godawful swan song in 2023 (-7.3, third-worst in Sox history).

Although rumored to be taking the Detroit Tigers job (present player-manager Ty Cobb said he was the only manager he’d step down and play for) or even move to St. Louis, Gleason never managed in the big leagues again.


George Davis ranks ninth among position players in White Sox history with 33.1 WAR, and 17th among all White Sox. The two shortstops in team history who rank in front of him played considerably more games than Davis’ 856 on the South Side: Luke Appling (2,422 games) and Luis Aparicio (1,511). Davis’ 7.2 WAR in both the 1904 and 1905 seasons are tied for 10th-best in White Sox player history.

As was the case with many Dead Ball Era players, Davis was largely forgotten until more modern research properly valued his contributions. In this case, historian Bill James trumpeted the cause, which eventually saw the shortstop inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1998 — 58 years after Davis’ death.

Davis was, by statistics and defensive positioning, a five-tool player, hitting for great average and some power, with stolen base-speed. He moved from a corner outfield position to the far more challenging shortstop after his career began, spotlighting how much better defensively Davis was than his peers.

Davis already had built a Hall of Fame case in the first phase of his career with the New York Giants, for whom he played from 1893-1901 and amassed 44.6 WAR. He jumped to the White Sox as the American League began to raid National League talent in the early 1900s, and a bitter fight ensued between the two teams; after a 5.8 WAR debut with the White Sox in 1902, he was forced to essentially sit out the 1903 before returning to the South Side for his peak 1904-05 seasons with the White Sox. His 6.4 WAR led all players on the 1906 White Sox, who won the franchise’s first World Series in a massive upset over the Cubs.

Davis holds prominent spots on several all-time leaderboards:

  • 84.5 WAR (53rd all-time)
  • 24.0 defensive WAR (23rd)
  • 2,372 games (96th)
  • 9,045 at-bats (73rd)
  • 1,545 runs (58th)
  • 2,665 hits (73rd)
  • 166 triples (33rd)
  • 1,440 RBIs (66th)
  • 619 stolen bases (17th)
  • 3,614 times on base (87th)

Jay Jaffe’s JAWS measurement of peak player value ranks Davis as the fifth-best shortstop of all time. Among his similarity scores at Baseball-Reference, eight of the 10 most similar players to Davis in his career are in the Hall of Fame, including most similar Frankie Frisch (87.7%), Roberto Alomar (fourth-similar, 81.9%), Appling (fifth, 81%) and Nellie Fox (ninth, 78.8%).

Near the end of his life Davis succumbed to dementia, and he died in a mental institution in Philadelphia at age 70 on this day in 1940.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Max Stassi

Max Stassi slides over to the South Side

MLB News

The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes are OVAH!

Today in White Sox History

Today in White Sox History: December 9