BUCK WEAVER

GAMBLING WITH HARRY FRAZEE ...
Gamblers, trying to control the game,
are the news in a Red Sox loss to the White Sox

June 16, 1917 ... The Red Sox hit today at Fenway Park, and yet they could not win, as they did not show much punch at the proper times. Eddie Cicotte who was sent away from Fenway Park five years ago, had nothing to worry about outside of the eighth inning. The White Sox put over a big wallop when they had men on base, and although Babe Ruth held them to five hits in the first eight innings, four of those proved productive. In every inning that Chicago scored, Babe had two men out and couldn't hold it.

A violent thunderstorm had pounded the Eastern seaboard the previous day and most of the fans who filed into Fenway Park for the 3 p.m. start took precautionary cover under the roof that hung over the infield box seats. The usual contingent of “sporting men” took their customary spots in the right-field bleachers. Frazee claimed he had recently installed a special police force in that section to break up the gambling, but reportedly only five or six police officers were on duty that day.

Babe Ruth was sent in to apply the brakes on the slipping Red Sox and they failed to work. As far as the game went, the White Sox won the moist and muddy exhibition, giving the Babe a mauling in the final frame, just after the Red Sox had started to make it interesting.

The atmosphere was tense from the start. Umpire Tommy Connolly ejected hot-headed Red Sox pitcher Carl Mays in the second inning for arguing from the bench. By then Chicago had taken a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Joe Jackson. The crowd began to get restless as a steady drizzle fell. The Red Sox failed to deliver in the first and second when they had chances to score. Harry Hooper singled in the first and was left stranded on second. In the second inning, Walker doubled and Thomas beat out an infield hit and were left on base at the end.

In the fourth inning, after the White Sox scored a second run off Ruth, the rain grew heavier, and a few fans from the outfield bleachers ran across the field to the covered pavilion, stopping play for several minutes. Cries of “call the game!” were heard as Cicotte shut down the Red Sox hitters in order in the bottom half of the inning. The Babe recorded two quick outs in the fifth. Then, as leadoff hitter Shano Collins stepped to the plate for the White Sox, all hell broke loose.

A crowd of about 300 fans suddenly began leaping over the right-field fence and marching onto the playing field. Umpire Barry McCormick immediately called time and stood gazing in amazement. They didn’t rush at the players or umpires. Instead of fighting, the mob simply surged out upon the field … and stood around.”

They were stalling for time. If the rain continued, the field would be deemed unplayable, and the game would have to be called. Any hometown bettors who had wagered on the Red Sox would not lose their money.

Connolly, an original American League umpire since 1901, looked around for help from the police. The few officers present could not be found. Connolly and Red Sox manager Jack Barry took charge and persuaded the mob to leave the field so Boston did not have to forfeit the game. But the fans didn’t return to their seats in right field. Instead, they climbed into the infield grandstand. Just when play was about to resume, new leaders and recruits came from the gamblers’ stand, then the first group piled out of the boxes again. This time, the mob was riotous, the newspapers reported.

McCormick ordered the Red Sox off the field, and both teams attempted to exit under the stands through the Boston dugout. A melee ensued with the mob converging on the players. White Sox catcher Ray Schalk verbally berated police Sgt. Louis Lutz for several minutes. The White Sox were forced to fight their way off the field. Infielder Buck Weaver was never one to back down from a brawl. He grabbed a baseball bat and started swinging in all directions. Utility man Fred McMullin used a more traditional weapon, his fists, to get away. Both teams managed to escape safely to the clubhouse.

Boston police eventually sent officers on horseback from a nearby station to restore order.

Despite the gamblers’ efforts, or maybe because of them, umpires McCormick and Connolly ordered the game to resume. But they encountered surprising resistance from Red Sox owner Frazee, who inexplicably refused to permit his groundskeepers to remove the tarpaulin that covered the field. McCormick pulled out his watch and gave Frazee an ultimatum: Remove the tarp or forfeit the game. Frazee finally relented. After an approximate 45-minute delay, Collins resumed his long-awaited at-bat with two outs in the fifth inning. He flied out to center field.

The White Sox extended their lead to 3-0 in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Happy Felsch, and Cicotte continued his shutout through the first seven innings. The Red Sox cut the lead to 3-2 in the eighth. The rally in the eighth, was good for two runs. Harry Hooper, who had forced Ruth, counted from first on Dick Hoblitzell's double and a single by Larry Gardner. Larry Gardner scored on a rap from Lewis to Buck Weaver, who failed to get Duffy at first.

But the White Sox put the game out of reach in the ninth, scoring four more runs to win 7-2 with the big blow being Buck Weaver’s rare home run over the left-field wall.

Buck Weaver and Happy Felsch executed two fine plays in the game. The thirdbaseman going down almost to his own clubs bullpen in the seventh for a foul fly off the bat of Tilly Walker, and Felsch plucking a low speedy liner from Pinch Thomas which would have been good for three bases. The fans did not appreciate his efforts; Weaver reportedly dodged a pop bottle thrown at him after the game. But the mounted policemen kept violence to a minimum as the White Sox left the ballpark.

 

FENWAY PARK

 

BATTER

 

 

0
STRIKES

0
BALLS

0
OUTS

 
 
 

P

C

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
     

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

4

   

7

10

0

 
     

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

   

2

9

1

 

 

W-Eddie Cicotte (10-4)
L-Babe Ruth (11-4)
Attendance - 9405
2B-Jackson (Chi), S.Collins (Chi), Walker (Bost),
Hoblitzell (Bost)

HR-Weaver (Chi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Harry Hooper rf 4 1 1 .220  

 

Jack Barry 2b 3 0 1 .162  

 

Dick Hoblitzell 1b 4 1 1 .259  

 

Larry Gardner 3b 4 0 2 .282  

 

Duffy Lewis lf 4 0 1 .250  

 

Tillie Walker cf 4 0 1 .250  

 

Everett Scott ss 2 0 0 .237  

 

Chick Shorten ph 1 0 0 .190  

 

Mike McNally ss 1 0 0 .333  

 

Pinch Thomas c 4 0 1 .225  

 

Babe Ruth p 4 0 1 .413  
               
    IP H R BB SO  
  Babe Ruth 9 10 6 5 4  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1917 AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

Chicago White Sox 35 17 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX

30 19 3 1/2

 

 

New York Yankees 28 20 5

 

 

Cleveland Indians 28 27 8 1/2

 

 

Detroit Tigers 23 25 10

 

 

St. Louis Browns 20 30 14

 

 

Washington Nationals 18 31 15 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Athletics 17 30 15 1/2