1917 White Sox and the 1917 World Series!

1917 White Sox and the 1917 World Series!

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1917 White Sox and the 1917 World Series Photo Gallery
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 1917 World Series

“Who the hell was I supposed to throw to, Bill Klem?” –Heine Zimmerman, commenting a controversial play in the 1917 World Series

Tonight the White Sox are paying tribute to their World Series championship team of 1917, so I thought this is a good time to take a closer look. In the 1917 World Series, the White Sox beat the Giants four games to two. The Series featured one of the most memorable World Series S events in baseball history, as the bove quote would indicate (see a description of the play below).

In the featured photo above, we see the 1917 American League champion White Sox coming on to the field at the Polo Grounds to start the 1917 World Series amid fanfare and festivities. The young kid in the center is the son of Sox’ manager, Pants Rowland. To the right with the catchers’ mitt is back-up catcher Byrd Lyn; to his right is Lefty Williams, one of the eight Black Sox; and in the center of the photo is outfielder Nemo Leibold. 

The Series was played against the backdrop of World War I, which dominated American newspapers that year and next. The White Sox were managed by Pants Rowland, making his only post-season appearance; while the Giants were managed by John McGraw, who had recently won pennants in 1911, ‘12, and ‘13, but lost all three World Series.

The Series featured a total of six Hall-of-Famers: umpires Bill Klem and Billy Evans; White Sox Eddie Collins, Red Faber, and Ray Schalk; and Giants John McGraw. 

Eddie Collins was the hitting star, batting .409 over the six games; while Eddie Cicotte and Red Faber combined to pitch 50 out of a total 52 innings for the White Sox. The great athlete Jim Thorpe made his only World Series “appearance” during Game Five, where he was listed in the lineup as starting in right field, but for his turn at bat in the top of the first inning he was replaced by Dave Robertson.

The Famous 1917 World Series Play: Heinie Zimmerman Chases Eddie Collins Across the Plate!

The decisive game featured a controversial rundown in which Giants’ third baseman Heinie Zimmerman futilely chased the speedy Eddie Collins toward home plate with what was the Series-winning run. Catcher Bill Rariden had run up the third base line to start a rundown, expecting pitcher Rube Benton or first baseman Walter Holke to cover the plate. However, neither of them budged, forcing Zimmerman to chase Collins, while pawing helplessly in the air with the ball in an attempt to tag him.

Two years before the “Black Sox” scandal, Zimmerman found himself having to publicly deny purposely allowing the run to score, and that he had “thrown” the game. A famous quote often attributed to Zimmerman some years later was that when asked about the incident Zimmerman replied, “Who the hell was I supposed to throw to, Bill Klem?” Zimmerman would eventually be banned for life from baseball due to various accusations of corruption.

-Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the 1917 World Series Wikipedia page

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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