1917 June

1st  Hank Gowdy is the first ML player to enlist when he signs up in the Ohio National Guard. He will play until he reports for duty July 15th and serve with distinction in WW1. He will also serve in WW2 as a major, one of just two or three players to serve in both wars.

Guy Morton of Cleveland finally stops the Red Sox, shutting them out, 3–0, on one hit (a rifle shot over 2B by rival P Babe Ruth in the 8th). Ray Chapman and Braggo Roth both steal home in the 4th, but Ruth allows just one hit until the 9th.

3rd  At Cincinnati, the Reds edge the visiting Braves, 6-5. Rabbit Maranville has two hits for Boston before severely spraining his ankle. Reports are he’ll be out a month.

5th Before a large holiday crowd of 30,000 in Detroit, the Tigers and Yankees split a pair. New York takes the opener, 5-1, before losing game 2 by a 6-4 score. Facing Shawkey five times in game 2, Cobb racks up 2 triples, a double and 2 singles to lead the Bengals.

The Giants lose to the Reds, 6-5, when Cincinnati punches across two runs in the bottom of the 9th with no outs. After a single, Kauff misjudges a fly ball by Mitchell which falls for a double. Burns then misjudges a line drive by Groh that drives in the pair of runs. Umpire Lord Byron, on his way to leading the NL in ejections for a third year, banishes 5 players and manager McGraw for bench jockeying. Ferdie Schupp allows 3 runs in 6 innings as he is knocked out of the box for the first time this year.

6th  With the Pirates in last place, Honus Wagner ends his ‘retirement’ and signs with the Pirates to play 1B. Wagner sends a telegram stating: “finding the call of baseball too strong to resist I desire to continue to play the game I love and to which I owe all I posses, and I hereby petition the National Commission to grant my request for reinstatement so that I may play with my old club tomorrow.”

Against the visiting Braves, the Cards take a 5-0 lead in the 3rdwhen Rogers Hornsby hits a grand slam, off Art Nehf. The Braves tie it in the top of the 8th, at 7 apiece, scoring 6 runs in the frame. Hornsby starts a rally with a double and the Cards eke out an 8-7 victory.

The A’s down the visiting Browns, 11–6, behind the hitting of Amos Strunk, who goes 5-for-5, and Ray Bates, who is 4-for-5 with a HR.

Pete Alexander shuts out the Cubs for the first-place Phillies, winning 4–0 and hitting a pair of triples. The Phillies (24-14), Giants (23-14) and Cubs (28-18) are bunched at the top of the NL.

8th  After a game in Cincinnati, John McGraw takes a swing at umpire Bill “Lord” Byron as they are leaving the field, splitting Byron’s lip. NL President John Tener fines McGraw $500 and suspends him for 16 days. McGraw sounds off to writer Sid Mercer about the general shortcomings of Tener and his umpires. When McGraw’s quotes are published, he signs a statement denying he’d said what was printed. The Baseball Writers Association protests, forcing another NL meeting at which Tener finds McGraw guilty and fines him another $1,000. Mercer, a friend of McGraw’s, quits the beat and never speaks to McGraw again.

The White Sox (31-15) top the Senators, 11-4, and are in a virtual tie with the Red Sox (29-14) for first place. Detroit beat Boston at Fenway, 7-4. While the White Sox win today, the Senators snap Chicago’s skein of 20 straight games in which their pitchers allowed 3 or fewer runs, a ML record.1

9th  The White Sox move into first place in the AL with a 5-4 win over Washington. They will swap the top spot with the Red Sox until August 18th when they will pull away to a final 9-game margin.

In Chicago, Ferdie Schupp and the Giants shut out the Cubs, 4-0, handing the Cubbies their third whitewash in a row.

11th The Reds edge Brooklyn, 3–2, helped by an inside-the-park homer by Greasy Neale. He’ll hit another on June 21st.

At St. Louis, with Joe Oeschger on the mound, Mike Gonzalez steals home in the 15th to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win over the first-place Phillies (as noted by Jan Larson).

13th The Washington Senators sell Elmer Smith back to the Indians for $4000. The Nats acquired the outfielder in a trade last August.

14th At St. Louis, the Cardinals pull off a triple steal in the 5thinning to help beat Brooklyn, 5-4. Dots Miller is on the front end with Cruise and Long following. Rogers Hornsby hits a home run in the 7th.

15th Los Angeles (PCL) pitcher Jack Ryan hits two grand slams in a 12-4 victory over Portland.

16th Grover Cleveland Alexander clubs two triples and shuts out the Cubs to lead the Phillies to a 4–0 win. Tom Seaton takes the loss.

The Red Sox, 1-6 in their last seven games coming into the Chicago series, appear to be on the verge of losing another when the Pale Hose take a 2-0 lead in the 5th. With a light mist falling, Boston starts stalling, and then finds an ally when a “horde of fans” (Chicago Tribune) storm the field from the RF bleachers “where the gambling crowd is allowed to operate freely.” The mob goes on the field in the 5th to prevent the Red Sox from batting and making it an official game and with just five policemen in the stadium, the umpires are unable to clear the field. The Chicago players must force their way to the dugout and “Buck Weaver is “hit by a pop bottle while leaving the field.” Weaver and McMullen are accused of “having slugged a couple of fans in the mob during the riot, and later those fans went to the chief officer and arranged to get warrants out for their arrest.” Umpire McCormick refuses to forfeit the game and two mounted policemen come on the field when the players return. Boston owner Frazee “declined to obey McCormick’s order” to remove the canvas covering the mound until the ump “pulled his watch.” Sawdust is spread on the wet infield and when play resumes 45 minutes later the White Sox go on to a 7-2 win.

17th At Cleveland, Lee Gooch hits a grand slam to power the A’s to a 9-5 win over the Indians. Gooch’s drive comes in the 4thinning against Guy Morton.

Chicago Tribune reporter Crusinberry writes about yesterday’s Red Sox game, that “the horde of gamblers that assembles in the right field pavilion each day . . .carries on operations with as much vigor and vim as one would see in the wheat pit of the Chicago board of trade. The same condition prevails at the National League park (Braves) and although gambling may take place more or less in all big league parks, there is no other city where it is allowed to flourish so openly. Just why this betting ring is allowed in Boston and not tolerated in other cities never has been explained by the baseball magnates, but it is supposed to carry a political angle which has the hands of the magnates tied.” He continues, “The fact that Harry Frazee, new owner of the Red Sox, tried to prevent resuming play after the riot shows he needs some coaching on the way to conduct baseball business, though he may be a most successful theatrical man.”

18th Hooks Dauss shuts out the Senators to give the Tigers a 1–0 win, their 3rd straight over Washington. Only one man advances as far as 2B. Nats pitcher Harry Harper gives up the run in the 4th after Ty Cobb walks, steals second (one of his three) aided by a passed ball, a wild pitch, and Crawford’s ground out. Harper throws over to 1B ten times trying to pick off Cobb.

At the Polo Grounds, Yankee pitcher Ray Fisher walks Burt Shotton, the Browns leadoff batter, who comes around to score the game’s only run. It’s Fisher’s only walk, but he loses 1–0 to Bob Groom, who tosses a six-hitter.

On Bunker Hill Day, the Red Sox celebrate by sweeping two from the White Sox, 6–4 and 8–7. In the afternoon game, Chicago loses a 3-run lead in the 9th when the Sox use three singles, two errors and a passed ball to score four runs. Carl Mays and Herb Pennock are the winners, while Babe Ruth is limited to a pinch hitting appearance in game 2. Bosox players Ernie Shore and assistant-manager Heinie Wagner are notified that they are suspended indefinitely for arguments voiced during Friday’s game. Chicago players Weaver and McMullin are served warrants for assault during the game. The charges were made “by Augustin J. McNally of Norwood, a nearby suburb.” McNally was one of the mob which attempted to break up the game and “during the fussing, is supposed to have bumped McMullin’s fist with his eye. . . and to have had his fingers on the railing just when Weaver let his bat fall.” The case is defaulted tomorrow as the players return to Chicago and, although the original plan was to have a hearing the next month when the White Sox are in Boston, it will be quietly dismissed.

The NL Board of Directors votes to back President Tener’s drastic discipline of John McGraw and orders the Giants manager to appear in person defend counter charges made by Tener. Tener actions are based on newspaper accounts quoting McGraw as saying the league president is incompetent. McGraw is not allowed to appeal his $500 fine and 16-day suspension resulting in the run-in with umpire Bryon at Cincinnati on June 8.

In a 4–0 win over the Cardinals, Pirate center fielder Max Carey triples in the 3rd inning and then steals home. Mort Cooper scatters six hits in the win for the last-place Pirates.

Setting a Southern Association record, Little Rock pitcher Indian Ben Tincup throws a perfect game against Birmingham, winning 3–0. Tincup pitched for the Phillies in 1914-15, and will have a coffee and cheesesteak with them next year.

19th In the opener of 2, the Red’s Hod Eller loses 2–1 to the Cubs, scattering 6 hits and striking out 6. He then starts the nitecap and is ahead 6–2 when the game is called after 6 innings.

21st In a game against Salt Lake City, Red McKee of the San Francisco Seals (PCL), forgets the bases are loaded and attempts to steal 3B. His inadvertent ploy works as the startled pitcher Tom Hughes is called for a balk.

22nd  Honus Wagner is given a day in Pittsburgh in honor of his unretirement for one more year. The Pirates then overcome Fred Merkle’s 2-run triple in the 1st and beat the Cubs, 4-3, in 10 innings. Wagner has a single and an RBI.

23rd  In the memorable first of two games at Boston, Babe Ruth starts for the Red Sox and walks the leadoff man, griping to plate umpire Brick Owens after each pitch. On ball 4, Ruth plants a right to the umpire’s jaw and is ejected. Ernie Shore hastily relieves and Sam Agnew takes over behind the plate for Pinch Thomas. The runner Ray Morgan is then caught stealing by Agnew, and Shore retires all 26 men he faces in a 4–0 win, getting credit in the books for a perfect game. Ruth is fined $100, and draws a 10-day suspension. Agnew is 3-for-3 at the plate. In the nitecap, Boston’s Dutch Leonard then beats Walter Johnson, 5–0.

The Phillies hand Ferdie Schupp (8-1) his first loss of the season, pounding the ace for 6 runs in the 1st as Schupp lasts just the one inning, his shortest start in his career (tied once). Jimmy Lavender (4-3) knocks in 2 of the Phils 8 runs as they win, 8-2.

24th Cincinnati splits a pair with the Cardinals, losing 4–2 before winning 15–4. The Reds Fred Toney is caught stealing 3 times in the game, tying a NL record. Cards catchers will do the same to Hy Myers in 2 months.

In a Texas League contest, J.P. “Snipe Conley of Dallas shuts out Ft. Worth, 6-0, on no hits. He faces 27 batters, walking one man who is caught stealing.

25th The Reds salvage a split with the Cards by pounding out 25 hits in the 2nd game of a doubleheader to win 15–4. The Cards win the opener, 4–2, with SS Rogers Hornsby making 10 assists.

26th In the first of two at Comiskey, the Tigers collect 16 hits in trouncing the White Sox, 9-2. Harry Heilmann puts the game on ice with a 3-run homer in the 9th. The Sox rebound to win game 2, 4-3, behind Lefty Williams (9-0). Williams 9-game win streak will be matched by teammate Reb Russell later this year.

30th Pirates manager Jimmy Callahan is fired after his team goes 20–40. Popular star Honus Wagner is named field manager with Hugo Bezdek to take over the team’s business affairs. As his first order of business, Wagner guides the Bucs to a 5–4 win over the Reds, contributing a 2-run double as well.

The Tigers split with the host Browns, losing the opener, 4-3, before winning 6-5. Cobb warms up in the first game with 2 hits, then clocks an opposite field grand slam, off Bob Groom in the 5th, and a triple in the 2nd game. The slam clears the LF bleachers.

Philadelphia sweeps a pair from the visiting Senators, winning 14-6 and 8-5. Ping Bodie bangs a grand slam for the A’s off George Dumont as they move into a tie for 7th place. Joe Judge has a homer for the Senators, their first of the year.