Chicago Tribune, 10 October 1906
Backed by hordes of sympathizers, Chicago’s American league champions invaded the west side yesterday and won the first battle for the world’s pennant from Chicago’s National league champions by a score of 2 to 1 in a game so hotly, desperately contested that it everted an incipient snow storm, with which a stony hearted weather man thought to blight a gala event.
To Nick Altrock, of the snaky curves and handsome face, and George Rohe, a substitute forced into the thick of the fight by the disability of George Davis, the south side fans owed practically all the jubilation which they were spreading in thick coats all over the town last night, and in their mad glee over securing the advantage at the outset, the White Sox rooters nearly crushed the lives out of their heroes at the end of the game.
The instant Steinfeldt’s fly settled into Manager Jones’ hands in the last half of the ninth inning, ending the game, there was a rush from every direction for the White Stocking bench. First scores, then hundreds and thousands pushed and fought for the privilege of carrying Altrock and Rohe from the field. So great did the jam become that the players were in danger of of being crushed by the delirious mob surrounding them. It was a seething whirlpool of crazy bugs, with two blue clad athletes at its vortex, and what damage it it might have done never will be known, for a score of sturdy bluecoats hurled themselves into the mass, scattering fans like so many dry leaves, and, reaching the center at last, formed around Altrock and escorted him to an exit, surrounded by a howling throng of worshippers.
Desperately Fought Contest
That was the climax of a contest which worked the rooters to a high pitch, for it was anybody’s game at all times and it was played more brilliantly than cleanly, more desperately than brilliantly. Both teams showed symptoms of nervous pressure and all three runs scored were the results of slips by opponents.
Altrock and Brown were given the honor of starting the world’s series and both justified their managers’ confidence, pitching magnificent baseball. The battling was practically a negative quantity, only four hits made off each twirler. Each pitcher gave one base on balls and Brown fanned seven batters to Altrock’s three.
Altrock Against Brown
No two pitchers were better matched that that pair: Altrock, a bundle of nerve and confidence, who won the only game the Sox could get in last fall’s series with Chance’s men; Brown, equally cool, confident, and courageous, with a brilliant season’s record behind him after facing the most desperate situations possible without faltering and coming out with flying colors. These pitchers might have gone on until dark without a decision, but their support decided the battle, and because Altrock’s was the better and more brilliant the victory was his.
Fans rush the field and police protect White Stockings’ starting and winning pitcher, Nick Altrock
Two Wonderful Plays
Rohe shared with Altrock the glories of the day, because it was his long drive past Sheckard into the seats that put the Sox in the game in the fifth inning, and because his was the honor of scoring the first run with the help of a muff by the old reliable Johnny Kling. Not satisfied with that, Rohe performed the second most spectacular feat of the game when he reached up and speared with gloved hand a liner which Harry Steinfeldt intended for at least three bases in the seventh inning. “Jiggs” Donahue alone surpased that stab, and Rohe figured in that performance, too. With two Spuds out and one on third base in the sixth inning, Rohe grabbed Schulte’s grounder and threw it low and wide to first. To lose that out meant a tie score at least. Donahue stretched and just reached the ball, plucking it off the ground, then rolled over on his back with his heel still resting on the base and the ball clutched tightly in his mitt, saving the day by that one feat.
Never was such a contest, for such high stakes, played under worse conditions. A cold, raw day was made more disagreeable by a chilling wind and cold gray clouds denied the sun more than a single fleeting chance to light up the picture. These conditions, far better suited to gridiron than in a diamond battle, combined with the belief of many fans that it would be useless to attempt to get inside the grounds without the hardship of spending nearly all day to get a seat, doubtless kept many enthusiasts away. The attendance figures, announced by representatives of the national commission who have charge of the receipts, were 12,963, considerably below expectations. But these same figures indicated the accommodation had been overestimated, for it would have been impossible to crowd many thousands into the spaces left vacant, in the deep left field bleachers and the benches on the field.
Idols of the White Sox: Altrock and Rohe
Wait Long in the Cold
Many of the 12,000 who braved all kinds of bacilli waited hours before the gates were opened at noon and then waited hours before the game started. Not many of them escaped suffering from the cold, but there were some who came prepared for the weatherman’s worst. Fur coats, fur blankets, buffalo robes, steamer rugs, and other paraphernalia, familiar enough at football games, were brought by the wisest of spectators, while heavy winter overcoats and wraps were indispensable to even a moderate degree of comfort.
It was a jolly , good natured crowd, however, with infinite patience and without bitter partisanship. The White Sox seemed to have the greater number of sympathizers, but that was because they were winning at all times, and the other thousands who were rooting for Chance and his record breakers had only an opportunity or two to make demonstrations.
Every member of the two teams was given a hearty greeting by the opposing bands of rooters as they appeared for preliminary practice—it would be a serious misnomer to call it a “warming up.” Sweaters were a predominating feature of the players’ uniforms while limbering up, with heavier clothing than that concealed them when on the benches. Every move in the field was watched and applauded with outbursts here and there, while a continuous murmur of anticipation drowned out the ordinary sounds of the diamond.
Slagle and Davis Missing
The roar which greeted the signal for starting the game was so terrific no attempt was made by the umpires to announce the batteries, and when the players took their positions it soon was discovered neither had its regular lineup intact. Jimmy Slagle, although on hand in uniform to share victory or defeat was not able to play center, and in his place was Artie Hofman, who was to shine later in the defense by a magnificent throw to the plate which cut off a Sox run after almost every one had conceded it to the invaders. Jones’ team was without its infield leader, George Davis, and at his post was Tannehil, a convalescent, making room for Rohe, the hero to be on third.
Just before the flag dropped, President E. C. Wetten of the Hamilton club presented each team with a silver loving cup, a donation from the organization in recognition of the honors the players had brought to Chicago. With diplomatic impartiality the trophies were twins in design and were presented at the same time to Managers Chance and Jones, backed by the rival champions, who rushed quickly to the center of the stage as soon as they scented prizes.
Then the struggle began, and for the better part of an hour it was fought without advantage to either side. So well were Altrock and Brown pitching, so steady and fast was their support, that in four innings not a White Stocking reached first base at all, and only one Spud was allowed there, on a hit which did not pass the infield.
Break Comes in Fifth
Then in the middle of the battle the strain began to tell. Chance’s defense broke first, and quick to take advantage of their opening, the south side champions gained a lead of one run. That looked to be enough the way the teams had been playing, but it proved otherwise. Again in the sixth Jones’ men were given a chance by a pass to Altrock, and before the hole was closed they pulled through it the run which eventually won. In their half of the sixth Chance’s men, fighting gamely to avert defeat, scored their only run. But for a wild pitch they would have been denied even that solace.
That battle and its result showed the west side fans how the Sox won their pennant while trailing all other clubs in their league in batting. The game was won by a determined fighting defense, which held back the heavy batting Spuds, and by a dashing, heady attack which took full advantage of every opening and every bit of the luck of the game.
Schulte was the first man on either team to reach first base, but were two out in the fourth when he got there and, although he stole second, Altrock speared Chance’s hot grounder and retired the side.
Game One Ticket
Rohe’s Great Drive
Rohe led the first successful attack in the fifth with a drive to left which barely eluded Sheckard as he ran over to keep it from bounding into the seats. Ground rules gave Rohe three bases, and he probably could not have been held at second anyway after Sheckard failed to stop the ball. A run seemed certain with none out, but Brown worked Donahue in brilliant fashion with low curves, striking “Jiggs” out in the pinch. Dougherty went up to score the run with a long fly, but instead hit a soft roller just to the left of the plate. Rohe dashed for home and finished with a slide, while King, in his eagerness to get the ball on the runner, dropped Brown’s quick toss. This upset Johnny and he let a curve escape him a moment later, giving Dougherty second base, but Tinker disposed of both Sullivan and Tannehill and one run was the limit.
In the sixth Altrock refused to be tempted by the choice Brown offered him and drew the only pass issued to the Sox. Hahn sacrificed perfectly, and Jones slammed a low fly just out of Evers’ grasp in short center. Altrock rounded third and dug for home. Hofman dashed in, scooped the ball on the bound, and without recovering threw straight as a rifle shot to Kling, who flagged Nick a yard from the plate, cutting off a run. But another short passed ball let Jones to third, and when Isbell deposited a short fly safely in left field Jones sprinted home with the run that won.
Nationals’ Only Score
Undeterred by this lead, which looked big to every one with the game half gone, Chance’s men came back in their half of the sixth and threatened to wipe the Sox off the map completely. Kling worked Altrock for a pass as a starter. Brown bunted two fouls and then hit a grounder over Altrock’s head. Neither Isbell nor Tannehill got to it, and both runners were safe. Hofman laid down a neat sacrifice, advancing the Spuds to where a single would tie up the game. Altrock selected this situation to spring up one of his justly celebrated subway curves, which hit the ground and escaped Sullivan entirely, letting Kling score and Brown to third. Stockard raised a high fly to short left center, and it seemed out of reach, bt Tannehill ran back and caught it brilliantly as the ball came down over his head, holding Brown at third. Then Schulte hit sharply to Rohe, whose wild toss to first gave Donahue his chance to save the game, already related.
Jones’ Joyful Antics
Both teams threatened runs in later innings, but the defense was too strong and perfect. Chance’s best batters were up for the ninth and his stanchest rooters were clamoring for one of the old ninth inning rallies. Moran was sent to bat for Sheckard to give a right hander a crack at Nick, but flied out. Tannehill disposed of Schulte’s roller, but Chance game to the spikes, tried to lead his club to an eleventh hour victory with a clean, whistling single to center. Steinfeldt was the last hope, but he had no fresh chew left for the occasion and lifted the first ball pitched high in the air over center.
The instant the ball was hit Jones began a crazy war dance of joy, for his keen judgement told him it was coming down right where he stood. Jumping up in the air and waving his arms above his head the man on whom devolved the task of cinching victory waited impatiently for the ball to come out of the clouds. Spreading wide his arms in welcoming attitude he slowly brought his hands together again only an instant before the flying sphere settled into them.
Game One Box Score
Notes on the Side and Comments on the Game
Venturesome scalpers dotted the main avenues of approach, keeping on the move and soliciting prospective customers as they passed. Eight of them were gathered by plain clothesmen, but one, a hunchback, made his escape. Detective Joe Berry spotted him and was about to arrest him when a woman dropped her eyeglasses in front of the policeman. It was luck of the hunchback, as during the momentary divetisement he spotted the officer and back-pedaled towards the county hospital.
Seated in two boxes on the third base side of the diamond were the wives and sweethearts of the White Sox, armed with cardboard megaphones and Sox banners. Miss White, sister of Dr. Harry White, carried a small sized cub, whose hind feet were encased in white sox. After the victory was clinched, the cub was inverted and the white sox showed on top. “We stood them on their heads,” was the comment of the owner as the party moved homewards.
During one of the spasms of excitement one excited fan shouted “Touchdown.” The mistake doubtless was due to the temperature.
The most frequent cry was “Sit down.”