Future Hall of Famer Tris Speaker Reports on Game 2 of the 1919 World Series
From the Louisville Courier-Journal, October 3, 1919
Reds Tighten Hold on World Series Banner
Williams’ Lack of Control Fatal to Sox, Says Speaker
Team with Twirler Possessing Poor Aim Under Tremendous Handicap, Asserts Indian Manager – Chicago Pitcher Guilty of Throwing Wrong Ball to Kopf and Neale
Unable to Keep Curve Working Corners of Plate.
Cincinnati, Oct. 2 – A team that has a pitcher in the box that lacks control is laboring under a tremendous handicap. Such a situation forces the pitcher to carry on the fight single handed, as his teammates have no chance to help him except with words of encouragement.
Such was the condition the White Sox were up against to-day when they lost to the Cincinnati club by the score of 4 to 2. Claude Williams was wild, wilder than I ever saw him before. His trouble seemed to be that he was trying to keep his curve ball on the outside of the plate for the left-hand hitters and on the inside for the right-hand batters. During the regular season he seemed to be able to work that particular corner, but he could not do it to-day and numerous passes resulted.
And the passes he issued were not his only instances of lack of control. There were two occasions when he pitched the wrong ball to Cincinnati batsmen, once when Kopf tripled and once when Neale singled. Now, it is a cinch that Chicago knew that Kopf liked a high fast ball and that Neale was weak on the one close to him.
Of course, they knew all about the weaknesses and hitting grooves of the Reds. Yet Williams, in the fourth inning, handed Kopf a high fast one for his first offering. It is a cinch that Williams did not intend to do so. It was ust a case of his lacking control. The chances are that he sought to sneak one over waist high and got it higher than he intended. Neale, who drove in Cincinnati’s last run, looked very weak against Williams the first two times up and it may have been that Lefty became somewhat over-confident when Greasy came up in the sixth. He got two strikes on him and then sought to work the outside corner. He failed to keep it quite far enough away from Greasy and the latter singled to left.
In that same fourth inning there was a great exhibition of the confidence in Williams by Ray Schalk, his catcher. Cincinnati had Groh on third and Roush on first with the count two and one on Duncan. Without any doubt, Schalk is one of the best catchers in the country in outguessing his opponents when the hit and run is to be attempted.
SCHALK DISPLAYS NERVE.
He made up his mind this time that Roush was going down on the next ball and that Duncan would take his swing. To break up the play he called for a pitchout, a nervy thing with the count two and one and a pitcher in the box who already had passed two men that inning and still was having difficulty in throwing the ball just where he wanted. Schalk merely remembered he had pulled the game play time and time again during the regular season and got away with it. He apparently did not take into consideration the fact that Williams was wild and that calling for a waste ball was going to make the going much tougher for his pitcher.
It was just a case of thinking he could do in the world’s series what he had done before – that Williams would be able to concede that third ball to Duncan and come through safely. But here Schalk had guessed wrong. Suppose Roush merely was going to make a bluff to steal second. In that case Cincinnati would have the bases filled in case Williams did not settle down. It was the hit and run, though, just as Schalk had figured, and his throw to second nipped Roush easily. But Williams found himself unable to get the next one over for Duncan, and there were two on again, except that this time there were two out instead of only one.
Then he handed Kopf that high, fast one, and Larry hit it just as hard as Steve O’Neill or Roger Peckinpaugh can hit one, and I’ll say these two men can hit a high, fast one as far as anyone.
Although the White Sox has lost two games, the only two played, as an American Leaguer I feel more hopeful to-night than I did this morning. It was demonstrated to-day to my satisfaction that the Reds cannot hit Williams. They got only four hits off him this afternoon, and two of them were because, as I said, “Lefty” didn’t have his control when pitching to Neale and Kopf.
Roush and Rariden got the other two hits, and those are two batters who are likely to hit any pitcher, as they are good hitters. I feel that the next time Williams pitches, and it may be day after to-morrow, he will have his control, and it will be a different story. They will not get three runs off him in one inning as they did to-day. Had it been up to their hitting alone, the Reds never would have been in the game, as it looks to me as if the Cincinnati team was made up to order for a good left hand pitcher such as Williams is. They had five left hand batters in to-day, and two singles were all the five could make.
The Chicago fellows told me after the game that Sallee did not have a thing. Well, I would not go quite as far as that. I’ll concede that he had control, but otherwise I could not see that he was putting much on the ball. I expected to see him have more stuff, as they told me that to-day, with its intense heat, was a regular Sallee day. He does not like cold weather. Few pitchers do who have been working on the rubber as many years as he has. From where I sat in the press box it looked as if control and confidence in his support were his two biggest assets. It so happened that those were enough.
ROUSH’S GREAT CATCH.
One line drive after another hit by the Chicago batsmen were right at some member of the Reds, the break of the game being when Roush made a wonderful catch of Felsch’s hard drive to the center field wall in the sixth inning. Without any doubt Roush is one of the greatest outfielders it was ever my pleasure to see in action. The fact that he caught the ball with both hands shows what a wonderful judge of a fly ball he is.
The breaks began to go against the Sox in the first inning, when, with the hit and run signal flashing, Weaver hit a drive toward left that would have sent Eddie Collins to third easily had it not been that Buck’s liner went right into Kopf’s hands. A foot or two higher, and that first round would have opened auspiciously for Chicago. As it was, it was not a difficult catch, the ball being right at the Cincinnati shortstop.
BREAKS AGAINST SOX.
In the third inning Chicago was unlucky again. Schalk led off by hitting the ball right on a line to Rousch. Williams followed with a real base hit. John Collins hit the ball just as hard as either of the others, but he also hit a line drive that Neale scarcely had to stir out of his tracks to get. Had luck been with the American League champions in that inning Chicago would have had three hits in a row to its credit. The top of the Chicago batting order hit in that luck throughout the game, and I’ll say that Sallee was very lucky to last the game, to say nothing of winning.
We go to Chicago to-night, and it would not surprise me at all to see the White Sox turn the tables and take the next two games. Neither would it surprise me to see Gleason pick Eddie Cicotte to pitch to-morrow. Eddie still maintains that his arm is strong and that he can beat the Reds. If he is not fooling himself, he is the Sox bet for the third game of the series.