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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Tris Speaker on Game 3 of the 1919 World Series

From the Louisville Courier-Journal, October 4, 1919

White Sox Back in Form, Says Speaker; Hustling Playing Sweeps Reds Off Feet

If Cicotte is Right To-day Gleason’s Men Should Win Series

Kerr’s Control Great

Southpaw Pitches Most Intelligent Ball Yet Shown in Championship

Risberg in Spotlight

Chicago, Oct. 3 – As a result of to-day’s game, which was won by the White Sox by a score of 3 to 0, I would say that the American League champions at last are beginning to look more like their real selves. They were decidedly off color in the first game. They steadied in the second and it was no fault of anyone except Williams that they lost. But to-day they were right back in real Sox form, playing smart baseball except in one or two instances, and putting up such a hustling game that the Reds were just naturally swept off their feet.

I now believe that if Eddie Cicotte, whom Kid Gleason says will pitch to-morrow, wins his game, the White Sox will win the series. Cincinnati already has shown that it cannot hit either Williams or Kerr, the two Sox southpaws. The Reds made but four hits off Williams yesterday and won because he was wilder than he had been in any previous game this season. They made only three hits off Kerr to-day, and two of them were decidedly punk. As Kerr had great control, especially when he had to have it, Cincinnati never had a chance to score.

Cicotte Confident.

Cicotte told me after the game this afternoon that he was absolutely ready and that he would not disappoint the next time he started. I know that Gleason will not start him otherwise, so my believe that the Sox are going to take off the Series is strengthened. If Eddie is right no team in the country has any license to beat him, and certainly not Cincinnati, which has batted so weakly in the last two games.

Kerr pitched the most intelligent ball that has been pitched in this series. On sixteen batters I noticed that he pitched the count was two balls and no strikes before he got really busy. Such a system showed me that he was trying to work the corners and to pitch to the weakness of each Cincinnati batsman. His nerve was supreme, for in each instance except one, where he issued two balls before a strike, he kept sticking the ball over with something on it in spots not relished by the Reds. So great was his control that he walked but one man, and that did not hurt.

Better Than Ruether.

He pitched a more remarkable game than even Ruether in the first game of the series. Not once during the entire game did one of the Reds get a toe hold at the bat. There was not one real hard hit ball that the Sox could not handle without going out of their way. It was almost a case of Cincinnati handing out medals of honor to such of its players as were able to hit a ball to the outfield, and there were mighty few of them. I quit keeping score after the third inning because I was too busy arguing with a Boston newspaper man whether Chicago should have resorted to the hit and run or sacrifice in the third round, but some one told me there were only four fly balls caught by the outfielders. I know there were at least two of these that could have been caught by the infielders had not the outfielders waved their infield teammates aside.

Ray Fisher pitched a typical Fisher game, just the kind of ball he pitched in the American League when he was with the Yankees. He had the habit of pitching a lot of so-called hard luck games, games he lost by the score of 1 to 0, 2 to 1 and 3 to 2. He was noted for pitching good ball when he lost and his work to-day was true to form. Some of those around me expected that the Sox after they made three runs would keep on scoring and drive Ray from the box. I did not look for anything like that to happen. Fisher was in our league for several years and had the habit of keeping his head and pitching steadily even when the score was going against him.

Risberg Blossoms Forth.

Foremost among the White Sox, who struck his gait to-day was Swede Risberg. I never saw better work, that is, more consistent work by a short fielder than was exhibited by Risberg this afternoon. He had a bunch of chances. A lot of them were on bad bounders or balls that just slid along the ground, but not once did Risberg fail to handle the ball cleanly. There were two or three instances when I was about ready to score a base hit because the man hitting to short was a fast man and I figured that it would take a phenomenal play to beat him. But Risberg turned the trick each time and did it so gracefully that he deserved every bit of the applause he received. I don’t wonder that some oldtimers behind me yelled: “Mike Doolan has come to life.”

They never spoke truer words. He did look like Doolan when the old Philadelphia shortstop was at his best. He scooped up bad bounders while dashing in at full speed and completed his play by looping the ball to first without straightening up. During the regular season, Ray Chapman, Roger Peckinpaugh and Everett Scott had it on Risberg, but none of the three to-day could have done any better than the big Swede.

Calls the Turn.

When Eddie Collins singled in the third inning, I turned to my next door neighbor, a Pittsburgh scribe, and said: “Here is the best hit and run combination in our league, Eddie Collins and Buck Weaver.”

“Where does he hit, to left or to right field?” asked my neighbor.

“Generally to right field as that gives Eddie a chance to skim to third, but sometimes he pokes it through short if the shortstop goes to cover,” was my reply.

The words were scarcely out of my mouth when Eddie dashed for second. Kopf ran to cover and Weaver slammed a single through the spot vacated by Kopf. With such a splendid start, I believe I would have worked the same tactics with Joe Jackson as Joe is the Sox’ best hitter and is notoriously a better batter than he is bunter. But the Sox’s board of strategy decided otherwise.

Maybe I would have called the play just as they did had I been on bench directing the play. But it so happened that this time I had the hunch that Joe ought to hit. But he tried to bunt instead and hit a pop fly that was caught by Jake Daubert, a great play, by the way. Jackson hit safely the only other times he was at bat, but that does not strengthen my argument any. He might have fanned this particular time had he tried to hit instead of bunt.

Hit-and-Run Fails.

Chicago tried the hit and run on two other occasions. Both were in the sixth inning. Jackson led off with a single. The Sox tried the hit and run and Rariden outguessed the Sox by calling for a waste ball. Felsch missed and Jackson was flagged. Then Gandil flashed Felsch the hit and run sign and Happy went down only to be turned back as Gandil made no attempt to hit the ball. I guess there must have been a mistake in signs or Felsch misinterpreted some move made by Chic.

Before closing I want to call attention to my new duties as a baseball reporter. I want to call particular attention to the fact that I told what the score was in the opening sentence. I did not do that in my first story and some of these wise guys who have been writing baseball for twenty years told me what I did not know about reporting a baseball game would fill a dozen guides. Maybe they were right. Anyway, I got that score at the top to-night, for that is where they said I fell down.

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