1914 Chicago White Sox and New York Giants world tour

A great occasion in Australian baseball was the appearance in 1914 on the MCG of the two top American teams, the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox, under the leadership of the famous John J. McGraw and Charles Comiskey who were on a combined world tour. Both of these teams were at near full strength and played exhibition games against each other and against Victoria. Among the Victorians there was Vernon Ransford, right field, and Jack Ryder, left field as well as Frank Vaughan but the local standard was so far behind that of the visitors as to amount to a different game. The Giants defeated Victoria 18 to 0, and the White Sox were almost equally destructive, winning 16 to 3 in 5 innings.

Frank Vaughan was first to cross the plate for Victoria in the game against Chicago after earning a walk from pitcher Tris Speaker, stealing second brilliantly then coming home on a wild pitch. His baserunning was quite out of the ordinary considering that in the previous day’s game between the two American teams, not a single base was stolen.

Hugh Trumble used to tell a story of this visit. The top-hatted, frock-coated advance agent came to his office. He gave a full-speed, non-stop oration on terms and requirements and he finished it with these words:

 

'We don't like to fuss around with foreign banks and foreign currency - and as we leave for Adelaide after the play, we would be glad for you to have the proceeds in sovereigns right at the gate. We will count them on the train.'

 

Baseball fans were able to see in action such immortals of the game as Tris Speaker, Larry Doyle, Fred Merkle and the incredible athlete Jim Thorpe, playing for the Giants. In 1950 a nation-wide poll of American sports writers voted Thorpe as the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century as well as the greatest football player. Apart from his football and his baseball, he was the winner of both the pentathlon and the decathlon in the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912 only to lose the medals on the grounds that he had managed a pool room and had played semi-professional Baseball.

The highlight of these matches was undoubtedly a home run by the fabulous Red Indian athlete, Jim Thorpe. His hit from in front of what is now the Northern or Olympic stand clean over the fence on the opposite side of the ground and is calculated at over 550 feet. The ball landed on the asphalt embankment and crashed into the booth bar on top of the bank much to the astonishment of the drinkers. It was the biggest hit ever recorded on the MCG. And this was years before the introduction of the rubber centred or “lively” ball.

 

Chicago White Sox World’s Tour team 1914 taken at the MCG. Players representing Chicago on the tour included: Charles Comiskey far left, Joe Benz, Joe “Fats” Berger, Ping Bodie, Nixey Callahan, Sam Crawford, Tom Daly, Dick Egan, Steve Evans, Walter Levernz, Reb Russell, Germany Schaefer, Jim Scott, Tris Speaker, and George “Buck” Weaver.