Pivotal World Series Plays
Weaver Fires up White Sox; McGraw Sticks with Slim
1917 World Series Game 5: New York Giants @ Chicago White Sox
The White Sox won the first two games of the best-of-seven series at home. But they lost the next two at the Polo Grounds, being shut out by Rube Benton 2-0 and Ferdie Schupp 5-0. John McGraw's Giants taunted the White Sox. "We thought you were a fightin' ball club. Who're you yellowbellies now? Fightin' ball club? Hell!"
Sox SS Buck Weaver decided his team needed a jolt. They needed to "let loose." So the team sharpened their spikes like razors. During batting practice at frigid Comiskey Park before Game 5, Buck signaled to teammate Dave Danforth to throw the ball low and outside so he could whack it down the RF line where the Giants were warming up. "I wanted to knock a couple of 'em cold," said Weaver. So without any warning, he smacked one in the Giants' direction. When they turned to see who hit the ball, Buck sent another one right at them. The Giants hollered at him, Weaver yelled back that he "was goin' to flatten a couple of 'em; that they thought they were a fightin' ball club; well, we'd show 'em a real fightin' team." Following Buck's lead, each of his teammates picked a Giant to hassle. Weaver took his counterpart, SS Art Fletcher.

L-R: Buck Weaver, Nemo Leibold, Eddie Murphy, Shano Collins, Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch
At first, Buck's plan seemed to fire up the Giants instead of the White Sox. New York led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the 6th in "miserable baseball weather...overcoats and furs were needed to keep the fans from shivering in the stands" (New York Times). With one out, Weaver singled. C Ray Schalk followed with another single to RCF. As Buck headed for 2nd, he had to push Giants 2B Buck Herzog out of his way, and as he headed to 3rd, he had to sidestep Fletcher, who was also trying to impede his progress. Swede Risberg's pinch hit single drove Weaver home to cut the margin to 4-2. However, the Giants got that run right back in the top of the 7th.
When 2B Eddie Collins popped out to start the Sox 7th, Giants southpaw starter Slim Sallee was only five outs from giving New York a three-games-to-two lead.
Many were surprised that McGraw started Slim because "Sallee's long association with St. Louis made him distinctly a hot weather worker, and when the New York contingent arose this morning and found the thermometer hovering about the 32 degree mark, it was taken for granted that Pol Perritt or Rube Benton would pitch for the Giants ."
Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch hit singles, and both scored on Chick Gandil's double to make it 5-4. With Pol Perritt warming up, Manager John McGraw decided to stick with Slim - a decision that would be roundly criticized in the New York press the next day. Up next, Weaver would have liked nothing better than to drive home the tying run. But with the crowd in a frenzy, all he could do was hit a grounder that sent Chick to third. Sallee walked Schalk, but McGraw still made no move. But that's when Chicago manager Pants Rowland decided to put his boys' sharpened spikes to work. He gave the steal sign to Schalk and the take sign to P Lefty Williams, the next batter. When Schalk took off with the pitch, C Bill Rariden fired the ball back to Sallee, who turned and fired it to second, but Herzog missed the peg, which allowed Gandil to cross the plate with the tying run and Schalk to scamper to 3rd. Rowland then sent up Byrd Lynn to hit for Williams, but that bit of strategy backfired as Lynn struck out.

L-R: Managers Pants Rowland and John McGraw, Slim Sallee, Red Faber
Red Faber came to the mound and set the Giants down 1-2-3. The Sox then continued their onslaught against Sallee. RF Shano Collins singled, and Fred McMullin sacrified him to second. Eddie Collins then singled to center to score the go-ahead run. Perhaps because a left-handed batter was next, McGraw let Sallee face Jackson, who slashed his third single of the game to send Eddie to third. Joe continued toward second on the throw to third, causing 3B Heinie Zimmerman to make a wild heave to second to allow Collins to score. Finally, McGraw brought in Perritt, who was greeted by Felsch's RBI single. Gandil flied to LF for the second out. With Weaver at bat, Felsch was caught stealing to end the three-run inning.
Faber disposed of the Giants in 1-2-3 fashion in the 9th to seal the 8-5 victory.
Back in New York two days later for Game 6, Faber pitched a complete game as the Sox wrapped up the Series with a 4-2 victory.
After the last out was recorded, McGraw made a beeline for Weaver. "I wanta shake your hand, kid," the Giants skipper said. "You're the best, and I wanta take my hat off to you." John liked feisty, competitive players like Buck.