The World Champions made a successful start in their 1916 campaign yesterday in beating the Athletics, 2 to 1, in the opening game at Fenway Park.
The fans who took chances on the weather saw a splendid fight between last year’s leaders and the 1915 champions who dropped to last place a year ago and while the Red Sox’ margin of victory was small, it was quite enough.
The early morning rain and the leaden skies that followed almost until the time for the calling of the game, kept thousands of fans away from the opening, but the Royal Rooters were there in force, and the faithful were well paid. Boston had a fighting team on its hands and had to work to win, but things broke well for Carrigan’s champions and the season’s start was very satisfactory to them.
Pres Lannin decided that the game would be played if possible, even if it meant that only a small crowd should see the opening festivities. It was most pleasing to the Boston owner that even 6,000 came out on such an inauspicious afternoon for ball playing.
However, the Governor and the Mayor, as well as hundreds of invited guests, were on hand to give the sendoff to the Red Sox; the flag raising processional was held and the champions came through as victors in their first official clash of the campaign.
The fans were kept on edge in the first five innings, both teams continually sparring for an opening, but neither coming through for a run: “Babe” Ruth, the side-wheeler, looked mighty trim for the Red Sox, holding the visitors to four hits for the day, two of them unproductive doubles by “Stuffy” McInnis of Gloucester in the second and fourth innings.
Shorten Comes Through
At the very finish of the game Ruth got himself in bad by a wild throw to second, following a pass to Walsh and a slam by Oldring, and Lajoie brought a run home with a clean hit to left and made the Sox’ two-run lead look mighty small indeed. It was at this juncture that Carrigan made his first switch of the season, calling forth Foster, who finished up the Mackmen in short order.
Boston did not score until the fifth inning, when a wild throw by Pick netted Hoblitzel two bases for a starter and Shorten celebrated his advent as a regular with a fine clip to left field for a run.
In the next session Barry got a “life” on an infield hit, taking second when Pick threw low to McInnis on Thomas’ bunt and finally scoring on Scotty’s sacrifice life to Walsh. These were the combinations for the two Boston runs, both of which were in a fair way to be wiped out at the finish.
Barring Ruth’s wild throw at the 11th hour the Sox played errorless ball, while the Mackmen slipped up four times. Errors played an important part toward Boston’s allies and the one secured by the Mackmen. The hitting was light, standing five-four in favor of the champions, but there was some mighty pretty fielding on both sides and plenty of action in spire of the slow and soggy field.
The Boston fans were keen to watch the two newcomers, Shorten in the left garden, and Clarence Walker, who henceforth will have the task of filling Tris Speaker’s shoes in the middle field. Shorten made good with the hit that put Boston in the lead and also came within an ace of making a beautiful diving catch of a line hit that netted McInnis two bases in the fourth.
Walker Makes Good Impression
As for Walker, he certainly made a good impression. The ex-Brownie had four chances in the field taking all of them easily, although they were not all in the so-called easy class.
He was at bat four times, the first time hitting into a double play, but on his second effort driving a savage liner that, nine times in ten, would have shot through the box instead of hitting the pitcher. Walker was downcast in the sixth when he struck out with Hobby on second, but he came back in the eighth with a clean hit to left field, and the starter for the inning.
Any doubts that the fans might have regarding the strength and accuracy of Walker’s throwing were dispelled by two exhibitions yesterday. In the eighth, after he caught Crane’s deep fly, Walker let the ball go to the plate, just for fun, his throw coming home dead on the line and hopping into Thomas’ hands, hardly six inches above the inside corner of the plate. It was a beauty.
In the ninth, when the Mackmen were threatening, Walker got to Lajoie’s hit and laced the ball to Gardner at third base. Oldring was beating it around from first to third, but Walker’s throw would have nailed him had Gardner been able to scoop the ball up.
It would have been a sure out on hard ground, but the ball slowed up on the bound and it looked as if Gardner closed his hands a fraction of a second too soon; but for Walker the trick was turned into a nicety.
Connie Mack tried to get away with the game through the pitching of Nabors, a lanky right-hander, who surely did work pretty well for the first half of the game. Boston made only two hits off him ¬– one in the first and one in the fourth inning.
Against Bush the combinations worked better and although errors were accountable for the Red Sox’ start in the sixth and seventh, a clean hit by Shorten and a long sacrifice fly by Scott did the business.
The game possible will prove a costly one for Connie Mack’s club. Midway, Wallie Schang split his throwing hand between the first and second fingers, and it is said he will be out of the play several weeks. If memory serves right, Schang was injured in the opening game a year ago and was not available again until the season had progressed a considerable distance.
Ruth Had Lots on the Ball
“Babe” Ruth had plenty on the ball when he started, Walsh, Strunk and Oldring going out at first on assists by Scott, Gardner and Barry.
Then the Sox started in against Nabors as if they meant business, but the fine get away did not develop any runs.
Hooper opened the champions’ offensive campaign wit a clean hit to center. Scott bunted, but McInnis’ throw to Crane went high and both Boston runners were safe. Hoblitzel also tried to sacrifice, but the soft ground stopped his bunt almost in front of the plate, Schang recovering it and his sharp whip beating Hooper at third.
Walker then made his entry, but hit to Pick, who was able to tough Scott out on the baseball and get the ball across to McInnis for a double play.
In the second inning Lajoie hit sharply to Barry and was out at first. McInnis following with a right-center double and moving to this while Hoblitzel was running out Schang. Pick was passed and stole second, and then Ruth turned on steam and fanned young Crane.
Connie’s new third baseman, Pick, robbed Shorten of at least a double in Boston’s second inning by going up into the air and pulling down a sizzling liner with his gloved hand. Gardner walked, and after Barry’s liner carried straight to Oldring, Larry bolted for second, but Schang passed the ball down to Lajoie far ahead of him.
McInnis’ Two-Bagger Wasted
The Mackmen were retired in order in the third, Nabors going out on a foul tip and Walsh and Strunk boosting up flies for Walker and Hooper. Then the Sox were blanked again, Ruth pounding a long fly almost to the right field fence to Walsh as an offering between bases on balls to Thomas and Hooper, but Scott hit weakly to Nabors and Hoblitzel popped up a dinky little fly for Lajoie.
After Scott disposed of “Rube” Oldring in the fourth, Hooper traveled in fast to take Lajoie’s high fly 40 feet behind first base. Then McInnis laced a low liner over Gardner’s head for a two-bagger, Shorten making a desperate attempt for a one-hand diving catch. The hit was wasted, though, as Barry got in front of Schang’s grounder.
For the Sox, Walker’s shot hit Nabors a terrific blow on the belt, but was recovered. Shorten went out on a short fly to Oldring. Gardner hit safely to left, but Barry closed with a fly to Strunk.
Pick gave a good start to the Mackmen in the fifth, beating out a half-swinging bunt to Ruth, whose throw past Hobby was well covered by Hooper. Crane sacrificed, Hoblitzel to Barry. Stellbauer, batting for Nabors, struck out and then Thomas clipped Pick when he tried to steal third.
Bush in for the Athletics
Joe Bush, who has had a world of speed all Spring, was out on the firing line for the Mackmen. He ticketed Thomas, who stole second, but fanned Ruth and Hooper, and then watched Scott roll one down to Lajoie for the third out.
The top of the list was up for visitors in the sixth and Ruth was lucky to get out. Walsh smashed a wicked liner that jack Barry handled beautifully. Ruth himself then got in the way of a vicious smash from Strunk, and Walker traveled well over toward Hooper for Oldring’s long fly.
Boston got its long looked-for run in the sixth, but it was a gift. Hoblitzel’s grounder was picked up cleanly by Pick, but his throw hit the dirt in front of McInnis and shot to the stand, Sir Richard romping to second base. Walker was sent to the bench on strikes, but Shorten produced a short hit over Crane’s head on which Hoblitzel scored. “Chick” tried to get to second on the throw in, but Bush intercepted it and relayed Shorten out. It was in this inning that Schang’s hand was split, Meyer relieving him.
The Athletics made no headway in the seventh, Barry and Hooper taking flies from Lajoie and McInnis, and Rush covering first on Meyer’s sharp hit to Hoblitzell, who slipped in the mud.
The Sox made no headway in the seventh, Barry and Hooper taking flies from Lajoie and McInnis, and Ruth covering first on Meyer’s sharp hit to Hoblitzel, who slipped in the mud.
The Sox made it a 2 to 0 lead in their half. Barry opened with a deep hit to Crane, who made a low throw, which was beaten. Bush handled Thomas’ sacrifice, but threw low to McInnis, and then Bush lost Ruth’s bunt altogether. This filled the bases, with no one out, but the Sox counted only one run, Thomas coming home on Scott’s fly to Walsh immediately after Hooper’s ground hit had been fielded to the plate ahead of Barry. With two still on base, Hoblitzel flied out to Oldring.
Foster Stops Mackmen Rally
Ruth, in the eighth, struck out both Pick and Bush. Crane caught hold of one, but Walker retreated into the deep field for a pretty catch and then drove the ball home, just to show the fans his arm is all right. The exhibition peg was a beauty and “Telly” got a great hand for it.
A few moments later Walker started the Sox’ eighth session with a hit to left center, but he did not advance, for after Shorten fanned Gardner hit to Crane for a force-out and Barry popped up a fly for Pick.
In the ninth Ruth passed Walsh and then fanned Strunk, but he gave the Mackmen a fine “life” when, with an easy double play ahead, he threw low and wide to Scott after stopping a hot shot for Oldring. It was then up to big Larry Lajoie, who came through with a clean-cut single to left.
Walsh scored easily, but Gardner failed to hold Walker’s throw on the pickup and Oldring was safe and at third, while Lajoie when to second. Manager Carrigan then called Ruth in to the bench, substituting George Foster, who faced McInnis. “Stuffy” hit down to the pitcher’s box and Oldring was run out by Foster, Thomas and Scott. Mack then sent in his new start infielder, Witt, to bat for Meyer, but the extent of the youngster’s bid was a long fly to Walker.
Echoes of the Game
Chalk up the first one for Carrigan’s Red Sox.
Clarence Walker has no need to apologize for his entry.
The parade to the flagpole was fine, and those new rod coats of the Red Sox showed up like a Summer sunset.
Pres Lannin would not stand as recipient for any flowers. He left that honor for Carrigan and the boys – and the Rooters’ horseshoe of roses was a beauty.
Bill Dineen looks in real fighting trim for his season’s work, and he worked behind the pate without a hitch.
Del Gainor was not on hand for the opening. He has been sick, but is expected to report within a week.
“I’m glad Speaker has signed with Cleveland,” said Joe Lannin. “and I hope he wins a lot of games – against everyone except us.”
Connie Mack’s doctor wore his Florida clothes to the opening. He certainly did look cold when he trailed Wallie Schang to the dressing room.
The Royal Rooters never did a better job, and they were still there with the “Tessie” stuff.
It was a fine crowd considering the day. The Sox were welcomed royally and made a good defensive start. They’ll start real hitting soon.
Clarence Walker was made to feel at home from the beginning and made a fine impression his first day out.
Bush had a world of speed and looks like Mack’s trump card.
Duffy Lewis is ready to play anytime, and got a great hand during his workout before the game.
The champions are in trim to play their top-notch ball.