1917 World Series: Rare film found when the White Sox were clean

It’s not easy being a White Sox fan. They go to the World Series about once every two generations. And they are much better known for the Series they threw (1919) than the recent one they won (2005).

So as a long suffering fan, it was exciting to learn of rare footage being found of the White Sox winning the 1917 World Series, two years before they became forever known as the Black Sox.

1917 NY Giants – NL Pennant winners from Bill Morrison on Vimeo.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that rare film has been discovered of the 1917 World Series between the White Sox and New York Giants. And in of all places, a small town in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Sandomir reports that Bill Morrison, a White Sox who lives in San Francisco, found the films at the Library and Archives Canada in Gatineau, Quebec.

They came from Dawson City, a small town in Canada’s Yukon Territory, south of the Arctic Circle. “Films would come up there and it was too expensive to send them back,” Morrison said. “Everyone understood they were nitrate and were dangerous; some got thrown in the river, some got burned, and some ended up in the local library.”

Previously, Morrison found rare films of the 1919 World Series in the same library. The 1917 films show the White Sox before they went dirty.

Sandomir writes:

“The footage is in two segments. The first includes snippets from Games 1 and 2 at Comiskey Park, which was draped in postseason bunting. Players milled outside their dugouts. Giants Manager John McGraw and White Sox Manager Pants Rowland met with the umpires. Some of the action — shot from faraway angles long before Fox’s cameras could show lint on a pitcher’s nose — showed moments like the Giants’ Walter Holke being picked off first base and the White Sox’ Happy Felsch rounding the bases after a home run.

“The second segment is a series of “close-ups” of Giants filmed at the Polo Grounds. McGraw looked grimly at the camera and doffed his cap. Pitcher Ferdie Schupp was described on-screen as “the best twirler in the game;” right fielder Dave Robertson was said to “cover as much territory as a three-ring circus;” and the multisport star Jim Thorpe was introduced as the “Indian all-’round world champ.”

“Thorpe was in the starting lineup in right field for Game 5, but McGraw removed him in the first inning for a pinch-hitter.”


2 thoughts on “1917 World Series: Rare film found when the White Sox were clean

  1. Ed,

    Here’s the box score from Game 5 of the ’17 Series, which should make you both smile and cringe. Your White Sox banged out 14 hits in a come-from-behind 8-5 win, and the game only took 2 hours and 37 minutes to play, even though there were 26 total hits and 9 total errors!

    I’m pretty sure there were several fewer Fox promos to air between innings back then…


  2. Just to clarify, just because the 1917 White Sox weren’t charged with throwing games to gamblers doesn’t necessarily mean they’re clean.

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