July 25, 1912: Bert Daniels becomes first Yankees player to hit for cycle in 'extremely belligerent' game
The Chicago White Sox “grabbed an extremely belligerent game from the Yanks”1 on the afternoon of July 25, 1912, a game in which “the combat was won in the tenth inning after the Sox had engaged in a row with Umpire Sheridan that nearly caused them to lose by forfeiture.”2 The game was also characterized by seven double plays, and Bert Daniels became the first player in the New York Highlanders/Yankees franchise history to hit for the cycle.
The final game of a four-game series took place before an estimated crowd of 2,000 fans at New York’s Hilltop Park.3 The fourth-place White Sox, who had lost 10 of their last 13 games, were trying to salvage a split in the series. The Highlanders had won five of six, but they were still mired in the second-to-last position in the American League, 32 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox. New York placed the ball in the hands of third-year pitcher, Ray Caldwell, who was 0-1 against Chicago on the season. Second-year pitcher Joe Benz was the starter for the White Sox; he had won only one of his previous seven decisions.
In the first frame, Daniels led off with a single (he “hit a fast one through first base”4) and immediately stole second base. The next batter, Hal Chase, beat out an infield hit, sending Daniels to third. Dutch Sterrett lifted a fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly, bringing Daniels home with the game’s first run. In the bottom of the third, after Caldwell had fanned, “Daniels soaked the ball against the left field fence for three sacks.”5 However, he did not score and New York clung to its 1-0 lead.
Chicago tied the score in the top of the fourth. Shano Collins lined Caldwell’s offering over first base and into the right field corner for a triple. After Harry Lord struck out, Jimmy “Nixey” Callahan was hit by a pitch in the shin. Ping Bodie smashed a liner to second baseman Hack Simmons. The ball caromed off of Simmons, right to shortstop Jack Martin, who threw to first baseman Chase in time to retire Bodie, but Collins had scored the equalizer.
In the fifth inning, Roy Hartzell walked and tried to steal on a two-strike count to Martin, and the White Sox turned a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. Ed Sweeney was then given a free pass. Caldwell followed by beating a high grounder toward third base. By the time the ball came down, Caldwell had made it safely to first. Daniels came to the plate, and he belted Benz’s offering “to the fence in right center and made it good for a home run.”6 It was his first home run of the season.
The White Sox responded with their own rally in the sixth. Rollie Zeider led off with a drive to right center, good for a triple. Caldwell hit Collins with a pitch. Lord bounced a grounder over Caldwell and beat the throw to first as Zeider raced in to score. Callahan bunted and beat the throw, loading the bases. Bodie hit into a 4-6-3 double play with Collins scoring and Lord advancing to third. Matty McIntyre followed with an RBI single to right and the game was tied, 4-4. Chicago put a runner on third in the seventh but could not bring him home. Daniels doubled with one out in the New York eighth, but again, his teammates could not bring him home. So, “there was nothing more done by either side until the rampant tenth inning.”7 However, with the two-bagger in the eighth, Daniels had hit for the cycle.
The mayhem in the final frame began when Chicago’s Collins hit a single up the middle. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The Yanks were playing for Lord to sacrifice.”8 However, Lord “tipped the hit and run signal to Collins,”9 but the runner somehow missed the sign. Instead of bunting, Lord hit the ball hard at the shortstop Martin, who tossed the ball to second baseman Simmons, forcing Collins out. However, Simmons’ relay to first base was low and rolled away from first baseman Chase, into foul ground. Lord crossed the bag and suddenly turned toward second base, but by all accounts did not cross into fair territory. He was furious with Collins and began yelling at his teammate for missing the signal. The Yankees were now screaming at their first baseman, urging him to tag Lord for turning towards second base, which Chase did, and umpire Jack Sheridan called Lord out, giving the Highlanders a double play. Lord protested, as did his player-manager Callahan, who was due to bat next. Chicago’s Zeider and Kid Gleason both joined the argument. Sheridan stood firm by his decision, and when Callahan continued his protest, the umpire tossed Callahan from the game.
Wally Mattick became the interim manager and strode to the plate to bat for Callahan, who was sitting in the dugout. Mattick drove a single into center and Sheridan noticed Callahan in the dugout and “pulling his watch, ordered the manager to the clubhouse.” Callahan instead headed down the left field line. Bodie sent an offering from Jack Warhop10 into right center for a double, driving in Mattick. At this point, Callahan had dashed to his bullpen near the left field bleachers, urging Big Ed Walsh to get ready to pitch. The ejected manager “leaped over the low fence in front of the seats and crouched there hidden, but where he could give orders.”11
Of course, the New Yorkers informed Sheridan, who again “pulled his watch and yelled to Cal to get to the clubhouse or in one minute the game would be forfeited to New York.”12 At this point, Callahan complied and headed into the clubhouse. The game continued as McIntyre singled to center, plating Bodie and giving the White Sox a two-run lead. McIntyre stole second and then took third on a bad throw from New York’s catcher Sweeney. However, he was stranded when Billy Sullivan grounded out to end the inning.
Down by two tallies, “the Yanks still had another attack to make.”13 Sweeney beat out an infield hit. Harry Wolverton pinch-hit for Warhop and singled to center, with Sweeney motoring to third base. At this point, Mattick walked to the mound and called Walsh “to the slab”14 in relief of Benz, to face Daniels, and Daniels added to his perfect day by drawing a walk, “crowding the bases.”15 With no one out and the bases loaded, Chase lifted a fly ball to Bodie in right, who made the catch. Sweeney tagged on the play but was thrown out at the plate, as “Bodie’s throw was a beaut.”16 Another double play. Walsh then fanned Sterrett to end the game.
The White Sox won, 6-4, and their first five batters (Morrie Rath, Zeider, Collins, Lord and Callahan) each collected two hits in the game. Chicago out-hit New York, 14 to 10. Bodie and McIntyre combined for five runs batted in. Benz earned his 11th win of the season, while Warhop took the loss, his 11th.
Daniels finished the day with a 4-for-4 performance, plus a walk and a stolen base. He had “a home run, a triple, a two-bagger, a single, and a base on balls.”17 He was directly involved in every one of the four Highlanders runs. Daniels became the first New York Highlanders/Yankees player to hit for the cycle.
In 1912, three other players in the majors hit for the cycle, putting Daniels in prestigious company. They were Hall of Famer Tris Speaker (Boston Red Sox, June 9 against the St. Louis Browns), Chief Meyers (New York Giants, June 10 against the Chicago Cubs) and Hall of Famer Honus Wagner (Pittsburgh Pirates, August 22 against the New York Giants). The next New York Yankees player to hit for the cycle was Bob Meusel, who did so on May 7, 1921, against the Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium, nine years after Daniels’ feat.
Three weeks later, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, Daniels had another 4-for-4 performance, with a home run, triple and two singles, as well an another walk. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
In addition to the sources mentioned in the Notes, the author consulted baseball-reference.com, mlb.com, sabr.org and retrosheet.org.
1 Sam Weller, “Sox Floor Yanks in Round Ten, 6-4,” Chicago Tribune, July 26, 1912: 11.
4 “Yankees Slow on Bases; Lose, 6 to 4,” New York Times, July 26, 1912: 10.
5 “Walsh Saves Sox in Game Nearly Lost By Forfeiture,” Inter-Ocean (Chicago, IL), July 26, 1912: 4.
10 Warhop had relieved Caldwell in the sixth inning.
15 New York Times.
17 New York Times.