Urban Clarence “Red” Faber played in the 1917 World Series like Andrew Carnegie governed the steel industry—with dominance. Faber spearheaded the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship by winning three games against John McGraw and the New York Giants.
Before the World Series began, Chicago Daily Tribune sports writer I. E. Sanborn analyzed Faber’s ability. “He has a world of stuff and a deadly curve to mi with his spit ball, but is inclined to wildness,” wrote Sanborn. “Faber’s one failing is a tendency to put too much on the ball when an opponent first faces him. The result, if the man is a good waiter, is a near base on balls, compelling Faber to let up and put the ball where the batsman wants it.”
After winning the first game, the White Sox sent Faber to the mound on October 8th for the second game. Chicago won 7-2, compiling 14 hits to New York’s eight; neither team had a home run. With the score tied at two apiece after the second inning, Chicago put five runs on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson each had three hits; their combined RBI total of three would have been enough to win the game—Weaver had one RBI and Jackson had two.
Sanborn underscored Faber’s performance, running error, and hometown pride. “Red Urban Faber made Cascade, Ia., famous the world over as long as the world may last,” wrote Sanborn. “Not only did the Cascade ido pitch as strong game, for which he long will be remembered, but in the fifth inning he staged a classic ‘Barry’ by trying to steal third base, which already was occupied by Buck Weaver, and that feat never will be forgotten. ‘A thousand, thousand years’ from now it will be dug up by the historians as the feature of the 1917 world’s series.”
Faber lost the fourth game, then returned to the mound two days later. Chicago beat New York 8-5 as both teams put on hitting displays—14 hits for Chicago, 12 hits for New York.
In the sixth and deciding game, Faber evidence Sanborn’s forecast. In the New-York Tribune, W. J. Macbeth wrote, “His was a style made to order for a batting outfit of the Giant Kind if [Manager John] McGraw’s sluggers had only patience. Faber tried to put everything he had on every pitch. When a pitcher does this, as a rule, he affects his control. It was so with Faber yesterday. But the Giants simply refused to permit the Chicago twirler to ‘dutch’ himself. If New York batters had been patient it is more than likely Faber would have been in hot water often.”
Three unearned runs in the fourth inning provided a sufficient cushion to win the game. Final score: 4-2.
The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Faber in 1964, along with Luke Appling, Heinie Manush, Burleigh Grimes, Miller Huggins, Tim Keefe, and John Ward. Faber’s page on the Hall of Fame web site indicates the respect showered by McGraw, who said, “That fellow has a lot of stuff. He’s got the best drop curve that I’ve seen along the line for some time. And his spitter is a pippin’, too.”
After a 20-year career, Faber retired with a 254-213 record, 3.15 Earned Run Average, and 111 home runs allowed; he won 20 games or more in three consecutive year, 1920-1922.
A version of this article appeared on www.thesportspost.com on January 28, 2016.