Monday, July 2, 2012
On this day in 1909, Billy Purtell swiped three bases against St. Louis, in a game where the White Sox stole eleven bases.
The White Sox won 15-3 that day. Perhaps they were inspired by the debut of Barney Reilly in their infield? Whatever the reason, the White Sox set their high mark for runs scored for the 1909 season. Catcher Fred Payne led the attack in the first inning with a three run single. The Browns' Bill Grahame and Dode Criss got hit hard by the Pale Hose. St. Louis utility player Harry Howell fared no better. The substitution of Wib Smith, in place of Lou Criger behind the plate did nothing to improve the Browns chances on the field. At the plate, St. Louis had to face Chicago ace Ed Walsh. The Browns got to Walsh in the fifth inning, but the stingy hurler only allowed runs in that one inning.
Billy had a career high fourteen stolen bases in 1909. One can see why, if three of those fourteen came in one game. Purtell would only reach half that mark in 1910, between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. Billy began his MLB career in 1908 with the White Sox and was traded on August 9, 1910 to Boston with Frank Smith for Amby McConnell and Harry Lord. Purtell hung on with the Red Sox until the 1911 season. After a few years back in the minors, he reappeared in the majors again in 1914, with the Detroit Tigers. He played in the minors in 1915 and again from 1917 until 1921. He resurfaced yet again in 1926 in the Class B South Atlantic League playing for the Columbia Comers of South Carolina.