The year was 1919 and the Chicago White Sox were poised to win the American League Pennant and the World Series. However some unhappy players had other plans!
The Black Sox Scandal was one in which eight players of the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball sought to fix the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange for money the players were to be paid by a gambling organization led by Arnold Rothstein. The Commissioner of Baseball Judge Kenesaw Landis was appointed the first Commissioner of Baseball because of this contrvesy and had complete control over Professional Baseball to bring back it’s integrity.
Commisioner Landis banned forever all eight men from pro baseball, even though in the trial was in 1921 there were acquittals. It was also meant that players were banned from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This scandal is the reason modern day player Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies was banned for life and from the Hall of fame Rose he was found to have bet on baseball as a player and manager.
There were eight player who conspired to fix the Series. So it was not all of the players involved. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson probably the best player on the team was blamed however he was not involved and played and excellent World Series.
- 1. ARNOLD “CHICK” GANDIL, FIRST BASEMAN
- 2 EDDIE CICOTTE, PITCHER
- 3.OSCAR “HAPPY” FEISCH, CENTER FIELD
- 4. “SHOELESS” JOE JACKSON, OUTFIELD
- 5. FRED MCMULLEN, UTILITY PLAYER
- 6. CHARLES “SWEDE” RISBERG, SHORTSTOP
- 7. GEORGE “BUCK” WEAVER, THIRD BASEMAN
- 8. CLAUDE “LEFTY” WILLIAMS, PITCHER
- Arnold Gandil, was the instigator of those on the fix. Most of his baseball career “Chick” played semi-pro baseball and did not ply in the MLB in 1920.
- Eddie Cicotte admitted up front that he was in on the deal from the beginning.
- Oscar Feisch did not have much to say.
- “Shoeless” Joe Jackson admitted that he recieved $5,000 from the cartel. He also testified in court that he never met the gamblers nor spoke to them. He said he only spoke to the other Black Sox players about the scandal. Having been told the players would get $20,000 after each loss, Joe’s roommate Lefty Williams, gave him 5K cash he said to have thrown the money on the floor and that was after the 4th game. Later Joe took back his confession and said he was not guilty but no one believed him even until he died in 1951. His involvement and collaboration with the Black Sox Scandal has been talked about ever since.
- Fred McMullen was only involved as he heard the other players talking about the deal. He did not have much playing time and probably the cartel of gamblers was not interested in him. He did not receive very much loot.
- Charles Risberg was kinda the co-captain for Gandil and had a terrible series only hitting 2 for 25 and had four errors
- George Weaver was in on the meeting with the gamblers in the beginning. Saying he was not in on the deal. He said he did not get any money. Gandil said George was the one who initially had the association with the gamblers and made a deal to get the money up front. The commissioner banned him on the bases that he was guilty by association. And Landis said “Men associating with crooks and gamblers could expect no leniency” January 1922 Weaver like Jackson were not allowed leniency as they applied to be reinstated.
- Lefty Williams had a terrible World Series his Earned Run Average was 6.63 and he went 0 -3. He was the only pitcher to do so until George Frazer of the 1981 New York Yankees. He lost game 8 and the MLB decided after that to go back to a 7 game World Series in 1922. Therefore reducing the risk of a pitcher to to 0 for 3.
Also banned from Baseball was St. Louis Brown’s 2nd baseman Joe Gedeon he placed bets on the series because he learned the fix was in from his friend Risberg. He told Comisky of the fix after the World Series was over hoping to receive something. However it backfired. Landis banned him for life also and the other 8 White Sox players. This was the suspensions of a Baseball scandal never before that time.
The owner of the Chicago White Sox at the time was Charles Comiskey, of whom the ballpark in Chicago is named. Comiskey was an outstanding baseball player from 1982 – 1894. Many of the players and coaches disliked Charles as he was cocky and his lousy treatment of his teamates and coaches. Comiskey was known to underpay his players although he had one of the top teams as an owner. Winning the Fall Classic in 1917. The MLB at the time had a “reserve clause” which meant if a player did not accept a contract he was not allowed to play for any other team with out the consent of his team in “organized baseball”. Having no Union at the time the players had no voice in the situation. Comiskey’s White Sox had one of the highest payrolls at that time in 1919 it was largest. In that day because of the reserve clause, players and gamblers found each other and made deals for money.
“SHOELESS” JOE JACKSON
It has been since 1919 very controversial as to how much involement Joe had in the fixing of the World Series. He said all along that he was innocent. His statistics for the Series certainly did attest to that. He had an excellent Eight game Series. So that seems to justify that he was not completely in on it. Joe led the World Series batting .375 and had the only home run. he had 30 chances for assists from the outfield threw out five base runners. In the games the Sox lost Jackson hit .286. In the regular season Joe hit .351 and was the fourth best in all of baseball. His career batting average of .356 was third best in the History of the game. Only Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby hit better. In the games the Whit Sox lost he had only 3 RBI’s. He also hit in game 8 a long foul ball that was caught at the fence with two men on not allowing Jackson the get 2 more RBI’s. Many years later the 8 players all agreed that Jackson had never been at any meeting with the Gambling Cartel. His room mate “Lefty” Williams told others that they brought Jackson’s name into the mix to give them an advantage to make the deal with the gamblers.
After the players were banned from Baseball some of the White Sox players wanted to organize a three state tour of exhibition games. However they had to cancel because Commissioner Landis said that if any played with them or against them would be banned for life also. They wished to play games on Sundays. The City Council of Chicago also said they would cancel the license of any stadium that hosted them.
(much of the information on the above page is from Wikipedia)