The 1919 Chicago Black Sox Scandal - readings and 1919 Chicago Black Sox Scandal Background: The 1919 World Series resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball history. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (later nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of

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<ul><li><p>The 1919 Chicago Black Sox Scandal Background: The 1919 World Series resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball history. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (later nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Details of the scandal and the extent to which each man was involved have always been unclear. It was, however, front-page news across the country and, despite being acquitted of criminal charges, the players were banned from professional baseball for life. Despite their many wins on the field, the White Sox were an unhappy team. No club played better in 1919, but few were paid so poorly. Many knowledgeable observers believe that it was Comiskey's stinginess that is largely to blame for the Black Sox scandal: if Comiskey had not grossly underpaid his players and treated them so unfairly, they would never have agreed to throw the Series. Comiskey was able to get away with paying low salaries because of the "reserve clause" in players' contracts. This clause prevented players from changing teams without the permission of the owners. Without a union, the players had no bargaining power. In 1918, with the country disrupted by World War I, interest in baseball dropped to an all-time low. The 1919 World Series was the first national championship after the war, and baseball and the nation as a whole were back to business as usual. Postwar enthusiasm for baseball took everyone by surprise, and fans eagerly followed the games. National interest in the Series was so high, baseball officials decided to make it a best of nine series, instead of the traditional best of seven. Gamblers were often visibly present at ballparks and the fixing of games had been suspected since the mid-1850s. Rumors circulated that players supplemented their incomes by throwing single games. Several ballplayers had the reputation of working closely with gamblers. Although gambling was intertwined with baseball long before the eight White Sox were accused of fixing the Series, the number of gamblers at ballparks had dramatically increased by 1919. Player resentment was high and gamblers' offers, which were sometimes several times a ballplayer's salary, were too tempting to refuse. Throughout the Series, Hugh Fullerton, a sports writer for the Chicago Herald and Examiner, had been paying close attention to the rumors of a fix. He hinted about the selling of the Series in his newspaper columns and urged club owners to do something about gamblers' involvement in baseball. Most people didn't believe fixing the World Series was possible. The entire controversy might have blown over if the problem had not continued to grow. During the 1920 season, players on other teams began to take advantage of gamblers' offers. Widespread rumors surfaced about games being thrown by players from the New York Giants, New York Yankees, Boston Braves, and Cleveland Indians. In September 1920, a Cook County, Illinois, grand jury convened to look into allegations that the Chicago Cubs had thrown games against the Philadelphia Phillies. The investigation soon extended to the 1919 World Series and baseball gambling in general. When the grand jury finally concluded its investigation, indictments were handed down against the eight White Sox players. The indicted players, however, faced a trial. After a month of hearing testimony, it took the jury just two hours and forty-seven minutes to acquit all defendants. </p></li><li><p> After the 1920 season, fearing baseball might not survive the gambling scandal, club owners decided to clean up their act. Immediately after they were acquitted of any criminal charges, baseball commissioner Landis banned all eight players from the game. Landis said, "regardless of the verdict of the juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked players and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball." True to his word, Landis never allowed any of the eight White Sox to play professional ball again. </p><p> What Americans Had to Say About the Scandal </p><p>that Shook Baseball </p><p>Chicago Herald and Examiner (9/30/1920): As Jackson departed from the Grand Jury room, a </p><p>small boy clutched at his sleeve and tagged along after him. "Say it ain't so, Joe," he pleaded. "Say it ain't </p><p>so." "Yes kid, I'm afraid it is," Jackson replied. "Well, I never would've thought it," the boy said. </p><p>Figure 1: The defendants and their lawyers </p><p>F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby): "Who is he anyhow, an actor?" "No." "A dentist?" "...No, he's a gambler." Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: "He's the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919." "Fixed the World Series?" I repeated. The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as something that merely happened, the end of an inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people--with the singlemindedness of a burglar blowing a safe. "How did he happen to do that?" I asked after a minute. "He just saw the opportunity." "Why isn't he in jail?" "They can't get him, old sport. He's a smart man." </p><p>Statement of Commissioner Landis, August 4, 1921 "Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ballgame, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame, no player that sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball." </p></li></ul>