The Black Sox Scandal

6 June 2017

The Black Sox Scandal A shady and mysterious event, the throwing of the 1919 Baseball World Series, involving the notorious Chicago White Sox, greatly impacted the lives of those involved with the scandal. Many factors caused the throw, including the greed of a crafty gambler, the poor wages of several players, and all-over bad attitude towards an owner of a team. Although unjust and unfair, the scandal was explainable and understandable. It affected those involved in both positive and negative ways.

The World Series of 1919 was held in Cincinnati, home to the Cincinnati Reds. The Chicago White Sox had suffered through eight years of fruitless games and tournaments, after winning the World Series in 1911 (Asinof). The team was owned by Charles Comiskey, who paid all his players very poorly (Asinof). Due to this, the players resented him, which gave all who partook in the throw, Eddie Cicotte, Claude Williams, Buck Weaver, Chick Gandil, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, Oscar Felsch and Joe Jackson, even more of a reason to agree to the proposal to throw the series Everstine).

The man responsible for the initiation of the scandal was Joseph Sullivan, a notorious gambler in his early thirties, Just years away from retirement, and although betting on baseball games wasn’t allowed within the ballparks, it was common anywhere else (Bennett). Sullivan offered Gandil, a first baseman of the White Sox, $100,000 for participation in the scandal (Everstine). Gandil demanded an upfront payment, which Sullivan borrowed from another gambler by the name of Arnold Rothstein (Asinof). The series was successfully thrown; the White Sox made it o the finals, faced the Cincinnati Reds and purposefully lost (Asinof).

A year later, the public found out about the throw, every player was put on trial, and they were known as the Black Sox from then on (Asinof). The Jury of the trial concerning the throw of the World Series took two and a half hours to decide on a non-guilty verdict, because many written confessions turned up missing (Bennett). Williams, a couple days before his testimony, was visited by a henchman of Rothstein and threatened his life, as well as his wife’s, to stay silent hroughout the trial (History Files- Chicago Black Sox).

During the trials, Comiskey, the owner of the White Sox, held several paychecks from the previous season, as leverage over the players to testify (Oregonian). Although they were banned from the league, several of the Black Sox were unwilling to entirely give up on the sport they loved and the only profession they had ever known (History Files- Chicago Black Sox). While some of the players distanced themselves from baseball, Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, nd Charles Risberg continued to play in outlaw leagues or semi-professional teams.

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