THE 1919 WORLD SERIES SCANDAL
September 24, 1919 the Chicago White Sox clinched the
American League pennant, sending them to the World Series.
Their opponent would be the Cincinnati Reds. Just before
the start of the Series, the odds were 5 – 1 in
favor of the Chicago White Sox. But as rumors spread
of a World Series fix, the odds shifted to 8 –
5 in favor of the Cincinnati Reds. The following is
a brief game-by-game account of the 1919 World Series.
It began on Wednesday, October 1, 1919.
1 – A crowd of 30,511 had gathered to watch the
9 – 1 win by the Reds over the White Sox. The
significant play in game one happened at the bottom
of the first inning when pitcher Ed Cicotte of the Sox
hit leadoff batter Morrie Rath signaling to gamblers
that the fix was on.
2 – With 29, 698 in attendance, the Reds once
again defeated the White Sox to take a 2 – 0 lead
in the Series. Pitcher Lefty Williams walked six batters
in nine innings prompting catcher Ray Schalk to confront
the pitcher in the locker room after the game. Schalk
complained that the starting pitchers were crossing
3 – The first home game of the Series saw 29,126
in attendance. Down by two games, the White Sox were
able to take game three by a 3 – 0 score.
4 – Ed Cicotte started game four in front of a
crowd of 34,363 in Chicago. After two major fielding
errors by the starting pitcher, the Sox lost to the
Red 2 – 0 and Cicotte experienced his second loss
of the Series.
5 – After a rain postponement, game five drew
the largest attendance of the Series with 34,379. Scoreless
after five innings, the Reds put four runs on the board
in the sixth inning and took the game by a 5 –
0 score. Cincinnati was now up 4 games to 1 over Chicago.
6 – With the Reds up by a commanding lead and
the Series returning to Cincinnati, 32, 006 fans came
out to cheer on the home team. This could be the game
where the Reds would take the Series. After four innings,
Cincinnati was up 4 – 0 but Chicago quickly answered
and had tied the game after nine innings. In the 10th
inning, Buck Weaver crossed the plate to make in 5 –
4 for the Sox. The Reds were now up 4 – 2 in the
7 – Again in Cincinnati, the White Sox defeated
the Reds 4 – 1 in front of only 13,924 fans. As
the Series headed back to Chicago for game eight, the
Reds were still up in the Series but the White Sox had
cut the lead to only one game.
8 – October 9, 1919 was the final game of the
Series as the Reds defeated the White Sox 10 –
5. In front of a crowd of 32,930 Cincinnati won their
first World Series Championship. For winning in 1919,
each Reds player received $5,207 while $3,254 was awarded
to each White Sox player.
September 27, 1920 the 1919 World Series scandal was
exposed. The following day, White Sox pitcher Ed Cicotte
admitted his involvement to attorneys representing Charles
Comiskey. One hour later, Joe Jackson stepped forward,
followed by Lefty Williams. At the end of the day on
September 28, 1920, Charles Risberg, Fred McMullin,
Joe Jackson, Oscar Felsch, George Weaver, C.P. Williams
and E.V. Cicotte were notified of their suspension from
six weeks, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was named baseball’s
first commissioner. On March 12, 1921 Judge Landis placed
the eight players accused, on the ‘ineligible
list’ and he commented that there was no guarantee
that the players would be reinstated even if they were
acquitted. The trial ended on August 2, 1921 with an
acquittal for all involved. The following day, Judge
Landis released the following statement:
of the verdicts of juries, no player who entertains
proposals or promises to throw a game, no player who
sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and
gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games
are discussed and does not promptly tell the club about
it will ever play professional baseball."
is important to note, the rule forcing players to disclose
gambling information was Landis' and did not exist in
1919. Regardless, no ‘Black Sox’ player
ever played professional baseball again.