1919 Black Sox Scandal
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The 1919 Black Sox Scandal
In 1919, eight of the Chicago White Sox allegedly threw the World Series. Charles Comiskey was the ruthless owner of the White Sox and was the main motive of the sox to throw the series. Chick Gandil was the first player to get involved and then he spread it to the other players on the team. The act by these players would be called the Black Sox Scandal. The Scandal nearly ruined America's pastime. The baseball commissioner, Judge Landis, banned all eight of the players for life. Based on how Joe Jackson played in the world series and how he was proven innocent in a court of law, he should be reinstated into baseball and be put in the hall of fame.
The owner of the Chicago White Sox was Charles Comiskey. Charles Comiskey was known for treating his players badly. For example, Charles Comiskey benched their pitching ace, Eddie Cicotte, because he was one win away from 30 win season and Comskey didn't want to give him his bonus. (Linder 1) In 1919, there was no free agency in baseball, so once you were on a team you were stuck there until you were traded or you quit.
The White Sox were getting fed up with how Charles Comiskey was treating them. The White Sox were the best team in baseball, yet they were the lowest paid team also. (Linder 1) Joe Jackson, the best player on the team, was making $6,000 a year. (1) So if this team had a weakness it would be their desire for more money. Sport Sullivan, a gambler, proposed a fix to Chick Gandil in which the White Sox would lose the World Series and the would pay them to do so. (1) Obviously this idea sounded very appealing to Chick Gandil. So Chick Gandil agreed to do it if he would be paid $80,000.
Next Chick Gandil went to his teammates one by one about the proposal. First he went to Eddie Cicotte, who at first rejected the idea but later agreed to it if he were paid $10,000 before the series started. (Asinof 1) Gandil then went after infielders such as "Swede" Risberg and Fred McMullin. (Linder 1) Gandil then went after another pitcher in "Lefty" Williams. (2) Chick Gandil then asked Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, and Oscar Felsch to meet with the other five the next night, they then agreed. (2) Oscar Felsch and Buck Weaver agreed to the proposal and became apart of the fix but Joe Jackson would not have any part of it even after he was offered $10,000. (Facts 1)
Chick Gandil reported to Sullivan about the progress of recruiting his teammates. Sport Sullivan knew that he couldn't complete the fix without having Joe Jackson on his side. (3) Sullivan kept bugging Chick Gandil to get Jackson involved and told him to offer $20,000. (1) Lefty Williams went to Joe Jackson's hotel room one night to give Joe $5,000 in an envelope. (2) Joe refused to accept it and after an argument left his own room. Lefty threw the envelope in the room and left. This was huge in the trial because Joe claimed to never have never have accepted the envelope and Lefty said that he just left it in the room after the argument and that Joe had never accepted it. Because Williams wouldn't have gained anything from lying for Joe we should believe their testimonies. (2)
Charles Comiskey also was allegedly aware of the fix while it was going on. When Joe Jackson came back to his hotel after arguing with Lefty Williams, he found the envelope. Joe Jackson felt guilty and tried to arrange a meeting with owner, Charles Comiskey. (Lowitt 2) Comiskey would not see him and it is believed that he knew about the fix but didn't want to hear from a player so he could not be accountable if they were caught. (Facts 2) Joe then wrote Comiskey a letter going into detail about the fix but Comiskey never responded and pretended he never received the letter and never knew anything about the fix. (Lowitt 2)
The scandal was starting to become widespread in the world of gambling. Another gambler, Bill Burns became involved and met with Chick Gandil and Eddie Cicotte and he agreed to pay them another $100,000 to throw the series. (Linder 2) Well Gandil and Cicotte agreed and then Burns met with a huge gambler in New York City named Arnold Rothstein. (2) Rothstein told Burns that it couldn't work and that he should forget about it. Eventually Rothstein reconsidered and contacted Bill Burns and told him that he would pay the players for the fix. (1)
Arnold Rothstein failed to pay all the sox the complete amount he had promised. The White Sox were such a good team that they could win on command. (2) The White Sox ended up winning 3 games to threaten Rothstein and make sure they were paid in full. Joe Jackson played well in all eight games, he actually had the only homerun for either team. (Bisher 1) In the early years of baseball, they played a best of 9 game series. (SportsCenter 1) Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver were also the only two White Sox to go errorless for the series.
Joe Jackson's statistics were phenomenal for the World Series. Jackson had three doubles, six RBI's, and five runs. (Bisher 1) He also batted .375 throughout the World Series, which are MVP caliber statistics. (1) Jackson also led his team in nearly every category possible. Jackson also was responsible for eleven of his team's twenty runs. (Facts 2) These are incredible numbers for someone trying to win the World Series, not exactly the statistics you would expect from someone trying to lose it.
About a year after the sox lost the World Series, the eight players went to court. All eight testimonies declared Joe Jackson innocent with the same story. They had all tried to get him to join the fix but he would have nothing of it. When the trial was over all sox were left standing innocent. (Black 1) But the only true innocent man was Joe Jackson. The other seven were all guilty but the jury must have thought there wasn't enough evidence or they were baseball fans. Even though they were found innocent, it did nothing for their case in baseball because they were still banned from baseball by Judge Landis, the baseball commissioner. (Lowitt 2) Judge Landis made his case by saying that because Joe Jackson knew about the fix and did not report it to any one, he was just as guilty as the rest of them. (2)
Judge Landis said, "no player who sits in on a conference with a bunch of gamblers in which ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball." (Say) But if you were in Joe's position, would you turn in your friends and teammates? Most people probably wouldn't. Joe Jackson played his heart out in the 1919 World Series and was even found innocent in a court of law, therefore should be reinstated into baseball and placed in the hall of fame.