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Black Sox Scandal

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Ilmago, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Ilmago

    Ilmago Guest

    As you can probably tell by now I'm a huge fan of baseball, and I love it's history. I wanted to discuss the Black Sox scandal. I might learn a few things from you guys, and you may learn a few things for me.

    One of the biggest question when it comes to the Black Sox Scandel is was Shoeless Joe involved? What are your thoughts on that question and the Black Sox Scandal in general?

    Here's a few notes on the subject, and the involvement of Shoeless.

    I think Shoeless Joe was involved, if for no other reason than he took $10,000 to do it.

    He admitted in his Grand Jury testimony that he took money to throw the series, he knew the fix was in, and he did nothing to stop it. He never recanted his testimony, as far as I know. His signed confession came up missing in a court case against him and his teammates, but surfaced later we he was suing to be reinstated. Several of his 1919 WS hits came after games were out of hand, though it is difficult to know how much can one really draw from eight games of statistics.

    Following are some other items related to the Black Sox Scandal:

    1. The White Sox had been called the Black Sox before th 1919 series. A few years prior, Charles Comiskey (owner of the Sox) tried charging his players to have their uniform laundered. The players responded by not having their uniforms laundered, which, predictably, caused them to become quite dirty over time. The league stepped in and forced Sox to launder the uniforms at no charge.

    2. It was the latest and biggest of a bunch of betting scandals of 1910's. Baseball tried ignoring gambling / throwing games (like steriods), and the problem grew and blew up in their faces (like steriods).

    3. The scandal did not break until the end of the 1920 season - 1 year after the fact, amid many rumors and speculation.

    4. The scandal led to Ban Johnson (then AL president) losing his position as the centra authority figure in baseball. He had a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter.

    5. The scandal led to the creation of the position of Commisioner. Kennesaw Mountain Landis was the hired to the role, and held the post for some 25 years. He threw anyone involved with the scandal out of baseball. Several of his decisions had long term impact on baseball, including Pete Rose being banned for life.

    6. The scandal almost led to Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker being thrown out of baseball in the mid-20's. Dutch Leonard, a former Red Sox pitcher, accused them of knowing the fix was in and not reporting it (Dutch claimed they made money betting on the Reds). Landis did not throw Cobb and Speaker out for fear of bad publicity, but it is likely Cobb at least knew the fix was in.
  2. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    Yes. He admitted he took the money to participate in the fix. The debate over his guilt ends there.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Kevin Costner told me he was innocent. You saying you know more than Kevin Costner about baseball? Please.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I don't know how many baseball games have been fixed, but it's a lot more than people probably think, especially in the early part of the 20th Century.

    Does anyone think MLB games are fixed in this day and age?
  5. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Kinda doubt it. The players and managers make so much money there's really no incentive. If there was a game-fixing scandal, it would probably involve umpires.
  6. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I used to think that way about the NBA. Recent events changed my mind. Every sport can be corrupted.
  7. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Baseball in the early days, at least through the Dead Ball Era, was very rife with gamblers both in and outside the game. That was the culture. Throwing games and barnstorming during the off season were about the only way players could make any money because of the owners.

    Comiskey was clearly no saint, but the scandal really cast a worse light on him than is truly deserved. The Reserve Clause was the instrument the Comiskey and the other owners used autocratically to keep the players under their thumb. Comiskey's/the club's secretary was a toady that truly deserves much of the scorn for actions like forcing Jackson to sign a contract that he could not read.

    The scandal also drove a huge wedge between Comiskey and Johnson, who had been the closest of friends leading up to it. (There is also a story about a misunderstanding with some fish as a gift that went bad that led to the split, too).

    As for 1919, Jackson took money, but I think his play backs up that he didn't play to lose. Buck Weaver was also likely a (more or less) innocent victim of Landis' grandstanding.

    Gandil and Risberg were the most guilty. Eddie Cicotte was guilty but not a leader really, and the story in the movie version of Eight Men Out about Comiskey keeping him out of the lineup so he wouldn't win 30 games and get a bonus didn't happen.

    Many people knew of the fix long before the series, players not only for Chicago, but Cincinnati allegedly, and St. Louis. There are some reports that both Comiskey and Gleason knew before the series, too.
  8. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    That's why I included the caveat about the umpires, unless you're talking about something other than the Tim Donaghy scandal.
  9. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Steak, Donaghy opened my eyes at how desperate people, who really should be desperate, can become.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    A few thoughts:

    1. Ban Johnson didn't lose his power due to the Black Sox scandal. He lost it prior to the 1920 season over the Carl Mays Affair. Mays, a damn good pitcher who was also a royal jerk, jumped the Red Sox in the middle of the season because he was unhappy with his contract. Supposedly, his house had burned down while he was negotiating his contract, he had low insurance on the place, and accepted a very low figure in desperation. During the season, he was depressed, and wanted more money, so he left.

    Harry Frazee decided to trade him instead of punish him. Johnson was POed that he wasn't punished, so he put a ban (no pun intended) on any trade so that other players wouldn't jump their teams, too. Most of the teams withdrew their bids, but the Yankees kept their bid, which Frazee accepted. Johnson tried to suspend Mays, but the Yankees went to court and got an injunction to allow the trade to go through.

    The AL owners were split, 5-3, on allowing Mays to pitch. The Yankees' owners, Frazee, and Comiskey, who as noted, hated Johnson, were the three-owner faction. Yet the two of them were on the three-man competition committee, and allowed the Yankees to keep Mays.

    At the end of the season, the five owners voted to boot the two guys off the competition committee. The three owners came very close to leaving the AL for the NL, to form a 12-team league, with whichever other team wanted to join them. They finally came to a peace agreement, where Johnson eventually lost almost all his power.

    2. Supposedly, the White Sox threw several games in the 1920 season, thanks to gamblers threatening to expose them for the 1919 Series scandal, plus a few violent threats mixed in as well. Had they not thrown those games, Chicago might have won another pennant.

    3. Cobb and Speaker were exonerated by Landis because Leonard refused to make his charges official in front of Landis and the two players. Leonard made the charges in newspapers, instead. Still, Cobb and Speaker ended up on other teams, which does lead to some suspicion that Leonard had something there.
  11. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    yesterday was Shoeless' birthday.
  12. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    It did happen, I believe.

    But it happened in 1917, not 1919.
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