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Deposition hints that Cubs threw 1918 Series

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by MisterCreosote, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

  2. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    That was interesting.

    Definitely wouldn't surprise me that any number of Series in the 00s and 10s could have been tainted. The potential was certainly there with low paid ball players and gamblers all over the sport.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I remembered obviously that the Red Sox had won the 1918 series. I had forgotten it was over the Cubbies.
  4. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    This was mentioned in passing in Bill Veeck's book, "The Hustler's Handbook," in 1965.

    One chapter, "Harry's Diary -- 1919," deals quite extensively with the Black Sox scandal.

    The chapter mainly consists of a notebook by Harry Grabiner, who had been the secretary/accountant to Charles Comiskey at the time (probably a position analogous to today's GMs), and basically reveals what Comiskey knew (or thought he did) about the plot while it was going on.

    The notebook supposedly had been hidden in a storeroom at Comiskey Park for 35-some years and only discovered when Veeck bought the White Sox in 1959.

    Where the Cubs come into the mix is that it was a game in August 1920 between the Cubs and Phillies that brought a sudden rush of betting money on the last-place Phillies that broke the overall scandal of betting in baseball, and stories of an alleged 1918 Series fix involving the Cubs immediately popped up. Once that pot started boiling over, the rampant rumors of the 1919 Series fix exploded nationwide in the last month or so of the 1920 season.

    (According to Veeck's commentary on the notes, the story about the alleged Cubs-Phillies fix was almost certainly strategically leaked by AL president Ban Johnson, who hated Comiskey's guts, who knew pretty much all about the 1919 Series fix, and had been biding his time for almost a year until he could ignite a huge public scandal which would almost certainly suck Comiskey in. Johnson couldn't blow the whistle at the time the Series was going on because Comiskey had plenty of dirt on Johnson dating back to the founding of the AL in 1903.)

    I never really could figure out why John Sayles changed that in "Eight Men Out" -- the way the news of the fix really DID break was way more dramatic than the movie, since the White Sox, supposedly on a mission of redemption after the '19 series loss, were storming to the wire in a three-way battle with the Indians and Yankees.

    The last two months of the 1920 AL season were about as dramatic as a season could be: The Yankees riding the wave of Ruth's first Ruthian season (54 homers, breaking his previous season record of 29), the Indians storming to the WS title after the August beaning death of Ray Chapman, and on top of all that, the Black Sox scandal blows sky high.

    I'll have to dig out the book, but as I recall Claude Hendrix of the Cubs was supposed to be the main fixer in the 1918 Series.

    The 1917 Series, which the White Sox WON, was also rumored to be fixed:

  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Many of the Series in the 1910s are rumored to be fixed.
  6. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Didn't somebody do a book on this recently?
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the similarities to the steroid situation in the 1990s are pretty striking: a situation bubbles along for years and years, apocryphal evidence and hearsay builds and builds, you reach a point where everyone knows it's going on but nobody will say it publicly, then things start to break, some of the big names are taken down, the 'authorities' vow to crack down and it appears they probably have, but you're never really sure.

    The Miracle Braves/ Philadelphia A's series of 1914 is also supposedly very suspicious.
  8. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    FWIW, the average ballplayer's salary was about three times that of the average male worker (and 5 times that of the average female worker).
  9. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Kinda surprised this hasn't come out before. I was always under the impression that Cicotte and Jackson's depositions had long been public record.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    According to Eight Men Out (the book), Cicotte's and Jackson's confessions had "disappeared" with some busy hands in order to help "save the game". Jackson's confession later appeared again during his lawsuit against Comiskey for back wages. Jackson's lawyer hammered Comiskey on how he ended up having the confessions. Jackson won the case, but then the judge threw it out, claiming he perjured himself, and later on, Jackson settled.

    The confessions disappeared again for a number of years, but they were found some time back.

    There was also a lot of other suspicious stuff during the late 10s, early 20s. Gandil and Risberg claimed they paid off the 1917 Tigers to blow some games against them so the White Sox would win the pennant. And in 1918, supposedly, some Red Sox players gave the Tigers "reward money" for helping them win the pennant.

    That, plus in 1921, Carl Mays pitched rather suspiciously for the Yankees, although nothing was ever totally proven.

    And in 1923, a couple of Giants tried to get the Phillies to throw a game to them. The Phils reported it, and the Giants involved got banned by Landis.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Bill James' first "Historical Abstract" (from 1986 I believe) had a sub-chapter called "Twenty-two Men Out" detailing all the guys believed to have been run out of organized baseball on suspicion of gambling from the teens and twenties (and one really weird story from the 1940s). The Black Sox of course, and 14 other guys.

    It's been a decade or more since I read it but I do remember getting the impression that Carl Mays and Hal Chase, to name two, were obviously crooked for years but either nobody cared or nobody could get evidence to do anything about it (another parallel to the steroid era).

    Also hits the theme very hard about how virtually every baseball story in the teens leading into the twenties had dollar signs wrapped around it -- the Federal League (causing a brief burst in salaries and then owners chopping them way back down as soon as the FL folded), Connie Mack blowing up an Athletics team of all-stars, the prevalence of gambling leading up to the Black Sox scandal and also the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees.

    He summed up the situation, speaking of both owners and players, "they all wanted the money, and they all wanted it all."
  12. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Also added to all that is the Series was still in its formative years, and to the players wasn't that big of deal. They'd rather not be in the Series so they could go on barnstorming tours and make as much on the side in a month as they did for the entire season.
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