Essay on The 1919 Black Sox Scandal

740 Words 3 Pages
The 1919 Black Sox Scandal



The 1919 World Series resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball history. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (later nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Details of the scandal and the extent to which each man was involved have always been unclear. It was, however, front-page news across the country and, despite being acquitted of criminal charges, the players were banned from professional baseball for life. The eight men included the great “shoeless Joe Jackson,” pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams; infielders Buck Weaver, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, Fred McMullin, and Charles "Swede" Risberg; and outfielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch.
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Comiskey was able to get away with paying low salaries because of the "reserve clause" in players' contracts. This clause prevented players from changing teams without the permission of the owners. Without a union, the players had no bargaining power.
Gamblers were often visibly present at ballparks and the fixing of games had been suspected since the mid-1850s. Rumors circulated that players supplemented their incomes by throwing single games. Several ballplayers had the reputation of working closely with gamblers. A small-time gambler, Joseph Sullivan, allegedly made money on inside tips from Chicago's Chick Gandil. Sullivan's bets were safer when he knew a pitcher or hitter was sick, hurt, or having an off week.
Although gambling was intertwined with baseball long before the eight White Sox were accused of fixing the Series, the number of gamblers at ballparks had dramatically increased by 1919. Ironically, Comiskey posted signs throughout the park declaring, "No Betting Allowed In This Park."
While the facts surrounding the throwing of the Series are confusing, people familiar with the case agree Gandil was the ringleader. A few weeks before the 1919 World Series, Gandil approached Sullivan about fixing the Series. He told Sullivan that for…