In 1919, several Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers in a plan that would have seen them perform badly during their long-awaited World Series game against the Cincinnati Reds and eventually lose the game. In return, players would be rewarded with a total sum of $ 100,000. The plan went accordingly and led the White Sox to lose the game, in what was later known as the Black Sox scandal.
Who was involved?
The eight players implicated in the Black Sox Scandal and who were subsequently banished by professional baseball including pitcher Eddie Cicotte, baseman Arnold Gandil, and outfielder Joe Jackson, who was probably the best outside player in the league at the time. Other players include Charles Risberg, the pitcher Claude Williams, baseman George Weaver, infidel Fred McMullin and midfielder Oscar Felsch. Also involved were the players involved in the scandal.
The compensation of players participating in a World Series had been revised in 1918, from payment based on ticket sales at a flat rate. This decision did not go well with the players because it would have seriously affected their finances. A team, the Boston Red Sox, had even gone on strike to protest the decision. Gamblers took advantage of the desperation and bitterness of the players and continued to offer players alternative ways to make money.
The case and the judgment
The Black Sox scandal was among the first cases in which the new commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was hired and was fully aware of the weight of the case. Fortunately, there was a previous similar case that established a precedent used in the sentence. The National Commission had banned five Pacific Coast League players due to match-fixing. Many of the affected players made sensational statements about their innocence, saying that they had abandoned plans and misbehaved during the game due to fear. Eddie Cicotte was the first player to confess his participation in the scandal, opening the doors to other players to confess their involvement. However, the single case that stood out from the rest is that of Joe Jackson, whose participation in the scandal has been questioned for years. The outgoing player’s performance during the deciding game was stellar and was perhaps the best player in the game. Years later, all the banned players agreed that Joe Jackson had never participated in the scandal and that his name was passed on to gamblers to increase their credibility.
In his ruling, Commissioner Landis forbade players to always participate in professional baseball. Forbidden players would soon realize that the ramifications of the Black Sox scandal stretched out of the field. Some of the players tried to collect barnstorming, staging exhibition games in several small towns, but their cruel reputation preceded them and left them without spectators. Players have also attempted to organize weekly play shows on Sundays in Chicago, but the Chicago authorities have broken down these attempts, discouraging ballparks from hosting the games in the show.
In the aftermath of the Black Sox scandal, with eight Chicago White Sox players banned, the team’s performance collapsed, finishing in second place in 1919 and seventh in 1921. The Chicago White Sox did not win the American championship for the next 40 years before 1959 when they won. The team’s performance at the World Series was even worse and they would have waited until 2005 to win the World Series. The sudden and consistent poor performance seen with the team immediately after the scandal gave rise to the legend of the “Curse of the Black Sox”