As the 2019 World Series has an off day and the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals travel to the eastern United States for game three of the World Series which starts Friday, it is time to take a trip down memory lane. A century ago, one of the most controversial World Series of all-time took place.
The 1919 World Series, also known as the Black Sox Scandal, took place between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. Initially the World Series was unique as it was only the second World Series ever that was a best out of nine. The champion needed to win five games instead of the traditional four.
However what would happen from the 1919 World Series would be historic. A total of eight White Sox players were indicted on nine counts of conspiracy for attempting to fix World Series games. Even though the eight White Sox players were found not guilty, as paper work that contained confessions mysteriously vanished according to the History Channel, the players involved were banned from organized baseball by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis of Millville, OH.
Landis was Major League Baseball’s first commissioner and his decision was his long lasting legacy. Even though the players tried to be reinstated, Landis rejected their requests.
Many of the White Sox players involved in the conspiracy were frustrated that they were not given bonuses by owner Charles Comiskey. They were accused of agreeing to try and lose World Series games in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate headed by American businessman Arnold Rothstein, who was a famous gambler and member of the Jewish mob.
The White Sox involved were first baseman Chick Gandil of St. Paul, MN (considered the mastermind), pitcher Eddie “Knuckles” Cicotte of Springwells, MI, pitcher Lefty Williams of Aurora, MO, shortstop Swede Risberg of San Francisco, CA, center fielder Oscar “Happy” Felsch of Milwaukee, WI, third baseman Fred McMullin of Scammon, KS, shortstop Buck Weaver of Pottstown, PA and outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson of Pickens County, SC. Of the eight players, Jackson was considered the best player as he batted a remarkable .408 during the 1911 regular season.
The White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series five games to three. Winners of the 1917 World Series, the White Sox would not win another World Series until 2005, when they beat the Houston Astros in a four game sweep.