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View Full Version : Black Sox just the ones that got caught?


kojak
06-10-2005, 06:17 PM
I read an article in today's USA Today that hyped the Red Sox/Flubs series and how it was widely believed that the 1918 World Series was also fixed, partly based on an old diary found in 1963 in the bowels of Old Comiskey (a diary and notes kept by Harry Grabiner, long time deputy to Charles Comiskey and confidant to Judge Landis)

There was also the view that "four or five early World Series had been tainted" according to syndicated columnist at the time Hugh Fullerton.

I'd never heard these allegations before. In light of them, it would seem that the 1919 Sox were simply the ones that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and were rightfully made examples of to stop the proliferation of gambling influences in baseball.

At least, it worked. But now I don't have to feel weird thinking the Sox were the only team when it seems that it was fairly commonplace, not unlike today's steroid controversy....

MIgrenade
06-10-2005, 06:21 PM
I guess that wouldn't be too shocking, there's no reason to have started fixing games with the 1919 Series. It kinda shocks me that nobody looked into the possibility of other games being fixed prior to that. Generally, cheaters get caught when they get too greedy rather than the first time they commit a crime.

The Racehorse
06-10-2005, 06:22 PM
I read an article in today's USA Today that hyped the Red Sox/Flubs series and how it was widely believed that the 1918 World Series was also fixed, partly based on an old diary found in 1963 in the bowels of Old Comiskey.

There was also the view that "four or five early World Series had been tainted" according to syndicated columnist at the time Hugh Fullerton.

I'd never heard these allegations before. In light of them, it would seem that the 1919 Sox were simply the ones that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and were rightfully made examples of to stop the proliferation of gambling influences in baseball.

At least, it worked. But now I don't have to feel weird thinking the Sox were the only team when it seems that it was fairly commonplace, not unlike today's steroid controversy....

Around the turn of the 20th century, betting on baseball was done on more occasions than the MLB stuffy-shirts would ever admit [in public]... as for other teams colluding with gamblers prior to the Black Sox, nothing would suprise me... if the truth would ever somehow be told.

Fenway
06-10-2005, 06:23 PM
Alan Wood in his book on the 1918 season writes a great deal about this. Remember players were unhappy that with the demise of the Federal League salaries went down again.

Lip Man 1
06-11-2005, 12:40 AM
Bill James in one of his books has a section called '28 Men Out.' He historically documents allegations of fixing games that involved players ranging from no names to Hall Of Famers like Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker.

It was fairly common at the time....the Sox just happened to get caught when baseball elected a Commissioner who decided to take the law into his own hands.

Lip

TornLabrum
06-11-2005, 12:55 AM
I'd add that the most crooked player of that whole era was first baseman Hal Chase. He was considered to be a terrific defensive first basemen, but bad things happened whenever he joined a club.


From what I've read about him, it seems like everyone was at least suspicious that he was crooked, but they hired him anyway. The only thing I can figure is that the owners didn't want to believe it or that they were content to look the other way until he took their clubs into the toilet.

Chase was suspected of throwing games as early as 1908.

Someone mentioned that it is surprising that no one looked into other games being thrown before the Black Sox scandal. It is noteworthy that the grand jury investigation that ended up interviewing Cicotte, Jackson, et al. started out investigating an attempt to fix a Cubs game.

PaleHoseGeorge
06-11-2005, 07:05 AM
....It is noteworthy that the grand jury investigation that ended up interviewing Cicotte, Jackson, et al. started out investigating an attempt to fix a Cubs game.

IMPOSSIBLE!!! The Cubs were going to lose anyway!

:woo-woo
"We were fixing to lose by even more!"

eastchicagosoxfan
06-11-2005, 08:27 AM
I'd add that the most crooked player of that whole era was first baseman Hal Chase. He was considered to be a terrific defensive first basemen, but bad things happened whenever he joined a club.


From what I've read about him, it seems like everyone was at least suspicious that he was crooked, but they hired him anyway. The only thing I can figure is that the owners didn't want to believe it or that they were content to look the other way until he took their clubs into the toilet.

Chase was suspected of throwing games as early as 1908.

Someone mentioned that it is surprising that no one looked into other games being thrown before the Black Sox scandal. It is noteworthy that the grand jury investigation that ended up interviewing Cicotte, Jackson, et al. started out investigating an attempt to fix a Cubs game.
There's a biography available on Chase, The Black Prince of Baseball. The author paints a picture of a man who viewed cheating as a greater challenge than playing your best and winning. There are rumors that John McGraw threw games. He signed Chase towards the end of his ( Chase's ) career. A theory is that McGraw signed him because he knew all about throwing games, but figured he ( McGraw ) could control Chase, and make him a winner. Chase retired.

elrod
06-11-2005, 09:04 AM
One thing easily forgotten is how exploited the players were. The Black Sox (black because of their dirty uniforms) are most famous but nearly every owner paid his players a pittance and treated them like dirt. That lasted for decades. It's no wonder the MLBPA is the strongest labor union in the world. It's also no wonder that ballplayers used to seek any extra means to earn some money, including throwing games. I always laugh at people who say, "In the old days they played because they loved the game. Now they just play for the money." As if they didn't play for the money back then too. The only difference was that they couldn't earn would their star power yielded and had to give in to blatant Congressional-sanctioned collusion. Throwing games was a travesty, but one of the reasons it never happens anymore (in addition to it being deemed a capital offense by the Commissioner's office) is that there is no financial incentive to do so - not when the league minimum is $300,000. Why do you think these sort of "point-shaving" scandals and they like only crop up in colleges these days?

downstairs
06-11-2005, 09:36 AM
There's no two ways about it. Where there is smoke, there is fire. The Black Sox were really the "smoke" here, not the "fire."

The game did get cleaned up, but in a hush-hush manner. Maybe that was best for baseball, who knows...

Its the same situation with steroids. Baseball may very well want to get rid of them. But by NO MEANS do they want:

1. To admit that they're as rampant as they are

2. Investigate and find specific stars who have been using them for decades. *cough... bonds... cough*

TornLabrum
06-11-2005, 11:15 AM
One thing easily forgotten is how exploited the players were. The Black Sox (black because of their dirty uniforms) are most famous but nearly every owner paid his players a pittance and treated them like dirt.

What a crock! (Sorry, but I'm sure you've picked all of this BS up from people who have written about the period.) For the record, the least paid of the Black Sox (Fred McMullen) made almost double the average wage paid in the United States in 1919, and he got it for six months' work. The average worker was making between $600 and $700 per year. McMullen was making around a thousand. Jackson was making ten times what the average worker was making. Collins was making $15,000.

elrod
06-11-2005, 11:37 AM
What a crock! (Sorry, but I'm sure you've picked all of this BS up from people who have written about the period.) For the record, the least paid of the Black Sox (Fred McMullen) made almost double the average wage paid in the United States in 1919, and he got it for six months' work. The average worker was making between $600 and $700 per year. McMullen was making around a thousand. Jackson was making ten times what the average worker was making. Collins was making $15,000.

Right, and the least paid ballplayer today makes "almost double the average wage" too, right? The least-paid ballplayer today makes $300,000. The average worker makes about $40,000. About 8X the average worker. The ballplayers of the 1910s may not have been "poor" by any objective standard, but they sure as hell weren't paid anywhere near what they were worth on an open market. That's no excuse for gambling and cheating, but considering how much they knew they were enriching their owners, and getting relatively little for it, I'm not surprised many decided to cut corners for the big bucks.

TornLabrum
06-11-2005, 12:15 PM
Right, and the least paid ballplayer today makes "almost double the average wage" too, right? The least-paid ballplayer today makes $300,000. The average worker makes about $40,000. About 8X the average worker. The ballplayers of the 1910s may not have been "poor" by any objective standard, but they sure as hell weren't paid anywhere near what they were worth on an open market. That's no excuse for gambling and cheating, but considering how much they knew they were enriching their owners, and getting relatively little for it, I'm not surprised many decided to cut corners for the big bucks.

So what kind of radio and TV deals were the owners making in 1919?