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Both baseball and the nation as a whole celebrated the end of World War I in 1919.  With the conflict in Europe drawing to a close, players who joined the military to support the war effort returned to their respective teams, raising the level of play in both major leagues.  The sport once again flourished, with attendance figures at ballparks nearly doubling from the marks posted one year earlier.  However, the national pastime suffered a devastating setback by season’s end when eight members of the American League champion Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to fix the 1919 World Series.

The White Sox replaced Boston atop the American League standings in 1919, winning their second pennant in three years by finishing the abbreviated regular season with a record of 88-52, 3 ½ games ahead of the second-place Cleveland Indians.  Clearly the junior circuit’s most well-balanced team, the White Sox led the league in runs scored (667) and finished second in runs allowed (534).  Shoeless Joe Jackson paced Chicago on offense, placing among the A.L. leaders with 96 runs batted in, a .351 batting average, a .422 on-base percentage, and a .506 slugging percentage.  Eddie Collins also contributed significantly to the Chicago attack, batting .319, compiling a .400 on-base percentage, and leading the league with 33 stolen bases.  Meanwhile, Ed Cicotte and Lefty Williams gave the White Sox the league’s most formidable pitching duo.  Cicotte posted a record of 29-7, to lead all A.L. hurlers in victories.  He also topped the circuit with 306 innings pitched and 30 complete games, placed second with a 1.82 ERA, and threw five shutouts.  Williams finished 23-11, with a 2.64 ERA and 298 innings pitched.   

The White Sox subsequently entered the 1919 World Series as heavy favorites to defeat the less-talented Cincinnati Reds.  However, history has recorded that eight Chicago players accepted bribes from known gamblers to throw the Fall Classic, which Cincinnati won, five games to three.  In retrospect, the most dramatic moments of the Series took place in Games Three and Six, when Chicago pitcher Dickie Kerr overcame the best efforts of his eight dishonest teammates to post victories of 3-0 and 5-4 for his ball club.  Ed Cicotte and Lefty Williams, both in on the fix, combined to lose all five games for Chicago, with Williams coming up short in all three of his starts.  Meanwhile, Joe Jackson, the best-known conspirator, continued to proclaim his innocence through the years, pointing to his Series-high .375 batting average and six runs batted in.

Although the “Black Sox Scandal” nearly ruined the national pastime, presenting it in a far less favorable light to baseball fans everywhere, the 1919 campaign nevertheless produced a number of memorable moments and crowning achievements.  Notable events from around the American League and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• Playing the outfield regularly for the first time in his career, Boston’s Babe Ruth established a new major league record by hitting 29 home runs (in only 432 at-bats).  Ruth’s 29 homers put him 19 ahead of league runners-up Tilly Walker, George Sisler, and Frank Baker.  Ruth also batted .322 and led the American League with 114 runs batted in, 103 runs scored, a .456 on-base percentage, and a .657 slugging percentage.
         
• Ruth became the first player to hit four grand slams in a season.  He also became the first man to hit a home run in every A.L. ballpark in the same season.

• Washington’s Walter Johnson led all American League pitchers with a 1.49 ERA.

• Johnson pitched a record fifth Opening Day shutout by blanking the A’s 1-0 in 13 innings.

Ty Cobb won his final American League batting title with a mark of .384.

Ray Caldwell of Cleveland threw a no-hitter against New York on September 10.

Doc Johnston of Cleveland established a new American League record by collecting a hit in nine consecutive trips to the plate.
 
Tris Speaker led the American League in total chances by an outfielder for a record eighth straight season.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BOS 1453 4548 565 1188 494 .213 181 49 33 108 1566 .329 .260 .608 190
CHA 1454 4675 668 1343 571 .232 218 70 25 150 0 1776 .357 .295 .676 0 0 224
CLE 1492 4565 634 1268 547 .241 254 72 24 113 0 1738 .346 .316 .688 0 0 224
DET 1458 4665 620 1319 544 .219 222 84 23 121 1778 .329 .276 .618 211
NYA 1488 4775 582 1275 494 .185 193 49 45 101 1701 .302 .233 .571 170
PHA 1504 4730 459 1156 396 .174 175 71 35 103 1578 .298 .222 .592 125
SLA 1525 4672 535 1234 460 .217 187 73 31 74 0 1660 .323 .269 .612 0 0 201
WS1 1530 4757 533 1238 459 .181 177 63 24 142 0 1613 .335 .223 .620 0 0 162

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BOS 204 66 71 1224 381 421 5034 1251 16 53.630 450 567 89 15 8 36 2
CHA 213 88 52 1266 468 342 5149 1245 24 69.520 427 534 88 14 3 9 1
CLE 232 84 55 1245 432 362 5075 1242 19 44.110 405 539 80 10 10 16 1
DET 214 80 60 1257 428 436 5187 1254 35 46.600 461 577 85 10 4 24 1
NYA 231 80 59 1287 500 433 5255 1143 47 38.270 403 512 85 14 7 19 0
PHA 229 36 104 1241 417 503 5263 1371 44 144.220 587 747 72 1 3 25 7
SLA 235 67 72 1255 415 421 5236 1255 35 85.190 437 562 78 14 4 27 5
WS1 239 56 84 1275 536 451 5294 1237 20 80.430 422 571 68 12 10 35 5

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BOS 1377 5654 3669 1842 143 .960 0 0 0 0 20
CHA 1400 5716 3791 1749 176 .941 0 0 0 0 6
CLE 1400 5712 3722 1789 201 .945 0 0 0 0 6
DET 1374 5745 3782 1758 205 .951 0 0 0 0 11
NYA 1412 6001 3863 1945 193 .909 0 0 0 0 13
PHA 1387 5861 3702 1902 257 .921 0 0 0 0 9
SLA 1395 5782 3755 1813 214 .926 0 0 0 0 10
WS1 1436 5703 3823 1653 227 .957 0 0 0 0 15

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1919 World Series, American League, Babe Ruth, Black Sox Scandal, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Doc Johnston, Eddie Cicotte, Eddie Collins, Frank Baker, George Sisler, Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams, Ray Caldwell, Tilly Walker, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson

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