Our national pastime, "baseball," since its early days have had their share of scandals that rocked fans, and the game. My pal, Red Sox Jerry (Simon) called today to ask if I recalled the "first" gambling scandal in baseball's history. Quickly I replied, sure, the Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919. Jerry asked, do you know about the Louisville Grays scandal of 1877? Seems the Gray's played in the National League. They had a pretty good club being in first place in mid-August of the 1877 season. They had a won-loss record of 27-13 when suddenly they began losing. They lost 12 of their final 20 games, finishing seven games behind the Boston Red Stockings. Allegations surfaced that several Gray players threw games. A league investigation clearly revealed that players were indeed being paid by gamblers to throw games. League President, William Hulbert banned four Gray players for life, and the Louisville Grays never played another game, folding after the scandal was made public. So for trivia buffs, remember this story - the Chicago Black Sox were "NOT" the first team to throw a World Series. It happened in the National Leagues 2nd season of existence 1877. (thanks Jerry)
Here's several scandals you may or may not have heard of.
1910 - The Chalmers Automobile Company announced that the winner of the batting title in the American League that year would win a brand new Chalmers 30 automobile. Considering players low salary's at that time, a "gigantic' prize. Two players were neck and neck as the season came to an end. Ty Cobb of the Tigers hitting just above .385 with 2 games to play, elected to sit out the final two in order to protect his average. Cleveland's Napolean Lajoie was a close second. Lajoie played his final 2 games against the St.Louis Browns, who elected to "help" Lajoie along by a series of strange infield shifts, including playing the third baseman in the outfield grass. As a result, Lajoie collected eight hits of that final day, but results showed that Cobb had beaten Lajoie, .384944 to .384084. The American League President was so angry at the Brown's obvious attempt to let Lajoie hit safely he banned Browns manager Jack O'Connor from baseball for life. The Chalmers Company gave cars to both Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie.
1919 - Center Fielder Benny Kauff of the New York Giants was charged with operating a car-theft ring. In 1921 his case was finally heard and though he was acquitted of all charges, MLB Commissioner Keneshaw Mountain Landis nonetheless banned Kauff from baseball for life, believing that the acquittal was "one of the worst miscarriages of justice ever to come to my attention."
1943 - William D.Cox, first non-player banned from baseball. Cox was baseball's youngest owner in baseball when he purchased the Philadelphia Phillies. Nine months later, Cox would never be seen or heard from again. Cox was considered a "meddling" owner. Not very much liked. He was also a gambler. His betting habits reached Commissioner Keneshaw Mountain Landis and that launched an investigation. Based on his findings, Landis suspended Cox on November 23, 1943. Cox appealed the suspension and lost. In December of 1943 Cox's suspension became a lifetime ban.
Check out columnist Doug Mead report on baseball's 30 biggest scandals he prepared for the "bleacher report." You'll find out if the 1914 Philadelphia A's conspired to throw the World Series. You'll learn the name of the team doctor who attempted to throw games. Learn the details of baseball great Ty Cobb stabbing an African-American night watchman for being what Cobb called "uppity." Read about George Brett and Albert Belle corked bats. Read about Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott fascination with Hitler. Read about one of the games greatest players, Cap Anson of the Chicago White Stockings in 1883 refusing to play on the same field with African-Americans. Learn about MLB owners scheme to create collusion in the mid '80's to stop "free agency."
Great baseball stories, history - "scandals" - not as pure as mother-hood, apple pie or the American flag, but our national pastime sure attracts colorful characters............
"Upton on Sports"-source: bleacherreport/jerrysimon/
- New York Giants