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The 1919 World Series matched the American League champion Chicago White Sox against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds. The events of the series are often associated with the Black Sox Scandal, when several members of the Chicago franchise conspired with gamblers to throw World Series games. The Reds won the series, five games to three.

The conspiracy was the brainchild of White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil and Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, who was a professional gambler of Gandil's acquaintance. New York gangster Arnold Rothstein supplied the major connections needed. The money was supplied by Abe Attell, former featherweight boxing champion, who accepted the offer even though he didn't have the $80,000 that the White Sox wanted.

Gandil enlisted seven of his teammates, motivated by a mixture of greed and a dislike of penurious club owner Charles Comiskey, to implement the fix. Starting pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams, outfielders "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and Oscar "Happy" Felsch, and infielder Charles "Swede" Risberg were all involved. Buck Weaver was also asked to participate, but refused; he was later banned with the others for knowing of the fix but not reporting it.

Although most World Series have been of the best-of-seven format, the 1919 World Series was a best-of-nine series (along with 1903, 1920, and 1921). Baseball decided to try the best-of-nine format partly to increase popularity of the sport and partly to generate more revenue.

 World Series was the last World Series to take place without a Commissioner of Baseball in place. In 1920, the various franchise owners installed Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first "Commissioner of Baseball." In 1921, Landis levied a lifetime ban on eight players from the White Sox - including superstar Shoeless Joe Jackson - from organized baseball for fixing the series (or having knowledge about the fix).

Records:

Cincinnati Reds, 96-54
Chicago White Sox, 88-52

Managers:

Cincinnati Reds, Pat Moran

Chicago White Sox, Kid Gleason

Umpires:

Cy Rigler (NL), Billy Evans (AL), Ernie Quigley (NL), Dick Nallin (AL)

Hall of Famers:

Reds: Edd Roush. White Sox: Eddie Collins, Red Faber (dnp), Ray Schalk.

The teams

The Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox of 1919 were one of baseball's glamour teams. Using most of the same players, they had won the 1917 World Series over the New York Giants in a convincing manner, by four games to two. They had fallen to sixth place in the American League in 1918, largely as a result to losing their best player Shoeless Joe Jackson, along with a few others, to World War I service. Team owner Charlie Comiskey fired manager Pants Rowland after the season, replacing him with 20-year Major League veteran Kid Gleason, who was getting his first managerial assignment. The White Sox were back on top of the American League in 1919, finishing with a record of 88-52, 3.5 games in front of the Cleveland Indians.

Jackson was the unchallenged star of the team. The left fielder hit .351 that season, fourth in the American League and also finished in the AL's top five in slugging percentage, runs batted in, total bases and base hits. He was not alone on the team, however, as Eddie Collins, one of the greatest second basemen of all time,[2] was still going strong in his early 30's, hitting .319 with a .400 on base percentage at the top of the line-up. Right fielder Nemo Leibold was another .300 hitter, hitting .302 while scoring 81 runs, in a line-up that hardly had a weak spot. First baseman Chick Gandil hit .290, third baseman Buck Weaver was at .296, and center fielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch hit .275 while tying with Jackson for the team lead in home runs with 7. Even catcher Ray Schalk, a typical dead-ball era "good field, no hit" catcher, hit .282 that year, and shortstop Swede Risberg was not an automatic out with his .256 average and 38 runs batted in. Manager Gleason even had two good hitters on the bench, outfielder Shano Collins and infielder Fred McMullin, who were both veterans of the 1917 campaign.

On the mound, the White Sox depended on a pair of aces, backed by a very promising rookie. Knuckleballer Eddie Cicotte had become one of the American League's best pitchers after turning 30 and discovering the "shine ball"; he had won 28 games for the 1917 champions, and after an off-year in 1918, had come back with an outstanding 29–7 record, leading the league in wins and finishing second in earned run average to Walter Johnson. He was backed by Claude "Lefty" Williams, who had posted a 23–11 record with a 2.64 ERA. 26-year old rookie Dickie Kerr only started 17 games but maintained a solid 13–7 record with a 2.88 ERA. The back end of the staff included Urban "Red" Faber, who had beaten the Giants three times in the 1917 World Series but had had an off-year in 1919, finishing 11–9, 3.83 in 20 starts. Unfortunately, Faber was injured and not able to pitch in the Series. This limited Gleason to only three starters in a possible nine games.

All was not well in the White Sox camp, besides. Tensions between many of the players and owner Comiskey were very high, with the players complaining of his penny-pinching ways, which are reflected in two urban legends: the first is that Comiskey instructed Gleason to sit down Cicotte at the end of the year in order that he would not win 30 games, a milestone which would have earned him a sizeable bonus; the second was that the team was known derisively as the Black Sox because Comiskey would not pay to have their uniforms washed regularly.

The Cincinnati Reds

In contrast to the White Sox, the 1919 Cincinnati Reds were upstarts. They had finished no higher than third since 1900, achieving that much success only twice. Yet, in 1919, they won the league pennant handily. Under new manager Pat Moran, best known as the leader of another bunch of unlikely visitors to the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies of 1915, Cincinnati finished 9 games in front of the New York Giants, with a 96–44 record, leaving every other team in the league at least 20 games back.

The Reds' greatest star was center fielder Edd Roush, who led the league with a .321 batting average and, like the White Sox's Jackson, placed in the top five in most important hitting categories. Third baseman Heinie Groh was the other great hitter on the team, contributing a .310 average with a .392 on-base percentage and 79 runs scored. First baseman Jake Daubert, a two-time National League batting champion with Brooklyn earlier in the decade, also scored 79 runs, with a .276 average and great defense, while catcher Ivey Wingo hit .273. The rest of the team was unheralded, including second baseman Morrie Rath, a .264 hitter with no power but good on-base skills, and shortstop Larry Kopf, a .270 singles hitter. The rest of the outfield was a definite weak spot, as former Phillies star Sherry Magee hit only .215 in 56 games in left field, while in right field Earle "Greasy" Neale only hit .242 with little power. This would prompt Moran to start a rookie, Pat Duncan, in left field during the World Series.

The Reds' pitching was universally solid, however. The team's big three included Hod Eller (20–9, 2.39), Dutch Ruether (19–6, 1.82) and Slim Sallee (21–7, 2.06), all prominent among the league leaders in various categories. They were backed by three other pitchers who were almost as successful: Jimmy Ring was only 10–9, but with a 2.26 ERA; Ray Fisher was 14–5, 2.17 and pitched five shutouts, while Cuban Dolf Luque was 10–3, 2.63. It was a deep and talented staff, a definite advantage in a Series whose format had just been changed from best of seven to best of nine.

The Fix


The conspiracy was the brainchild of White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil and Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, who was a professional gambler of Gandil's acquaintance. New York gangster Arnold Rothstein supplied the major connections needed. The money was supplied by Abe Attell, former featherweight boxing champion, who accepted the offer even though he didn't have the $80,000 that the White Sox wanted.

Gandil enlisted seven of his teammates, motivated by a mixture of greed and a dislike of penurious club owner Charles Comiskey, to implement the fix. Starting pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams, outfielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch, and infielder Charles "Swede" Risberg were all involved. There remains some controversy as to whether outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson participated; while he was certainly aware of the fix, several of the players said years later that he wasn't involved.[3] Buck Weaver was also asked to participate, but refused; he was later banned with the others for knowing of the fix but not reporting it. Utility infielder Fred McMullin was not initially approached but got word of the fix and threatened to report the others unless he was in on the payoff. Sullivan and his two associates Sleepy Bill Burns and Billy Maharg, somewhat out of their depth, approached Rothstein to provide the money for the players, who were promised a total of $100,000.  

The conspirators got an unexpected assist when Faber was left off the roster due to a case of the flu. Indeed, years later Schalk said that had Faber been healthy, there never would have been a fix (since he almost certainly would have gotten starts that went to Cicotte and/or Williams).  

Stories of the "Black Sox" scandal have usually included Comiskey in its gallery of subsidiary villains, focusing in particular on his intentions regarding a clause in Cicotte's contract that would have paid Cicotte an additional $10,000 bonus for winning 30 games. According to Eliot Asinof's account of the events, Eight Men Out, Cicotte was "rested" for the season's final two weeks after reaching his 29th win, presumably to deny him the bonus. However, the record is perhaps more complex. Cicotte won his 29th game on September 19, had an ineffective start on September 24, and was pulled after a few innings in a tuneup on the season's final day, September 28 (the World Series beginning three days later). Reportedly, Cicotte agreed to the fix on the same day he won his 29th game, before he could have known of any efforts to deny him a chance to win his 30th. The story was probably true, though, for the 1917 season—when Cicotte won 28 games and helped the White Sox to the world championship.

Although rumors were swirling among the gamblers and some of the press, most fans and observers were taking the series at face value. On October 2, the day of Game One, the Philadelphia Bulletin published a poem which would quickly prove to be ironic:

Still, it really doesn't matter,
After all, who wins the flag.
Good clean sport is what we're after,
And we aim to make our brag
To each near or distant nation
Whereon shines the sporting sun
That of all our games gymnastic
Base ball is the cleanest one!


By WIKI
 

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Tagged:
1919 World Series, Arnold Rothstein, Black Sox Scandal, Chicago White Sox, Chick Gandil, Cincinnati Reds, Eddie Cicotte, Joe Jackson, Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
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