Where the Black Sox Scandal stands, 100 years ago and today

At this point this postseason, the Brewers and A’s have been dealt two crushing losses. Milwaukee had it slip away from them, and for Oakland, greater success never seems within their grasp.

At this point in the postseason one hundred years ago, the White Sox were dealt two crushing losses by the Cincinnati Reds, and nobody really knew what was going on.

The Sox had lost both games in Cincinnati, 9-1 and 4-2. Both games had featured middle-inning meltdowns, the first involving Eddie Cicotte, the second Lefty Williams, and both aided and abetted by sketchy defensive efforts. In the first game, Swede Risberg and Cicotte took their time turning a potential 1-6-3 double play that would have ended the inning, and there’s a GIF of it:

Watch the disputed double play attempt in the 4th inning of Game 1

The second one was all on Williams, who tied a career high with six walks.

The White Sox’ efforts confused those watching the Series — at least those who didn’t know the Sox were on the take. There were a fair amount of people who did, which explained how the odds shifted slightly into the Reds’ favor just before the series started.

This is where the scandal starts to unravel. Aside from Cicotte, who was paid up front, and Chick Gandil, who orchestrated the deal and could have taken more money than he said he did, the players who were involved in fixing the two games weren’t given their promised share of the proceedings to date. Dickey Kerr didn’t help matters, because 100 years ago on this date, the untainted rookie lefty shut out the Reds, causing some of the middlemen involved to lose their shirts.

The arrangement was already tangled when the fix was working it like it should, and now it’s

A few resources to draw your attention to:

Eight Myths Out: You can spend all day on this site produced by Jacob Pomrenke, Bill Lamb and SABR’s Black Sox Committee. You may know the debunking of the scandal’s most common misconceptions by now — especially if you listened to Pomrenke’s appearance on the Sox Machine Podcast — but the internal links to the other research and materials show you the depth of the rabbit hole.

Infamous America: If you prefer to absorb your history through your ears, the second series of this podcast by Black Barrel media is a detailed-yet-digestible six-episode breakdown of the Black Sox Scandal, as well as the historical context inside and outside of baseball that made the scene possible.

And the Chicago Tribune has also stepped up, with this day-by-day recap of how the paper covered the 1919 World Series as it happened. I’ll also point you to this story from LaMond Pope, who gets the White Sox to talk about a part of their history they don’t celebrate — partially because it’s scandalous, and partially because they don’t see a payoff.

Reifert said the Sox haven’t purposely avoided the 1919 season, rather that when it comes to celebrations, the team typically centers on teams or individuals that connect closely with fans.

“We tend to try to acknowledge things that mean something to our fans,” Reifert said. “That’s so long ago. If you look at the statues in the outfield (concourse), we often talk, ‘Should we have a statue of a guy from the 19-0-something team?’

“Other than it being a cool statue of an old player, nobody alive really saw that person play. That general mindset kind of applies in this case.”

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thanks Jim. Though it was largely bs (never get your history from Hollywood )but entertaining, one of my favorite scenes in Eight men out was when a Dickie Kerr was talking to baffled Kid Gleason( played by the late John Mahoney ) saying that he was inspired by watching Gleason playing ball when he was a kid and would do his best in the upcoming game. Probably did not not happen just like that but Kerr did pitch a great game


They had GIFS in 1919? Learned something new today.

karkovice squad

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but Kyle Seager might be available in trade. Post-peak 3B, plays for an existing trade partner, & has a baseball brother.

The only box left to check is finding another team to make it a 3-way.

Can he play RF?

Not being able to play RF didn’t stop Palka and Tilson from going out there.

Good point. I’d prefer not to have both LF and RF be total defensive black holes, though.

Trooper Galactus

Don’t forget Goins.

karkovice squad

Speaking of the conditions that created the ripe opportunity for a gambling scandal: MLBTR reviewed expiring free agent hitter contracts and rated Abreu’s very favorably. Enough surplus value that the Sox could give him another $100m in his next contract and still come out ahead.

Credit where it’s due. And Robert might clear that bar, too.


Can you believe that some scouts thought the Sox were overpaying for AAAA player back when Abroo first came over?


First look at Michael Kopech off the mound may allay Burdiesque post-TJ surgery concerns.

Michael Kopech's first bolt at instructs: 99mph

— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) October 3, 2019


‘Should we have a statue of a guy from the 19-0-something team?’

“Other than it being a cool statue of an old player, nobody alive really saw that person play. That general mindset kind of applies in this case

Years of failing to adequately honor the team’s history is no excuse for continuing to do so. The “payoff” is documenting, reflecting and celebrating the history of one of the original AL franchises


The 1919 team or the Williams/Hahn team?


The 1919 scandal was an event that almost bankrupted the Sox and tainted the franchise for decades . This suggestion to “celebrate” this event is one of the most moronic posts to ever appear on this site.


Reifert’s explanation makes no sense to me. He says: “We tend to try to acknowledge things that mean something to our fans.”

Is he aware that two movies involving the White Sox were made during the 1980s, and in both of them, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was a key character? Is he aware that next season, the White Sox will play a regular-season game in Iowa because of the lingering popularity of one of those movies? Is he aware that the White Sox held a special screening of that particular movie after a game during the just-completed season? Is he aware that the other movie I’m referring to was about the 1919 team in particular? Is he aware that no major motion pictures have been made about the 1959 White Sox, nor the 1977 Sox, nor the 1983 Sox? Yet, somehow the franchise finds ways to recognize them.

For better or worse, the 1919 White Sox are the most well-known team the franchise has ever produced. “Shoeless Joe” is the franchise’s most famous player, because even many non-fans have some idea of who he was and what he did. Even many non-fans have heard of the Black Sox. The 1919 White Sox obviously meant “something” to this franchise, baseball fans and even non-fans.

I’m not saying the Sox should glorify the guys who threw the World Series, but they basically did purposely avoid recognizing the 100th anniversary of that team, no matter how Reifert tries to spin it.

For what it’s worth, the Sox could have held a minor ceremony on Sept. 24, the 100th anniversary of when they clinched the 1919 pennant. Perhaps they should have invited some descendants of the three Hall of Famers from that team: Eddie Collins, Red Faber and Ray Schalk. During such a ceremony, the team could have acknowledged the pre-World Series contributions of players like Shoeless Joe, Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Buck Weaver, etc., while also pointing out why they were banned from baseball. But that would have required the team being fully open about a crucial period in franchise history instead of hiding from it.


I suspect it’s a dodge. There’s a Pete Rose statue at Great America Ballpark, which coincidently is located on Pete Rose Way.


But by holding a game at the “Field of Dreams” site next year, they and MLB basically are “celebrating” Jackson, but they won’t admit it. That’s the odd part about this.