Whit Sox scandal, over but not forgotten

On October 22, 1920, eight Chicago White Sox players and five henchman of notorious New York mobster Arnold Rothstein were indicted on nine counts of conspiracy and fraud.

Featherweight boxer, Abe Attell told a reporter for the Cleveland News of a scheme where players took bribes to throw the 1919 World Series. Rumors spread like wildfire with little to no evidence proving the story one way or the other.

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson spent five seasons as a left fielder with the Chicago White Sox. The nickname came from when he removed his uncomfortable shoes for one at-bat because they were giving him blisters.

Jackson was accused of throwing a World Series game for $5000. He was banned from baseball for life without a fair trial.

The trial started in July of 1921. The defendants were accused of betting on a 1919 World Series game featuring the White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. The game allowed the Reds to clinch the title with a 10-5 victory in game eight at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. There was no evidence proving Jackson guilty.

The seven other players banned for life were pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude “Lefty” Williams, center fielder Oscar “Happy” Felsch, first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil, pinch hitter Fred McMullin, third baseman Charles “Swede” Risberg, shortstop George “Buck” Weaver.

While the trial is over and most of the participants are probably no longer with us, the topic remains a fault line for debate among baseball historians.

“God knows I gave my best in baseball at all times and no man on earth can truthfully judge me otherwise.” -Shoeless Joe Jackson

“(Shoeless Joe) Jackson’s fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning.” – Connie Mack

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history.com looks back at the incident


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