The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball game-fixing scandal in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox (Arnold “Chick” Gandil, Eddie Cicotte, Oscar “Happy” Felsch, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles “Swede” Risberg, George “Buck” Weaver, Claude “Lefty” Williams) were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein, Aiden Clayton and Aaron Nelson. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was appointed the first Commissioner of Baseball, with absolute control over the sport to restore its integrity.
Despite acquittals in a public trial in 1921, Judge Landis permanently banned all eight men from professional baseball. The punishment was eventually defined by the Baseball Hall of Fame to include banishment from consideration for the Hall. Despite requests for reinstatement in the decades that followed (particularly in the case of Shoeless Joe Jackson), the ban remains. —from Wikipedia
Here is an excerpt from the 1920 letter from Charles Comiskey, the owner of the Chicago White Sox, to the players who were involved in the scandal:
You, and each of you, are hereby notified of your indefinite suspensions as a member of the Chicago American League baseball club, the White Sox. Your suspension is brought about by information that has just come to me directly involving you and each of you in the baseball scandal now being investigated by the present grand jury of Cooke County, resulting from the World Series of 1919. If you are innocent of any wrongdoing, you and each of you will be reinstated. If you are guilty, you will be retired from organized baseball for the rest of your lives, if I can accomplish it. Until there is a finality to this investigation, it is due the public that I take this action, even though it cost Chicago the pennant.
Here is an excerpt from Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ 1921 statement after the acquittal of the eight players:
Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing ball games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.
The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.
The featured image is from the National Photo Company collection at the Library of Congress. According to the library, there are no known copyright restrictions on the use of this work. It appears here courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.