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“the game of baseball is a clean, straight game” william howard taft


Ah the Black Sox of 1919.  The Chicago White sox of that year  were the best team

in baseball.  It  didn’t matter  though  because the fix was on!  Here is a look at the people involved  in the  Black Sox  scandal  that after  87  years is still with us today:


CHARLES COMISKEY: The old roman played baseball, managed, and founded the Chicago White Sox. His players made him wealthy and he rewarded them by paying them the worst salaries in baseball. It got so bad that early in 1919 the team almost went on strike. When the fix was discovered, Comiskey tried to absolve himself by saying his ”Black Sox” would never play professional ball again. Because of the scandal, the players began to talk about forming a union. Soon after, the machinery was put into place. Comiskey died a millionaire in 1931.

ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN ; By the age of 14 Arnold Rothstein was a professional gambler. His Jewish orthodox family wasn’t happy about this but by 37 he had made tons of money and they learned to live with it. He was the only one who could have bankrolled the “Black Sox fix & it payed off well for him. Several years after that  things turned sour on him. He lost a great deal of money on poker and the races. His body was found riddled with bullets at the Park Central hotel on November 4. 1928.

ABE ATTEL: You must be doing something right if you fight 365 matches and only lose 6 times. That may have been the only thing Abe did right in his life. After he was kicked out of boxing for fixing fights, Attel became friendly with Arnold Rothstein. It was Attel who initially got the ball rolling for the fix behind Rothstein’s back. It was only after the games had started that Rothstein took charge of the action. Attel, along with Rothstein was acquitted by the Grand Jury for lack of evidence. He passed away obscure and forgotten in 1941.

JUDGE KENESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS: A man of many contradictions!  At the beginning of his term in office he was firm in his actions involving the Black Sox scandal. Later on though, he looked the other way when Speaker and Cobb were involved in fixing games. He also was one of the guiding forces in keeping blacks out of the game.

   He accepted the job of Commissioner with the condition that he would have complete control without the meddling of owners to contend with. His “Back Sox” decision restored an amount of confidence in the game and the emergence of Babe Ruth and the homerun brought it full cycle again.

CHICK GANDIL: Giving up heavyweight boxing to become a first baseman, Charles Arnold Gandil was the brains behind the worst scandal that has been exposed in Baseball.

   He approached several of his friends with the idea. His take came to 35K. He was banned from life from playing ball and made his living afterwards as a plumber. He passed away in 1971.

ED CICOTTE: Was one of the best pitchers of his time with HOF inclusion as a possibility. A great knuckleball and superb control were his trademarks. His confession to the Grand Jury brought the fix out into the open.

   He had been promised 20K and ended up with 10 K.  With the money he payed off his mortgage. “I did it for the wife and kiddies,” was his explanation for getting involved. He ended up as a game warden. Death came in 1969.

CHARLES “SWEDE” RISBERG; The“Swede played shortstop for the White Sox. His take ended up being $15K. He claimed he did it only because of Comiskey’s tight pockets.

There was no way he could turn to a union or rely on a pension plan because they didn’t exist then. Neither did free agency. He went on to manage a dairy farm and died in 1956.

HAPPY FELSCH: “I didn’t want to be a squealer,” was the reason Happy Felsch gave for going along with the throwing of the World Series. He continued his heavy drinking while tending bar. His end came in 1964. The obituary mentioned his role with the Black Sox and pointed out that he had been an alcoholic for over 50 years.

CLAUDE WILLIAMS: With a record of 82 wins and 48 losses, ”Lefty” Williams might have gone on to have an outstanding career. He ended up getting 5K for his role in the fix. He also ended up being a gardener for the rest of his life. His achievements as a  lefthander were long past him when he died in Laguna Beach at the age of 66.

FREDERICK Mc MULLIN: While lying on a locker room bench Fred McMullin heard Chick Gandil discussing the fix with Swede Risberg. He demanded to be part of it and ended up with 5k for what turned out to be a limited role. He was at best a utility player with the team. Nobody seems to know what happened to him later on in life or when and how he died.

“SHOELESS” JOE JACKSON : Shoeless Joe is a special case. After accepting the bribe, he had second thoughts about it. He went to Comiskey and asked to be benched. Comiskey refused. Jackson then went ahead and proceeded to bat .375 with 3 doubles, 1 HR, and 6 RBIs. After he was banned he played on several semi-pro teams under false names. He supported himself with odd jobs at liquor stores and cleaning shops. He died of a heart attack in 1951. His lifetime BA is over .350. He is now considered to be one of the best pure hitters to have played the game.

BUCK WEAVER. His is the saddest of all the Black Sox players. He never accepted the bribe, but because he never reported it, Landis banned him from baseball along with the others. He made many efforts to have himself reinstated but to no avail. When he died in 1951 he had owned a drugstore for many years. In all these years baseball has made no effort to clear his name.     


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