Throughout the years and decades that sports have been big in our cultures, there have been a laundry list of scandals that have rocked the various sports. Drug scandal, gambling scandals and everything in between have been seen but there is one that you may not know about, but was actually one of the biggest of all time, and that is the Black Sox Scandal. Here I will speak about the scandal, what it entailed and more.
This so called Black Sox Scandal describes the scandal surrounding the 1919 World Series. This series pitted the Chicago White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. The White Sox lost the series, but the big news was that eight different White Sox players were accused of intentionally losing games in exchange for monetary payouts from gamblers. This news rocked the sports world and is one of the only few times that something like this has happened in American sports at the highest level.
The choice for a large number of members on the team to throw the series for a payoff supposedly began in the team clubhouse. There was a ton of tension between the team and the owner as the players felt they weren’t being paid enough for being one of the best teams in the league. And because no union was in place, the players really had no course of action. The initial meeting that set the plan in motion took place on September 21st 1919 in the hotel room of Chuck Gandil in New York. This meeting was both for the people who wanted to devise and go through with a plan to throw the World Series for money, and for those just interested in listening. This meeting would go on to destroy and tarnish the careers of eight different players, though there is a ton of dispute over which players were actually present at this meeting. The group eventually decided to go ahead with the plan.
Even before the series began, there were a number of rumours in gambling circles that the series was fixed and thus, huge bets began to come in on the Reds to win it. The fix was officially in once the pitcher on the White Sox hit the Reds battr with the second pitch of the ball game, which was a pre-determined signal that confirmed the players were going ahead with the fix. The players involved in the fix lost games, committed errors and did all they could to lose, which the eventually did.
Rumours ran rampant for months about the series and eventually it was taken to court. While the players responsible were never “officially” charged, they all received lifetime bans from the game for their involvement. Most of the players involved were nothing special but one name that will stick out is that of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson was among the best hitters in the league and was also among the best fielders. Though his involvement is questioned by some, he did admit to collecting $5000 from gamblers, but later recanted that.
Whoever was involved and whoever wasn’t doesn’t change the fact that this was one of the biggest scandals of all time in pro sports.