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See the extensive bibliography (divided into print, video/audio, and online resources) below the essay.

Shoeless Joe and the Scandal

[1] Say it ain't so Joe. Say it ain't so. Say what isn't so? Joe Jackson was one of the first players to admit during a trial of the Chicago White Sox that it was so. Indeed, the Chicago White Sox players in the 1919 World Series knew of the scandal in the games, and some participated in it. What exactly happened in the scandal still to this day is not entirely clear nor entirely certain. What we do know is that the 1919 World Series resulted in the most famous scandal in baseball history. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox (later nicknamed the Black Sox) were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds: Shoeless Joe Jackson; pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude Lefty Williams; infielders Buck Weaver, Arnold Chick Gandil, Fred McMullin, and Charles Swede Risberg; and outfielder Oscar Happy Felsch.

[2] Some of the players felt that they were not making enough money playing baseball, so they thought that a little gambling would secretly increase their salaries. A few weeks before the first game of the 1919 series, Gandil approached an infamous gambler named Joe Sullivan about possibly fixing the series. He told Sullivan that he and some of his teammates would lose the series on purpose for $100,000. Some of the players wanted money, but one also wanted to get back at their manager, Charles Comiskey. That one player was Ciccote, a pitcher, who wanted to get even because Comiskey once promised him a $10,000 bonus if he played in thirty games. Ciccote was one game away from this great bonus when Comiskey felt that Ciccote needed to "rest" for a few games. So, with twenty-nine games under his belt, Ciccote never pitched the thirtieth game, and therefore he never received his $10,000 bonus.

[3] The eight players thought to participate in the throwing the series were all put on trial, and eventually they were all banned from baseball. The story of Joe Jackson is probably the most well known story of the scandal. Joe had declared that he was not part of the whole scandal. He did admit to knowing about the fix, but he said that he was not involved in it. That story contradicts Gandils. Gandil simply lied, according to Jackson, and he told the judge and the jury that Jackson was indeed part of the gambling scheme. It is still not clear to this day, whether or nor Jackson was involved in the scandal, but, either way, he was banned from his great love, baseball.

[4] When the World Series began, Chicago lost the first game to Cincinnati , 9-1. After the game the players were disappointed because they did not receive the $20,000 that they were promised for losing. When they lost the second game, the players were even more skeptical about throwing the third game because they still had not received what they had been promised. They only got $10,000 after the second game. At this point, the players who were not informed of this gambling fix were starting to get suspicious. There were fights between the team members because if the team was good enough to be successful enough to get into the series, then why all of a sudden were they losing.

[5] The money sources were also getting convoluted. It seems as though Sullivan had brought in other gamblers as well as himself to increase the value of the payoff. The gamblers involved in this scandal were not showing up with the money, and therefore there were many debates among the team members about whether or not to continue losing the games. Chicago then won the third game and that threw off the big-time gamblers' bets. Many gamblers lost a lot of money, and they were upset that the fix was not going in their favor. Finally, Sullivan came up with $20,000 for Gandil and his teammates, and Chicago then lost games four and five.

[6] The gamblers, after Chicago had just lost the last two games, still did not come up with the money they owed. So, the team decided they might as well win the series. Chicago then went on to win the sixth game, and the big day came for the final game. Arnold Rothstein, one of the other big-time gamblers involved in this scandal, was coming very close to losing a great amount of money if Chicago won. Rothstein had bet on Cincinnati to win the series instead of betting on individual games, so he was at great risk. Rothstein hired a man to pay a visit to Williams, who was pitching the seventh game, threatening Williams and his wife, so Williams had no choice but to throw the final game of the series.

[7] In September 1920, the Chicago Black Sox were put on trial, with Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the judge. He felt that it was necessary to immediately restore the nation's faith in one of the most loved games in the country. So, right after the eight players were acquitted of any criminal charges, he banned the eight players from the game of baseball. Landis said, regardless of the verdict of the jury's, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked players and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional ball again.

Print Resources

Burk, Robert F. Never Just A Game: Players, Owners and American Baseball to 1920. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1994.
This book explores the "origins of American Baseball, and of its labor history." Burk takes the reader through the history of baseball, and he shows the great appreciation that baseball has gained in America throughout the years. This book also explains how the game of baseball started off by just being a game, but now baseball has evolved into more of a business-like structure. Burk relates baseball to the system on which the American government is based. There is one big man at the top, like the president, who starts the baseball franchise. Then baseball expands and branches out all over the country. Baseball then becomes a well-known sport, and it "evolves into a skilled-labor-intensive entertainment business." "The player was the game"; now, baseball is like all other industries. It is a big franchise that includes merging and bankruptcies that "impose order" and money. The chapters include: From Congregates to Contestants; A National Game and its Journey, 1860-1875; Barons and Serfs, 1876-1885; Retrenchment and Revolt, 1885-1890; Monopoly Ball, 1891-1899; Baseball Progressivism and the Player, 1900-1909; The Players Fraternity and the Federal League, 1910-1915; and War and the Quest for Normalcy, 1916-1920.
Rader, Benjamin G. American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Spectators. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.
This book gives a solid explanation of how and why the "informal games of colonial Americans evolved into modern, spectator-centered sports." It explains the reasons that the changes in the evolution have occurred as well as providing a clear examination of how social, cultural, and economic circumstances have shaped American sport history. The book focuses on such things as sport as human physical contests, sport governed by rule, sports and its attraction to large audiences, and sports that have "involved high degrees of athletic specialization" in these three major parts: The Age of Folk Games (1607-1850), the Age of the Player (1850-1920), and The Age of the Spectator (1920 to the Present).
Vanderwerken, David L., and Spencer K. Wertz. Sport Inside Out. Forth Worth: Texas Christian UP, 1985.
Sport is a part of America's conventional wisdom, and because of its role in society, it is a major topic that needs to be addressed. This book is a compilation of essays by many authors including John Updike, Marianne Moore, Bernard Malamud, and Ernest Hemingway, who focus on "the relationship between sport and life." Four parts are titled: Sport and the Individual, Sport and Society, The Meaning of Sport, and Dimensions of Sport.

Video/Audio Resources

Baseball. Ken Burns, dir. Videocassette. Florentine Films/WEA, 1994.

Online Resources

Baseball Cards 1887-1914
"This collection presents a Library of Congress treasure -- 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The cards show such legendary figures as Ty Cobb stealing third base for Detroit, Tris Speaker batting for Boston, and pitcher Cy Young posing formally in his Cleveland uniform. Other notable players include Connie Mack, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, and Christy Mathewson."
The Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame
"This site is devoted to the memory of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the movement to persuade Major League Baseball to remove Joe Jackson from their ineligible list, thereby making him eligible for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame."