The Black Sox Scandal

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The “Black Sox” Scandal
In the early 1900s, baseball was the American pastime. Baseball players were the idols of the young, the old, and everyone in between. Baseball games were played everywhere from sandlots to stadiums and radios in homes across the nation were tuned to baseball. Attendance and profits were on the rise; between the first World Series of 1903 and the World Series of 1919 revenues had increased by 50% (Everstine, 1998). The money was too tempting and greed changed the wholesome innocence of baseball with the fix of the “Black Sox Scandal of 1919”. The 1919 World Series was between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds with the White Sox favored to win (Everstine, 1998). The scandal began when William Thomas, “Sleepy Bill” Burns, a former pitcher who had connections with the players, and Billy Maharg, who had connections with underground gambling, realized they could make a great deal of money if they knew who would win the game. Burns recruited two White Sox players, pitcher Ed Cicotte and first baseman “Chick” Gandil, to throw the game (Everstine, 1998). In turn, the players recruited six more teammates; Pitcher Lefty Williams, Centerfielder, Happy Felsh, Shortstop, Swede Risberg, Third baseman, Buck Weaver, Reserve Infielder, Fred McMullin and one of America’s heroes, Leftfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (Everstine, 1998). Baseball players did not make much money in 1919, and they agreed to be paid $100,000 to split between them (Everstine, 1998). Greed was now a part of American baseball. Burns and Maharg needed financing, both to place their bets and to pay the players. Burns and Maharg, bet a half a million dollars between them on the series (Everstine, 1998). They received loans from several people, including one from Arnold Rothstein (Everstine, 1998). Rothstein was a widely known as a gambler, he ran several gambling houses, and had worked with Lucky Luciano (Thompson, 1997). It has been said, that Rothstein won...
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