Title

The Black Sox Trial: An Account

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The players on Charles Comiskey's 1919 Chicago White Sox team were a fractious lot with plenty to complain about. The club was divided into two gangs of players, each with practically nothing to say to the other. Together they formed the best team in baseball -- perhaps one of the best teams that ever played the game -- yet they were paid a fraction of what many players on other teams received. Comiskey's contributions to baseball were beyond question, but he was both a tightwad and a tyrant. The White Sox owner paid two of his greatest stars, outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver $6000 a year, despite the fact that players on other teams with half their talent were getting $10,000 or more. On road trips, Sox players received a $3 a day allowance, even though almost all other teams gave their players $4. For Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, there was another source of irritation: in the fall of 1917, when Cicotte approached a 30-win season that would win him a promised $10,000 bonus, Comiskey had his star pitcher benched rather than be forced to come up with the extra cash. The players had few options in dealing with their penurious owner. Because of baseball's famous reserve clause, any player who refused to accept a contract was prohibited from playing baseball on any other professional team.

The bitterness Sox players felt for their owner led eight members of the team to enter into a conspiracy that would forever change the game of baseball and be remembered as the greatest scandal in the history of professional sports. They would agree to throw the World Series.

Publication Date

2007

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