Eyewitness Reports in History Black Sox Scandal Part 3

An eyewitness account of the Black Sox Scandal in baseball and American history with a fixed World Series.

Black Sox Scandal

Eyewitness Report: Three Chicago newsmen and a wire service reporter were lurking in a courthouse corridor when Joe Jackson emerged after his grand jury testimony. A boy stepped out of a group of waiting kids and said, "It ain't true, is it, Joe?"

And Jackson responded, "Yes, I'm afraid it is. The lad's question became, with the years, the legendary, "Say it ain't so, Joe."

J. G. Taylor Spink, late publisher of The Sporting News, "Bible of baseball," was an official scorer at the 1919 World Series. In his 1947 book Judge Landis and 25 Years of Baseball, Spink wrote:

"Despite incidents which should have made a newspaperman suspicious, the average person-both in and out of the game-was so convinced of the honesty of baseball that he thought fixing a World's Series would be impossible. Why, that just was one of the things which couldn't be done!

"However, we know now that had we had an alert one-man commission in 1919, or even a harmonious, smooth-working three-man National Commission, the scandal either never would have happened, or, after the fix, the culprits quickly would have been rooted out and brought to justice....

"Certainly the great majority of the men covering that Series thought it was on the up-and-up, and, though a few suspicious plays later came to me, I tried to convince myself that I was scoring an honest Series. Cicotte deflecting a 'strike' thrown in by an outfielder that would have shot down a Red at the plate could have been due to the stress and excitement of a World's Series play, and Gandil's failure to slide into third on a close play might have been just one of those boners one sees in some ball park every day of the week....

"I got quite a surprise when I arrived in Cincinnati [for the start of the Series]. I learned the odds were heavily on the Reds, despite the admitted strength of the White Sox.... I saw gamblers going around, hocking their rings, raising any money they could, to bet on the Reds. The professionals were making their bets with the non-professionals, who thought they couldn't afford to pass up the long odds the gamblers were giving on the Sox. Somehow, that didn't add up right...."

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