On Oct. 1, 1919, Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte hit Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter Morrie Rath in the back with his second pitch in the bottom of the first inning. Fans immediately sensed something was amiss. The Sox eventually lost that first game 9-1 and went on to lose the series.
Throughout the 1920 season, stories of corruption touched on the Chicago White Sox as well as other baseball teams. In September 1920, a grand jury was convened to investigate the 1919 Series and Eddie Cicotte confessed to his participation in a scheme. As a result of the scandal, and in order to restore the sport’s integrity, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was appointed the first Commissioner of Baseball.
Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were brought to trial in 1921, accused of taking bribes from a gambling syndicate in order to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series. All eight players were found guilty and banned from the sport. Joe Gedeon, second baseman for the St. Louis Browns, was also banned by Landis because he had placed bets on the games when he learned of the fix.
To learn more about this part of the White Sox history, we recommend the following titles from our collection: