Jul 16, 2017
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast #033 – The Black Sox – Baseball’s Most Notorious Scandal

The Black Sox - Baseballs Most Notorious ScandalI’m forever blowing ballgames,
pretty ballgames in the air.
I come from Chi, I hardly try,
just go to bat and fade and die.
Fortune’s coming my way,
that’s why I don’t care.
I’m forever blowing ballgames,
and the gamblers treat us fair.

-Ring Lardner

You could say that it started with Charlie Comiskey, because a lot of things started with Charlie Comiskey in Chicago in 1919. Comiskey owned the Chicago White Sox, a serious contender in any year, and he enjoyed the reputation as a tightwad and a fierce negotiator.

I want to go on record by saying that although Comiskey fostered the reputation as a hard-guy and a tightwad, the payroll of the Chicago White Sox was one of the best in the league. The team was filled with solid players and had two bona fide stars on its roster; outfielder Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver. They each made over $6000 a year in 1919 and a lot of the other name players on the team made around half that. And that was about what they would have made on any other roster in the Bigs, so while money was a factor in the Black Sox Scandal, it wasn’t the only factor.

Comiskey himself had been a ball player, a pitcher before moving to first base and changing the way the position was played. After his time as a player he moved onto coaching. He retired with a winning record before he became owner of the Chicago White Sox.

So while Charlie Comiskey may or may not have lived up to the tightwad role, he played the part of the antagonist with relish.

SOURCES:

Asinof, E. (1987). Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and The 1919 World Series. New York: Henry Holt.

Hornbaker, T. (2014) Turning the Black Sox White: The Misunderstood Legacy of Charles A. Comiskey. New York, NY: Sports Publishing.

http://www.famous-trials.com/blacksox

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