How Did Baseball Change America's Pastime

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World War I was finally over, and interest in Baseball had peaked as fans across the nation followed the games. Baseball was America’s Pastime with people tuning in to listen to every game on the radio. Despite rumors of the 1919 World Series fix, most fans believed that baseball was still pure and that the games were played to the best of the player’s abilities. However, baseball would change forever in 1920 as suspicions turned into confessions.
In 1919, no ball club played better than the Chicago White Sox, but no team was as unhappy. White Sox president Charles Comiskey grossly underpaid his players, some of them earning as little as $2000 per year. He cited the reserve clause in the player’s contracts which prohibited players from
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The Chicago White Sox were heavily favored to win against the Cincinnati Reds. Game one was October 1, 1919. Cicotte hit one of the opposing batters with a pitch, supposedly signaling gamblers that the fix was on. He then went on to make a series of mistakes, which eventually caused the White Sox to lose to the Reds 9-1. The New York times remarked, “Never before in the history of America’s biggest baseball spectacle has a pennant-winning club received such a disastrous drubbing in an opening game…”. The errors continued into game two, when pitcher Lefty Williams walked three batters in a row, handing Cincinnati a 4-2 win. The White Sox continued to lose, and by October 6, the Reds were up four games to one in the series. The fix was going according to plan; however, the players were becoming restless. The deal had promised the players would receive five installments, $20,000 after each loss, but the promised payments had not been received. After game five, the players planned to back out of the deal and began playing to win. The White Sox won the next two games but backing out of a deal made with gangsters proved to be difficult. Whether payment was delivered, or reported threats of bodily harm intimidated the co-conspirators, Chicago lost game eight …show more content…
Felsh and Risberg settled out of court, but Jackson went to trial and won the case. However, a judge set aside the verdict, saying some of Jackson’s testimony contradicted what he had told the Grand Jury in 1920, which constituted a prima facie case of perjury.
The scandal wounded the White Sox franchise for years to come. It would be 1959 before Chicago would return to the World Series, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was not until 2005 that the White Sox would return and win the World Series. Fans believed the team was cursed for tampering with the basic tenets of the game. In the 1990’s, Movies such as Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out, The Natural, reconstructed the events surrounding the Black Sox. Books published about “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver and Kenesaw Landis illustrate the scandal’s endurance in American culture. Sympathetic fans and former ball players have been part of amnesty movements for Jackson and Weaver, attempting to clear their names and make them eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Black Sox conspiracy shattered the innocence of America’s Pastime. No sports scandal has equally stunned America or has had the enduring impact as the poorly conceived and executed conspiracy of the 1919 World

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