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The 1919 World Series

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History of the World Series - 1919

Unfortunately, Francis C. Richter was a little off the mark. The 1919 World Series was, in fact, not honorably played by every participant, as was disclosed late in the 1920 season when confessions were made.

Eight members of the 1919 White Sox -- pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude (Lefty) Williams, outfielders Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch, first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck Weaver and reserve infielder Fred McMullin -- were charged with conspiring to fix the outcome of the fall classic against the Cincinnati Reds. The eight became forever known as the "Black Sox."

A sharp shift in the betting odds shortly before the start of the World Series -- the highly favored White Sox suddenly became underdogs -- aroused curiosity, as did swirling rumors that something might be amiss in certain players' onfield effort. But, overall, fans and other observers accepted the "public presentation" of the 1919 Series. Perhaps, as apparently was the case with Richter, they saw only what they wanted to see.

What everyone saw in Game 1 was a scintillating performance by the Reds' Dutch Ruether. Whatever "assists" he might have received from various members of the opposition, Ruether pitched a complete-game six-hitter and went 3-for-3 at the plate (two triples) with three runs batted in. Outfielder Greasy Neale, who went on to lead the Reds in hitting in the Series with a .351 average and later became a noted football coach, and first baseman Jake Daubert also had three hits apiece. The Reds were rolling, 9-1. The White Sox were rolling over.

Cincinnati's Slim Sallee stopped Chicago the next day, 4-2, with Larry Kopf's two-run triple in fourth inning the telling blow. But White Sox rookie Dickey Kerr, untouched by the scandal but sensing something was amiss, was too tough for anyone -- supposed friend or foe -- to mess with in Game 3. The lefthander set down the Reds on three hits in a 3-0 victory.

Manager Pat Moran's National League champions rebounded for 2-0 and 5-0 victories in Games 4 and 5 with Jimmy Ring and Hod Eller pitching shutouts. In recording Cincinnati's fourth victory, Eller struck out six consecutive White Sox batters.

Under normal circumstances, the World Series would have been over at this point. But these were not normal circumstances. Because of an intense postwar interest in the Series, baseball's bigwigs decided to make the 1919 classic a best-of-nine affair. What timing. A "spectacular" was created just when baseball was about to make a spectacle of itself.

Chicago rebounded in the next two games as Kerr won a 10-inning, 5-4 struggle and Cicotte pitched a seven-hitter, winning, 4-1.

Cincinnati tore into Williams in Game 8, though, scoring four first-inning runs. The Reds expanded their lead to 10-1 on the way to a 10-5 victory that gave the team the



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