03 March 2006

All-Baseball.column: The 1919 Chicago White Sox and the “Dead Ball Era”

With the reigning World Champion Chicago White Sox about to begin defending their first title since World War I, I got to thinking about the significance of the 2005 team. They were the first team in decades to have four complete game victories in a playoff series (the ALCS). They ended the second-longest World Chamionship drought in baseball history. They beat a team, swept a team, that had never been to the World Series before.

And that's about where the interest stops. Sure, they finally excised the Curse of the Black Sox, but this team, in and of itself, just wasn't that interesting. They weren't some kind of offensive or defensive or pitching juggernaut. They didn't have any individual regular season or even postseason performances for the ages. They didn't have a lot of future Hall of Famers. Mark Buhrle would need about ten more years of pitching like he has for the last five to even merit discussion on the issue, and their only likely eventual Cooperstown enshrinee, Frank Thomas, didn't play.

So I decided to write a column about the 1919 team instead.

Worse yet, I decided to make a list. Because they're easy.

Ten Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the 1919 Chicago White Sox and the "Dead Ball Era"

10. They threw the World Series.

Just kidding. You probably already knew that. But seriously, a lot of people think that the players, especially Shoeless Joe Jackson, were just victims in all of this, when in fact the evidence exists to show that they (and he) did just that. This is an excerpt from Joe Jackson's grand jury testimony:

Q: Did anybody pay you any money to help throw that series in favor of Cincinnati?
A: They did.

Q: How much did they pay?

A: They promised me $20,000, and paid me five.


Q: How much did he [Chick Gandil, ringleader of the scam] promise you?

A: $20,000 if I would take part.

Q: And you said you would?

A: Yes, sir.

Sounds like an admittance of guilt to me.

Read the rest at All-Baseball.com...

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