The End of the 1919 World Series

In the Chicago Tribune’s reporting on the White Sox series-ending game 8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, there are clear hints that the game was thrown. James Crusinberry’s front-page article began with a quote from Sox manager Kid Gleason: “The Reds┬ábeat the greatest ball team that ever went into a world’s series. But it wasn’t the real White Sox. They played baseball for me only a couple or three of the eight days.”

Gleason went on to say: “I thought the championship was as good as in after we won that third victory down in Cincinnati. I thought Lefty Williams was a cinch. But he didn’t have his stuff. Anyway they started hitting him in the first inning and I yanked him in a hurry. He wasn’t right. I had to do something, so I got him out of there and sent in James. James was too wild, but anyway they had a commanding lead because of what happened while Williams was in there.

“When the series began I thought it would be the easiest thing in the world for my fellows to win five games. They gave us a terrible jolt in the first game and came back with another kick in the second. Then was when I began to think and think hard. It didn’t seem possible that my gang was getting the small end of the bottle.

“But the Reds had it on us at the start, even if we couldn’t explain why, and getting away to a big lead as they did it wasn’t hard for them to breeze through. Just the same I thought they were licked sure when we beat them twice in Cincinnati.

“I was terribly disappointed. I can tell you those Reds haven’t any business beating a team like the White Sox. We played the worst baseball, in all but a couple of games, that we have played all year. I don’t know yet what was the matter. Something was wrong. I didn’t like the betting odds. I wish no one had ever bet a dollar on the team.”

Reds’ manager Pat Moran: “The White Sox didn’t give us the battle I expected.”

On the other hand, Crusinberry weirdly dismissed the rumors of a thrown series by opining: “There was more discussion about the playing of the White Sox than about the peace treaty after the last game. Stories were out that the Sox had not put forth their best effort. Stories were out that the big gamblers had got to them. But all of them sounded like alibi stuff even if true and Manager Gleason had no excuse to offer for the defeat except that the Reds had played better ball.”

The final column from the Tribune’s Ring Lardner, who was highly suspicious of a fixed series, featured a quote “from a letter received just before the game by a Chi baseball writer”: “I have been a follower of athletics for yrs. and have taken part in athletics in my younger days. I have been greatly amused during the present series in reading the ifs, ands and buts explaining Chicago’s defeat from day to day. It looks like a case of sour grapes to me. In fact it borders on rowdyism. I suppose if you lose another game or two you will mob the Cincinnati team.”

The Tribune’s front page:

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A table of what was officially at stake on the eight series games:

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And some pictures from earlier in the series, of Eddie Cicotte, John Collins, and Happy Felsch:

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And of Buck Weaver, Ray Schalk, and Chick Gandil:

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Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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