Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Someone Will Find a Way to Blame Dusty for This, Too

Sean Deveney from The Sporting News reports this frankly mind-boggling bit of information:

Alas, in the gambling scandal that never was, the ‘18 Cubs just might have laid down for that year’s A.L. champ, the Red Sox. In their defense, those Cubs could not have known that, 90 years later, North Side fans would still be pulling hair out over this team.

Now, it cannot be said for certain that gamblers got to the ‘18 Cubs. But Eddie Cicotte, pitcher and one of the eight White Sox outcasts from the ‘19 World Series, did say in a newly found affidavit he gave to the 1920 Cook County grand jury that the Cubs influenced the Black Sox. Cicotte said the notion of throwing a World Series first came up when the White Sox were on a train to New York. The team was discussing the previous year’s World Series, which had been fixed, according to players. Some members of the Sox tried to figure how many players it would take to throw a Series. From that conversation, Cicotte said, a scandal was born.

Considering all the gambling shenanniganes going on from, oh, let's say the 1880's through 1920 (when MLB finally decided to do something to defend the faith of fifty million people), I don't think anyone should be very surprised by this information. I think the story will bear watching, if only to get a fuller understanding of just what the hell was going on in the game back then.

I'm curious as to why there hasn't been any speculation about that 1918 World Series -- at least not any that I've seen before. The Black Sox weren't the only players caught up in gambling scandals, just the most notorious. Deveney notes that Hugh Fullerton wrote about some questionable play in real time back in '18. Is there anything else out there?

How long until someone use this as another example of how only one team in Chicago gets a pass?



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