“Why, They’ll Bet on a Foul Ball”: The Southern Association Scandal of 1959

This article was written by Warren Corbett

This article was published in the The National Pastime (Volume 26, 2006)


Chattanooga Lookouts first baseman Jess Levan was the last man to be banned from professional baseball for trying to fix games.

The uproar surrounding Levan’s banishment in 1959 revealed evidence linking other players to wide­ spread gambling in Southern ballparks. The Southern Association scandal was either, as The Sporting News dismissed it, “relatively insignificant;’1 or a potentially lethal danger that was deftly covered up by baseball authorities.

The story has a whistle-blower, but it has no reso­lution. That’s because the story has no Judge Landis. No Bart Giamatti. No John Dowd. Nobody who followed the evidence wherever it led. The baseball authorities were eager to let the story die.

The whistle-blower was Sammy Meeks, veteran infielder and first-base coach for the Mobile Bears. Meeks told baseball investigators that Levan had approached him in a Mobile hotel before a series between the two teams and introduced him to a gambler. Meeks was offered an unspecified amount of money to participate in a scheme that amounted to sign-giving rather than sign-stealing: from the coach’s box, he was to watch the Lookouts’ shortstop, Waldo Gonzalez. If Gonzalez stood erect, it signaled a fastball; if he crouched, it meant a curve.

Meeks said he declined to take money, but agreed to relay the signs to Mobile batters because he thought it would give his team an edge.

While Meeks, Levan, and the gambler were talk­ ing in the hotel bar, another Mobile player, shortstop Andy Frazier, joined the conversation. Frazier agreed to take the signs from Meeks.2

In the first game of a June 6 doubleheader, Frazier said, Meeks tipped him on two pitches-and both tip-offs were wrong. Mobile won the game, 7-3, when first baseman Gordy Coleman hit a grand-slam home run off Chattanooga’s Jim Kaat, but there was no evi­dence that Coleman knew what was coming.3

The 35-year-old Meeks was released by Mobile June 18 and joined Chattanooga two days later. Shifting his loyalty to his new club, he told Lookouts’ catcher Ray Holton about the incident. Holton alert­ed manager Red Marion and Marion reported it to the team’s president, Joe Engel. The information was relayed to George Trautman, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the gov­erning body of the minors.

Trautman sent his assistant, Phil Piton, to meet Engel, Southern Association President Charlie Hurth, and the Lookouts in Nashville on July 3.4

The executives questioned all Chattanooga players under oath, with a stenographer recording the inter­rogations, in a five-hour session at Nashville’s Andrew Jackson Hotel5 and uncovered more evidence against Jess Levan.

Jim Heise, a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher, revealed that Levan had approached him twice asking whether he wanted “to make a little money” by serving up fat pitches. Heise said he declined.6

Another pitcher, 22-year-old left hander Tom McAvoy, testified that Levan had approached him in Mobile and asked “whether he would like to throw a game.” McAvoy said he thought Levan was joking.7

Jess Levan was a first baseman — like fixers Chick Gandil and Babe Borton 40 years earlier — who had failed to stick in three brief big league trials. The six­-foot left-handed slugger from Reading, Pennsylvania, signed his first professional contract in 1944, but lost the next two years to military service.8 The Phillies gave him nine at-bats as a 20-year-old in 1947, and then he disappeared into the minors except for a 1950 spring training tryout with the Browns.9 He was a career .316 hitter in the minors.10 A . 412 average in 29 games with Charlotte brought him to the parent Washington club’s attention in 1954. Charlotte’s man­ager, the cracker-barrel wit Ellis Clary, said, “I wrote to Calvin Griffith that Levan could do him some good if hitting was still going to be a part of baseball.”

The next spring, Washington owner Clark Griffith likened him to Hall of Farner Goose Goslin, the best hitter in the franchise’s history, saying, “His kind don’t come along very often.” Manager Chuck Dressen and Washington Post writer Shirley Povich touted him as the Nats’ answer to World Series pinch-hitting hero Dusty Rhodes. Povich said Levan was “not much out­ fielder and not much first baseman.” Dressen quipped that his best position was “at bat.”11

With President Eisenhower in the stands on open­ing day in 1955, Levan lined a game-tying pinch single.12 But he delivered only two hits in 15 at-bats over the next month,13 and went from Dusty Rhodes to “hit the road:’ He returned to the minors. At 28, his days as a prospect were over.

In July 1959, shortly before his 32nd birthday, Levan was in his fourth season with AA Chattanooga and was the club’s all-time home run leader with 83.14 He was batting .337.15

Questioned by Hurth, Engel, and Piton, he first denied Sammy Meeks’ accusations, but acknowl­edged that he had introduced Chattanooga players to “an individual unknown to him, but obviously a gam­bler . . . Levan was to receive an unstated amount of money for his services:’ He insisted he never received any money and “he knew nothing of any program to throw games by the deliberate tipping of signs.”

As to Heise’s testimony, “Levan admitted the con­tacts, but continued to insist that he did not know the real purpose of them.” He denied McAvoy’s accusa­ ion altogether.

Levan’s questioners then asked, in effect, “C’mon, you must have known that this gambler wanted to fix games.” Levan replied, “Yes, sir, I’ll agree.”

With that, Levan ended his baseball career.

When confronted by Sammy Meeks, he confessed to a scheme involving signs tipped by Gonzalez, the 25-year-old Cuban shortstop. Gonzalez, called into the room, reluctantly admitted that Levan had dis­cussed the idea with him, but denied taking part.16

When the interrogation was finished, Southern Association President Hurth announced that Levan and Gonzalez were suspended indefinitely for “failure to report a bribery attempt by a gambler.” But he said there was no evidence that either man took any money. The case was forwarded to the National Association for a final ruling.17

The suspensions spurred several sportswriters to ask questions about gambling, a subject that was obviously familiar to them.

On July 28, Bob Christian of the Atlanta Journal reported that the suspensions “could be just one scratch on the surface of gambling activities involv­ing Southern Association players.” Christian’s story was not about game fixing; he focused on gamblers in the stands who bet on foul balls. Relying on a source “masked in deepest secrecy,” he charged that players on “several if not all teams” in the league cooperated with gamblers by deliberately fouling off pitches.

“Betting on foul balls has become increasingly popular in the league’s parks, replacing much of the ‘action’ that formerly was placed on ‘fly balls,”‘ he wrote. He quoted odds set by bookies on whether a player would hit a foul, such as “three-to-one on [one of] the next three pitches” or “three-to-two on any pitch.”

Christian continued, “Betting on Southern Association baseball, once big business, has declined steadily this year.” He quoted an unnamed gambler in one league city: “I used to handle $60,000, maybe $70,000, on a good weekend. But this year I don’t think that I handled that much for the whole season [through July].”18 The league’s shrinking attendance is the likely explanation; the 1959 attendance of just over 600,000 for eight teams was the lowest since the war-shortened 1918 season.19 By September both the Atlanta and Chattanooga franchises were threatening to fold.20

The next day Bud Shrake of the Dallas Times­ Herald chimed in, quoting a former Southern Association player as saying that Chattanooga’s Engel Stadium was “nothing but a gambling casino.”21 The anonymous player added that deliberate fouling of pitches “has been done by some players in the league for years.”22

Shrake said one player, later identified as shortstop Jack Caro, then with Dallas (Texas League), reported “a stranger” had offered him $700 in 1953 to hit three straight fouls, but he refused, partly because he didn’t think he could do it.23

Chattanooga Times sports editor Wirt Gammon, sticking up for his hometown, tried to play down the allegations. He said his contacts in the gambling community reported that betting on foul balls was just “dollar-exchanging”; the bets seldom amounted to more than $20.24

The allegations against Jess Levan were not about foul balls. On July 30, National Association President Trautman handed down his ruling: “For admittedly acting as liaison for a gambler in a program designed to throw Chattanooga games, Jesse Levan is hereby placed on the permanently ineligible list.”25

Trautman said Levan was the first man to be banned for life since a player in the Carolina League in 1948. He declined to identify that player on the grounds that he had become “a respectable citizen:’ (The player was pitcher-manager Barney DeForge of the Reidsville club.)26

Waldo Gonzalez, who did or did not relay his catch­er’s signs, was suspended for one year.27 Trautman justified the lenient sentence because both Levan and Gonzalez testified that Gonzalez refused to pass the signs.28

No other player was disciplined, either because they did not go along with the attempted fix or because they thought it a joke or, in the case of Andy Frazier, who received misleading signals, because he “told the truth.”29

Trautman’s public statement is long and detailed, but it conceals more than it reveals. The state­ ment records nothing beyond what the players said. Levan’s contention that he did not know the gambler in Mobile is not challenged. There is no indication in the public record that Levan or anyone else was asked to name the gambler.There is no indication that he was questioned about how he hooked up with this mystery man or about the identity of those who put him up to his earlier approaches to pitcher Jim Heise. Trautman’s statement does not reveal any effort to examine Levan’s bank records to confirm his claim that he took no money.

The Chattanooga Times’ Gammon reported, “Testimony brought out, but did not reveal for pub­lication, [the gambler’s] first name, his type of build, and what European stock he comes from. Will they catch him?”30 No.

In fact, Trautman’s ruling was written to reassure the public that Levan was merely a lone rogue, if a stupid one. In his first finding, Trautman asserts that after “intensive” questioning, all other Chattanooga players were found innocent.

He mentions no interrogation of other Mobile players besides Frazier and Meeks.

In the next paragraph, he declares, “No proof was obtained at this hearing, or elsewhere as the inves­tigation progressed, that a game or games had actu­ally been ‘thrown.’ “31 If the investigation did progress “elsewhere;’ Trautman’s statement does not say where or how.

Levan denied the charges. “If Meeks was approached, he was approached by a gambler.I did not approach him;’ he said. “I have never been a contact man for any gambler who tried to throw Chattanooga games, as I understand I have been charged. . . This thing has been quite a shock. . . I never approached anybody with a proposition to throw a Chattanooga ball game.”32

“Levan plans to hock his car to hire a lawyer to appeal his life suspension,” The Chattanooga Times reported.33 An appeal was a vain hope; Commissioner Ford Frick had already commented, “It looks as if they had them dead to rights.”34

Trautman later disclosed that Levan had given fur­ther testimony in July, recounting that he and other players had been approached by gamblers in 1959 and asked to throw a doubleheader between Chattanooga and Mobile. He said the players refused. Again, no gamblers were named.35

The banishment of Levan had its “say it ain’t so” moment. That was the headline above a UPI story in the August 2 Atlanta Journal: “Say It Ain’t So, Jesse:’ It recounted how 10-year-old Lookouts bat-boy Bo Short, vacationing with his family in Daytona Beach, Florida, learned of his favorite player’s dis­grace.”It’s like a bad dream;’ he told UPI, “choking back tears:’ Bo had gone to spring training with his father, Chattanooga Times sportswriter George Short, and Levan had helped him with his homework: “He told me I had to study my lessons and do the right thing.”36

The scandal also produced the ritual hand-wring­ing. The Chattanooga Times reported, “The FBI is on this case.”37 The Chattanooga district attorney asked for a transcript of the ballplayers’ testimony.38 A Mobile newspaper called for a grand jury inves­tigation.39 Atlanta Journal reporter Bob Christian was invited to tell what he knew to a Georgia grand jury.40

No further reports on any of those investigations ever appeared.

But that was not the end of it. As a result of the news stories about betting on foul balls, Trautman’s assistant Phil Piton conducted another round of inter­views in August with former Southern Association players. Jack Caro of Dallas admitted that he was the player who turned down $700 to hit foul balls.Caro said he told about it after the Levan case was publi­cized, but at the time he thought it was a joke. Piton said Caro was the only player to admit knowledge of such activities. He was not disciplined.41

In November, Trautman decreed a second lifetime ban, this time for the only player who admitted taking money from gamblers. Former major league catcher Joe Tipton had confessed to the baseball investigators that he received payoffs for hitting foul balls while he was playing for Birmingham against Chattanooga in 1957. His take: $50 from Jess Levan, an additional $75 received in the mail. Tipton said Levan had put him up to it.

Tipton also revealed that he had been approached in Birmingham in 1958 by a gambler who said he was from Chattanooga, and who asked him to persuade other players to hit foul balls for money. Again, no gambler was named.

The 37-year-old Tipton was out of baseball by 1959. Trautman said he had come forward “because of his desire to clear his conscience.”42

Trautman also announced that Levan’s appeal had been denied.

And that was the end of it. Jess Levan was ban­ished, claiming all the while that he never received any money. Joe Tipton was banished for taking the piddling sum of $125.

Levan’s gambler contacts? No follow-up. Betting in other parks? No follow-up.The Chattanooga ball­park was “a gambling casino?” No follow-up. An examination of The Sporting News and several daily newspapers for a year after the scandal turned up no additional stories.

In its year-end roundup of baseball activities in 1959, The Sporting News dismissed the incident as “a blown-up gambling scandal in the minors that prom­ised to shake the foundations of the game yet proved relatively insignificant…. [T]he probe led to the uncovering of little gambling activity and that direct­ed to betting on foul balls.”43

Not that gambling and baseball were strangers, 40 years after the Black Sox and 30 years before Pete Rose. The Sporting News published the Las Vegas betting line on the 1960 major league pen­nant races: Yankees, 4-5; Braves 7-5.44 In July 1960, Chicago police arrested 20 bleacherites in a gambling raid at Wrigley Field. The “Baseball Bible” reported, “Hundreds of dollars were wagered, sometimes just on the umpire’s calls on balls and strikes.” Commissioner Frick had called the cops after finding that “gambling conditions at the Cubs’ park were among the worst in the majors.”45 There were many other published reports of police raids on gamblers in major and minor league parks in the 1940s and 1950s.46

The story of the Southern Association scandal went away, but the gamblers in the ballparks did not. Four years later, Ed Doherty, a veteran baseball executive who was general manager of the Nashville Vols (then in the Sally League after the Southern Association folded), pointed the team’s new play-by-play broad­caster toward a group of men sitting behind the third­ base dugout.”They’re gamblers,” Doherty warned. “I don’t want you to mention them on the air.”

The young announcer had heard of the Black Sox and naively believed that Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis had driven the gamblers out of baseball. “What do they bet on?” he asked.

“They’ll bet on anything;’ Doherty replied. “Why, they’ll bet on a foul ball.”47


15 MEN OUT

Jess Levan and Joe Tipton were among 15 minor league players banned on gambling-related charges from 1920 to 1959. The others:

Merry Christmas, Babe

First baseman William Baker “Babe” Borton of the Pacific Coast League Vernon Tigers and Harl Maggert, William Rumler, and Gene Dale of Salt Lake City were kicked out in 1920 for allegedly fixing the 1919 PCL pennant race.

Opposing players testified that Borton had offered them bribes “to lay down in games against Vernon, so Vernon could win the pennant” — as it did.48

Borton confessed, but sloshed gasoline on the fire: He claimed his Vernon teammates had raised a pool to pay off their opponents. His teammates denied it. League president W. H. McCarthy believed Borton was covering for a gambling syndicate that had put up the money.

In December a Los Angeles County grand jury indicted Borton, Maggert, Rumler, and Nate Raymond, an alleged gambler from Seattle, for crimi­nal conspiracy to fix games. The grand jury named two dozen people who allegedly put up a bribe pool of $3,995, including Roscoe Arbuckle (the real name of silent-film star Fatty Arbuckle, a part-owner of the Vernon club) and S. Goldwyn. (Samuel Goldwyn, the “G” in MGM, was a pioneer movie producer.)

On Christmas Eve a judge dismissed the charges because fixing games was not a crime under California law.49

Salt Lake City pitcher Gene Dale never spoke to the grand jury or to baseball investigators. Borton named him as one who had taken payoffs.50

Borton, 32, had played regularly for St. Louis of the Federal League in 1915 and had trials with three American League teams. Maggert, a 37-year-old outfielder, had played briefly in the majors as far back as 1907. Outfielder Rumler, 29, had played part-time in three seasons with the Browns. (He was later reinstated.)51 Dale, 31, had pitched in the majors with the Reds and Cardinals.52

A Gloomy Right-Hander

Pitcher Julio Bonetti of the PCL Los Angeles Angels was released in 1941 for associating with gamblers. A private detective hired by the team saw Bonetti take a handful of cash from an alleged gambler a few hours before he started, and lost, a game. Bonetti at first denied it, but eventually said he had placed a bet on a horse race for the gambler. He insisted he did not throw the game.

Sinker-balling right hander Bonetti, 28, had won 20 games for the Angels in 1939. He had a tryout with the Cubs the following spring, but was sold back to Los Angeles. A sportswriter said he had been “gloomy” because he didn’t think the Cubs had given him a fair chance. He won 14 games for the Angels in 1940 and seven in 1941 before he was released.53 The published record does not show that he was officially banned; he was in the Army the next year.54

“Fooling Around”

Outfielder Hooper Triplett of the Sally League Columbus (GA) Cardinals was banned in 1946 for betting $20 against his team. Triplett claimed he was only “fooling around.” His statements and those of others hinted he was drunk when he placed the bet.

Triplett was the 26-year-old brother of former big league outfielder Coaker Triplett. He returned to base­ ball that season after three years in the military.55

“A Combination Baseball Club and Bookie Hangout”

In the most celebrated gambling scandal since the Black Sox, five players in the Class D Evangeline League were banished after they were accused of throwing games in the 1946 post-season playoffs: manager-first baseman Paul Fugit, third baseman Alvin W. Kaiser, center fielder Leonard Pecou, and pitcher Bill Thomas of the Houma, Louisiana, Indians and catcher Don Vettorel of Abbeville, Louisiana.56

One sportswriter said the investigation painted the Houma team as “a combination baseball club and bookie hangout where the players did everything except stop in the middle of a double play to rush off and play the daily double. Bookies not only invaded club premises but wore Houma uniforms.”57

Although Houma won both playoff series, the players were accused of throwing one game against Abbeville in the finals and two others in the previous round against Alexandria, Louisiana.

National Association President W. G. Bramham said the players had been hanging out in gambling houses and betting heavily on horse races. Bramham found “circumstantial evidence ” of thrown games, but his official ruling banned them for associating with gamblers.Testimony indicated that some of the Houma players were employed by bookies.Fugit said some players came to Houma after a crackdown on gambling in New Orleans left them unemployed.

Bramham, who was retiring, said his successor, George Trautman, would continue the investigation. He added, “The situation in the Evangeline League is very, very bad.”58

A month later, Trautman declared the investi­gation closed and gave the league “a clean bill of health.”59 At the National Association’s fall meeting in Minneapolis, he lamented, “This evil [gambling], like the poor, is always with us.”60

All the players maintained their innocence. Pecou and Thomas were reinstated three years later.61 The Sporting News reported the bans were lifted due to “circumstances beyond (Trautman’s ) control.” The circumstances were not mentioned.62

Thomas won a minor league record 383 games without reaching the majors.In 1946, when he was 41 years old, he won 35 regular-season games for Houma and four more in the playoffs.After he returned from suspension, he won 23 in the Evangeline League in 1950 and pitched on for two more years.63

“They Don’t Care Anything About You”

Center fielder Al McElreath of Muskogee in the Class A Western Association was declared permanently ineligible for trying to persuade teammates to throw a 1947 game and committing intentional misplays in the game. McElreath said the charges were “a lie.”

A teammate said he refused to be part of the fix, and McElreath told him, “I don’t see why you won’t do it because they don’t care anything about you.”

National Association President Trautman heard testimony that the usually reliable outfielder stag­ gered under a fly ball and let it drop behind him. At bat he signaled for a hit-and-run but didn’t swing, and the runner was thrown out.

Marion Allen McElreath was 32 and had played in the minors since 1931, rising as high as AA, then the top level.64

“A Considerable Temptation”

In 1948 Barney DeForge, pitcher-manager of Reidsville, North Carolina, in the Class C Carolina League, and Emanuel Weingarten, owner of two teams in other Southern minor leagues, were banned after DeForge admitted fixing a game in return for the big payoff of $300.

DeForge put himself in as a relief pitcher when Reidsville was trailing Winston-Salem, 2-0, and quickly gave up four walks and a wild pitch.The final score, 5-0, beat the spread being offered by a gambler in the stands.(Betting on run spreads was unusual in baseball because the scores are usually so low.)

North Carolina was one of the few states where fixing games was a felony.A Forsyth County grand jury indicted the 31-year-old DeForge along with Weingarten, the alleged go-between, and the alleged gambler, a South Carolina used-car dealer named W.C.McWaters.Another South Carolina car dealer, Tommy Phillips, was later added as a defendant.65

At trial in Winston-Salem, DeForge testified as a prosecution witness, admitting guilt and implicating his co-defendants. He was convicted on the basis of his own testimony, but the jury acquitted McWaters and Phillips. The Sporting News account gives no explanation for that verdict. Weingarten had died, apparently of natural causes, before the trial.

DeForge appears to be the only player ever con­victed on a criminal charge of throwing a game.

The prosecutor and the Forsyth County sheriff, former big league pitcher Ernie Shore, urged leniency for DeForge because he “came clean.” He received a suspended sentence.66

Ed McAuley of the Cleveland News, commenting on the case, pointed to the pitifully small salaries in the low minors: “Three hundred dollars would rep­ resent a considerable temptation to a fellow in such circumstances.”67

McAuley and Robert L.Burnes, sports editor of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, saw a common thread in the betting scandals of 1946-1948: poor pay and the large number of veteran players who hung on in the expanding low minors after World War II.

”Are the players in the depths of the minor leagues, in the B, C and D classes, being paid a living wage?” Burnes asked. “The answer …is a definite no.” He said Class C players were averaging about $10 a game, those in Class D $5 to $10-good enough for a young man with high hopes, not so good for a veteran who had to be resigned to earning $150 or $200 a month for the rest of his career.68

With 58 minor leagues in operation in 1948,69 McAuley estimated 15,000 men were playing profes­sional baseball. Many lost the prime of their careers to the war. “There are scores of veterans who long ago abandoned hope of reaching the majors,” he said.70

Burnes’s and McAuley’s analysis is supported by later events. As the minors shrank dramatically in the 1950s, small-town independent leagues like the Evangeline disappeared. The surviving teams came under increasingly tight control by their big league parents. Shrunken farm systems had fewer slots for minor league lifers, while a growing American econ­omy offered more and better job opportunities for poorly educated men.

Except for the Southern Association scandal in 1959, no minor leaguer has since been banned for involvement in gambling or game-fixing.

Another common theme connects the minor league scandals, from Babe Borton in 1920 to Jess Levan 39 years later: the accusations against one player, or a handful, usually led to reports of much wider gambling problems. League presidents promised crackdowns on betting in the stands; they vowed to enforce rules against players on the field talking to fans. But none of the investigations of widespread gambling ever went anywhere.

WARREN CORBETT, a former batting champion of the Bearden, Tennessee, Little League, is the editor of a trade publication in Washington.

 

Notes

  1. The Sporting News, December 30, 1959, 5.
  2. Chattanooga Times, July 31, 1959, 31. The Times printed the Associated Press transcript of National Association President George Trautman’s July 30 ruling in the case, hereinafter cited as “Trautman ruling.”
  3. Ibid. and Chattanooga Times, August 1, 1959, 12.
  4. Trautman ruling.
  5. Chattanooga Times, July 6, 1959, 11. The author queried the pres­ent-day governing body of the minors and the Baseball Hall of Fame library, but no trace of the stenographic record has been found.
  6. Trautman ruling.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Documents in Levan’s file at the Hall of Fame library.
  9. www.sportplanet.com.
  10. SABR Minor League Stars, Vol. 3, 22.
  11. Washington Post, March 30, 1955, 29.
  12. The Sporting News, April 20, 1955, 22.
  13. Retrosheet player page; Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia, 8th ed.
  14. Washington Post and Times Herald, July 5, 1959, C4.
  15. SABR’s Minor League Stars Vol. III, 95.
  16. Trautman ruling.
  17. Chattanooga Times, July 4, 1959, p. 1.
  18. Atlanta Journal, July 28, 1959, p. 10.
  19. The Sporting News, September 16, 1959, 31.
  20. Atlanta Journal, September 2, 1959, 40.
  21. Quoted in an Associated Press story, Washington Post and Times­ Herald, August 19, 1959, C4.
  22. Quoted in Atlanta Journal, November 14, 1959, 6. Bud Shrake, a famous Texas character, is the co-author of Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book. Austin Chronicle, November 2, 2001.
  23. Associated Press story in Washington Post and Times Herald, August 19, 1959, C4.
  24. Chattanooga Times, August 4, 1959, 11.
  25. Trautman ruling.
  26. UPI story in the New York Times, July 31, 1959, 15. DeForge: The Sporting News, July 9, 1948, 5.
  27. Trautman ruling. Gonzalez sat out the 1960 season, then played briefly for two minor league teams in 1961. (Old-Time Data, Shawnee Mission, KS.)
  28. The Sporting News, August 5, 1959, 23. The Associated Press text of Trautman’s ruling, published in the July 31 Chattanooga Times, reads, “…both Levan and Gonzalez testified that he actually did pass signs to certain Mobile batsmen:’ I accept The Sporting News version because it is consistent with the statements quoted in the rest of the ruling and because, if Gonzalez admitted “that he actually did pass signs;’ leni­ ency would not have been justified. In all other respects, the AP text conforms to excerpts quoted elsewhere.
  29. Trautman ruling.
  30. Chattanooga Times, August 2, 1959, D1.
  31. Trautman ruling.
  32. UPI story in New York Times, July 31, 1959, 15.
  33. Chattanooga Times, August 1, 1959, p. 11.
  34. Ibid., July 31, 1959, 31.
  35. The Sporting News, November 25, 1959, 6.
  36. Atlanta Journal, August 2, 1959, D1. Bo’s father probably wrote the story, since newspaper writers commonly picked up extra money by contributing to the wire services.
  37. Chattanooga Times, July 7, 1959, 11.
  38. The Sporting News, September 2, 1959, 22.
  39. Associated Press story in Atlanta Journal, August 1, 1959, 11.
  40. Associated Press story in Chattanooga Times, July 31, 1959, 31.
  41. Associated Press story in Washington Post and Times Herald, August 19, 1959, C4.
  42. The Sporting News, November 25, 1959, 6. Tipton was a backup catcher in the majors from 1948 through 1954. His only claim to fame is that he was traded from the White Sox to the Athletics for Nellie Fox. He died in 1994.
  43. The Sporting News, December 30, 1959, 5.
  44. Ibid., Nov. 17, 1959, 7.
  45. Ibid., Aug.3, 1960, 28.
  46. Curiously, stories on that topic vanished from TSN after 1960. Whether the paper decided to stop reporting them, or whether police decided they had better things to do, cannot be determined.
  47. The author was the young broadcaster.
  48. The Sporting News, August 19, 1920, 3.
  49. Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1920, IIIl; December 11, 1920, Ill; December 25, 1920, 6.
  50. Ibid., October 21, 1920, IIIL
  51. Daniel Ginsburg, author of The Fix Is In (McFarland, 1995) in an e-mail exchange with the author, January 31, 2004.
  52. Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia.
  53. L.A. Times, July 3, 1941, 1.
  54. Ibid., October 22, 1942, 19.
  55. The Sporting News, August 21, 1946, 17 and September 4, 1946, 12.
  56. Ibid., February 5, 1947, 1.
  57. United Press story in the New York Times, January 30, 1947, 28.
  58. The Sporting News., February 5, 1947, 1.
  59. Ibid., March 12, 1947, 18.
  60. Ibid., December 8, 1948.
  61. George W. Hilton, “The Evangeline League Scandal of 1946,” SABR’s Baseball Research Journal, 1982, 102.
  62. The Sporting News, September 14, 1949, 8.
  63. SABR’s Minor League Stars, vol. I, rev. ed. 1984, 122.
  64. The Sporting News, June 11, 1947, 11.
  65. Ibid., July 9, 1948, 5.
  66. Ibid., November 3, 1948, p.11; Weingarten’s death: Ibid., July 14, 1948, p. 42.
  67. Ibid. June 16, 1948, p. 9.
  68. Ibid., p. 10.
  69. Total Baseball, 5th ed., 460. Fifty or more minor leagues started each season from 1947 to 1951, the highest number in history.
  70. The Sporting News, June 16, 1948, 9.

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