Pomrenke: The boxer, the ballplayer, and the great Black Sox manhunt

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on March 19, 2018:

As the star witness in baseball’s “trial of the century”—the criminal conspiracy case against the fixers of the 1919 World Series—Sleepy Bill Burns was asked whether he was out for revenge in testifying against his former partners, the eight Chicago players involved in the Black Sox Scandal.

“Do you think you are even with the boys now?” the prosecutor asked.

“I am liable to be before I leave here,” Burns replied, drawing a fit of laughter from the overflow crowd gathered inside the sweltering courtroom.

How the former Major League pitcher got “here,” as an unlikely prosecution witness in Chicago during the summer of 1921, was one of the most inconceivable stories of the entire scandal. Central to the saga was a secret manhunt that involved the American League president, two state governors, and a journeyman boxer. The Chicago Tribune described it as “a wild west thriller, filled with moonshiner’s gun play, rattlesnakes, wolves and the discomforts of the chaparral cactus trail.” The chase culminated with Burns agreeing to turn state’s evidence at a rugged ranch near the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/boxer-ballplayer-and-great-black-sox-manhunt-part-2

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Originally published: March 26, 2018. Last Updated: March 26, 2018.