Powers: The 1919 Reds won the World Series fair and square

From Scott Michael Powers at Cincinnati Magazine on September 17, 2019, with mention of SABR members Jacob Pomrenke and Susan Dellinger:

If you ever encounter the ghost of Edd Roush, the greatest center fielder in the Cincinnati Reds’ 150-year history, don’t tell him the Reds didn’t deserve to win the 1919 World Series.

It’s been 100 years since Cincinnati reveled in the glory of its first World Series triumph, producing wild Fountain Square celebrations, school closures, a call for the Tyler Davidson Fountain to be replaced with a statue of Reds manager Pat Moran, and a mad crush of fans greeting the team’s train from Chicago. Revelry and glory were short-lived though. Before the 1920 season ended, reports charged that several Chicago White Sox players threw the series after gamblers bribed them. The universe reassigned the Reds to the role of chumps, forever dismissed as phony champions.

Until he died in 1988, Baseball Hall of Famer Roush had a message about that attitude for anyone who asked: “Oh, fizzle!”

Today, Roush’s lifelong chip is increasingly emerging in a broader reexamination, suggesting his Reds were deserving of glory and Cincinnati should truly honor its first champions. “One thing that’s always overlooked in the whole mess is that we could have beat them no matter what the circumstances,” Roush, as an old man, told Lawrence Ritter for his book, The Glory of Their Times. “Sure, the 1919 White Sox were good. But the 1919 Cincinnati Reds were better. I’ll believe that ’til my dying day.”

The “Black Sox Scandal” is an epic sports tale: Bookies paid key players on the favored White Sox to play just badly enough to lose the World Series. The scandal birthed a complete reorganization of Major League Baseball, a sensational criminal trial, lifetime bans of eight Sox players (including legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson), a crusade against the unholy influences of gambling on sports, and numerous books and movies.

Read the full article here: https://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/article/cincinnati-reds-won-the-1919-world-series-fair-and-square/

Originally published: September 17, 2019. Last Updated: September 17, 2019.