Whiff of Scandal Wafts Over 1918 World Series

From Bill Pennington at The New York Times on May 15, with quotes from SABR members John Thorn, Bill Lamb and Bill Nowlin:

More than any other American sport, baseball has an established historical footprint, and among its significant early events is the fixing of the 1919 World Series by gamblers and the Chicago White Sox, a team forever labeled the Black Sox. It is the only recognized gambling scandal to tarnish a World Series.

In recent weeks, however, there has been new scrutiny of the previous year’s championship and questions about the legitimacy of the outcome: the Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs. And on Friday, the Cubs visit Fenway Park in Boston for the first time since the final game of the 1918 World Series.

Are the Cubs returning to the scene of a hidden baseball crime?

No documented proof exists, but there are suspicions, largely because the conditions were ripe for a bribe, as they were in 1919.

“It seems more likely that there would have been a fix than there would not have been,” the author John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball, said of the 1918 Series. “It would be surprising if it didn’t come up. At that time, the connection between baseball players and gamblers was that strong.”

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/sports/baseball/a-year-before-the-black-sox-whiff-of-scandal-wafts-over-1918-world-series.html

Originally published: May 14, 2011. Last Updated: May 14, 2011.