The Black Sox Scandal Of 1919

2247 words - 9 pages

On September 29, 1920, the people of Chicago waited with keen anticipation for the outcome of a key legal case being heard in the Cook County Courthouse. This case was not the trial of a high profile gangster, or even a specific individual, but rather an American institution- the game of baseball. On this particular day, players of the White Sox baseball team were giving testimony about their involvement in the intentional loss of the 1919 World Series. As one of the most popular White Sox players, Joe Jackson, exited the courthouse, a young boy standing on the sidewalk, clearly devastated by the possibility of one of his idols going astray, cried out the immortal words: "Say it ain't so, Joe!" (Brody). Sadly, however, it was true- the White Sox had in fact lost the World Series on purpose, eventually leading to the team being nicknamed Black Sox and the event being known as The Black Sox Scandal (Crepeau). In retrospect, not only was this a sad moment in baseball history which tarnished the beloved American pastime, some say permanently, but it also struck a dangerous blow to the delicate psyche of a nation recovering from a World War, and an entire people seeking meaning in life and a renewed identity as a unified people.In this paper, The Black Sox Scandal of 1919 will be discussed not only based upon the face value of what the scandal was, but also from the vantage points of American history, the scandal's effects on the national pastime, and the role of sports in society as a whole. Upon conclusion of the paper, this pivotal event will be understood in the tradition of its true historical, cultural, and recreational significance.How the Scandal Came About Before a true appreciation of the various effects that the Black Sox Scandal had on America, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the event itself and how it unfolded nearly a century ago.The Chicago White Sox that existed in 1919 were in themselves a contradiction. While most of the most knowledgeable baseball authorities of the day cited the team as one of the most talented in the game of baseball, and the team had the highest gate receipts and attendance in all of organized baseball, the players were forced to accept salaries that were among the lowest in baseball, per diem that was extremely low, and to pay to have their own uniforms laundered. Moreover, when it came time for White Sox players to renew their playing contracts, it was widely known within the game of baseball that the new contracts were no better, and in some cases worse, than the contracts that were about to expire (Bachin). In the midst of all of this unfair treatment, the players began, not surprisingly, to grow disgruntled and morale was extremely low. However, the game must go on, and the White Sox found themselves earning a path to the World Series. This is where the scandal is said to have began and the details often become sketchy at best.Knowledgeable spectators at the first game of the...

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