Black Sox Scandal

The Best Team that Money Could Buy Got Bought

      Americans’ morale for baseball— their favorite sport—plunged in 1920. America lost all the faith that they originally had in the game. While baseball boomed in the early 1900s, the World Series gained momentum and attracted great crowds of followers. It seems that baseball had finally reached its late teens and nothing was able to hinder its rapid growth. Support and fanfare skyrocketed until one of the most influential events in baseball occurred—the “Black Sox Scandal” for which money controlled game outcomes.   This scandal turned the baseball world upside down and was alluded to in many pieces of great literature such as The Great Gatsby.

      Though baseball was developed from an amalgam of English games, it quickly became the archetype for American athletics. From games such as “stoolball” and croquet, Abner Doubleday (Everstine), along with other individuals, started to develop and formulate the concept and the rules for what we know today as “baseball”. Within 15 years of development, the first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, emerged; more and more professional and semi-professional teams soon followed Cincinnati’s lead (Everstine). With unprecedented growth in the numbers of aficionados, baseball became a profitable business by the turn of the century. As a result, the originally played-in-a-park-sport evolved into the World Series, an annual contest between top two teams, which too, became one of the most anticipated events in America. Everything operated smoothly until a few Chicago White Sox players engaged in gambling affairs and purposely lost the Series.

      Clearly, when underpaid baseball players met large sums of money that flowed around on the gambling table, the idea of “fair play” would be lost among these players. The loss of 1919 Chicago White Sox, comprising mostly of the same players who won the World Series two years earlier, to the Cincinnati Reds, a young team...