Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
In what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of deliberately losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in return for cash from a gambling syndicate. "Say it ain't so, Joe," a tearful boy reportedly exclaimed to his hero, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, one of the most famous of the accused. Although some of the players confessed to the scheme, an Illinois court found all eight not guilty of conspiracy. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis nevertheless permanently banned the players from baseball. An excerpt from The Post of Sept. 29, 1920:
By the Associated Press
Indictments were voted against eight baseball stars today and confessions obtained from two of them when the Old Roman, Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the ofttime champion Chicago White Sox, smashed his pennant-chasing machine to clean up baseball. The confessions told how the Sox threw last year's world's championship to Cincinnati for money paid by gamblers.
Seven Sox regulars and one former player comprise the players against whom true bills were voted by the Cook county grand jury, and the seven were immediately suspended by Comiskey. With his team only one game behind the league-leading Cleveland Indians, the White Sox owner served notice on his seven stars that, if they were found guilty, he would drive them out of organized baseball for the rest of their lives.
Officials of Chief Justice Charles McDonald's court, desirous of giving the national game the benefit of publicity in its purging, lifted the curtain on the grand jury proceedings sufficiently to show a great hitter, Joe Jackson, declaring that he deliberately just tapped the ball, a picture of one of the world's famous pitchers, [Eddie] Cicotte, in tears, and glimpses of alleged bribes of $5,000 or $10,000 discovered under pillows or on beds by famous athletes about to retire.
Around the courtroom at one time or another were some of baseball's greatest leaders, among them John J. McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, awaiting a call to testify tomorrow; and John Heydler, president of the National League, who went before the grand jurors this afternoon.
Cicotte, according to court attaches, told the grand jury he received $10,000 from the gamblers, finding the money under his pillow when he returned to his hotel room on the night before the first game in Cincinnati. "I refused to pitch a ball until I got it," they quoted him as saying.
Jackson, it was said, testified he was promised $20,000 by "Chick" Gandil, but received only $5,000. Weaver, according to the witnesses, got $10,000.
While the grand jurors voted their true bills the Old Roman, seated in the midst of his crumbling empire out at White Sox park, issued the telegram suspending those involved, paid off Weaver, Cicotte and Jackson on the spot, and announced that checks for pay due the others would be sent them at once. With his voice trembling, Mr. Comiskey, who has owned the White Sox since the inception of the American League, said this was the first time scandal had ever touched his "family" and that it distressed him too much to talk about it.