|Knuckleballing White Sox star pitcher Eddie Cicotte—one of the key
|Abe "The Little Champ" Attell, Rothstein's henchman and sometimes bodyguard,
champion of the world.
|Sleepy Bill Burns, former major league pitcher, who needed A.R.'s cash for the fix|
|East St. Louis gambler
|St. Louis gambler
|American League President
Byron "Ban" Johnson. He thought he could make a deal with Rothstein.
|Arnold Rothstein's brilliant attorney
William J. Fallon—
"The Great Mouthpiece." Fallon helped clear Rothstein and Attell.
|Chicago White Sox Owner Charles Comiskey. The scandal ruined his championship franchise.|
boxer and Major League baseball strikebreaker— Burns' friend and accomplice
Arnold Rothstein in 1920:
The high-stakes New York gambler behind the
1919 World Series fix.
|Times Square's Astor Hotel:
Scene of the Arnold Rothstein-Sleepy Bill Burns-Billy Maharg Confrontation of September 1919
|Sleepy Bill Burns (center) on the witness stand in Chicago during the Black Sox trial|
Wall Street associate,
New York Giants owner Charles A. Stoneham
|White Sox Slugger Shoeless Joe Jackson took $10,000 of Rothstein's money|
|Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
became Baseball's first Commissioner in the wake of the Black Sox Scandal
|Two of the clique of Midwestern Gamblers working with Rothstein and Attell|
1919 Black Sox Scandal
|Rothstein Photo Galleries:|
|To untangle what A.R. tangled we must start at the beginning, with fairly incontrovertible facts. A cabal of players (“the Black Sox”) on the highly favored American League champion Chicago White Sox conspired to lose the 1919 World Series to the National League Cincinnati Reds. The Sox were a talented but unhappy and faction-ridden ball club. Money played a part in their unhappiness. Some players felt underpaid and hated owner Charles Comiskey for it. But on the Sox were men who would have stolen even if had been millionaires.
Not one, but two sets of gamblers, financed the fix. The players stretched out their greedy hands and took money from both. Ultimately, both gambling cliques welshed on their promises, shorting the players on the cash promised them. The players retaliated by winning Game Three against Cincinnati, bankrupting one gambling clique and sending them home from the series. However, under threat of violence, the Sox ultimately lost the Series to the Reds.
It was not the perfect crime. Perfect crimes require discretion and intelligence. In 1919, so many players and gamblers flaunted their actions that suspicions surfaced almost immediately. But nearly a year passed before baseball and civil authorities exposed the plot. In July 1921 eight Black Sox players—pitchers Ed Cicotte and Lefty Williams, outfielders Shoeless Joe Jackson and Oscar “Happy” Felsch, first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck Weaver, and utility man Fred McMullin and a ragtag assortment of gamblers stood trial in Chicago. After several signed confessions disappeared mysteriously, all won acquittal—but not exoneration. None of the eight Black Sox ever played major-league baseball again.
This we know for sure. Less certain is Arnold Rothstein’s connection.
A.R. did very little in direct fashion, and until he caught a bullet in his gut, he never paid for his actions. If things happened—illegal things, immoral things, violent things—and he profited from them . . . well that was just how things turned out. No one could ever prove anything. If he shot a cop—or even three—he walked, and the detective who wondered aloud whether shooting cops should be punished by civil authorities found himself indicted. If the feds indicted A.R. for questionable activities on Wall Street, the case conveniently never came to trial. If A.R. fixed a World Series . . .
where Burns and Maharg plotted with the Black Sox to throw the World Series.
|Boston's Buckminster Hotel--where gambler Sport Sullivan and the Black Sox plotted in 1919.|
|Former Chicago Cubs owner Lucky Charlie Weeghman heard rumors of the fix from Chicago gambler Mont Tennes.|
|Chicago's Criminal Courts Building, 54 W. Hubbard Street, where the Black Sox won acquittal in July 1921.|
|Chicago Herald and Examiner sportswriter Hugh Fullerton ("ADVISE ALL NOT TO BET ON THIS SERIES. UGLY RUMORS FLOAT") helped expose the scandal.|
|Mr. Pietrusza masterfully handles tangled facts, the myriad double-crosses, and the swirling cast of characters surrounding the Black Sox Scandal. He reveals Rothstein to have been at the very center of the conspiracy and playing both ends against the middle so that he couldn't possibly lose. This account challenges that with which most of us are familiar—Eliot Asinof's in Eight Men Out—but is so exhaustively researched that it seems likely to remain the definitive version of events."