The Infamous Black Sox Scandal
Corruption in sports is nothing new. In fact it has been rife for years. there were allegations that the late great Sonny Liston took a dive in his fight with Muhammad Ali back in the 60's and for a long time it really looked that way when you watched it on an old poor quality black and white TV. However, having recently viewed an HD clip of the incident, I have to say that I am in two minds now as Liston's head definitely seemed to take a jolt prior to him going down for the count.
No such doubt, was shrouded around one of the biggest revelations of the 1919 World Series and what was called the Blacksox Scandal.
It has to be said who started it and where it started, is pretty much open to conjecture, but the players that were involved & what they had planned on an unsuspecting public, there can be no doubt. Some of the cast of characters who played for the Chicago White Sox in this 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, would have been pillars within their own community, looked up to, revered by many, and childhood heroes and role models, so it is not surprising when the story of how & why the betting odds on the White Sox tumbled from being hot favorites, the blacksox scandal would have left any honest human being shaken to the core, that players bestowed with such natural talent and the privileges that come with it, would be so reckless & throw it all away for greed.
From what we can glean from looking back, it does appear that there were two or even more different parties with the same idea of trying to influence things for their financial gain. Not surprisingly, a gambler from Boston by the name of J. "Sport" Sullivan had constructed a plan of how he could fix the 1919 World Series, whilst another plan quietly working alongside independently & as we understand initially unknown by Sullivan, was being put together by an ex boxing pro, well before the Floyd Patterson & Sonny Liston era called Billy Maharg. Unlike the feats of Patterson, whom I met in the early 80's a truly wonderful fighter who modestly claimed that against England's top heavyweight Henry Cooper, he merely "stopped him" as opposed to knocking him out, Maharg would be remembered for his devious exploits with partner in crime Bill Burns a retired pitcher for an attack on one of America's most favourite events, all for personal gain.
Both Sullivan, & the partnership of Maharg & Burns, were approached by either White Sox's "Chick" Gandil, or/and Ed Cicotte, first baseman and pitcher respectively. A further six players were also involved making eight in total. Eight infamous players, all who sold their adoring public down the river, all for a promise of sharing $100k.