1919 was certainly not the most opportune time for a scandal of such magnitude. Economic depression resulting from the end of the war was just beginning to take effect, and America was one step short of chaos. At a time when baseball could have served as an outlet for the country's problems, it became one of its biggest. The Offical Encyclopedia of Baseball says, "baseball suffered a near-fatal blow upon the revelation that the infamous Chicago 'Black Sox' had thrown the 1919 Series . . ." The shock that followed the discovery of the scandal undoubtedly alienated many fans from the sport forever. To this day, 82 years into the future, many fans and players alike remain ashamed of what happened in the 1919 World Series. The scandal has eternally tarnished the history of a game that envelopes American culture and society. Similarly, it has ruined the reputation and otherwise remarkable career of a likely innocent man, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
When the players were initially suspended by Commissioner Landis, they were promised reinstatement depending on the ruling of the court. Despite the not guilty verdict, all the players were still banned for life.
"Regardless of the verdict of the juries," said Landis, "no player that throws a ball game . . . will ever again play professional baseball."
Thus, what started as a few gamblers trying to get rich turned into one of the biggest, as well as the darkest, event in baseball history. It was another jolt to a nation already in turmoil and caused America to lose faith in the game it loved. The players and conspirators are long dead, but the controvery continues. How much did everyone know? How big a part did people play? Who did what? And lastly, should "Shoeless" Joe be admitted to the Hall of Fame, an honor he otherwise earned? Thankfully, Joe was not bitter, even in the end.
[Home] [Introduction] [The Players] ["Shoeless" Joe] [Back to Top] [Related Info]