Precedents

August 2, 1921

Baseball's 'Black Sox' Acquitted

Posted Aug 1, 2008 3:48 PM CDT
By George Hodak

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Photo by Bettmann/Corbis

It was rumored that the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds hadn’t been played squarely.

A year later, grand jury testimony in Chicago confirmed that several White Sox players, driven by resentment toward tightfisted team owner Charlie Comiskey, had conspired with gamblers to hand the best-of-nine series to the underdog Reds.

Eight players were indicted with five gamblers on charges of conspiracy to defraud the public. After a two-week trial marked by the revelation of several missing confessions, all eight were acquitted.

In an effort to shore up baseball’s credibility, owners persuaded Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a federal judge in Chicago, to become the game’s first commissioner. In his first act, Landis banished the eight from baseball, leaving them forever known as the “Black Sox.”

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