Record: 88-52 in American
Manager: Kid Gleason
Baseball had hoped to rebound in style in 1919. In 1918, the season had been cut short by World War I. With the start of the new season, fan interest was at an all-time high.
In an effort to get the fans even more enthusiastic, baseball decided to lengthen the 1919 World Series to nine games. The contest between the favored White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds drew the largest series attendance to date. Underneath all of this success was an effort by some members of the Chicago White Sox team to throw the World Series in exchange for $100,000 from gambling interests.
The White Sox path to the World Series hadn't been an easy one. The Cleveland Indians had been close all season. The White Sox moved into first place on July 10 and eventually won the pennant by just 3 1/2 games over the Indians.
There are many versions of what happened next. Most involve Chicago's Chick Gandill organizing and recruiting enough key players to ensure that the White Sox would lose the World Series. Among those players: Eddie Cicotte (led the AL with 29 wins); Lefty Williams (23-11 during the season); Swede Risberg (shortstop with 38 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases); Buck Weaver (75 runs batted in, 22 stolen bases); Fred McMullin (bench player who heard about the fix and wanted in); Happy Felsch (88 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases); and Joe Jackson (.351 average and 96 runs batted in).
The breakdown of the 1919 World Series:
GAME 1: The Reds won 9-1. Cicotte was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up six runs. Cincinnati's Ruether was credited with the win.
GAME 2: Lefty Williams started for the White Sox and lost 4-2. Sallee got the win for the Reds.
GAME 3: Dickie Kerr pitched a 3-hit shutout and the White Sox won 3-0. The White Sox scored three runs on seven hits and committed no errors.
GAME 4: Cicotte lost the game 2-0. Each team committed two errors.
GAME 5: The White Sox committed three errors and Lefty Williams loses 5-0.
GAME 6: Dickie Kerr pitched another complete game and the White Sox won 5-4. Kerr allowed 10 hits and the White Sox committed three errors in the game.
GAME 7: Cicotte returned to form and pitched the White Sox to a 4-1 win. The Reds committed 4 errors in the game.
GAME 8: Evidence of a fix was never stronger than this game. Lefty Williams was replaced in the first inning and the Reds jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Reds won the game 10-5 and collected 16 hits off the White Sox.
Chicago was outscored 35-20 in the eight games of the series. Interestingly, each team committed 12 errors. Cicotte finished with a 1-2 reocrd in the series and a 2.91 earned run average. Williams finished with an 0-3 mark and a 6.61 earned run average in 16.1 innings pitched. Kerr was the highlight of the White Sox pitching staff, finishing with a 2-0 record and a 1.42 earned run average.
As a team, the White Sox hit .224. Jackson (.375), Ray Schalk (.304) and Weaver (.324) were the only Chicago players to hit above .300. Jackson hit the only home run of the series and led the White Sox with 6 runs batted in.
Gandil hit .233 and drove in 5 runs. Felsch hit .192 and drove in three. Risberg hit .080 and McMullin had a hit in 2 at-bats.
By the end of the 1920 season, Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis would make his biggest decision to date. Eight White Sox players -- Riseberg, Weaver, Felsch, Jackson, McMullin, Gandill, Cicotte and Williams -- would be banned from the game for life.