The 1919 World Series is the most notorious scandal in baseball history. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Details of the scandal and the extent to which each man was involved have always been unclear. It was, however, front-page news across the country and, despite being acquitted of criminal charges, the players were banned from professional baseball for life.
The players on Charles Comiskey's 1919 Chicago White Sox team were paid a measly sum compared to what many players on other teams received. Comiskey's was very selfish when it came to salaries and also liked to rule his team with an iron fist. The White Sox owner paid one of his greatest stars, outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, only $6000 a year, despite the fact that players on other teams with half their talent were getting $10,000 or more.
The players had few options in dealing with their owner; and because of baseball's reserve clause, any player who refused to accept a contract was prohibited from playing baseball on any other professional team.
In 1918, with the country disrupted by World War I, interest in baseball dropped to an all-time low. The 1919 World Series was the first national championship after the war, and baseball and the nation were eager to get back to "regular" life. Postwar enthusiasm for baseball soared. National interest in the Series was so high that baseball officials decided to make it a best of nine series, instead of the traditional best of seven.
Gamblers' offers, which were sometimes several times a ballplayer's salary, were to tempting and hard to refuse. The financial problems and general unhappiness of the White Sox players was persuasion enough to convince eight members of the team to enter into...