On October 1, 1919 the World Series began at Redland Field in Cincinnati, OH in front of a crowd of 30,511 fans. The teams on the field were the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. No one knew that day that what they were witnessing would later beconsidered the most controversial World Series ever. When the Series was finished on October 9, 1919 the Reds were crowned Champions by winning five games in the best of nine Series. Baseball fans all over the country were shocked ass the White Sox were considered the best team in baseball by many. What unfolded in the next 2 years following the 1919 World Series has been chronicled very heavily in the last ninety years.
In 1920 it became public the that eight players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox team might have intentionally thrown the World Series. The allegation was that these players had conspired with gamblers to throw the Series in exchange for a payoff of $5,000 each. The case was later investigated by a Grand Jury to determine what exactly happened and if any criminal acts had been committed.
The most prominent of those eight players was “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson’s involvement made the story even more interesting. Jackson is considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. In his 23 season career he batted .375, collected 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s.
In 1921 the Grand Jury convinced in Chicago and eventually acquitted all eight players of committing any crime. Shortly thereafter The Commissioner Of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned all eight players from the game of baseball for life. Landis logic was even though the players had been acquitted, they left a black eye of the game of baseball and must be thrown out in order to clean up baseball’s image. Because of this action one of the greatest baseball players ever is not allowed in The National Baseball Hall of Fame, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
His performance during the 1919 World Series was very impressive. During the eight games Jackson had 12 hits, batted .375 and committed no errors. He had the most hits and highest batting average of any player on either team. To think he was involved in the throwing of the world series is unfathomable. His play told a completely different story, one of a man playing his heart out and trying to help his team win.
The fact that a Grand Jury acquitted the eight players is also a strong statement. Landis felt like he had to make a statement about the supposed infraction that had occurred. Landis went too far by banning the players for life and ruining any possibility that these players could be immortalized in the Hall of Fame. Many baseball fans hold out hope that one day the ban will be lifted by a future Commissioner of Baseball and “Shoeless” Joe will be able to take his place where he deserves to be, the Hall Of Fame.