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"Black Sox" Trial: 1921

A Double, Double Cross

After the White Sox lost the first game, said Burns, Attell failed to provide the first $20,000. Still unpaid after the second game and suspecting a double cross, the players accepted a sop of $10,000 just before the third game began, but played that one to win—and did. Thus the gamblers, betting heavily on Cincinnati, lost all they had won on the first two games.

July 22 brought the news to the courtroom that immunity waivers signed by Cicotte, Jackson, and Weaver—proving that rewards had not been promised to the defendants for their confessions—had disappeared. Gone also were the confessions themselves and other documentary evidence supporting the indictments. (American League president Ban Johnson publicly charged Arnold Rothstein with. paying $10,000 for the confessions and, not finding his name mentioned, giving them to a New York newspaper editor who then offered them for sale.)

Judge Charles A. McDonald, who had directed the grand jury inquiry, testified that Cicotte had told him that after throwing the first game he had found $10,000 under his hotel pillow. Then, said the judge, Cicotte's conscience began to bother him and he decided not to throw another game—but he did not return the money.

As the prosecution and the defense rested, Judge Friend told the jury the state had to prove that it was the intent of the ballplayers and gamblers not merely to throw the games but to defraud the public and others as well. After deliberating for two hours and 47 minutes, the jury took only one ballot to vote not guilty. With hats sailing into the air, the several hundred people jamming the courtroom shouted "Hooray for the clean Sox!" Bailiffs pounded for order and then, seeing the judge's smile, joined in the whistling and cheering.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis, recently appointed to the new office of Baseball Commissioner to clean up the game in the wake of the scandal, was not amused. He imposed a lifetime ban from professional baseball on the eight indicted, and acquitted, players. "Regardless of the verdict of juries," he proclaimed, "no player that throws a ball game, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.… Baseball is entirely competent to protect itself against crooks, both inside and outside the game."

Bernard Ryan, Jr.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Asinoff, Eliot. Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series. New York: Henry Holt, 1963.

Burns, Ken, and Geoffrey C. Ward. Baseball. New York: Knopf, 1994.

Gropman, Donald. Say lt Ai,'t So, Joe!The True Stoy of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979.

Luhrs, Victor. The Great Baseball MysteryThe 1919 lW'orld Series. South Brunswick, N.J.: A.S. Barnes, 1966.

Thompson, Joe. Growing Up with "Shoeless Joe." Laurel Fork, Va.: JTI Publishing, 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940"Black Sox" Trial: 1921 - Cicotte Hits First Batter, "say It Ain't So, Joe", A Double, Double Cross