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The Story

The Year 1919

The Ballplayers

Then and Now

Survey


"I'd watch Eddie's hand closely to see how he held his spitter. I'd grip the ball the same way, but my pitch would be as straight as a string. His ball would hop in all directions."

-Frank Shellenback   
White Sox teammate   


he ace of the White Sox pitching staff in 1919 was 14 year veteran Eddie Cicotte. At age 35, Eddie led the American League in winning percentage (.806), most complete games (30), and innings pitched (306.2). Eddie also won a carrer high 29 games and had an impressive 1.82 ERA. His season salary was $6,000.

According to Eliot Asinof, author of Eight Men Out, Eddie's 1919 contract included a $10,000 bonus for winning 30 games. In addition, Asinof also states White Sox owner Charles Comiskey benched Cicotte the final two weeks of the season so as to avoid paying the $10,000 bonus. However, these claims have yet to be verified.

Towards the end of the regular season, White Sox first


baseman Chick Gandil approached Eddie with the idea of throwing the World Series. As part of the agreement to participate, Eddie demanded that he be paid $10,000 in advance. Then, the night before the World Series was to begin, Eddie found $10,000 under the pillow of his bed. The next day, as the starting pitcher for the White Sox, Eddie hit the Reds leadoff batter, Morrie Rath. This was the predesignated signal that the fix was going forward.

Eddie's record in the World Series was 1-2. He pitched 22 innings, gave up 9 runs and had a 2.91 ERA.

On September 28,1920, Eddie Cicotte admitted to a Chicago Grand Jury his involvement in the fix. "I've lived a thousand years in the last twelve months. I don't know why I did it...I must have been crazy!"

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