1919 Black Sox.com

The Story

The Year 1919

The Ballplayers

Then and Now


"Jackson didn't seem to have a weakness....
He gave me more trouble than anyone else."

-Walter Johnson   
Hall of Fame pitcher   

is name has become synonymous with the Black Sox scandal. Phrases such as "Say it ain't so, Joe" and "Black Betsy" are also commonly associated with this famous ballplayer. Shoeless Joe Jackson is unquestionably the most recognized name among the eight Black Sox players, but what was the extent of his involvement in the fix? Did he subtly participate in the throwing of the World Series or was he a victim of a heavy handed Commissioner?

Joe was coming off another superb season for the White Sox in 1919. A regular in leftfield, Joe batted .351, collected 181 hits and had 96 RBI's in 139 games. Joe's salary for the year was $6,000. It was during the final week of the season that his teammate, Chick Gandil, approached him (on two seperate occassions) about fixing the Series.

Most will agree that Joe Jackson had knowledge that the 1919 World Series was about to be fixed. In fact, Joe had

asked to be benched twice before the Series even began. "If there was something going on, I knew the bench would be the safest place" Jackson later admitted. In the Series, Joe did not commit any errors defensively. He collected 12 basehits, including the only homerun of the Series. His .375 batting average was tops among all regulars on both teams.

When Joe appeared in front of the Grand Jury in September 1920, his testimony began to conflict. Initially he stated he played to win, but when he was asked how much he got paid to help throw the Series he stated: "They promised me $20,000 and paid me five (thousand)."

To complicate matters, when Joe Jackson sued White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1924 for breach of contract and $18,000 in back pay, his testimony changed yet again. The presiding Judge, John J. Gregory, found Joe guilty of perjury and reversed the jury's decision that had ruled in favor of Jackson.


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