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The Story

The Year 1919

The Ballplayers

Then and Now

Survey


"The Swede was a hard guy."

-Joe Jackson   
White Sox teammate   


uick tempered Swede Risberg played for the Chicago White Sox from 1917-1920. His possessed a poweful arm which was not only able to throw out base runners, it could also punch out anyone that was willing to fight him. "Swede was a hard guy" teammate Joe Jackson once stated. In the minor leagues, Swede once knocked out an umpire after disputing a called third strike. On another occassion, Swede went to blows with another short tempered ballplayer, the great Ty Cobb.

Swede's fiery style of play also made him a valuable resource for the White Sox. In 476 career games, Swede saw action at all four infield positions as well as three games as an outfielder. In 1919 Swede was the White Sox starting shortstop. Playing in 119 games, he collected 106 hits, 38 RBI's and batted .256. His season salary was $3,250.


Swede played in all eight games of the 1919 World Series. In 25 at bats, he had only two hits for a .080 batting average. In the field, Swede committed a total of four errors. For his part in the fix, Swede received $15,000.

In Janurary 1934, Swede Risberg was asked about his expulsion from baseball. He stated: "If I had held up a bank, I would have paid the penalty by now and would be out of jail and earning a living. Those fourteen years of punishment would seem to be enough, even if I had been guilty. At the time of the affair I was going strong in baseball, with a good many years ahead of me. I think I have served my term, and paid my fine, and I think I ought to have a chance to earn my living again in organized baseball."

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      Artball photo courtesy Monty Sheldon
      photo of Risberg autograph courtesy of Lelands.com
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