1919 Project – Game 2

White Sox manager Kid Gleason didn’t have to look far for reasons why his ace, Eddie Cicotte, would have thrown Game 1. The $10,000 Cicotte received from Rothstein’s men was almost double the paltry salary he received from the White Sox in 1919. Cicotte’s salary was also barely half that of Reds starter Dutch Reuther. 

Two days before the Series, the odds were 8-5 in favor of the White Sox. By the start of Game 1, the odds were even. By the start of Game 2, the odds were 5-7 against the Sox.

There were 800 fewer attendees for the second game. This was blamed on Reds fans who had stayed up too late and drank too much the night before. 

Game 2 of the 1919 World Series took place on October 2nd. Cincinnati’s starting pitcher, Slim Sallee, tossed a 4-2 Game 2 victory that was sealed by Larry Kopf’s two-run triple in the fourth. The victory was especially gratifying for Sallee, who had lost two World Series games to the White Sox just two years earlier as a member of the New York Giants.

Game 2 was a typical game of the Reds’ “small ball” approach – they managed to turn 4 hits into 4 runs. Their efforts were aided by Chicago’s starting pitcher, Lefty Williams, giving up 6 walks in 8 innings.

Although the Black Sox had not received their money (except for Cicotte), the players were still willing to go through with the fix. Lefty Williams wasn’t quite as obvious about the fix as Cicotte, though. After a slightly shaky start, Williams pitched well until the fourth inning, when he walked three and gave up as many runs.

After that rough inning Williams became virtually unhittable again, giving up only one more run. A lack of clutch-hitting (with Chick Gandil a particularly guilty party) led to a 4–2 White Sox loss.

After losing Game 2, White Sox catcher Ray Schalke attacked pitcher Lefty Williams beneath the stands. Schalke kept punching Williams until other players eventually pulled him off. Schalke had seen exactly what Williams had done from the mound to throw the game.

Rothstein’s intermediaries were still in no mood to pay up afterwards, but Gandil managed to get $10,000 from them and distributed it among the conspirators.

These Black Sox were no strangers to scandal. In 1917, the White Sox participated in another, lesser-known game-fixing arrangement. The Chicago players paid $45 each to a pair of Detroit Tigers pitchers to throw a crucial series against Boston.

It’s somewhat ironic that the Black Sox scandal involved this particular Reds squad. Just a year earlier, in 1918, Reds manager Christy Mathewson played a large role in getting rid of the notorious game fixer Hal Chase. 

Following Game 2, the teams boarded trains headed to Chicago’s Comiskey Park for Game 3 the next day. This train ride included journalist Ring Laudner’s infamous rendition of “I’m Forever Blowing Ballgames”, which was immortalized in the movie “Eight Men Out.”

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