Whatever Lefty Williams had been told by the mysterious “Harry” made its impression. In the first inning, throwing nothing but mediocre fastballs, Williams gave up four straight one-out hits. He allowed three runs before Kid Gleason relieved him with “Big” Bill James, who allowed one more of Williams’ baserunners to score. It was 4-0 after the 1st inning.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson hit the only homer of the Series in the third inning, but it came after the Reds had built a 5–0 lead. Jackson led all players with his .375 average, but most of his offensive potency came in games that weren’t fixed, or when the game seemed out of reach. Jackson had 12 hits overall, which was a World Series record at that time.
Although the Sox rallied in the 8th inning, the Reds came away with a 10–5 victory for a 5-games-to-3 Series win.
The Cincinnati Reds had won their first World Championship in their very first Fall Classic appearance.
Immediately after the Series ended, rumors were rife from coast to coast that the games had been thrown.
Journalist Hugh Fullerton of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, disgusted by the display of ineptitude with which the White Sox had “thrown” the series, wrote that no World Series should ever be played again.
An investigation into the Series resulted in several of the “Black Sox” publicly admitting their roles in fixing the games.
The public’s trust in the game was eroding, and the owners knew they had to take a decisive action. They soon hired respected federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to become the first commissioner of baseball.
Although a jury acquitted the players of any wrongdoing (mostly because of evidence that mysteriously disappeared), Commissioner Landis issued the following statement:
“Regardless of the verdict of juries, 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– Kenesaw Mountain Landis
gamblers where the ways and means of throwing ball games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.”
The infamous “Eight Men Out” – Eddie Cicotte, Chick Gandil, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Lefty Williams, Hap Felsch, Swede Risberg, and Fred McMullin – would never play in the major leagues again.
In 1920, Cincinnati finished the season with a record of 82-71, finishing in third place in the National League. They wouldn’t win another World Series until 1940.
I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading along with these day-by-day reports on the 100th anniversary of this scandalous World Series. I’d especially like to thank the members of Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards Group. They provided valuable feedback on the original card designs and encouraged me to dive deeper into this Reds team. I thoroughly enjoyed digging up more info on the 1919 Series and the players involved, and I hope you enjoyed it, too.