Did Cubs players receive cash payments in exchange for purposely losing the 1918 World Series?
If Chicago has been willing to believe that a cow caused the Great Chicago Fire, maybe it will buy this one: The White Sox got the idea to throw the 1919 World Series after the Cubs did the same thing one year earlier.
That’s the suggestion — more of a hint, really — from Eddie Cicotte, one of the infamous Black Sox banned from baseball after their tainted World Series against Cincinnati.
In a 1920 court deposition the Chicago History Museum recently put on its website, Cicotte said “the boys on the club” talked about how a Cub or a number of Cubs were offered $10,000 to throw the 1918 Series they lost 4-2 to the Boston Red Sox.
Of particular interest is the suspicious play of outfielder Max Flack:
In the fourth game, Flack was picked off not once, but twice. Flack turned a catchable fly ball in the sixth and final game into an error that allowed two runs to score in the Red Sox’s 2-1 win.
And there was the time Babe Ruth came to the plate for the Red Sox — a pitcher at the time, but emerging as one of the game’s best hitters — and the Cubs’ pitcher, Lefty Tyler, saw that Flack was not playing deep enough in right field.
“He waved him back and Flack just stood there,” Deveney said. “Sure enough, Babe hit one over his head” for a triple that scored two runs.
The entire Chicago History Museum post, “Court Confession of a Banished Ball Player,” may be found here.