"Shoeless" Joe Jackson

The 1919 World Series featured baseball’s most infamous scandal. That Fall Classic pitted the heavily favored Chicago White Sox against the underdog Cincinnati Reds. Eager to make some extra money, some Sox took bribes from gamblers to throw the World Series. Eventually, the bribery was discovered and a national scandal erupted. Sox star outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson’s name appeared prominently among those implicated as cheaters. By 1921, several White Sox, including Shoeless Joe, faced a criminal trial. A Chicago jury found them not guilty, but the baseball commissioner banned them from the sport forever. Follow as the Chicago History Museum uses Shoeless Joe's voice to tell his story.

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Around the start of the 1919 season, the American League Board of Directors asked Comiskey to look at the league’s finances, thinkin’ AL president Ban Johnson was doin’ somethin’ funny with the books. Comiskey really should have been payin’ more attention to his own team, if you ask me. Half-way through the 1919 season, the stands were full but our pockets were empty. We were playin’ good ball, but he didn’t wanna spend any extra on rewardin’ us for all our hard work. We were gettin’ fed up bein’ one of the best teams in the league with the smallest salaries. Some say our great pitcher Eddie Cicotte was promised a bonus for winnin’ 30 games, but Comiskey wouldn’t let him start after his 29th win. If it’s true, it’s a mean trick Comiskey pulled on Cicotte. Lots of the guys didn’t get all the money they wanted. Many of ‘em would do anything to make an extra buck.

American League board of directors meeting notes stating Comiskey must look into AL finances, 1919 (ICHi-67500), White Sox Lefty Williams’ paycheck, 1919 (ICHi-51808), White Sox Eddie Cicotte’s contract, 1920 (ICHi-76458, ICHi-67459, ICHi-67460), White Sox Pitcher Eddie Cicotte, Comiskey Park, 1917 (SDN-057908C), Eddie Cicotte paycheck for May, 1919 (ICHi-51809).