Sunday, May 15, 2011
Ruth as a Red Sox
The Clarion Content and the Sports Editor are familiar with the story of the Chicago Black Sox and the fixed 1919 World Series. We imagine many of our readers are as well. But had you heard the tale about the 1918 World Series between Babe Ruth's Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs? We hadn't either.
The New York Times had a fascinating article in its sports pages over the weekend (and fortunately we are not over our article allotment yet). The Times, relying heavily on a book by Sean Deveney called "The Original Curse," detailed the case that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series. It centers around Cubs rightfielder Max Flack, the only man ever to get picked off-base twice in a single World Series game. In the same game, Flack also misplayed a Babe Ruth flyball into a triple by playing excessively shallow. In the final World Series game, Flack dropped a routine, two-out, can of corn, to right field in the fourth inning; his error allowed both Boston runs to score in the clinching 2-1 victory, a four games to one Sox triumph.
The NY Times reports there was strangely no celebration on the field. America's entry World War I was the big story, the following baseball season had been put on hold and most players assumed they would be drafted. Attendance was down. The economy was wobbly. World Series payout shares were going to be less than half of what had been anticipated. Conditions for a fix were ripe.
Anecdotal evidence from convicted Chicago Black Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, indicated that several of his co-conspirators discussed the Cubs having been offered $10,000 per man to fix the 1918 Series.
All the principals are long dead and there is no more than Cicotte's words and the circumstantial evidence of Flack's failures. It is still an interesting story. Read more here.