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♪♪ ♪♪ -Baseball is thought of as this game of geometry.
The game of geometry.
It's 90 feet, it's 60 feet, it's this, it's that.
Everything's perfect right angles, everything's all that.
And then it has the strictest rules and it has the strictest history -- everything interpreted.
And kids play it all over the place with two bases, one base, with a car parked in the middle of where they're playing.
They play it in the street.
We played it in the hollow, used trees for bases.
We call it the hollow where I lived in Lexington, Virginia.
We had wonderful baseball games.
You can improvise baseball in a living room.
You can improvise baseball on a New York street, and people do every day.
You can play it in the pasture.
You can play it on the side of a hill.
You can play baseball anywhere.
[ "The Star-Spangled Banner" playing ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ -Between 1910 and 1920, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity, the first ships moved through the Panama Canal, and 22 million people died of influenza.
The war to end all wars was fought, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, and immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe streamed into the United States, more than a million of them a year.
Harriet Tubman and Julia Ward Howe and Albert Goodwill Spalding died.
Orson Welles and Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson were born.
♪♪ Americans turned out to watch the Racine Malted Milks and Rockford Drys and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Jackson Convicts, Quincy Crybabies, Zanesville Flood-Sufferers, and the Telluride, Colorado, Baseball Club, champions of the Western Slope, whose home field was 8,745 feet above sea level.
Thousands of small-town players dreamed of moving on to still greater fame.
"I didn't expect to make it to the big leagues," said Cincinnati outfielder Edd Roush, "but I didn't care.
I had to get away from those damn cows."
Baseball transformed the language.
A success was now a home run, crazy ideas came out of left field, and inappropriate behavior was off-base.
Bleacher seats now cost a quarter.
Box seats went for a dollar.
A hot dog cost a nickel.
The game was still fast and furious.
Speed and strategy took precedence over power.
Ty Cobb and John McGraw still set the pace.
♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] When the decade began, baseball had never been more popular.
By its end, fans everywhere would feel betrayed as some of the finest players in the game sought to sell out the national pastime.
-There had been many, many, many scandals and incidents because wherever there was any kind of sporting event, there were gamblers, and basically, gamblers want an edge, and that edge often is having paid one or the other players or having gotten the opposing pitcher drunk the night before or that morning or distracting them by shooting bullets at the left fielder when the ball would come in the air.
The early games didn't have a fence that you could hit it over.
You got a home run by hitting it, and it would roll and roll and roll.
So there was less separation between the fans and the game.
And if you hit a line drive that was 2 inches foul, you hit a spectator.
'Cause they were going to sell not only all the seats, but all the room up to the sidelines, and in fact, in a couple of the World Series games in 1919, they put a rope across left field, and they put people standing there.
And there was a ground rule triple.
If the ball went into that group of people, you would get a triple.
And so of course if was your guy and he hit a foul ball, you would surge forward and try to have the ball -- and if it was the other guy, you'd try to back up against the wall and pull the rope back so your guy had a chance to catch it.
What this led to, of course, is that there was much more familiarity.
Even while you were playing, there were guys yelling out, you know, "15 bucks if you drop that ball."
And the guy might listen.
If the other guy said, "$20 if you catch it," he might catch it at the last minute.
And that thing that kind of existed in hometown baseball certainly was not strange to the Major Leagues, because it was so hometown in the beginning.
It still was a very, very personal, we-know-our-boys-personally kind of game.
-If you look at pictures of, say, the 1915 Pirates, you're going to see a very different kind of face than you see today -- hard men.
Baseball at that point was a way out of the mines.
This was a way for immigrant Americans to make a career.
They were tough men, hungry young men coming after the established older men.
Baseball was played with a ferocity of kind of life-and-death, which in a sense it was for these players, so it represented the rise of American striving in a certain way.
♪♪ -"That's the way it is in baseball.
It's a tough racket.
There's always someone sitting on the bench just itching to get in there in your place, thinks he can do better, wants your job in the worst way.
Back to the coal mines for you, pal.
The pressure never lets up.
It doesn't matter what you did yesterday.
It's tomorrow that counts, so you worry all the time.
It never ends.
Lord, baseball is a worrying thing."
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -"The game of baseball is a clean, straight game, and it summons to its presence everybody who enjoys clean, straight athletics."
William Howard Taft.
-In 1910, William Howard Taft became the first president ever to attend opening day, and he saw a novel sight -- a victory by the Washington Senators over the Philadelphia Athletics.
It was an aberration.
The mighty Athletics went on to take the pennant and the series that year.
They would win the pennant three more times in the next four years and take two more World Series.
They were a remarkable team, sparked by the fine clutch pitching of Albert Bender, who was a Chippewa Indian and therefore known as "Chief," and the so-called $100,000 infield of Stuffy McGinnis, Eddie Collins, "Black Jack" Barry, and Frank Baker -- who led the league with 12 home runs.
[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ But it was their manager who deserved most of the credit.
-"I will not tolerate profanity, obscene language, or personal insults from my bench.
I will always insist as long as I am manager of the club that my boys be gentlemen.
There is room for gentlemen in any profession."
-The real name of the man who built the Athletics was Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy.
Born in 1862 to Irish immigrants, he began as a catcher, known for his ability to simulate with his fingers the sound of a ball just touching the bat that fooled the umpire into believing he had caught a foul tip.
He spent 11 years in the majors, managed to play every position except third base and pitcher, and vigorously supported John Montgomery Ward and his ill-fated players' league.
In 1901, he became part owner of the Philadelphia Athletics and immediately made himself manager, a post he held for 50 years.
Connie Mack became baseball's most conspicuous gentleman, managing in coat and tie, demanding that his players be on their best behavior.
-"He could be as tough as rawhide and as gentle as a mother, reasonable and obstinate beyond reason and courtly and benevolent and fierce."
"He was kindhearted and hard-fisted, drove a close bargain, and was suckered in a hundred deals."
"He was generous and thoughtful and autocratic and shy and independent and altogether completely lovable."
New York Herald Tribune.
[ Cheers and applause ] -Connie Mack -- in the words of Wilfred Sheed, "Like a tree from the Garden of Eden" -- came into baseball in the 1880s.
He began as a not-very-good player, and like so many other not-very-good players, he took instead his passion for the game and his -- in his case, his brains and became a mogul, a great manager who would build terrific teams, great manager and owner, and then as soon as they had reached their pinnacle, he would sell the players for as much money as he could possibly get.
-"It is more profitable for me to have a team that is in contention for most of the season, but finishes about fourth.
A team like that will draw well enough for the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win."
-Baseball was Mack's livelihood, but it was also his life, and he was worried about the game's integrity.
Violent players, like Detroit's Ty Cobb, distressed him.
When the Tigers came to town, Connie Mack advised his team to "never get Mr. Cobb angry."
♪♪ -"They may not have liked him, but they admired him.
Cobb had that terrific fire, that terrific drive.
I never saw a fella with the drive Cobb had.
It was his game.
It was his base.
Everything was his.
He would just...
He dominated the game.
I never saw a fella like that."
-In 1910, Ty Cobb was locked in a fierce battle with Napoleon Lajoie of the Cleveland Indians for the batting championship of the American League.
The hugely popular Lajoie had led the League in batting twice before and was considered the greatest second baseman in the game.
The Chalmers Motor Company had offered a new car to the man who won the title.
Cobb wanted that car, but he was so detested by those who played against him that when he and Lajoie were neck and neck for the title at the very end of the season, the manager of the St. Louis Browns, just to spite Cobb, ordered his third baseman to play so deep that Lajoie got six bunt singles in a row.
The manager was found out and fired.
Cobb ended up winning the title by a single percentage point.
Years later, it was discovered that, in fact, Lajoie should have won.
Cobb's average had been inflated by counting one game twice.
But both men got cars.
It would be the first of 10 cars Cobb would receive over his career.
♪♪ He was now widely hailed as the best player in the game and was one of the best-paid, making $9,500 a year.
He was careful with his money and had already begun to invest in the small Georgia soft drink company, Coca-Cola, that would soon help make him baseball's richest player, but no degree of success could exorcise his demons.
-Cobb is the great black mark on the history of baseball.
There's no question that he was a great player, but he was a man of vile temperament and vile habit -- terribly racist, brutal.
In one of the most awful moments in a career that was filled with them, he went into the stands and brutally beat up a handicapped heckler.
-On May 15, 1912, at Hilltop Park in Manhattan, Ty Cobb endured the taunts of a New York fan, Claude Luecker, until after the third inning, when Luecker shouted that Cobb was a "half-nigger."
Cobb vaulted the railing, knocked down the heckler, and began stomping him with his spikes.
When the crowd shouted that the man was helpless because he had no hands, Cobb replied, "I don't care if he doesn't have any feet," and kept kicking him until a park policeman pulled him away.
Ban Johnson, President of the American league, suspended Cobb from organized baseball indefinitely.
-"Everybody took it as a joke.
I was only kidding that fellow, and I frightened him to death, but I would not take from the United States Army what that man said to me.
And the fans in New York cheered me to the echo when I left the field.
I don't look for applause, but for the first time in my life, I was glad that the fans were with me."
-Although his teammates despised Cobb, they thought he'd been justified.
Being called a half-nigger was considered an insult too great for any white man to bear.
They refused to play until he was reinstated.
It was the first players' strike in Major League history.
The Tiger manager desperately rounded up a team of amateurs for the next day's game against Philadelphia.
A seminary student pitched for Detroit that afternoon, and the new Tigers lost, 24-2.
The next game was canceled.
Ban Johnson now warned that he would suspend every Tiger from the game unless they all agreed to return to the field.
Cobb urged his teammates to give in, and when they did, they were each fined $100.
After Cobb paid only a $50 fine for the savage beating, Johnson lifted his suspension.
-The more his fires burned, the more that provoked him on the field.
And I suppose one could say that the happy by-product was the extraordinary baseball that he gave the fans of the time, but there's a moment when you have to say it's not worth it.
I think Ty Cobb, in his totality, was an embarrassment to baseball.
♪♪ ♪♪ -On November 13, 1911, John Jordan O'Neil, who would one day become one of baseball's greatest ambassadors, was born in the Gulf Coast port town of Carrabelle, Florida, the grandson of a slave.
-Every town had a baseball team.
In my town, Carrabelle, that's where I was born, they had a little local baseball team, and my father played on the baseball team, and he would take me around with him to the baseball fields wherever they would play.
And I loved it, and I could catch the ball.
So the older fellows would like to throw the ball to me because I was kind of a little show.
Here's a little boy catching the ball.
And the people kind of liked this.
So that started me in wanting to play baseball.
♪♪ -For years, Andrew "Rube" Foster and other black stars had organized dozens of barnstorming teams in the hope that they might one day play in the Major Leagues.
But in 1911, the gentleman's agreement among the owners still kept all Black players, no matter how good, out of organized white baseball.
Nevertheless, that same year, the Cincinnati Reds signed two light-skinned players from Cuba -- Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida.
When questions arose about their playing a white man's game, the Cincinnati management assured the public they were "as pure white as castile soap."
-"Now that the first shock is over, it would not be surprising to see a Cuban a few shades darker breaking into the professional ranks.
It would then be easier for colored players who are citizens of this country to get into fast company."
New York Age.
-But Black Americans were still barred.
-It was only four high schools in the state of Florida a Black kid could attend, so just elementary education -- Well, this was by design because they were thinking this is all that a Black kid needed.
So I got to go to the celery field, started working in the celery field, and in that celery field, I was a box boy.
I'm sitting behind the boxes one day, and it was hot in Florida, and I was sweaty, and that muck was...
And my father was the foreman on this job, and he was on this side of the boxes, all over me.
And I was on the other side of my boxes.
And I said, "Damn, there's got to be something better than this."
I'm saying it aloud, see.
So when we get off the truck that night, my daddy say, "I heard what you said behind the boxes."
And I thought he was gonna reprimand me for saying "damn," see, because he'd never heard me say damn, and I doubt if I'd ever said damn, really, to tell you the truth.
And he said, "I heard it.
Yeah, there's something better, but you know you can't get it here.
So you're gonna have to go someplace else."
That was one of the reasons I wanted to play baseball.
I wanted to get out of that field, and I did.
Baseball got me out of that field.
-For years and years and years, baseball was the one where you could say, you know, "Nobody plays shortstop like this guy," "nobody has a batting stance like this guy."
I think originally, there was a very local kind of feel to it.
Certainly, in the teens and '20s and '30s, it was your hometown team.
You knew those guys.
In the '20s, they were still living in boarding houses and sometimes putting their uniform on there and walking or riding to the stadium.
-Back in 1909, a rookie outfielder named Harry Hooper reported for spring training with the Red Sox.
He was a college man and began to keep a diary of the often dreary life on the road.
-"Thursday, March 25th -- played the bench.
Came near getting into the game when Tris Speaker got hit sliding home, but he stayed in the game.
Harry Wolter and myself take in moving pictures in the evening.
Friday, April 16th -- walked to the top of Washington Monument with Nickerson.
Played left field in the afternoon.
Got two hits in four and one stolen base, three put-outs, and an assist to the plate."
"Monday, April 19th -- President Taft sees game.
Monday, April 26th -- Doc Powers, who took sick at the finish of the opening game, died today.
We sent $25 for a wreath.
"Monday, May 10th -- rained all day.
Sat around in the hotel.
We were all invited to the burlesque at the Empire.
Good show...for its kind."
"Monday, June 28th -- beat Washington.
Get a hit off Walter Johnson which scores the winning run."
[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -"The plain fact," The New York Times wrote, "is that the art and mystery of professional baseball have never taken so strong a hold on so large a public as they are now taking."
♪♪ ♪♪ Though Ty Cobb and the Washington Senators' star pitcher Walter Johnson were the decade's greatest players, Harry Hooper and a host of other stars vied for an adoring public's attention.
Tris Speaker was Harry Hooper's teammate, the Boston Red Sox's regal center fielder.
A former rodeo cowboy whose fans called him the Grey Eagle, he transformed outfield play.
He played so shallow that he often recorded unassisted double plays at second base.
He threw out a record 35 American League base runners in a single season -- twice.
During a slump in 1910, he was asked by his manager to give up his cherished third spot in the batting order.
"Like hell I will," he said, and ended the season the Red Sox's best hitter.
Eddie Collins first played in Connie Mack's celebrated $100,000 infield, but was sent to the Chicago White Sox when Mack sold off his championship team.
Collins hit over .340 for 10 seasons and played second base with such cheerful confidence in his own skills that opponents and teammates alike called him Cocky Collins.
♪♪ First baseman Hal Chase -- Prince Hal -- was charming and skilled enough to have become one of baseball's most popular stars, but he was also so unabashed about consorting with gamblers that three different managers accused him of throwing games, and fans took to chanting, "What's the odds?"
whenever he took the field.
-Chase was a great fielding and decent-hitting first baseman for the New York team in the American League.
He was a gambler and he ran with the gambling crowd, and he lived very well on the winnings that he got from making errors when he needed to make errors.
He was a scary figure -- scary because he was tolerated.
Scary because of what he did.
Scary, too, because in 1916, as Christy Mathewson, the great Christian gentleman, is completing his career with the Cincinnati Reds, Chase is on that team, and Chase's open vituperative scorn for somebody who lived so well and so purely was beyond ugliness.
♪♪ -One of baseball's most beloved stars was Cleveland pitcher Addie Joss.
He was nicknamed the Human Hairpin because of his height and the exaggerated motion with which he hurled the ball.
He had won 20 or more games 4 seasons in a row and was a favorite with fans and players alike.
Even opposing players enjoyed hearing him harmonize with Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox.
But Joss had a terrible secret -- he was suffering from meningitis.
He struggled through the 1910 season -- he even pitched a no-hitter -- without telling anyone, but he collapsed before an exhibition game the following spring.
Joss died 11 days later.
He was just 31.
Afraid that their owner would refuse to give them the day off to attend the funeral, his grieving teammates simply skipped town.
The players were growing increasingly rebellious.
They now began to talk seriously about organizing again.
They wanted to abolish the reserve clause which made each player the exclusive property of his team and kept all salaries artificially low.
Workers all across the country were demanding their fair share.
Textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, went out on strike.
So did coal miners and steelworkers, even policemen in Boston.
In 1911, Walter Johnson was paid $6,500 a year, while his great rival Christy Mathewson made $10,000.
Johnson complained in an article he wrote for Baseball Magazine called "Baseball Slavery -- the Great American Principle of Dog Eat Dog."
-"The employer tries to starve out the laborer, and the laborer tries to ruin the employer's business.
They quarrel over a bone and rend each other like coyotes, and we are freeborn Americans with a Constitution and public schools.
Business philosophy is that of the wolf pack."
-It's a game where -- where the emphasis, during the course of it, is put on a single individual.
You know, a fly ball goes out towards the left fielder.
He has this moment of, "What's going to happen?"
You know, the, uh, Fred Snodgrass, who was one of the great players for the Giants back in the old days, I think it was in 1912 he missed a fly ball which lost the Giants the World Series.
When he died, this enormously successful man at the age of 83 or something like that, a banker in California or whatever, Fred Snodgrass dies -- "muffed fly ball in 1912."
And despite his success, despite his joys of grandchildren and so forth, there was this one stigma that was attached to him for the rest of his life.
So it does indeed have to do with, "You better catch that fly ball out in left field, or you're marked forever."
♪♪ -John McGraw's New York Giants had never really recovered from the Merkle boner -- the base-running error that cost them the pennant in 1908.
Though they remained a perennial National League power with superb pitchers like Christy Mathewson and Rube Marquard and won the pennant in 1911, they couldn't seem to win a World Series.
Then, in 1912, after dominating the league throughout the season, they faced one of the greatest of all Boston Red Sox teams in the World Series.
The Red Sox had won 105 games, an American League record, and their intimidating line-up included Harry Hooper, Tris Speaker, and a dazzling fast ball pitcher named Smoky Joe Wood.
-Smoky Joe wood was a pitcher, who though not remembered as well as Walter Johnson, was, at his peak, his equal.
Such that in the 1912 season, they both had these extraordinary streaks of winning 16 consecutive games.
When he was at his prime, it was Walter Johnson who said of him, "There's no man alive throws as hard as Smoky Joe Wood."
-The 1912 World Series was a fiercely fought contest on and off the field.
Fans followed the action by telegraph and on scoreboards mounted in saloons and city squares all across the country.
-"When I was 13 years old, I got a job posting scores in an old-fashioned corner saloon at 85th Street and 1st Avenue.
At World Series time, a complete play-by-play came over the ticker.
And the management had me stand on a platform and read the tape in a loud voice.
This was 1912, remember, the Giants and the Red Sox.
And the saloon was jammed to overflowing with hundreds inside and out eagerly following each game's progress."
-"No individual, whether player, manager, owner, critic, or spectator who went through the 1912 World Series will ever forget it.
There never was another like it.
From the lofty perch of the bleacherite, it was a series crammed with thrills and gulps, cheers and gasps, dejection and wild exultation, recrimination and adoration, excuse and condemnation."
[ Cheers and applause ] -The first game was played in front of a huge, noisy New York crowd of more than 35,000.
The Giants took an early 2-0 lead, but Smoky Joe Wood held steady, Boston came back, and after Wood snuffed out a 9th-inning rally, the Red Sox won 4-3.
The next game would be in Boston.
Mayor John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, grandfather of John F. Kennedy, was there to throw out the first ball.
He was a loyal member of the Royal Rooters, a hard-drinking band of 1,000 fanatical fans who'd been cheering on the Red Sox since the turn of the century.
Game two was enlivened by a fist fight between Tris Speaker and the Giant third baseman Buck Herzog.
The score was tied 6-6 in the 11th inning when the contest was inexplicably called because of "impending" darkness.
After heated discussion, officials declared that game two would not count.
If necessary, the series would go to eight games.
For the next four games, the series seesawed back and forth, the two teams shuttling between Boston and New York with hardly a day off.
At the end of game six, Boston had the upper hand, ahead three games to two.
Even the great Christy Mathewson, it seemed, could not stop the Red Sox.
They needed only one more victory, and they were heading back to Boston -- friendly territory -- where Smoky Joe Wood, the hero of games one and four, would pitch the next game.
Just before the seventh game began, the Royal Rooters filed onto the field on the way to their accustomed seats just beyond the left field foul line.
But when they got there, they found that their seats had already been sold.
The Rooters refused to leave until they got them back.
Mounted policemen had to be called in to drive them behind the bleachers.
The near riot in the stands kept Smoky Joe from warming up.
-"When he walked to the pitching mound this afternoon, Wood wore a halo, but before three hours had gone, fickle fandom was looking about for someone else to put on his pedestal.
Wood lasted but one inning, and, during that, he pitched only 13 balls.
They were more than enough, for they produced no less than seven safe hits and six runs."
New York Times.
-It was a rout.
The Giants won the 7th game 11-4.
Back in New York, scoreboards throughout the city relayed the happy news in minutes.
Because the second game had not counted, the series was tied three games apiece.
"Write in the pages of World Series baseball history the name of Snodgrass.
Write it large and black, not as a hero, truly not.
Put him rather with Merkle, who was in such a hurry that he gave away a National League championship.
Snodgrass was in such a hurry that he gave away a world championship."
New York Times.
-Christy Mathewson would pitch again for New York in the eighth and deciding game.
The Giants went ahead 1-0 in the 3rd, and only two brilliant catches by Harry Hooper kept New York from scoring two more runs.
Boston tied it up in the 7th, but a single by Fred Merkle drove home New York's go-ahead run in the 10th.
Now, all Mathewson had to do was hold Boston for one more inning, and the Giants could take the championship home to New York.
The first man up for Boston was a pinch hitter, Clyde Engle.
"He hit a big, lazy, high fly ball," recalled Giant center fielder Fred Snodgrass.
It looked like an easy out.
Snodgrass and the left fielder both moved toward the ball.
Snodgrass called for it.
"I yelled and waved him off," he remembered, "and then, well, I dropped the darn thing."
Engle ended up on second.
Snodgrass put out the very next batter -- Harry Hooper -- with a spectacular catch, but it was his muff that fans would remember.
Mathewson walked the next Boston batter.
Tris Speaker drove Engle home to tie the game, and Larry Gardner followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in the winning run.
Boston had won it 3-2.
It had taken them eight games to get there, but the Boston Red Sox were the world champions.
The Royal Rooters went wild.
♪♪ -"I broke down and found it almost impossible to announce the tragic events to the hushed crowd.
After it was all over, I sat on the platform silently reading and rereading the doleful news on the tape, as though repeated reading would erase the awful words."
-"For over half a century, I've had to live with the fact that I dropped a ball in a World Series -- 'Oh, yes, you're the guy that dropped that fly ball, aren't you?'
For years and years, whenever I'd be introduced to somebody, they'd start saying something and then stop, you know, afraid of hurting my feelings."
-John McGraw felt so bad for his center fielder that he raised Snodgrass' salary $1,000.
-When you play it yourself, there are moments that stay with you for 40 and 50 years.
I can remember pitching for my school here in New York called St. Bernard's.
I was the pitcher, and I could throw a great big roundhouse curve, being long-armed, and someone taught me how to throw the thing, and it was a great sweeping curve, and I used to be devastating with this thing.
I mean, these 11-year-olds would back out of the batter's box, and this thing would sail in.
I used to strike out 17, 18 men a game with this curve ball.
I can remember a pitch I threw.
It was hit for the final out of a ball game, a lazy fly ball out to left field.
Someone had actually gotten his bat on this great sweeping curve ball.
And they had a man on third, and the score was 1-1.
And my 12-year-old classmate out there, Charlie Lee... dropped the ball.
I can see it falling out of his glove.
I see that man coming home from third.
I can remember sitting next to Charlie Lee on the bus going back to New York.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Hammering, tools clattering ] -In 1912, Boston fans had both a championship and a bright new ball park to boast about.
♪♪ It was there they had beaten the New York Giants, and fans were convinced it had brought them good luck.
♪♪ ♪♪ Built in a marshy area called the Fens, the park's most prominent features included a badly sloping left field that was called Duffy's Cliff because Red Sox left fielder Duffy Lewis had learned to play it so well.
The left field wall was just 320 feet from home plate and was very friendly to right-handed hitters and very damaging to the windows of store owners across the street.
-Great stretches of Canadian forests have been destroyed to print the paper on which people have written paeans to Fenway Park.
There's something in its intimacy.
There's something in that incredible greenness.
There's something in the peculiarity of the way that the outfield wall follows its meandering path from right to left.
There's something about the way that it fits so tightly and neatly into the city, not surrounded by endless acres of ball parks, and there's something about the fact that it has been the site of so much baseball -- tragedy might be too much, might be an overstatement -- but just so much baseball sorrow has gone down there that you can compare it to a Civil War battlefield.
It is a vale of tears.
♪♪ -"There is no greater optimist in baseball than President Charles Hercules Ebbets of the Brooklyn club.
For 30 years, he's been in baseball, and, all that time, he has had confidence in the Brooklyn fan.
Through many seasons of losses and disappointments, he has carried the Trolley Dodgers, losing money year after year when those about him lost faith in the game as a paying proposition.
But the confidence of Mr. Ebbets has never been shaken.
He believed years ago, as he does today, that Brooklyn is a Major League city and that it would support a good team."
New York Times.
-Over the years, Brooklyn would be represented by many teams with many names -- the Atlantics and Excelsiors, the Bridegrooms, Bushwicks, and Superbas, the Tip-Tops, after the baker of Tip Top Bread who owned them for a time, the Robins, after their manager Wilbert Robinson, the Trolley Dodgers, and finally, just the Dodgers.
-The story of the Brooklyn Dodgers is the story of one of the five boroughs in New York.
Brooklyn was an independent city to itself until 1898.
It was one of the great cities.
It was a city with a population bigger than Chicago.
But because of the subway, because of the bridges, because of the water and electric facilities, the state forced Brooklyn into the city of New York in 1898, and Brooklyn didn't want to be in the city of New York.
New York had the tall buildings and this, that, and the other, and the railroad stations and Broadway.
Brooklyn was just -- well, they called it "the bedroom of New York."
But the one thing that they had in Brooklyn was a baseball club called the Dodgers.
And the whole borough of Brooklyn centered its love and attention on the Dodgers and used the Dodgers against the tall buildings of Manhattan.
-Charles Ebbets was convinced the team's fortunes would improve if they had a bright new park to play in.
The site he picked was a garbage dump called Pigtown in one of the poorest sections of the borough -- Flatbush.
-"I've made more money than I ever expected to, but I'm putting all of it, and more, too, into the new plant for the Brooklyn fans.
Of course, it's one thing to have a fine ball club and win a pennant, but to my mind, there's something more important than that about a ball club.
I believe the fans should be taken care of.
A club should provide a suitable home for its patrons.
This home should be in a location that's healthy, it should be safe, and it should be convenient."
Charles Hercules Ebbets.
-My father used to talk about the building of Ebbets Field.
He was 11 years old when they started building Ebbets Field, and he somehow remembered what the hopes were for that whole area of Brooklyn because he lived right near there.
They would have their own stadium nearby.
And he said he used to go by every day and watch another piece of it being put together.
So when he first took me there, it was like showing me something that was part of his own history, not just a stadium somewhere else.
-Ebbets spent $750,000 to build his park with its marble rotunda and chandeliers made in the form of bats and balls -- so much that he had to sell half his interest in the team to pay his debts.
♪♪ ♪♪ Ebbets Field opened to the public on April 5, 1913... with an exhibition game against the Highlanders, who officially changed their name that spring to the New York Yankees.
Brooklyn won 3-2.
An inside-the-park home run by a young former dental student named Casey Stengel made the difference.
Over the next 45 summers, Ebbets Field would witness some of the worst baseball ever played and some of the very best.
♪♪ -"Why is baseball, you ask?
Because it is like charity -- it never faileth.
It is always there, except on Mondays or wet grounds.
And to the man who is too old to keep up with the attempt to civilize football and too young to need so soothing a sedative as golf, who works hard when he works and wants to rest hard when he rests, who wants a drama that is as full of surprises for the actors as it is for the audience, who wants a race that cannot be fixed like a horse race, who is so genuine an American that he wants something to kick about without meaning it and something to yell about that everyone around him will think more of him for yelling about -- to that man, baseball is the one great lifesaver in the good old summertime."
Los Angeles Times.
-Baseball suits the character of this democratic nation.
Democracy is government by persuasion.
That means it requires patience.
That means it involves a lot of compromise.
Democracy is the slow politics of the half-loaf.
Baseball is the game of the long season, where small, incremental differences decide who wins and who loses particular games, series, seasons.
In baseball, you know going to the ball park that the chances are you may win, but you also may lose.
There's no certainty, no given.
You know when a season starts that the best team is going to get beaten a third of the time, the worst's team going to win a third of the time.
The argument over 162 games -- that middle third.
So it's a game you can't like if winning's everything, and democracy's that way, too.
♪♪ ♪♪ -"Dear sir, I don't give a damn to be in the big leagues unless I get something for my work.
I'll pick [bleep] with the chickens before I play for any less."
-After Cleveland's great pitcher Addie Joss died, his fellow ballplayers staged a benefit game to aid his widow.
All the great stars came -- Walter Johnson, Smoky Joe Wood, Napoleon Lajoie, and Ty Cobb.
The game was a great success.
They managed to raise $12,931.
But it only increased the players' anxieties.
With no pensions of their own or job security or grievance procedure with the owners, they felt powerless.
They now formed a players' fraternity.
It had two goals -- to rid baseball of the hated reserve clause and to gain a larger share of the profits for the men who made those profits possible.
At first, they got nowhere.
The owners simply ignored them.
Then, in 1914, a band of rich businessmen hoping to get in on the baseball action formed their own league -- the Federal League.
They began offering big money to big stars willing to sign up with their teams.
They even gave the players the right to become free agents.
81 players were lured to the new league, including Three Finger Brown, Joe Tinker, and Chief Bender.
Old ball parks were renovated and new ones built, including one on Chicago's North side that would one day be called Wrigley Field.
For a time, the Federal League was a success, with teams in eight cities, including Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, St. Louis, and Kansas City.
[ Bat cracks ] [ Cheers and applause ] But the upstart league was a direct challenge to Ban Johnson, who resented the interlopers, just as National League owners had resented him when he launched the American League in 1901.
Johnson denounced the competition as pirates and threatened to blacklist any players who jumped to the new league, but to stem the flood of deserting players, he and his owners also raised the salaries of remaining stars and pledged to do better even by average players in the future.
Tris Speaker's salary rose from $9,000 to $18,000 a season.
The Federal League owners fought back, charging that the Major Leagues constituted a monopoly, and they sued organized baseball in federal court in Chicago in 1915.
The presiding judge was said to be death on trusts, but he was also a baseball fan.
He refused to rule quickly, and the months dragged on.
Finally, Federal League owners, increasingly strapped for cash after two shaky seasons, gave up.
The new league collapsed.
So did Ban Johnson's promises of better pay.
Tris Speaker's salary was cut in half.
The players were as powerless as they had been before, and still the federal judge had not ruled.
-"Do you realize that a decision in this case may tear down the very foundations of this game so loved by thousands?
Any blows at the thing called baseball would be regarded by this court as a blow to a national institution."
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
-"They have work to do, and they should be sleeping or eating.
But they would rather do without sleep or without a square meal deliberately eaten than miss a minute of a ball game, even if they go on their night turn in the mill or factory minus the rest that should be theirs."
-Baseball has been a passion of immigrants because it is a way into the United States.
It's a kind of citizenship perhaps more authentic than anything which can be on a piece of paper.
Sometimes it was the youngster's rebellion against his father, becoming less Polish, more American by taking up baseball.
But it became an enormously important part of the American identity.
-Companies of every kind promoted baseball for their workers.
Management believed it encouraged teamwork, provided a healthy way to fill spare time that might otherwise be devoted to labor agitation, and taught immigrant workers how to be "real Americans."
Nearly every industry had a league -- railroads, steel, electricity, coal and iron, textiles, meat packing, automobiles -- and thousands of workers came out for factory games on the weekends.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] On September 20, 1914, more than 100,000 people filled Cleveland's Brookside Stadium to see the Telling Strollers beat the Hanna Cleaners 8-3.
-The ones I remember are the Greenville, Mississippi, Buckshots, who were semi-pro, I guess they were called in those days.
Maybe they still are.
They had jobs around town, but the main thing they did was play baseball.
And they were a tobacco-chewing crowd, and men were fearful that their daughters might go out with one of them, that kind of thing.
They were wonderful people.
They hung around the pool hall a lot when they weren't working or playing baseball, and they were all looking forward to a career.
I remember a pitcher -- The reason I remember is his name was Mahady.
And he went with an aunt of mine.
And he gave me a baseball uniform of his just about worn out and had it cut down for me.
That was a great treat.
-Women workers demanded to play, too, and soon the Goodyear Girls, the Westinghouse Maids, and the Miller Rubber Maids took the field.
-"July 24, 1914 -- Miss Elizabeth Murphy, a young girl baseball player from East Warren, will accompany the local team to Rocky Point Sunday, where she will be given another opportunity to appear in the game between the Warren Shoe Company and the American Enamel Works.
Miss Murphy played with the local nine on the Child Street Grounds Sunday and held down the first sack in an excellent manner."
Warren and Barrington Gazette.
-At progressive Sing Sing Prison on the Hudson River, convicts played and beat visiting teams made up of electrical workers, insurance salesmen, and stock exchange clerks.
"I want to go back to Sing Sing," one ex-con remembered.
"Down here, I'm just a bum, but up there, I was on the ball team."
-George Stallings was the manager of the Miracle Braves of 1914, who went from last place on July 4th to winning the pennant and eventually the World Series against the highly favored Athletics.
When he was dying, so the story goes, one of the would-be soon-to-be mourners said, "George, what's killing you?"
Stallings replied, "Bases on balls."
♪♪ ♪♪ -"He never complained, never alibied.
He was never known to criticize a teammate or call an opposing ballplayer lucky.
He accepted his great success modestly and the many vicissitudes of his life in silence.
He was easy to like and hard to know."
New York World Telegram.
-If Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson had a challenger for the title of best pitcher in baseball, it was a troubled young right-hander named Grover Cleveland Alexander.
♪♪ A Nebraska farm boy, the son and grandson of alcoholics, and one of 13 children, he had honed his startling accuracy by hurling rocks to kill birds to help feed his family.
He was a Minor League star at 22 when a shortstop's throw to first hit him squarely between the eyes.
He was unconscious for two days, then stricken with double vision.
He kept throwing anyway.
He was afraid, he remembered, that if he did not, he would "go to pieces," and after months of relentless work, his vision suddenly and mysteriously cleared, though he remained subject to epileptic seizures for the rest of his life.
Alexander stormed into the Majors in 1911, striking out 227 men for the Philadelphia Phillies in his very first season.
He would win 30 or more games 3 seasons in a row.
He pitched four one-hitters in 1915 and 90 shutouts during his long career.
He was utterly businesslike on the mound, throwing an arsenal of pitches with pinpoint accuracy.
"Game after game, he'd pitch in an hour and a half," a teammate recalled.
"No fussing around.
No wasted motion."
Even the men he struck out so consistently liked him.
Between games, he was modest, good-humored, and kept mostly to himself, but then he began to drink.
-The greatest competitions, I think, in sports is the pitcher and the hitter.
Now, I'm going to hit this ball.
See, right now, I'm going to be better than you, and this pitcher's saying the same thing -- "I'm going to be better than you at this particular moment."
This is in a pressure situation, so -- and you are competing, and nobody can help you.
Nobody can block for you in this.
You got to do it on your own.
You're just standing there with that bat, and he's standing there with that ball.
♪♪ -On May 28th, 1916, Jimmy Claxton pitched his first game for the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League.
A capable left-hander, he had been introduced to the club's owner by a part-Indian friend as a fellow member of his Oklahoma tribe.
The Zee-Nut Candy Company rushed out a baseball card with his portrait on it.
But just six days later, he was fired after another friend let slip that he had Black as well as Indian ancestry.
Claxton was the first Black man to play organized white baseball in the 20th century and the last for 30 years.
♪♪ -"Hitting alone will not win ball games.
I want speed on my team, and I also want every man on the squad to know how to slide.
I intend to have my players taught how to run.
I don't say we will win any pennants, but I do think that my systematic training will be laying the foundation of a pennant-winner.
If this is theory, it is blamed good practical theory."
-He was Leonardo in baseball.
He did everything.
He was artist and scientist and genius of a million kinds.
He invented the farm systems.
He devised ways of playing the game and of training players that had never before been considered.
-Branch Rickey graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, struggled as a catcher for a few years in the Major Leagues, got a law degree but failed to drum up any clients, and gratefully returned to baseball, working for the St. Louis Browns, one of the poorest teams in the Majors.
He moved up quickly within the organization -- scout, club secretary, and in 1913, manager.
Rickey was a genius at making do with less.
He approached his job scientifically, introducing unusual calisthenics, batting cages, and sliding pits.
-"No ballplayer can learn to steal bases by practicing sliding into sand pits.
I wouldn't ask a veteran to slide into a pit.
I don't think much of this theory stuff."
-Rickey barred profanity and poker playing and liquor, offered evening lectures on baseball theory -- called skull sessions -- and, keeping a promise to his mother, managed just six days a week, leaving an assistant to take over for him on Sundays.
In 1919, the Browns' crosstown rivals, the hapless St. Louis Cardinals, offered him a still bigger job as general manager at double the salary.
He would spend the next 23 years with the Cardinals and in the process profoundly change the game of baseball.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ In 1916, the Boston Red Sox, playing in Braves Field because Fenway Park couldn't hold all the fans who wanted to see them, took on Brooklyn in the World Series and gave spectators and one overwrought sportswriter something to talk about for years to come.
-"October 8th, 1916 -- the withered stalk of the baseball season burst with a crash into radiant bloom at Braves Field today with the opening of the World's Series.
The Superbas, pride of Brooklyn and of the National League, and the carmine-hosed Boston warriors scrambled for the petals of the first blossom, and the entrants from New York started their scrambling a little late.
They emerged from the struggle on the short end of a 6-5 score."
"October 10th, 1916 -- under lowering gray skies that finally yielded splashing tears of sympathy for a team mighty even in defeat, the Brooklyn Superbas went down today before the Boston Red Sox in the second encounter of the World's Series.
14 innings were needed to establish a final score of 2-1, and they were 14 innings of such baseball as shuttles the heart of the genuine fan back and forth between his mouth and his heels, and every inning was a gem, clear-cut and flashing, its colors now blue, now rosy."
"October 13, 1916 -- the Red Sox celebrated Columbus Day in their hometown by wresting the world's championship banner free from the trembling, nerveless fingers of the Superbas and throwing it wide to the wind that swept Braves Field, theirs for another year."
New York Times.
♪♪ ♪♪ -America's entry into World War I was very near in the spring of 1917.
Millions had died on battlefields in Europe, and Americans could no longer stand by.
Baseball was eager to show that it was ready to do its part.
Ban Johnson ordered teams to learn close-order drill, and the Washington Senators showed off their marching skill, led by the athletic young Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
But baseball had become one of the biggest entertainment industries in the country, and when war actually came in April, the owners saw no reason to stop playing.
-"With an astonishing disregard for the new proprieties and new decencies, the so-called magnates of baseball have proclaimed in both leagues their unswerving adherence to their wretched fallacy of business as usual.
That policy is not calculated to make us proud of baseball as an American institution."
New York Times.
-The owners argued that baseball should be declared an essential wartime industry so that players would be exempt from the draft.
It didn't work.
"July the 21st, 1918 -- baseball received a knockout wallop yesterday when Secretary Baker ruled players in the draft age must obtain employment calculated to aid in the successful prosecution of the war or shoulder guns and fight."
-Fresh recruits drilled on the elysian fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Brooklyn and Manhattan teams had developed the game of baseball 70 years before.
Some ballplayers found jobs in defense industries where they were paid handsomely to play on company teams.
Critics denounced them as slackers.
But 247 Major Leaguers did serve, and three were killed in action.
Soldiers played ball in camps and on battleships, on fields in Flanders, and in hastily constructed ball parks throughout France.
♪♪ ♪♪ [ Explosion ] Grover Cleveland Alexander served in the trenches with an artillery unit and emerged from the fighting shell-shocked, his hearing damaged, drinking more heavily than ever to forget the horrors he had seen.
Though Branch Rickey was 36 and had 4 children, he went to war, too, became a major, and commanded a unit that included Captains Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson.
Cobb and Mathewson did not get to France until after the shooting stopped, but during a drill, Mathewson was exposed to poison gas that fatally seared his lungs.
He would live for seven more years, but his great career was over.
-"September 6, 1918 -- far different from any incident that has ever occurred in the history of baseball was the great moment of the first World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, which came at Comiskey park this afternoon during the seventh-inning stretch.
As the crowd of 19,274 spectators stood up to take the afternoon yawn, the band broke forth to the strains of 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'
The yawn was checked as the ballplayers turned quickly about and faced the music.
First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined.
And when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field.
It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of today's enthusiasm."
New York Times.
[ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ -The wartime crowd sang so enthusiastically that the performance was repeated at every game of the series.
From then on, the song was an integral part of the national pastime, though it did not become the official national anthem until 1931.
The Red Sox won the World Series that year, beating the Chicago Cubs four games to two.
One of the series' stars was the young pitcher Babe Ruth, who had won both his starts, including a masterful 1-0 shutout.
It was Boston's fourth world championship in the decade.
They have never won another.
-"Who is he anyhow, an actor?
He's a gambler."
Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly, "He's the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919."
"Fixed the World Series?"
The idea staggered me.
It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of 50 million people with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.
"How did he happen to do that?"
I asked after a minute.
"He just saw the opportunity."
"Why isn't he in jail?"
"They can't get him, old sport.
He's a smart man."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby."
-In 1919, no team played better than the Chicago White Sox, pennant winners in the American League, and few teams were paid as poorly or got along as badly.
Players deliberately crossed each other on the field.
During infield practice, no one threw the ball to second baseman Eddie Collins, Chicago's highest-paid player, all season long.
Teammate Chick Gandil had not spoken to Collins since 1915.
"I thought you couldn't win without teamwork," Collins said later, "until I joined the White Sox.
Yet somehow we won 100 games and the pennant that year."
The White Sox were heavy favorites to beat the better-paid but far-weaker Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
The Chicago owner was "The Old Roman," Charles A. Comiskey, himself a former player, but now among the game's most parsimonious executives.
-They were abused horribly by Charles Comiskey, who was a man of a small mind, a tight fist, and a nasty temperament.
The climate was too good for it not to happen.
-It certainly was a kind of have-and-have-not thing.
The baseball players were very expendable.
If you got hurt, you were gone.
There was no pension, and they saw people making money hand over fist.
The owners, in Comiskey's case, he owned the ball park.
He bottled his own soda in the basement.
He was making a nickel on everything that moved in that ball park.
And there they were -- you know, they were nicknamed the Black Sox even before they threw the World Series because one year, he started charging them for laundering their uniforms.
And they went on strike by saying, "Okay, then we won't launder them," and they got dirtier and dirtier and dirtier until the sportswriters called them the Black Sox.
And then in fact Comiskey said, "Okay, I'll launder your uniforms," and then he took it out of their World Series bonus.
-Comiskey's first baseman, Chick Gandil, a former hobo and one-time club-fighter, was tired of it.
He was nearing the end of his career and wanted one shot at some really big money.
For the right money, Gandil let it be known, he would be willing to talk some of his teammates into throwing the Series.
There was nothing new in working closely with gamblers to throw games.
Many players supplemented their incomes that way.
The brilliant infielder Hal Chase had made something of a career of it, but throwing the World Series was something else again.
Still, Gandil was determined, and now the right money was found.
An ex-boxer, Abe Attell, and Sleepy Bill Burns, a one-time White Sox pitcher, served as go-betweens.
But behind it all was New York's most notorious gambler, Arnold Rothstein, who was said to be willing to bet on anything except the weather because there was no way he could fix that.
-Rothstein was basically a guy who never gambled.
He's known as a gambler and he never gambled on anything in his life, which is why he got very, very wealthy.
He only put money, ostensibly gambling, on things that he knew were a sure thing or that he had covered so well that there was no way that he couldn't make a profit.
I don't think he really cared about sports.
I think he really did cynically feel like, "Well, these guys are schmucks.
They're gonna be old men and I'm still gonna be making money off this game when they have to pay to get into the stadium."
-"The proposition to throw the World Series was first brought to me in New York City in front of the Ansonia Hotel.
Chick Gandil came to me and said he wanted a conference.
He asked me if anybody had approached me on the 1919 World Series for the purpose of fixing.
I told him, 'Not yet.'
He asked me, if it was fixed, would I be willing to get in and go through with it?
I told him I would refuse to answer right then."
-Gandil recruited six teammates -- pitcher Claude "Lefty" Williams, outfielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch, third baseman Buck Weaver, shortstop Swede Risberg, right-handed pitcher Eddie Cicotte, and the idol of schoolboys all over the Midwest -- Joseph Jefferson Jackson.
-"In two years, he had risen from a poor mill boy to the rank of a player in the Major Leagues.
The ignorant mill boy had become the hero of millions.
Out on the hot prairies, teams of Joe Jacksons battled desperately with the Ty Cobbs.
There came a day when a crook spread money before this ignorant idol, and he fell.
For a few dollars, he sold his honor."
New York World.
-A South Carolina country boy, he had learned how to bat from a Confederate veteran who had learned his baseball from Union soldiers in a Northern prison camp.
He had hoped to be a pitcher until he broke a batter's arm with a wild pitch.
Jackson could neither read nor write, but he could hit -- .408 in his rookie year, .356 lifetime, the third highest average in history.
His home runs were called Saturday specials because most of the textile workers' games in which he got his start were played on Saturdays.
And he hit them with a special 48-ounce bat, Black Betsy, made for him by a local lumberman from the north side of a hickory tree and darkened with coat after coat of Jackson's tobacco juice.
Ty Cobb himself thought Joe Jackson "the greatest natural hitter I ever saw."
"Blindfold me," another player remembered half a century later, "and I could tell you when Joe Jackson hit the ball.
It had a special crack."
He was called Shoeless Joe because he was said once to have been spotted in the Minors playing in his socks when new shoes proved too tight.
When Fred McMullin, Chicago's reserve infielder, got wind of what was happening, he demanded that Chick Gandil let him in on the fix.
Now eight White Sox were involved, though Buck Weaver would later claim that he had not agreed to participate.
The smart players demanded their money up front.
-"The meeting was held about 8:00 in the evening.
I said, 'There's so much double-crossing stuff, if I went in the series, I wanted the money put in my hand.'
I went back to my room at 11:30, and the 10 grand was under my pillow."
-Rumors of wrongdoing were everywhere.
"You couldn't miss it," one New York gambler said.
"The thing had an odor.
I saw smart guys take even money on the Sox who should have been asking 5 to 1."
Chicago sportswriter Hugh Fullerton was joined in the press box by an ailing Christy Mathewson to judge if everything was on the up and up.
Mathewson and Fullerton would quickly see that it was not.
-Everybody in the game knew it was happening.
Nobody was even pretending that it wasn't happening.
No one was admitting it out loud for the public.
How could you admit it for the public?
What would that mean?
♪♪ ♪♪ -To boost their gate receipts, the owners decided that the 1919 World Series would be a best-of-nine-game contest.
♪♪ The first game was held in Cincinnati.
♪♪ Eddie Cicotte, ordinarily a master of control, hit the first batter in the back.
Then he threw wild, bobbled a grounder, ignored his catcher's signals.
Swede Risberg ruined an easy double play by failing to step on the bag.
Joe Jackson threw wide from the outfield and seemed to slow down to miss balls near him.
Cincinnati won 9-1.
-This contest between the Reds and the White Sox is something that is concentrating the nation's attention and its faith.
What was unsaid was the horror that existed in so many minds as the baseball establishment watched the Series being thrown.
It was visible from the very first pitch.
The first game, when the signal was put in and Eddie Cicotte hit the batter, and that signaled the gamblers that the fix had worked.
The only thing that the gamblers did wrong with that series from their own perspective is that they made the mistake of letting the Reds win the first game.
Because that drove the odds down.
If the White Sox -- the Black Sox had won the first game, Rothstein and his cohort would have made a hell of a lot more money.
-In the second game, it was Lefty Williams' turn.
He held the Reds to only four hits, but he uncharacteristically walked six, and Cincinnati won again, 4-2.
In the stands was Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was impressed enough with Cincinnati's play to call them "the most formidable machine I have ever seen."
The third game was held in Chicago.
Dickie Kerr, not in on the fix, threw a masterful three-hit shutout, and Chicago finally won 3-0.
But Chick Gandil made a critical error on the base path, and reporters continued to grumble among themselves that all was not right with the Sox.
The public remained unaware of the conspiracy.
Cincinnati took the fourth game 2-0 behind the superb pitching of Jimmy Ring.
Eddie Cicotte had pitched well for the Sox, but once again, he made several devastating errors in the field.
-"There is no alibi for Cicotte.
He pitched a great game, a determined game, and one that would have won 9 times out of 10, but he brought the defeat crashing down upon his own head by trying to do all the defensive work.
He made the wild throw that gave the Reds their opening, the only real one they had.
And he followed that up by grabbing a ball thrown from the outfield and deflecting it past the catcher.
A high fly to left blown by the wind over the head of Jackson, who was playing close in, followed, and Chicago was beaten."
-Three White Sox -- Felsch, Gandil, and Shoeless Joe, all of them conspirators -- had managed hits that afternoon.
Only at bat did Jackson evidently forget the script.
He would bat .375 in the series.
And Buck Weaver was having the series of his life.
By the time it was over, he would collect 11 hits.
It was enough to suggest that the series was on the level after all, but the heavier-than-usual betting convinced most seasoned reporters that something was still terribly wrong.
-"After the game was over, I went up to my room.
I was ill.
I was sick all night.
Felsch was in the room.
I believe I discussed the matter with him and said, 'Happy, it will never be done again.'
I don't believe he even answered me."
-In game five, Lefty Williams, pitching for the White Sox, gave up only four hits, but three of them came in a four-run Cincinnati sixth.
Happy Felsch made a throwing error, and the Reds won easily, 5-0, for their fourth victory.
Cincinnati needed only one more win to clinch the best-of-nine-game series.
White Sox manager Kid Gleason was stunned.
-"They aren't hitting.
I don't know what's the matter, but I do know that something's wrong with my gang.
The bunch I had fighting in August for the pennant would have trimmed this Cincinnati bunch without a struggle.
The bunch I have now couldn't beat a high-school team."
♪♪ -I was at all the Chicago games, and Eddie Cicotte, one of our pitchers who had won 29 games and lost 7 during the season, lost his two games.
And Lefty Williams lost his two games.
I've forgotten what his 1919 record was, but it was great, and it was just virtually impossible for those two men to lose two games each and be honest.
-The two teams traveled back to Cincinnati for game six.
-Ring Lardner, who was covering the series, he would walk up and down the train singing, "I'm forever blowing ball games, pretty ball games in the air."
And the players all knew was he was saying, and they were seething with rage.
Christy Mathewson sat in the press box with Huey Fullerton, the great Chicago baseball writer.
Fullerton said, "I want you to point out things that aren't kosher, the plays that look like these guys are not trying their hardest."
And Mathewson had a string of them throughout the series.
It wasn't subtle.
-But now the conspirators rebelled.
They had not received all the money they had been promised, and the Black Sox now resolved among themselves to play all-out.
In game six, Chicago came from behind to win on dramatic 10th-inning hits by Jackson and Gandil.
In game seven, Cicotte again pitched well and this time made no errors.
Jackson and Felsch drove in all of the Sox runs.
Chicago won again, 4-1.
The series now stood four games to three in Cincinnati's favor.
Chicago fans, battered by their team's poor play, now began to hope.
Game eight would be held in Chicago, and Lefty Williams was scheduled to pitch.
Humiliated by his poor play and angered at not being paid all the money he was owed, he was now determined more than ever to win.
But the night before the game, gamblers sent by Arnold Rothstein came to his room and threatened to harm his wife if he did not cooperate.
Game eight-- Chicago had to win.
The entire city held its breath.
Lefty Williams walked to the mound.
As he had in game two and game five, Williams pitched miserably.
He gave up four runs and was replaced before the first inning was over.
Home runs and extra-base hits by Joe Jackson and Chick Gandil did little to stop the inspired Reds, who won the game going away and the World Series five games to three.
♪♪ ♪♪ -"The Cincinnati Reds are the champions of the world.
There will be a great deal written about the World Series.
There will be a whole lot of inside stuff that never will be printed.
The truth will remain that the team that was the hardest-working won.
The team which had the ability and individuality was beaten.
The fact is, the series was lost in the first game."
-It was actually a sickening feeling because this was the pure sport.
This was the pure sport.
You didn't cheat, because, you know, a kid would tell you at that time, if anything, say, "That's not fair."
That was the main word -- "That's not fair."
-I was 15 years old at the time of the Black Sox, and I was the most disappointed kid in the city of Chicago, I think.
I couldn't -- At the age of 15, I couldn't understand it.
You know, this was just a terrible thing to happen.
I didn't know about gambling or anything else of that kind.
I was just heartbroken, and the stats show that certainly Shoeless Joe and Buck Weaver on third base had banner series stats.
And...thinking it was crooked?
-That winter, in an article for the New York World, Hugh Fullerton suggested the series had been fixed.
The baseball establishment was outraged.
-They didn't want to believe it.
Certainly the baseball establishment, even the ones who knew there was probably something to it, just said, "Oh, no, this is total fabrication."
You know, there's a famous quote from one baseball magazine that we should take the pressure off our boys in the field and aim it toward the thick-lipped, big-nosed gambling elements.
So there was a certain kind of racism in the reaction of, "How dare you even mention something so unpatriotic as that this might be possible?"
-"There's always some scandal of some kind following a big sporting event like the World Series.
These yarns are manufactured out of whole cloth and grow out of bitterness due to losing wagers.
I believe my boys fought the battles of the recent World Series on the level.
I would be the first to want information to the contrary.
I would give $20,000 to anyone unearthing any information to that effect."
Charles A. Comiskey.
-Charles Comiskey, afraid of losing his best players, did not want to admit the truth and refused to investigate, even after several players from other teams told him what they had heard and after a letter arrived from the wife of Joe Jackson himself suggesting that the Series had not been on the up and up.
But American League President Ban Johnson hated Charles Comiskey.
He pursued the case without letup.
It took almost a year, and the White Sox were in close contention for the 1920 pennant when a grand jury finally indicted players and gamblers alike for conspiracy.
Eddie Cicotte confessed before the grand jury.
So did Joe Jackson.
[ Gavel bangs ] -"What is your name?"
"Where is your home?"
"In Greenville, South Carolina."
"Did anybody pay you any money to help throw that series in favor of Cincinnati?"
"How much did they pay?"
"They promised me $20,000 and paid me $5,000."
"Who paid you the $5,000?"
"Lefty Williams brought it in my hotel room and threw it down."
"Does Mrs. Jackson know that you got $5,000 for helping throw these games?"
"She did that night, yes."
"What did she say about it?"
"She said it was an awful thing to do."
-Leaving Comiskey Park one afternoon, Jackson was surrounded by a crowd of men and boys.
One boy called out, "It ain't true, Joe.
It ain't true."
Others joined in.
Jackson kept walking to his car.
The fans followed at a distance.
Jackson never said a word.
♪♪ -"Professional baseball is in a bad way, not so much because of the Chicago scandal as because that scandal has provoked it to bringing up all the rumors and suspicions of years past.
The general effect is to wrinkle the noses of fans who will quit going to ball games if they get the impression that this sort of thing has been going on underground for years."
New York Times.
-"October 7, 1920 -- fix these faces in your memory.
These are the White Sox players who committed the astounding and contemptible crime of selling out the baseball world.
They will be remembered from now on only for the depths of depravity to which they could sink."
The Sporting News.
-In the end, no one went to jail.
Arnold Rothstein indignantly denied knowing anything about any fix.
He loved baseball, he said.
It was the national game.
He moved on to bootlegging, drug peddling, and labor racketeering, and was eventually shot to death by a rival gambler whom he had accused of fixing a poker game.
Abe Attell and Sleepy Bill Burns were freed for lack of evidence but were no longer welcome at ball parks.
All eight ballplayers were acquitted by a jury after the transcripts of Cicotte's and Jackson's confessions mysteriously vanished from the court file.
-They were tried and found innocent.
A travesty, really, but it came out that Arnie Rothstein and the rest of them were crooked gamblers and were able to persuade the boys to throw the games, even though some of them, I guess, never got a dime.
And they weren't -- Most of the Black Sox were not crooks.
They were dumb farm boys who didn't know anything about finance or anything else.
♪♪ -"Baseball is something more than a game to an American boy.
It is his training field for life work.
Destroy his faith in its squareness and honesty, and you have destroyed something more -- you have planted suspicion of all things in his heart."
Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
-The scandal had so disillusioned the public that the owners felt compelled to take drastic action.
Even before the trial ended, they had dissolved the old national commission that oversaw the game and replaced it with a single independent commissioner vested with extraordinary powers.
And to that post, they named a federal judge with a reputation for willful independence equaled only by his flair for self-promotion, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
-Appearance is what mattered to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, primarily.
He was a very distinguished man.
You recall that famous pose of his, leaning on his hands against the railing -- the Nestor, the judge, balancing justice's scales.
-Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was brought in as an authority figure.
He certainly looked the part -- granite face, shock of white hair -- looked like Jupiter in a very bad mood.
-Will Rogers used to say that they needed a commissioner, and they looked down the first-base line, and there was this old guy who was always sitting there, so they decided to give him the job.
The real reason they gave him the job is that he had found exactly what the owners wanted him to find in an antitrust lawsuit when he was a sitting federal judge with the Federal League.
But he surprised them.
He ran the game as an absolute autocrat.
But in terms of being beyond reach and beyond reproach and doing what he thought was right for the game, he did what one could say could never be done in baseball and hasn't been done since -- he could make the owners follow him.
-Born in Millville, Ohio, Landis was named for the Civil War battlefield on which his father had lost his leg.
As a judge, he had once sentenced an aging bank robber to 15 years in jail.
"Your Honor," the man said, "I'm 72 years old.
I can't serve that long."
Landis replied, "Well, do the best you can."
He was best known for having hauled John D. Rockefeller himself into his courtroom, then levying a stiff fine against Standard Oil, a decision which a higher court later overturned.
Ban Johnson had opposed his appointment.
"Keep non-baseball people out of baseball," he warned.
But this time, Johnson was outvoted by his frightened fellow owners.
The survival of their business was at stake.
-Well, Judge Landis is considered the savior of baseball by many people.
I think he was what the political people considered him, which was a showboat judge.
He's the kind of guy who gets a lot of headlines, and then all his decisions are overturned.
And he found the perfect place, which was in baseball, where they said, "There's no overturning your decision.
You're the absolute commissioner for life.
We can't fire you.
You are the final word."
And so he got every showboat judge's dream, which is to be able to be a showboat and then have nobody say, "But you violated the law."
He was the law.
-"Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player that sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it will ever play professional baseball."
-The day after the Black Sox were acquitted, Judge Landis barred all eight players for life.
None of them ever played Major League Baseball again.
-Had he any sense of the consequences, there was no way he would have taken part, but I don't think that anyone could guess that a man as basically simple as Jackson could have known really what it meant, what he was doing.
His livelihood was taken away after the 1920 season and with it, really, his life.
He lived another 30 years, but not very happily.
-Joe Jackson played outlaw baseball in South Georgia for a time, then ran a liquor store in Greenville, South Carolina.
Ty Cobb once came in for a fifth of bourbon.
Jackson did not seem to recognize his old rival.
Cobb finally asked, "Don't you know me, Joe?"
"Sure, I know you, Ty," Jackson answered.
"I just didn't think anyone I used to know up there wanted to recognize me again."
Judge Landis and the club owners had done their best to reassure the public that the game's honesty had been restored, but fans remained skeptical.
Something, or someone else, was needed to revive their shattered faith.
-But, I tell you what, here comes a guy with big, broad shoulders and skinny legs, and he could hit that ball out of the ball park.
See, a lot of people had stopped going to baseball for the reason of the scandal, and here comes Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth started hitting that ball out of the ball park and then brought them back.
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