Yesterday, everybody partied.
The eight Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series and the 12-member jury all went out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate the players’ acquittal.
The eight defendants in the “Black Sox” trial
Today, Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis, 54, national commissioner of baseball, at the Commission’s Manhattan offices, issued a statement banning all eight players from having any association with organized baseball. For life.
No playing in the minor leagues. No nominations to the Hall of Fame, no matter how deserved. No touring around the country with barnstorming teams, the way some of the eight have been doing since Landis suspended them last year.
Fans young and old have been sweating in the observers’ seats in the hot courtroom for the past month. Even the trial judge seemed relieved when, after only three hours, the jury returned the not guilty verdict.
The Sox’s star outfielder, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who turned 33 two days before the trial began, and batted .375 in the series with one HR and six RBIs, said,
When I walked out of Judge Dever’s courtroom in Chicago…I had been acquitted by a 12-man jury in a civil courtroom of all charges, and I was an innocent man in the records.”
Well, not exactly, Joe. The judge’s name was Hugo Friend, and you and the others were found not guilty [not the same as innocent] in a criminal courtroom.
In New York, Judge Landis is not relieved. He believes that all eight men broke the rules of baseball. And he was named the first national commissioner—of both the National and American Leagues—last year to uphold the integrity of the game. Today he issues a statement which says in part:
Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers 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 again.”
No one is partying now.
“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at email@example.com.
This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.
Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.
If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.