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Did the Cubs throw the 1918 World Series?
Posted By Brandon Reid On April 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm In Happening Now | No Comments
By Brandon Reid
A 1920 court deposition recently released by the Chicago History Museum suggests the Chicago Cubs may have intentionally lost the 1918 World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
According to the deposition of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, a number of Cubs players were allegedly offered $10,000 each to do their part to lose the 1918 World Series.
Cicotte’s deposition was part of the investigation into his alleged involvement in the Black Sox scandal of 1919, in which the favored Chicago White Sox allegedly intentionally lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds five games to three.
Cicotte, who died in 1969 at age 84, was one of eight players permanently banned from professional baseball for their alleged involvement in the Black Sox scandal.
Cicotte’s deposition suggests the 1919 White Sox developed the idea of throwing the World Series for money from the 1918 Cubs.
Cicotte stated in his deposition: “The way it started, we were going east on the train. The ball players were talking about somebody trying to fix the National League ball players or something like that in the World’s Series of 1918. Well anyway there was some talk about them offering $10,000 or something to throw the Cubs in the Boston Series. There was talk that somebody offered this player $10,000 or anyway the bunch of players were offered $10,000 to throw this series. This was on the train going over. Somebody made a crack about getting money, if we got into the series, to throw the series. The boys on the Club got a talking over there in New York about the fellows getting too much money and such stuff as that and said that they would go ahead and go through with it if they got this money.
“We never held any secret meeting but we would meet one or two at a time and we all agreed that for a piece of money we would throw the World Series. I was supposed to get $10,000. Some man came to the Warner and left this money in my room, $10,000. That was supposed to be mine. …”
Cicotte, Oscar “Happy” Felsch, Arnold “Chick” Gandil, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles “Swede” Risberg, George “Buck” Weaver and Claude “Lefty” Williams were the eight White Sox players banned from baseball in the fallout of the Black Sox scandal.
In 1918, the Cubs owned the best record in baseball, 84-45, during a season shortened by the United States entering World War I. The Red Sox, meantime, finished the season 75-51, behind both the pitching and hitting efforts of 23-year-old Babe Ruth.
Despite owning the better regular-season record, the Cubs lost the 1918 World Series to the Red Sox four games to two. The Cubs played their World Series home games at the South Side Comiskey Park, as opposed to their North Side home of Weeghman Park, now Wrigley Field.
Game one in Chicago went to the Red Sox 1-0, behind a shutout pitching effort from Ruth. The Cubs did, however, have more hits in the game, 6-5.
Game two in Chicago went to the Cubs 3-1, with Lefty Tyler starting the game on the mound for the Cubs.
The Red Sox bounced back to beat the Cubs 2-1 in game three in Chicago. Red Sox ace Carl Mays, a 21-game winner that season with a 2.21 ERA, edged out Cubs ace Hippo Vaughn, a 22-game winner that season with a 1.74 ERA. Vaughn was credited with his second loss of the series, after also losing game one.
Game four in Boston went to the Red Sox 3-2. Again, the Cubs registered more hits, 7-4, but Ruth collected his second win of the series after the Cubs’ Phil Douglas was credited with a loss in his relief effort of game two winner Tyler.
With Vaughn back on the mound in game five in Boston, the Cubs cruised to a 3-0 shutout victory over the Red Sox, taking the series to 3-2 heading into game six.
Mays would return to the mound in game six for the Red Sox to outduel the Cubs’ Tyler, and the Red Sox would go on to win the series with a 2-1 victory in Boston.
Overall for the series, the Cubs had more hits (37-32), runs (10-9), doubles (5-2) and walks (18-16) and boasted a higher batting average (.210-.186) than the Red Sox. Cubs pitchers also had a lower overall ERA (1.04-1.70) and registered more strikeouts (21-14) than the Red Sox.
Statistically, the differences may have been Bullet Joe Bush’s relief effort in game four for the Red Sox when he was credited with a save over the Cubs’ Douglas, and Vaughn’s 1-2 record as a starter for the Cubs. Despite losing two games, Vaughn’s ERA for the series was 1.00, and he registered 17 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched—12 strikeouts more than the next closest mark of the series of 5, set by both Mays and Sad Sam Jones, respectively, of the Red Sox.
The notion that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series was also explored by Sean Deveney in his book, The Original Curse, released in 2009.
The Cubs are in the midst of the longest World Series drought in Major League Baseball history, with their last championship coming in 1908 and their last appearance in the series coming in 1945. Both droughts are the longest in history.
Read more about Cicotte’s deposition by clicking here , or visit the Chicago History Museum’s website at www.chicagohs.org  for more information. More about The Original Curse can be found by clicking here .
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