Result of Scandal Trial Disappointment to Fans

Washington Times/August 4, 1921


The pale, sickly “fade-out” of the trial of the White Sox is a keen disappointment to genuine sportsmen. Furthermore, it is a sickening revelation to the average baseball fan who has assumed that 99 percent of the professional players were not only incorruptible, but savagely intolerant of erring brethren.

The trend of argument as the lawyers bind up the case and hand it to the jury is that nobody can prove any errors or bad plays were made with deliberate intent—although several players publicly confessed their guilt—and that even if the games were “thrown” there is no law in Illinois against such skullduggery.

We anticipated that the self-confessed fakers would go free on a technicality, that one or two would have the effrontery to seek employment in the major leagues and that unscrupulous promoters will attempt to exploit the discredited athletes through independent booking.

In Chicago the “Black Sox” were denied the use of semi-pro parks. Umpires declined to officiate for them, they could not find opponents of “class,” and as outlaws they made no money.

The same type of promoter who takes an acquitted murderess and places her in vaudeville or exploits “shooting show girls” will doubtless try to offend the real baseball fans with some performances by the “Black Sox.” However, we do not believe they will receive the sort of publicity they anticipate or a welcome from semi-pro managers.

The wrath of an American League feud that is still smoldering was dragged into the trial of the Sox. Attorneys for certain players persist in the statement that the prosecution was pressed by Ban Johnson merely as a measure of revenge on Charley Comiskey.

What those players hope to gain by such a plea is reinstatement by Comiskey. We do not believe “Commy” will even listen to any of the men, of whose guilt he is morally certain. And that includes those players who merely had guilty advance knowledge of the frame-up between the gamblers and certain players.

These men betrayed Comiskey’s confidence almost as brutally as the men who actually threw the games. They declined to warn their employer, and therefore deserve no consideration at his hands.

It may be true that Johnson hoped to discredit Comiskey in this action. However, he has not done so. The prosecution made out a strong case on insufficient evidence, but the defense has expended huge sums for legal minds that can cast monkey wrenches into the mechanism of the law.

The “Black Sox” have been freed and thus Illinois adds one more comic chapter to the book of amazing legal episodes now being written in that Commonwealth.

The law may free the self-confessed cheaters, but if organized baseball offers any of these men employment because of their exceptional talent then we may as well turn the game over to the gamblers and let them operate it from the inside.

(Source: Chronicling America,