April 22, 2011

Affidavit Regarding Possibly Crooked 1918 World Series Released

The suggestion that the Chicago Cubs may have thrown the 1918 World Series to the Boston Red Sox is back in the news. I was the first writer to extensively examine that possibility, in my 2001 book, Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox.

(Sean Deveney's book, The Original Curse: Did The Cubs Throw The 1918 World Series To Babe Ruth's Red Sox And Incite The Black Sox Scandal?, was published in 2010.)

A 1920 court deposition from White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte -- one of the eight Chicago players banned from professional baseball by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for throwing the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds -- was recently posted on the Chicago History Museum's website. (I thought the affidavit had been released when its existence came to light three years ago, but I guess I was mistaken.)
EDWARD VICTOR CICOTTE being first duly sworn upon oath deposes and says:

I am making this statement of my own free will and accord without any promise of award of any kind or description.

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. There was no agreement with anybody but just simply an


It is clear that several White Sox players were absolutely certain that players on the 1918 Cubs were offered money to intentionally lose the World Series. It sounds like it was mentioned in fairly casual conversation. However, Cicotte does not name any of those players -- though I would assume he or his White Sox teammates knew who they were, since they knew of the offer -- and he does not say if the money was accepted or if the Cubs did, in fact, lose on purpose.

As I wrote in 2008,
I could not offer definitive proof [in my book] that the series had been tainted, but it was obvious that there was no shortage of financial incentive for players on both teams. Additionally, the Cubs mystified many sportswriters with their mistakes in the field, at the plate and on the bases.
After 93 years, definitive proof regarding the crookedness of the 1918 World Series is unlikely -- though this Cicotte affidavit was discovered only four years ago, so who knows?

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