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Did the Cubs throw the 1918 World Series

Apr 20, 2011, 4:33 PM EDT

1918 Cubs

This isn’t exactly new — there was a book written about it a couple of years ago — but the Associated Press is circulating the story in light of some of the relevant documents becoming public, so why not:  Did the Cubs throw the 1918 World Series to the Red Sox, inspiring the White Sox to do the same the next year?

The central piece of evidence is a deposition given by Eddie Cicotte in 1920 in which he suggested that the White Sox got the idea to throw the 1919 World Series from the Cubs. It’s all very vague — Cicotte really just talks about how others on the White Sox talked about how some Cubs players were offered money to do it — but it’s an interesting glimpse all the same.  If the subject interests you, I’d suggest the book linked above, as a couple of readers emailed me within the past hour telling me that it’s pretty decent.  The book’s author is quoted in the AP report.

And if the Cubs did throw the series? Given that the Black Sox did it again the next year and set in motion the new rules of baseball that cracked down on gambling, the Cubs’ legacy of baseball grifting is more a point of ancient history than anything of lasting significance. After all, people don’t talk about 1919 being awful because of how the Cincinnati Reds’ title was sullied. It’s all about the integrity of the game and the changes it brought about. In that respect, it was a travesty for a year, even if it was unknown, but then superseded in significance by the acts of their southside counterparts.

Although, man, if this was discovered before the Red Sox won it all in 2004, it’s possible that Yankees fans would have taken to chanting “1916!” instead of “1918!” to taunt the Bosox. Assuming 1916 wasn’t fixed too.

  1. qcubed3 - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    If this were true, it WOULD be a big deal for we White Sox fans. It would not matter that the cubs “grifting” was ancient history, it would matter that it happened at all and it would matter more in the case of cubs fans’ claim of moral superiority when they state that they never threw a World Series (this claim is the standard retort to the “you haven’t won a World Series in 100 + x years!”).

  2. mentalotherhalf - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    On the other hand, now I have the satisfaction of chanting 19-18 again.

    It leaves a lot to interpretation, but pretty much all possible inferences would be satisfyingly Sox-baiting.

    The one I hope they take away: the Sox are so fundamentally flawed, even the Cubs had to throw the series in order for them to win it.

    • mentalotherhalf - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

      Thumbs down? What? Too soon?

      If it was from a Sox fan: just make fun of my username as retaliation.

      If it was from a Cubs fan: granted; low blows is low blows.

      • mentalotherhalf - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        Okay: I admit it; I threw the above posts.

        I wasn’t even paid to do it.

        I’m just that dastardly.


    • denverhoopdreams - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:16 PM


  3. bigharold - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    So we’re still talking about the Black Sox scandal and now whether or not the Cubs threw the series the year before, .. events that occurred 90+ years ago.

    Somebody explain to me again that Pete Rose betting on baseball wasn’t worse than the PED era.

    • SmackSaw - Apr 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      Cheating is a baseball tradition. Nice guys finish last.

      • spudchukar - Apr 20, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        Yes, we do.

  4. frankvzappa - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    the only difference between yesterday and today, is that yesterday everybody knew it was fixed while today everybody thinks its on the up and up…like with lone assassin conspiracy theories, in the old days everybody knew there was conspiracies, but these days people actually believe that Oswald shot JFK, or that Hinckley shot Reagan, etc…

  5. mikef2691 - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    If you aren’t cheating, you are not trying….. or is that NASCAR?

  6. thebigwhitecat - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Haven’t Cubs fans suffered enough?

    The AP writer cites Eddie Cicotte as a source. Cicotte had an axe to grind with White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey regarding his 1919 bonus and by all accounts he (Cicotte) was a bitter man.

    The story is pretty weak.

  7. mdpickles - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    So what I am to understand here is that:
    the 1918, 2004, and 2007 WS Champs are unearned. About as fake as holding the WWF Intercontinental Championship belt.

  8. dexterismyhero - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Wasn’t dusty Baker the manager of the 1918 Cubs?

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