Arnold Rothstein
and Baseball's 1919 Black Sox Scandal
To untangle what A.R. tangled we must start at the beginning, with fairly incontrovertible
facts. A cabal of players ("the Black Sox") on the highly favored American League
champion Chicago White Sox conspired to lose the 1919 World Series to the National
League Cincinnati Reds. The Sox were a talented but
unhappy and faction-ridden ball club. Money played a part in their unhappiness.
Some players felt underpaid and hated owner Charles Comiskey for it. But on the
Sox were men who would have stolen even if had been millionaires.

Not one, but two sets of gamblers, financed the fix. The players stretched out their greedy
hands and took money from both. Ultimately, both gambling cliques
welshed on their promises, shorting the players on the cash promised them. The players
retaliated by winning Game Three against Cincinnati, bankrupting one gambling clique
and sending them home from the series. However, under threat of violence, the Sox
ultimately lost the Series to the Reds.

It was not the perfect crime. Perfect crimes require discretion and intelligence. In
1919, so many players and gamblers flaunted their actions that suspicions
surfaced almost immediately. But nearly a year passed before baseball and civil
authorities exposed the plot. In July 1921 eight Black Sox players--pitchers Ed
Cicotte and Lefty Williams, outfielders Shoeless Joe Jackson and Oscar "Happy"
Felsch, first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck
Weaver, and utility man Fred McMullin and a ragtag assortment of gamblers stood
trial in Chicago. After several signed confessions disappeared mysteriously, all won
acquittal--but not exoneration. None of the eight Black Sox ever played major-
league baseball again.

This we know for sure. Less certain is Arnold Rothstein's connection.

A.R. did very little in direct fashion, and until he caught a bullet in his gut, he never
paid for his actions. If things happened--illegal things, immoral things, violent
things--and he profited from them . . . well that was just how things turned out. No
one could ever prove anything. If he shot a cop--or even three--he walked, and the
detective who wondered aloud whether shooting cops should be punished by civil
authorities found himself indicted. If the feds indicted A.R. for questionable
activities on Wall Street, the case conveniently never came to trial. If A.R. fixed a
World Series . . .
Arnold Rothstein
Sleepy Bill Burns
Arnold Rothstein in 1920:
The high-stakes New York
gambler behind the
1919 World Series fix.
Abe "The Little Champ"
Attell, Rothstein's
henchman and
sometimes bodyguard,
former featherwight
champion of the world.
Sleepy Bill Burns, former major
league pitcher, who needed
A.R.'s cash for the fix
Billy Maharg
Harry Redmon
Carl Zork
Sleepy Bill Burns, former
major league pitcher, who
needed A.R.'s cash for the
East St. Louis gambler
Harry Redmon.
St. Louis gambler
Carl Zork.
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Eddie Cicotte
White Sox Slugger
Shoeless Joe Jackson
took $10,000 of Rothstein's
Knuckleballing White Sox
star pitcher Eddie
Cicotte--one of the key
Black Sox
American League President
Byron "Ban" Johnson. He
thought he could make a deal
with Rothstein.
Charles Comiskey
William Fallon
Charles A. Stoneham
Chicago White Sox Owner
Charles Comiskey. The
scandal ruined his
championship franchise.
Arnold Rothstein's
brilliant attorney
William J. Fallon--
"The Great Mouthpiece."
Fallon helped clear
Rothstein and Attell.
Wall Street associate,
New York Giants owner Charles
A. Stoneham
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis--Baseball's First Commissioner
Buckminster Hotel
Federal Judge Kenesaw
Mountain Landis
became Baseball's first
Commissioner in the wake
of the Black Sox Scandal
Boston's Buckminster
Hotel--where gambler
Sport Sullivan and the
Black Sox plotted in 1919.
Former Chicago Cubs owner
Lucky Charlie Weeghman heard
rumors of the fix from Chicago
gambler Mont Tennes.
Ansonia Hotel
Astor Hotel
New York's
Ansonia Hotel:
where Burns and Maharg
plotted with the Black Sox
to throw the World Series.
Chicago Herald and
Hugh Fullerton ("ADVISE
FLOAT") helped expose
the scandal.
Times Square's Astor Hotel:
Where Rothstein met with
Sleepy Bill Burns and Billy
Sleepy Bill Burns on the witness stand.
Chicago Criminal Courts Building
Sleepy Bill Burns (center)
on the witness stand in
Chicago during the Black
Sox trial
Chicago's Criminal Courts
Building, 54 W. Hubbard
Street, where the Black
Sox won acquittal in
July 1921.
Boston gambler
oseph "Sport" Sullivan
(in 1907)
Chicago Evening Post: Williams and Hap Felsch Confess; Indict 2 Bribers