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
Abe
Sleepy Bill Burns
"A.R."--
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
fix
East St. Louis gambler
Harry Redmon.
St. Louis gambler
Carl Zork.
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Eddie Cicotte
Byron
White Sox Slugger Shoeless
Joe Jackson took $10,000 of
Rothstein's money
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.
Rothstein's
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 Examiner
sportswriter Hugh Fullerton
("ADVISE ALL NOT TO BET
ON THIS SERIES. UGLY
RUMORS FLOAT") helped
expose the scandal.
Times Square's Astor Hotel:
Scene of the Arnold
Rothstein-Sleepy Bill Burns-Billy
Maharg Confrontation of
September 1919
Sleepy Bill Burns on the witness stand.
Chicago Criminal Courts Building
Chicago Evening Post: Williams and Hap Felsch Confess; Indict 2 Bribers
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.