Five World Series overrun by controversy

20 Oct 2000: Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees is interviewed by the media the day before game 1 of the World Series against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT
20 Oct 2000: Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees is interviewed by the media the day before game 1 of the World Series against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

1919: Chicago White Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds

The Black Sox Scandal is perhaps the most infamous in baseball history. In 1919, baseball owners paid their players very little money and most had to work off-season jobs. Chicago White Sox owner Charley Comiskey was no exception. Shoeless Joe Jackson, the team’s best player, earned $6,000 for the entire season. Star pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams were paid only $5,000 and $3,000 each.

So when notorious gambler Arnold Rothstein offered eight White Sox a combined $100,000 to intentionally lose the World Series to the underdog Cincinnati Reds, the offer was too good to refuse.

Aided by a string of intentional errors and poor performances (especially by Cicotte and Williams), the Reds won the best-of-nine series 5-3. Rumors of scandal persisted throughout the World Series and continued through the 1920 season. A trial convened in September, 1920, and Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned eight players from baseball for life. Those players were:

None of the offending players ever returned to organized baseball, and Jackson was kept out of the Hall of Fame. For restoring order to baseball, Landis was named the first commissioner of Major League Baseball.